Since we found out about baby Charley's heart back in January, I've been trying to mentally prepare myself for what we would face on surgery day. I've read other people's blogs detailing the emotions that they experienced, handing their little one over to surgeons. I've read about the endless waiting for updates and the news that they are finally wrapping things up. I read and read and read, but still, nothing can actually "prepare" you for that until you are up against it yourself.
I woke up yesterday morning after a grand total of about 2 hours of sleep and was totally overwhelmed. I couldn't look anyone in the eye without feeling like I was going to explode into tears. I got myself ready....then I just sat down on the bed with Matt and sobbed. I think that there had been so many emotions (both good and bad) building up inside of me over the previous week, and I had finally reached my breaking point. The amazing part? Once I got it out....I was fine. I was overcome with a sense of calm and knew that our Charley was in the best place she could be. Sure I was still terrified, I would have been crazy not to be, but I didn't spend the day on the verge of breakdown as I had anticipated I would. I have constantly been praying for God to give Matt and I the strength to make it though this. He gave us the opportunity to be strong, and now he was guiding us through.
We showed up at the hospital early yesterday morning to spend as much time with our little lady as we could before surgery. We sang some songs, read a book and just soaked each other in. I got to give Charley her first bath (which she was NOT thrilled about) and we both got in a little . We also decided to have a chaplain from the hospital come and baptize her before surgery. It was a good morning, but went way to quickly.
We walked along as they wheeled Charley to surgery in her little "car" and they took her back to the OR around 11. It was another hour before they actually started the surgery. Matt and I spent the day hanging out in the lobby with our WONDERFUL families, and they came out with periodic updates to let us know how things were going. About 8 hours later, give or take, the doctor came out to give us the full report on the surgery before we got to go up to the PICU to see her. Again, the fear started to set in. I think that I had prepared myself for her to look like total hell, after all, she had been in open heart surgery all day long. Maybe my preparing for the worst helped a little, because I actually thought she looked fantastic given the circumstances! She actually still had her little pink bow stuck to her head! They told us that they left it there during the whole procedure. Thats our little girl...always a lady and showing up dressed for the occasion!
Matt and I spent the night away from the hospital and tried to catch up on some much needed sleep. I did end up calling Charley's nurse around 4:00 to check in, and the report was great! She was holding steady, resting more comfortably, labs looked great and was already peeing...which was a great sign. So that brings us to today...post-op day #1. We're still holding the course and little Charlotte is doing great. She's still got lines coming from every direction, but thats to be expected for a while. Tonight they will start a Lasix drip to help pull some of the fluid off of her/minimize some swelling, and also a heparin drip to make sure that her new shunt doesn't clot. Tomorrow the plan is to start back with some IV nutrition.
Right now we're plugging through one day at a time. I have to keep reminding myself to focus on the here and now, and on how lucky we are to have our little baby back and on her way to recovery. Its easy to start thinking "what next," but I think right now we just need to live for today.
Thank you all for the thoughts and prayers that you have been sending our direction. Its pretty overwhelming to see how far the word on our little girl has traveled and just how many people are out there supporting and pulling for her. We are so thankful to have such incredible friends and family (and apparently even strangers) sending us love. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!!