“We have found something which will need urgent medical attention.” These are the words a new mother and father never long to hear, especially after the medical journey our 10-day-old son had already been through.
Rushing back to the hospital was a long, silent and tense drive. Many different scenarios were rushing through our minds, each of them leading to a longer stay in the hospital. We left the NICU convinced that our son was coming home the next day; he had fought hard through the various illnesses. We never imagined that in the space of a couple of hours we’d be pushed back to the starting line.
Approaching our sons crib in the NICU was a nerve-racking experience to say the least. We had no idea what to expect however, nothing could have prepared me for the number of machines and nurses surrounding our son. One specialist was close by incase Jude stopped breathing; another was with him checking his IV drips which slowly dripped medication which kept his heart from worsening. Knees weak and feeling sick we sat and listened to the lead physician; he explained the devastating news that Jude needed heart surgery immediately. We were once again being ‘life flighted’ up to a more specialized hospital that would provide the best cardiac resources available along with the most accomplished surgeons in the country.
The Doctors prepared him for yet another intense journey and my husband and I placed the life of our son into the hands of the well-trained nurses and doctors to ensure he arrived at the destination safely.
Jude had a co-archtation of the aorta. This was causing our little boy to have little-to-no pulse in the lower part of his bodily extremities. It also explained why he was reluctant to eat; there was not enough blood in his tiny body to assist digestion. Once again, our world and excitement of bringing our son home were crushed as we were faced with the need of more patience and understanding as more doctors and nurses sought to heal our son.
Upon our arrival at the new hospital, a team of doctors crowded our little child and begun the process of placing IVs and placing monitors. Who could imagine that such a small body needed the attention of so many professionals?
The wait began for Jude to be well enough for surgery. Sitting, hoping, praying, and pondering of how different our life was and how we could never have planned for such shocking, unexpected news. I could not help but ask the nurses if I had done something during pregnancy, which caused this precious child so much suffering. Guilt filled my soul and even though people tried to reassure me that I could not have done anything to change our situation, disbelief took over.
December 3rd 2013. An unforgettable day. One of the leading heart surgeons entered Jude’s room to introduce himself as the specialist who would be operating on our son. We found ourselves smothering Jude in kisses as he was wheeled down to the OR. Once again, I watched our son being taken away from us, it was then I had to put the life of my son into this unfamiliar surgeon’s hands, praying that his experience was enough to save Jude’s life.
Praying and longing for news filled the 3hrs we sat waiting for the surgery to conclude. I have never loved the sound of a phone as much as the moment we heard that surgery had gone well and the surgeon would soon come and fill us in with the procedure.
The words that came out of his mouth where surprising. “I don’t know how your son survived these last 2 weeks!” His aorta was the size of a pinprick instead of being the size of a thumb meaning the amount of blood flowing through was minimal. Following this news the Doctor shared “Jude’s heart formed extra valves and vessels to ensure that his vital organs got blood,” how amazing is that? Our little boy was created with a faulty heart, yet the human body is such an incredible creation so that his heart had adapted to survive. “You will be able to see him soon, however be prepared for even more monitors and IV drips as well as breathing tubes” these words were such a relief to me. The fact that I could see my son knowing he had been healed was a miraculous gift. At this moment, I did not mind the wires and monitors. I knew that Jude was safe and would now be on the road to recovery and we would soon live our dream of taking him home and being a healthy family. My son’s broken heart had been medically fixed. My husband and I were now able to mend our shattered lives with new and exciting memories.