well, we have been & we are back! and chelsea is doing so well!!! we left last tuesday & flew to melbourne only hours after finding out that she does indeed have a stricture in her bowel which will require surgery. after much back & forth between the nicu in adelaide & the melbourne cardiac surgeon, it was decided that the heart surgery would take place first & then she would return to adelaide for bowel surgery.
we arrived in melbourne tuesday afternoon, chelsea arrived around the same time with flying doctors. she was sent off for surgery wednesday lunchtime. that was the darkest few hours of my life - WITHOUT A DOUBT - EVER! we had no idea whether our beautiful daughter who we had never taken home, held properly in our arms without tubes & beeping machines etc, would ever wake up & come out of heart surgery alive. it was so distressing & i felt like i was going to pass out or have a heart attack myself with the pain of leaving her with the surgical team. anyway, we dragged ourselves away & tried to keep ourselves distracted by getting some grocery shopping done.
later that afternoon we got a call from the surgeon to say that the procedure had been successful & that we could see her in paediatric intensive care unit [picu] in one hour. oh my, the most enormous relief imaginable!!!!!!! again i thought i would faint with this overwhelming news. such mental & emotional overload i guess.
we went down to see her & were kept waiting for over 2 hours. at one point a nurse came rushing out to tell us that there had been some emergency complications and they were having to re-open her chest right there in the picu. my heart sank, i honestly thought this would be it. we were about to lose her. well about half an hour later, we were told to come and see her, that she was fine & her shunt had formed a blockage. they did indeed have to re-open her chest to remove the blockage & in fact it was still open but covered with film when we went in to see her. she was started on heparin to keep future blockages at bay. the surgeon told us that the next couple of hours would tell us whether or not the op was successful or not, we needed the heparin to get working & no other clots to form.
well we managed to get through that next couple of hours & it looked like everything was going along the right track! relief again! what a rollercoaster!
when we went in to see chelsea, she looked almost unrecognisable. her face was bloated, swollen & bruised looking. her chest open with a wound drain hanging out. what seemed like a million iv lines were hanging out of her little arms & feet along with a ton of beeping machines & monitors including ventilation & a massive amount of medications. it was very overwhelming. i felt so many emotions. so terrified for my tiny girl, she just been ripped open - TWICE! and all these tubes & machines were keeping her alive. i felt so lucky that we have access to all of this help. i kept having flashes of the worst thoughts through my mind, those thoughts of losing her as well as those fairytale dreams of glimpses into the future with my FOUR beautiful girls. all of it raced around in my head every minute. all the while, we sat holding her little swollen hands, tears of happiness streaming that at least she had made it through this first MAJOR hurdle.
anyway, to cut a long long story short.... chelsea, my little angel, is a remarkable human being. she has come good in leaps & bounds over the last few days. so much so that each day they took her off more & more drugs & they decided to fly her back to adelaide yesterday!!!!!!!!! it was so quick that even we couldn't get flights back until today. so chelsea returned with the flying doctors & went back to the picu here in adelaide and we came back today and of course rushed straight in to be with her.
she really is amazing. she is doing so well. no doubt they'll schedule her for bowel surgery soon and take care of that little stricture she has and then she'll be able to return to feeds, get rid of more iv lines & start to make even more progress.
her next big heart surgery will be in 3-6months most likely, back in melbourne of course & we are hoping that this will be a complete repair. it may not though, she may need ongoing valve replacements, we have to wait and see how her heart develops once the major defect has been repaired. this next surgery will be so much bigger than this one but she will be in better shape, a bigger size & have a bigger heart. still terrifying though. not doing any more thinking about that today though. just going to soak up the goodness of today.
anyway, here's some pics of my darling from the last week. they may be upsetting, well they are upsetting, but we are so proud of her, she's come through a very scary situation & now is looking very beautiful & pink. gorgeous isn't she?
melbourne picu, post surgery pic...
every piece of equipment here was just for chelsea & every single thing here was in use & attached to her in some form or another. AMAZING huh? here her chest was open & she was in 100% ventilation.
from my visit tonight to tuck her into bed... how alert & good is she looking???? i had to leave her wide awake, so sad, as she just was not tired at all!!! she is just so amazing.
my amazing little chelsea. not only is she just so adorable but she is so courageous in her battle so far. she is an absolute inspiration! we just love her to bits. so proud of her and we want her to be so proud of her scar & her amazing achievement too.
anyway, we are all exhausted so off to bed. just had to get a few pics & our news uploaded. thanks everyone for sharing our journey. we have a long road ahead, more surgeries to come & not out of the woods yet but i am starting to feel that my brave little girl might just tackle each of her hurdles with great gusto & win, just like she did this one. i hope & pray that she will. so far she's going great guns!!