Hospital time, what a mystery: it literally passes in the blink of an eye but sits at a standstill, all at the same time.
The day passed by quickly, I can hardly recall any specific details. It all seems like a blur. Yet, it also felt like endless ticks on the clock. Each passing slower than the last.
We went into the surgery, open heart surgery on my 5 month old baby, at 6 in the morning expecting for it all to be over with by 2 – at the latest.
but that’s not what happened…
6 to 8 hours
That’s what we expected.
The actual surgery would take up only a small amount of that time. Most of the time would be consumed by the prepping before and wrapping up after.
6 to 8 hours
6 to 8 hours quickly turned into 12
The actual OR time itself was 10 hours, but it was about 12 by the time she was taken back and before we could see her again.
I was not prepared for that.
Her surgery took much longer than expected. The original plan was to patch the large hole in her heart (called a VSD), which, I would like to add, had healed halfway on it’s own! No, not on it’s own – with God’s help and the many prayers she received. God did half of the work for them (;
However, when they patched the hole they found another problem.
She had a small leak in one of her valves.
It wasn’t a worse case scenario at all; however, you have to understand that for them to operate on her heart the heart has to be completely drained of blood (she becomes placed on a bypass machine which pumps the blood throughout her body for her), after any fix or change is made they must restart her heart (allow blood to flow) and examine. When a problem arises, they must do this process all over again.
LB was put through this process 3 times.
Her heart was operated on 3 times.
Her body was put under rigorous pressure and changes 3 times.
And all 3 times she fought back!
She held up so well.
She was so strong.
Honestly, she was so much stronger than any of us sitting in that waiting room.
I am so proud of her!
I think after 4 o’clock I just became mindless. I was functioning, talking, and animated – but I was not awake. My mind went into autopilot. I seemed to be handling everything quite well — even surprising myself.
But I knew it was all a facade.
I could fool everyone around me. Heck, I almost fooled myself. But then I would catch myself, in quiet moments, allowing my emotions to turn on.
I would stare at the floor, finding something to fixate on and black out. My heart would begin pounding. I could feel the blood rushing to my face. The room would suddenly begin to get unbearably hot. And then, someone would say something to me, snapping me back into robot mode and I would disconnect from my emotions again.
The time finally caught up to itself, slowly and abruptly, bringing us to the moment we had been waiting for.
One of the doctors came out and I new it was over. A wave of relief hit me and I was ready to see my baby.
Nervous, but ready.
She walked J and I past the locked doors, in front of a busy station of nurses, to a room filled with commotion – but at the center of it all laid my heart, my baby.
And I finally let myself take, what felt like, my first breath of air the entire day. As if I had been holding my breath until that exact moment.
Even until this day, I can clearly see that room. It was like a blurred photo with the center so crisp and clear. The nurses, the doctors, the attendants all scrambling around – fixing something, talking to someone, moving a mile a minute; but, there layed my baby. Peacefully sleeping.
Tubes, wires, tape, and patches covered her body. But it was okay, because I could see her. I could see her breathing. I could touch her sweet face. And I could feel my first sense of relief.
This was the moment I thought would be the hardest: seeing her with machines hooked to every part of her body, with bandages over her chest, with a tube draining blood from around her heart; but, ironically, it was the easiest part of my day.
Because seeing her like that meant it was all over.
She had undergone open heart surgery. The doctors (and even God) were able to fix her heart. From here on out it would be healing, recovering, and bringing home a healthier baby.
Not many families in that PICU were able to say the same.
So, I knew we were blessed. I realized, as hard as open heart surgery on your baby sounds, it was not a death sentence. Ours was not a last shot hope at fixing her. It was not a one way ticket to the hospital.
She made it. She would get to go home.