Friday, June 3, 2011

Operation - Day 1

Our surgery was originally scheduled for yesterday.  However, it was pushed to today because a more critical child came in and the surgeon spent most of the day in the operating room.  In that case, we didn't want Juliana being operated on by a surgeon who has been hard at work all day and no longer fresh.

The hardest part about today was the very beginning. We had heard all the terrible ways the surgery could go wrong.  Juliana was all smiling and sticking her tongue out and babbling.    We kissed our adorable little bubble-blowing girl goodbye.  She does not know what is coming.  We know that they are going to saw her chest in half and split her open like a lobster.  The nurses take her away, and we were left wondering if we will ever see our little girl again. 

The wait was not bad.  We were kept informed about every hour as the operation progressed.  The surgery took about four hours, then she was transferred to the Pediatric Critical Care Unit (PCCU). 

The nurses tried to prepare us for how she would look.  They showed us pictures of other children who had been through this surgery.  We finally were allowed to visit Juliana.  Kelly and I were surprised that she looked as good as she did.  We were both expecting to see far worse.  Yes, Juliana is a mess of tubing and sensors and wires.  She is on a ventilator, on at least a dozen intravenous medicines to control her heart and lungs, and is wired to at least ten different sensors giving real-time updates on her condition.  However - both Kelly and I have seen children in so much more dangerous conditions; seeing Julina like this was not shocking or surprising to us - we knew she had heart problems before we adopted her.  For what it's worth, there are newborns on this wing with a lot more tubing and wires and medicines. 

Juliana is chemically paralyzed and sedated.  If her numbers improve (lung pressure vs. blood pressure is the biggie) the doctors will start the process of waking her back up tomorrow night. 

We suspect that Juliana will be mad.  We hope that she will be glad to see us.


  1. Praying for her quick recovery and no complications. And for you both to be able to get rest and continue to hold up. Hugs from a fellow heart Mama.

  2. Know that there are many prayers being said over her...

  3. We went through open heart surgery 2 months ago with our baby daughter "Munchkin". Praying for you guys as she heals. Hopefully it will be a quick recovery like ours was.

    And when you get time, I'd like to invite you to join us on the After the Rainbow group. It's an awesome place to get support! There is a page on Yuku that we're all moving to. Please come say hi! If you need help finding it or would just like to talk one-on-one with someone who has "been there" please feel free to email me at

    Rachel Whitmire
    Post-Adoption Care Coordinator
    Reeces Rainbow Down Syndrome Adoption Ministry