This morning we were treated to our first glimpse of Samuel with both eyes open and looking around!
Soon after, we got the news that Sam would be having his heart surgery today after all. They weren't sure when they could fit him in due to only one heart surgeon being available and we were originally told his operation, which we heard he needed last Wednesday following the heart scan, wouldn't happen before this Wednesday. So we were pleasantly surprised when the paediatric heart surgeon (one of only two in New Zealand both who work at Auckland City Hospital) came up to see us around lunchtime today to talk us through the procedure that would take place this afternoon. She explained that due to the ductus valve failing to close naturally (see earlier post on Wednesday 17 June for a diagram), too much blood is being diverted to Samuel's lungs rather than being pumped around his body. This causes his heart to have to pump faster to keep his blood pressure up, too much fluid in his lungs causing them to struggle, and potentially insufficient blood reaching his vital organs. It also explains why his skin has been looking so motley and pale.
His nursing team wheeled him down to theatre around 1.30 and, after signing consent forms and talking to the anesthesiologist, we said our goodbyes around 2.15. That is the toughest part...not knowing... and then the long wait.... BUT at about 4.15 we got the call saying he was out and Francis went down to meet him and hear how it went from Liz (paediatric surgeon). She said the ductus was much larger than they anticipated so she had to divide it in two before she tied off each piece to stop the flow of blood into Sam's lungs and divert it to his body where it was needed. She described the operation as slightly nerve-wrecking for all concerned as they were very aware of Samuel's delicate state and complicated medical condition. We are in awe of their skills and impressed by the dedication and professionalism of the surgical team... and so thankful that the procedure went well and they were able to isolate and successfully stop the signficiant flow of blood into the lungs. So tonight he is still sedated and looks peaceful without his hat and CPAP oxygen tubes - he is still intubated from surgery with a breathing tube down his nose and into his trachea, which is breathing for him. He has a drain out his side under his arm from the heart op and a new line has been put in his left leg for giving fluids.
We have been warned that the next 48 hours are crucial as his body adjusts to the change in blood flow - his heart and his lungs especially. Already post-op his general colour has improved (he always had a sallow tinge) and his heart rate seems a little slower, but they said that about 24 hours after the babies can react to the change in fluid flow and be unsettled. So it's good to be warned, as it's always a shock to walk in and see a backward development.
Samuel is resting peacefully tonight surrounded by soft toys (thanks Hudson for the Hope Bear!), bible verses (thanks Malia!), drawings, and cards as well as the prayers of all those well-wishers who we know are following his progress day by day. It was a big emotional day and we're all tired and needing an early night, so we'll sign off now and look forward to another day with Samuel tomorrow and updating you tomorrow night.