Saturday, December 20, 2008
Six Heart Healthy Years
Today is the sixth year anniversary of Corbin's heart surgery!
Wow, did we go through a lot when he was a baby. I certainly believed he was my miracle baby and if we ever had any more they would be a breeze- (Brian, you did hold up on that "breeze" part until your regression). I still think, to this day, he is a miracle- as all kids are- but even more so with him. To almost lose your baby, twice, is like having your heart taken from you- frozen in time- until he was well again, and only then did it start beating again.
Corbin was born on November 6, 2002- it was a LONG, HARD labor- 30 hours from my first contraction, 15 hours if you count when they got 5 minutes (or closer) apart, of constant back labor- for all you Moms who have experienced that, you know what I mean lol- when it was finally time to push I was so excited. My first push sent Corbin into distress- his heart rate plummeted to the 30s. I had no idea what was going on, what followed was almost surreal- like I wasn't really a part of it- I was ordered to stop pushing- which is nearly impossible when your body is ready. I had to wait for a doctor to arrive, as I might need a c-section. Finally I was allowed to try again and was able to get him out within the next two pushes with the help of a vaccuum and an episiotimy.
I watched the doctors take my blue little baby to the table, everything was moving so fast. He wasn't moving, there was no color, he wasn't breathing, he wasn't crying. I had NO idea what was going on. His Apgar was a one for his barely-there heartrate. They took him from the room. I didn't see him again for almost two hours. When I did see him, he was pink, he was looking around, he looked so healthy besides being in an oxygen hood and all the wires leading from his body to the monitors- we didn't get to finally hold our baby in our arms until the day after.
We were told that he either had heart or lung issues. I was so confused as we had had three ultrasounds during the pregnancy- and not a single one had shown any sort of problem. We were transferred the next day to the Barbara Bush Childrens Hospital (BBCH) where we learned he had three congenital heart defects (CHDs)- a Coarctation of the aorta (CoA- narrowing of the aorta), Ventricular septal defect (VSD- a hole between the ventricles), and a patent foramen ovale (PFO- another hole but fairly common and generally safe, but when with the others just needed to be watched).
Though we were given all these big, scary terms- we were sent home with he will need heart surgery, but not until he is bigger- and was really something we needn't worry about in the short-term- I believe we were discharged on monthly visits.
Well skip ahead just a few days when Corbin was nine days old. All day long he was incredibly fussy- I didn't know what was wrong with him, he wouldn't sleep, was so cranky- and up until then he had been such an easy baby. I didn't know if it was just me being a new mom and I had no idea what I was doing. But then I noticed he was breathing kind of fast. I counted his breaths for a minute- I can't remember the count now, but I know it was high. I drove him to the medical center on the island that I lived on at the time. Five minutes after getting there he started turning blue. Corbin went into congestive heart failure. At the first hospital we were transferred to, we almost lost him for the second time. He was in pretty much the same stage he was when he was born- blue, not responsive, not able to breathe- they intubated him and we were again transferred to BBCH.
There we found that his VSD had grown considerably- and that was what was causing all the problems. He was put on three medications, given at five different times throughout the day (and night), and I needed to start pumping my milk to add additives to it- because surgery would be soon, we needed him plump. We were discharged a few days later, this time visiting the cardioligist every week.
On December 18 was when our Dr. Reyes told us he would need surgery. I was at that appointment, alone, with Corbin (was a very regular trend in my last relationship unfortunately)- again, time stopped. I didn't know where to go after he told me the news. He let me stay in that examining room for as long as I wanted- until I thought I could drive- it was a while. Corbin's VSD had remarkably grown considerably smaller but his CoA had become very bad (and the PFO was gone! yay!)- Dr. Reyes still says he shares Corbin's case at his conferences and lectures as it was very unusual for the CHDs to behave as they did.
Corbin's surgery was scheduled for December 20. Right before Christmas. I wished for my Christmas miracle that everything would be okay. The surgeon and Dr. Reyes had decided to just fix the CoA as the VSD seemed to be closing on its own- that way they wouldn't need to do OPEN heart surgery as they could fix the aorta without opening the heart. It was a good decision, as he came through the surgery with no problems at all and the VSD a year later did close on its own. We were discharged just three days later, on the 23rd! Just in time for our first Christmas!
Corbin was such a trooper and I will always remember the first smile he gave me after his surgery. I was so happy that he still had that smile for me. That he didn't somehow blame the person that brought him to this dreaded hospital and gave him all this pain, that I could only imagine he was in, but instead I believe he was thanking me for taking care of him. When Corbin was a baby, EVERYTIME we went to the mall or a big crowded area, I would have an elderly woman stop us and tell me that Corbin had "old eyes". I'm not even kidding- this had to have happened at least fifteen times. He had an old soul. I think they were right.
Posted by Heather Nelson at 10:34 AM