Everyday lives of the Meabon Household

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Home Sweet Home

Had you told us a week ago that we would be home the day following Harper's surgery, I might have rolled my eyes.  Guess what???  We were released from TCH yesterday, headed home and were back in time for dinner.  Am.Maz.Ing!

So let me back up and give the full report.  We got to Houston on Thursday afternoon and checked into our hotel.  We stayed at the Holiday Inn directly across the street from TCH which ended up being so convenient.  The Squirrel wasn't too happy about the drive there.  She slept for about an hour and woke up pretty fussy.  I sang, danced and entertained as best as possible while Jared drove until we decided to make a pit stop for some lunch.  When we got her out of her seat, we realized she'd had a full blow out.  No wonder she was unhappy -  she was covered in poop!  Quick change and clean up, lunch, back to the car and still not happy with the drive.   As you can imagine, this had Jar and me pretty anxious for the ride back home with a tender belly that was yet to come. 

Mom and Steve met us in Houston and we grabbed some dinner.  I think we were all pretty high strung at dinner anticipating the following day.  That night, we had the pack n' play all set up but Harper wouldn't go down.  She would fall asleep for about 30 minutes and then wake up crying.  At about 11pm, we pulled her in bed with us and, of course, she slept beautifully for the rest of the night.  Now her parents?  Not so much sleep on our end. 

The alarm went off at 5am and we were ready to go at 5:45am.  We woke up the Squirrel and we were off to Texas Children's Hospital.   TCH offers free valet parking for 24 hours when your child is having surgery.  What a great amenity!  By 6:15am, we were checked in at the hospital and then the waiting began.  We were in the Surgery Waiting Room with about 15 other families.  Keep in mind, like most of the children in there, Harper's last meal was her bottle before bed.  There were a few fussers but the Girl was a trooper!  She sucked on that paci for dear life but, otherwise, was just sleepy and observant. 

At 7:30am, Harps name was called and we were brought back into the Surgery Holding area.  Harps got changed into the official TCH pj's.  After that, we had almost all of the doctors and nurses that would be with her through surgery come talk to us.  This is where TCH does it right.  As I've mentioned before, I don't feel totally comfortable when I'm not in control.  Each person from the medical team explained what their role would be throughout Harper's surgery, when we would get updates, what the expected timeline of each procedure would be and what would happen following surgery.  How great is that!  Dr. Cass came and checked in with us.  He said he'd been putting alot of thought into Harper's bellybutton and he was pretty sure he had a plan but alot of it would be trial and error. 

Dr. Nguyen was her anesthesiologist.  She was about 5' 2", cute, young and had on a bright surgical hat.  This was perfect and Harper took to her immediately.  When it was time (about 8:20pm), Dr. Nguyen reached out for Harper and she went straight into her arms without a peep.  We watched the team walk off with Harps and it wasn't until she was out of my site that I lost it.   Not too bad, but I definitely needed a full timeout. 

They took Harps back and gave her laughing gas which put her to sleep.  She was then given her IV.  They tried to put in an arterial line about 5 times (hence the bruises and pokes on her hands and feet) but couldn't get the line established.  From what I understand, it's pretty hard to get an A-line in a baby and we think this is what took so long prior to her first incision being made.  She was then put fully under and they put in her breathing tube.  The anesthesia team used a sonogram to go between the planes of her muscles and numb all of the nerves around her abdomen.  They started with the first incision at 9:15am.  From there, Jared, Mom, Steve and I kept busy by playing Words with Friends, playing Hanging with Friends, going to get food and trying to stay busy. 

At 11:30am, we got the call that Harper was out of surgery and we could go back to recovery to see our girl.  Jared and I headed back and she was just coming to when we walked up.  Whew!  She was one unhappy girl!  You could tell she was really confused and pretty out of it.   The nurse put her in my arms right away and we were able to sit down, rock her and get her calmed down.  The breathing tube left her thoat sore and sounding like a lifetime smoker (she's still a little raspy today).

Dr. Cass came in to give us the report and was practically skipping!  He said she did amazingly well.  He really didn't have to mess with her organs at all and her liver basically was able to be slid out of the way.  Dr. Cass brought her abdominal muscles together over the organs, attached them together and then spent a good deal of  working on that bellybutton.  He drew us a little diagram of what he did and said it was about as good as any bellybutton he'd ever made.  That's also when he told us that she'd done so well and everything had looked so good going in that he thought we'd probably get to head home the following day. 

Harper downed 5 oz of Pedialyte, got a good dose of Lortab (just like Vicodin) and then passed out in my arms.  It took a couple of hours to get a room so we hung out in recovery during that time.  We watched all of the kids coming in from their surgerys and that anesthesia is just not pleasant!  They didn't have a room on the general surgery floor so our room was on the Pediatric Neurological floor.  It was nice and quite up there and our nurses were rockstars.

Harps was pretty listless for the rest of the afternoon and just wanted to be held.  The anesthesia turned her bright red while it was wearing off so the girl looked more like she'd sat beachside too long.  We kept her drugged up and at 5pm, she woke up ready to get some energy out.  She was still pretty loopy but she was trying to pull herself up to stand.  For a couple of hours, she'd wake up, play hard for about 5 minutes and then pass out completely.  She even managed to eat a little dinner that night.

Jared and I were both going to stay the night at the hospital but since Harper was clearly wanting to be held and the pull out bed was about the size of my dorm bed from my freshman year at Texas Tech, we made the call that Jared would stay at the hotel and I'd sleep with the girl.  She slept with me through the night and was pretty fitful as the drugs would wear off but another dose would put her back to sleep.  The team had to come in and check her stats every 3 hours but we made it through the night. 

The next morning, Harps woke up and was totally herself again!  She was up, moving around and, with the exception of her bandages and IV, you wouldn't have known the child had just gone through major abdominal surgery.  They say children are resilient but this was ridiculous!  I wish I could pop back that quickly after a C-section! 

We were discharged at 11am and on the road back home.  We gave Harper her Lortab before we got in the car and she was out for the entire drive from Houston to San Antonio. 

It was nice to be home but we were exhausted!  Thank you Pam, Cindy and Martha for the fabulous dinner - definitely a gift to not have to worry about food when we got home.  Harper got really fussy and sore last night just before bedtime and then woke up from 10pm - midnight.  We are giving her the Lortab every 6 hours as needed so today we're trying to stick with Motrin through the day and Lortab in the evenings and through the night.  We can take her bandages off on Tuesday but the incision tape will stay on until it falls off on its own.  I'll post some pictures as we start to see progress.  We have to keep the area dry until Tuesday so it'll be sponge baths until then and we're keeping her in loose dresses.  If you see us over the next couple of days, please excuse Harper's greasy hair and lack of bloomers under her dresses and please excuse her parent's dark circles under our eyes!

We had such a great experience at Texas Children's Hospital and are SO happy we made the decision to go with the slow process of the compression wrap over the last 9 months as opposed to a series of surgeries right away.  We would recommend Dr. Cass to anyone and everyone!  Thank you again for all of the prayers, positive thoughts and support as we lead up to surgery. 

Now, time to start life, post-omphalocele!


Unknown said...

So here's my motherly/grandmotherly postscript...
In the last 17 months (since we learned during Brooke's pregnancy of the omphalocele) I have continued to be amazed at the courage, strength and composure of Brooke and Jared. Were there times during those 17 months when they were fearful, tearful, anxious? Of course, but what I was fortunate enough to witness was their love for one another and for their unborn child that was later to become precious Harper. This love was bigger and greater than their fears and worries of the unknown. When one of them would "lose it" the other would kick in and take hold and be strong until the tides of fear would subside and the ability to reassure one another to know that they could be and would be the very best parents Harper could need would bring them back to finding their strength and courage.
I have watched my two sweet children (yes, Jared is mine now too) grow from fun, capable young adults into wise, sensitive, loving and remarkable people, whose love is rooted deep and strongly grounded. I admire and love them both with all my heart and though I would never wish these past 17 months on anyone, I dare say none of us would exchange one minute of any of it because the result is the most astonishing miracle of all...Harper! Oh what a story Harps will have to tell some day. I thank God for allowing her to have that opportunity.
With all my heart-felt love to you three,

Tootle Family said...

You two got this girl a cryin'. Love getting to know your adorable family more and more

CaroM said...

What a great outcome!!. I teared up a little bit here and there while reading your post mostly from happiness that Harper is done with surgery and did so great!!. If Texas wasn't so far from us I would definitely go with Harper's surgeon for Tobias's next surgery.
Congratulations again!. You have an amazing family!!

The Brown Family said...

What amazing news!!!!

boo and stacy said...

WOW what an encouraging post! I love hearing how resilient kiddos are! Glad everything went so well...
prayers answered!!

Found this online and thought it was perfect!

1. (of a substance or object) Able to recoil or spring back into shape after bending, stretching, or being compressed.

Love you Peek!!!!

Lisa Johnson said...

It has been a long 17 months since you all found out about the O and I, too, am so proud of your strength, faith, hope, and courage. You love your girl so well and you set a wonderful example of handling hardship. I am so grateful to have been a part of your journey with the Harps and SO, SO, SO grateful to have witnessed the miracle that you received. Love your mom's comment too. Such great family support and love that surrounds you all. :)

Lindsey Sanders said...

Brooke, I have so many thoughts of what to say. But, I'll keep it simple: you are an AMAZING mom... Harper is so lucky to have you!!!! xoxox (and I love that picture of her in the yellow hospital gown! so cute!!!)

Krisana said...

Hooray for Harper! The girl is SO lucky to have such AMAZING parents and grandparents. No wonder she's so strong and resilient! Love you guys, and can't wait to see y'all!

Anonymous said...

Brooke- AWESOME NEWS!!!! I am filled with so much happiness that everything went well. I am so thankful to GOD that he listened to all of our prayers for you along this journey. May you continue to be blessed forever. Thinking of you in Istanbul!!! xoxo Smacks