Monday, July 27, 2009

Chloe's Open-Heart Surgery

July 26th, 2009 Heart. The heart. A huge heart, a joyful heart, a soft heart, at the heart of the matter, a kind heart, all heart, follow your heart, heartache, a beating heart, a broken heart, a heart on the mend. Chloe's heart, my heart, your heart. And then my heart with pleasure fills, and dances with the daffodils. William Wordsworth Chloe's open-heart surgery has consumed me for the past seven days and I have been unable to keep this group posted as much as you probably had hoped. The best part of that is you not receiving any frenzied pleas for prayer, as Chloe has had a tremendously successful week and is recovering faster than anyone had believed possible. I believe that all of the prayers preceding the surgery, the prayers heard echoing throughout the halls of heaven during the surgery and the unending love that has illuminated her short life by all who know her...those things made Chloe and God decide that she would carry on with a healthy and whole heart. So, carry on she does! We were told that Chloe would spend up to 1 and 1/2 weeks in the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (CICU). I guess the docs just didn't take into account that Chloe rarely does what is expected, as four days later they wheeled her back into the NICU! Of course, the story began on Tuesday morning when we all, with great trepidation, kissed Chloe, wished her well and watched her leave the room with her mommy and daddy trailing a tiny little bed, which carried a tiny little baby and the enormous hopes and prayers of thousands of people. Tears were quietly and privately shed and we moved downstairs to wait for promised alerts and updates. Thanks go out to Ester, who kept us apprised throughout, who scouted the halls of the hospital for Lance and Jennie if they happened to wander from the waiting room and needed to be found. I think a permanent trail from the operating room to varying places in the hospital has been worn down from parents awaiting news over time. Ester never failed in her parental quest, she would appear like magic and had such a positive, yet careful and serious approach in delivering news. Six and a half hours later, Jennie and Lance were able to join Chloe in the unit and returned relieved and joyous about how great they thought she looked. Big sighs all around and after that and the we were all allowed to visit and check in on her ourselves two or three at a time. It was a bit shocking, as she was so still and the tubes were many but we had been very well prepared and nothing was too unexpected. I was just thankful, so thankful. There she was, all the monitors saying the right thing, the truly RIGHT numbers, numbers we had never seen before. We had been conditioned since birth to expect heart rate numbers from from 160-200. Now, it was averaging 120-130, minutes after surgery. The heart was working as it should be working! Of the two holes, the smallest was smaller than expected and the largest was much larger that expected, now they are fixed and Chloe is getting better by the day! Each day, Chloe surpassed expectation and each day the tubes, drains and wires disappeared one by one. Thursday morning, Jennie woke me up and sadly stated that she thought she might be sick. Jen has pretty serious allergies in the summer and the sore throat could have been them or something more Chloe's poor mommy chose not to take any chances and did not see Chloe for three days! Talk about a tough decision for someone to make! So, I spent the time with Chloe in the CICU until Lance could get there after work. To tell you the truth, some of the details of the week get pretty blurry. Little sleep was had by anyone. Grandpa and Uncle Brandon had committed their time to babysitting Sierra and Kadin, Grandpa Joe shouldered most of that and our 1 1/2 year old granddaughter Johnnie, joined him in some of the fun with the other two. They all did have a lot of fun...but Grandpas get tired! LOL! Grandmas too! Guess what? We're tired! Brandon's girlfriend Crystal helped out too. Thanks to everyone pulling together, we pulled this off and no one is too much worse off for the wear! When you understand what the Princess Warrior has endured, most other things pale in comparison. I did finally get home Friday night, quite exhausted. I have taken the weekend to recharge a bit, to spend some much needed time with my husband, cat and Jen's dog! It has been such a cool weekend, I took two lovely, lovely walks in the middle of the day and actually have cooked three dinners in a row! All is going so well, it really does make one conclude that worrying certainly DOES NOT accomplish a thing...but prayer certainly DOES! I cannot thank all of you enough for the support and encouragement. Really, this little group has become a pretty big group! Inviting your friends and helping it to grow has helped in more ways than one! Chloe has benefitted immensely, as have I and my family. Knowing that you are never alone, not only because of God, but because of friends who care so much, well, I can't express what that means! I feel that each and every one of you in this group is an angel. Anyone who has been touched by Chloe in spite of all the differences, you are angels! God has sent a very special little spirit to us all, just look how we have come together. Many, many different religious, political and cultural beliefs and philosophies, yes, but we all are one in our hope that Chloe will grow, be healthy and most importantly feel loved and accepted by all who meet her. Thank You! I will be posting some pictures, hopefully not too graphic. I ran it by a few people and they expressed an interest in the surgery, as most of us have not done this before! More tomorrow, this is way too long and I have so much more! Praise God for all of you and for Chloe's continued recovery! Lovingly, Nancy

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