We set our alarms to go off at 5am. We had packed up the night before, so all we had was one bag to get in the car. We get Michayla up and dressed and head out. We get outside to find that we had a dusting of snow. It was pretty.....but made for a cold morning. We head up to the hospital and arrive just before 6am.
Our first stop is the registration desk. We were about 4th in line, so we took a seat & waited to be called up. They go over our information, put a bracelet on Michayla and then we both get a bracelet as well. We are sent up to the 8th floor for surgery.
We check in and are seated until one of the nurses comes out to get us. Michayla is called & we head back. They weigh & measure her and then put us in a room. The nurse comes in and takes her blood pressure and temperature. Our PA, stops in and makes sure nothing has changed over night with her health. The anesthesiologist checks in with us to explain what the plan is. The surgeon pops in to say good morning and then we wait until they're ready for her. We didn't even change her into a gown. They wanted to keep her anxiety down, so my husband was able to carry her to "the line" (the line indicates how far family can go with the patient as they're wheeled down towards the operating rooms) and then pass her off.
They told us that she would be given gas to put her to sleep before they did changed her clothes, put in the IV's and prepped her for the operation. We had a nurse assigned to our daughter. Her job was to keep us informed on what was going on by calling my cell phone through out the process.
We were told it would take about an hour of just prep before they'd even start with the surgery. She would need to be intubated (tubed), a central IV line would need to be placed in her neck, an arterial line would need to be placed in her arm, an IV in her other hand and in one foot. She would be cleaned with a sticky version of betadine (the yellow soap). The sticky version allows them to place a sterile dressing over the chest & then make the incision through that.
We receive the call that the intubation was a little harder than most, but we knew this was a possibility due to her history. They were preparing to start the surgery. Our next call would be when they had her off the bi-pass machine. We were told that her heart and lungs would be on bi-pass for approx. 40 minutes. This is a very short amount of time and the shorter the time on bi-pass, the better. So we waited for our next phone call.
Our next call came to let us know that the operation part was over and that she had done very well. It would take a bit before she would be ready to move to the ICU room. The surgeon would be coming out to speak with us soon.
The surgeon said she did really well but the hole was bigger than they thought. Originally it was thought to be about the size of a dime (which is a huge hole in a 4 yr old) but it actually was the size of a nickel. They also found two small holes we weren't aware of. The team was able to patch all the holes and everything looked good. We would be contacted in about 30 minutes when we could meet her at the ICU.
We waited and waited and waited.......when we hadn't heard anything after 90 minutes, we decided to check in at the desk. They made some calls and we were sent down to the pediatric ICU.
It was hard to see my sweet girl hooked up to machines, tubes & wires. The thing I noticed immediately was the size of the incision. When someone says Open Heart Surgery....you envision a cut from throat to belly button, but her incision was about 2 inches long. We were shocked and amazed!! It was great to see her & hold her hand but I knew the next few days were going to be hard.