Child DevelopmentParenting

Adri’s Story – Part 2: Before Surgery

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Before Open Heart SurgerySurgery

This is Part 2 of the incredible journey that is Adri’s Story. For Part 1: Birth & Diagnosis, click here.

Once our new little family was reunited again at BC Children’s Hospital, we began the whirlwind of meetings, test and consultations that would lead us up to surgery. The Cardiologist – Dr Hoskings – came in and did another echo. He explained the defect to us in great detail, and talked a bit about the surgery she would need. It would be an open heart surgery, which means she would need to be on a heart and lung machine as they would stop her heart to operate on it. They would cut the aorta and pulmonary vessels and switch them around and re-attach them. They would also patch the holes in her heart with a Gore-Tex like material over which the heart would eventually grow its own tissue. Lastly, they would be severing and re-attaching some minor coronary arteries that feed the heart itself. It would take approximately 5-6 hours, and she would be in ICU for 5-7 days afterwards. They told us that was obviously a very serious, major surgery, but a fairly straight forward one, and they had performed 8 of the same surgeries in 2008.

Our home in Bay 11 at Children's Hospital ICU
Our home in Bay 11 at Children’s Hospital ICU

Of all the meetings we had, one that stood out to me among the information overload was with Lori, the Cardiac Nurse Specialist from the Children’s Heart Centre who shared with us a photo album of a family whose son had the same diagnosis. It showed detailed photos of pre and post op, recovery and most importantly of the healthy, vibrant, active teenager he had become. If this boy, who was diagnosed and operated on 15 years ago grew into a thriving wake boarder, then maybe – just maybe – my baby could do the same.

Adri remained stable in the ICU for the 3 days before they moved us up to our new home – room #25 on the 3M unit. We celebrated New Years Eve there with some sparkling apple juice, just happy that we were all able to spend our first night together as a family – even though that meant Scott and I sharing a single cot in the corner. As Adri remained stable, we were able to take her home on January 2nd with more testing on January 5th, pre admission clinic on Jan 7 and surgery on the 8th or 9th. To say that we were TERRIFIED to bring home this fragile, sick little baby, would be a gross understatement especially considering Scott had to work through the entire ordeal and I would be home alone having been a Mommy for less than a week! We were so blessed with friends who came and kept me company, brought food and took beautiful photos of my precious girl.

Our Home in room #25 on the 3M Unit at Children's Hospital
Our Home in room #25 on the 3M Unit at Children’s Hospital

The few days at home turned into a frustrating waiting game with Adri’s open heart surgery first being pushed from the 8th or 9th to the 13th, then back to the 8th and then back to the 13th and finally to the 14th, where it stayed. We spent our days at home not doing much other then soaking in the beauty that was our baby girl. We had so much skin to skin snuggle time, knowing that even with the best outcome possible, it would be a long time before we could do that again. We took so many photos, including some bare chested – scar free before surgery.

Before Surgery - Scar Free
Before Surgery – Scar Free

At last the big day arrived and we were off to the hospital to begin the next part of our journey with our wee heart baby.

Keep following along on Adri’s journey with Adri’s Story – Part 3: Surgery.