At 5:50 A.M. Erica, Mike, Linda (mom), and Toby head to the Brigham. By 7 Erica was in room and prepped for surgery. 8:45 Erica heads into surgery. 11:00 A.M. surgery complete.
- Erica is doing a-okay. Band-Aid. Not a He-Man Band-Aid, though. Disappointing.
- Surgery was a “technical success,” meaning that the dream team was able to get Danger into position, get the catheter into his aortic valve and inflate the beautiful balloon. See disclaimer below about what success at this point means.
- Doctors reported surgery was “the usual” for this this procedure for when it goes correctly.
- After the surgery they do an ultrasound a few hours later. The purpose of this ultrasound is to make sure the baby is recovering from the surgery okay himself. (Sticking needles into fetal hearts is serious stuff, so they tell me.) So far so good, though the next 48 hours is an important time for Danger’s recovery from the trauma of surgery.
- At the ultrasound we confirmed that the aortic valve is as wide as the English Channel. This is good. We also confirmed that the left ventricle is pumping. This is also good.
- Erica and I sleep here at the Brigham tonight. We’re told the room service is impeccable. (Seriously, they say it’s not bad. We’ll see.)
- Toby sleeps in Revere with Schultz the Elder’s Elder. (Translation: my dad.) RayRay stays by himself in Stow and throw’s cat keg party.
- Tomorrow we’ll have an echocardiograph with the cardiologists. At this time they’ll take a closer look at the heart and see if they can get an indication on how things are looking. We’re told already he’s never likely to run a marathon. At this point, we’ll be happy to settle with likely to watch a marathon.
The upshot: today went as well as it could. However, it’s important to note that “technical success” for the surgery is just the first step. It means they got in, inflated the balloon in the right spot, and got out with mom and baby both doing okay.
Now the baby has to recover from the surgery, the ventricle needs to rest, recover and start growing again after weeks and weeks of unyielding stress, and then function well (or even serviceably) at birth. And if we do have two ventricle function when Danger makes his grand entrance, we’re still likely looking at some if not multiple open heart surgeries.
Even with the first step going in the right direction, a functioning two ventricle heart is at the whim of the Magic 8 Ball. If we had one now, three shakes would probably yield, “Signs point to yes,” “Reply hazy, try again, “and ultimately, “Ask again later.”
As for why “ask later” is the operative question, imagine for a minute you’ve been doing bench presses over and over and over without stopping well past your muscles’ ability to keep doing it. But you keep going despite an empty tank because if you stop, bad things will happen. Then someone comes to your aid, grabs the bar, and takes it away.
The need to keep pushing the unbearable weight has been relieved, but it’s not like 15 minutes later you feel rested and ready to start doing push ups. The heavier the weights you had to push, and the longer you had to push them dictate the kind of damage you did to you muscles. Did you stress them a bit and make little tears that will mostly heal, or did you really do a number on them and you’ll never be the same?
This is where we are, wondering how it will all pan out, and hoping for the best. The weight has been relieved. Here’s to it staying that way. Now the muscles need time to rest and heal if they can. For the days, weeks, and months that come now, we monitor.
Next echo after tomorrow is in 7 days. It’s possible at this visit a week from now we’ll know more as the little heart (about the size of your fingertip, by the way) has had time to figure out what just happened, and decide what direction it wants to go in.