This day last year; Open Heart Surgery #1

Martha Grace will always celebrate two Birthday's; her actual Birthday for the day she was born and her "Heart Birthday".

Today is Martha Grace's 1st Heart Birthday, it's the first anniversary for her Open Heart Surgery on Tuesday 27th August 2013.

You can read my original post about the day of the surgery here, there is very little point in me typing out again how frightened we were all morning and how we spent the 6 hours she was in theatre feeling like we were having some kind of outer body experience. But I ended that post by saying I remembered very little of what happened that night after we got the call telling us we could visit her in ICU.

But I remember it like it was only yesterday.

We had been warned that Martha would probably return to the ward with her chest open while the swelling goes down to reduce the pressure on her heart.We'd also been warned that she herself would puff up with
fluid. But we hadn't been prepared for what we actually saw.

We arrived at her bedspace and no one had though to cover Martha up for us; she lay there in a nappy with tubes coming out of her nose, lines coming out of her neck and groin and a heart shaped hole in the plaster on her chest. Mark decided to take a look through the little heart shaped window and almost passed out from seeing her tiny beating heart ticking beneath it.

Her monitor was beeping like crazy and the nurses had no time to talk to us to explain what was going on - they were frantically drawing up the countless drugs Martha needed if she was to survive the next few hours. At this point we didn't know if she was "OK", if the stats we were seeing flashing across her monitor were acceptable or not.

I left Mark with her and went outside to the family room to tell my Mam and Dad that we'd seen her but that we didn't know how she was at that point. I knew Mark doesn't cope to well with blood so I returned to ICU to make sure he was still standing; he was leaving her bedspace as I arrived and he didn't look well at all which we blamed on him looking inside her chest. I sent him out to get some water and asked him to send my parents in so that they could see her.

The machines were still beeping and the nurses and Doctors continued to talk amongst themselves, I began to panic - what were they not telling me?

The Doctor on duty that night was Warren, looking back - he was pretty amazing. I can remember demanding that he explained to me what each line on the sats monitor meant, what level was acceptable for Martha, why Martha wasn't at an acceptable level and what they could do to get Martha to/ keep Martha at that acceptable level (yes I was a nightmare). I remember a nurse telling me that they always struggle with babies when they've been in hyperthermic arrest for longer than 30 minutes, she told me that Martha had been in hyperthermic arrest for 45 minutes (but Mark tells me he read that it was actually 118 minutes)

They told us to get an early night as the next few days would be tough and there was nothing we could do for Martha that night.

I don't remember that I struggled to fall asleep that night. I don't remember being scared - I guess ignorance is bliss. We were just amazed that she had survived.


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