Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Heart surgery completed - ductus valve sealed!

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.


Raewyn said...

The first thing I said today was that Samuel was having his heart operation, so it was a nice suprise when I read the blog to find he had already had it and it has made a difference. Isn't it just amazing what surgeons can do these days! Hope today goes well for you

thecarlows said...

Hi Guys.

I was so chuffed today to read that Samuel had , had his heart operation and it had gone well. He's a real fighter and an inspiration to me, he's one special little chap.

Love us all.

veena said...

Such a special boy, has captivated my heart. Thank you so much for making the effort to keep us updated. Really look forward to hearing more and more about his progress. God be with you all. May you all sleep like babies in spite of the painful time.

Anonymous said...

It's wonderful to see the support you have and the long road Samuel has already travelled. Like the Samuel he was named for, we should expect great things from your little man. We still pray for him every day in Seattle and look forward to the day you take him home.


Heslips said...

Shirlz, watching Samuel open his eyes and look around was cool. I think he has your gift for the gab (only his was slightly more legible!) He seemed to be saying that he is a most important person and his hat and nappies should be from a suitably expensive retailer :)whoops was that Francis in the background? hehe don't ban us form your site! luv Heidi n Mark n fam

Anonymous said...

"Your welcome for the Hope Bear, how's baby Samuel going? I pray for him everyday." Love Hudson XO

The Pelan family said...

We're so glad to hear Sam's had his heart op and that it went well. We'll be praying for him over this crucial time. We so wish we were closer but it's awesome to see the videos of your precious little man!
Lots of love to you all,
Mark & Jo