I hope many of you heard by now that Jackson’s surgery yesterday was a success!! Just to follow-up on my Instagram and Facebook updates yesterday, here are some more details about the surgery – what Dr. Fraser found, and how he was able to fix the problem.
So the surgery itself was fairly quick (relatively, of course). The first three hours or so were spent on anesthesia, hooking him up to his IVs, and opening up the chest and starting him on bypass. Once the doctor determined he was stable on the bypass machine, he started to look around at the problem surrounding the mitral valve. What he found was something he’d never seen throughout his career – which says a lot (Dr. Fraser told us he’s been present for more than 15,000 cardiac surgeries during his time as a surgeon).
Basically, the little tissue that the doctors found during his catheter scan in December turned out to be an extra valve situated on top of his normal valve. Dr. Fraser was certain that this is what’s causing the imbalance of pressures throughout his lungs and right side of the heart. After removing this extra tissue, he “tested” the heart to see how his original valve would work on its own, and miraculously, the valve is now practically perfect!!
This is the absolute best news we could have received yesterday. Dr. Fraser himself called it a “miracle”. Like I said Friday, repairing a baby’s valve is very delicate work, and to not have to make any alterations to Jackson’s original valve itself is ideal. We were so afraid that the doctor would not be able to make the repair, and that he’d have to resort to replacing the valve with a mechanical one. But by removing the tissue, and leaving his valve nearly untouched, we are extremely hopeful that Jackson’s heart will be able to grow and develop without any major problems in the future.
There was also one more thing the doctor addressed during the surgery, which I haven’t actually talked about here before. When Jackson was released from the hospital back in November, after his first surgery, the doctors discovered a tiny hole in his heart, called a VSD, or a ventricular septal defect. The hole was very tiny, and the doctors told us that unless they eventually did open heart surgery, it was not really necessary to open his heart just to fix the VSD. Basically, it was the least of our worries at the time, and it would be something they could monitor over time. But since he did end up having open-heart surgery, Dr. Fraser was able to go ahead and fix up the hole yesterday. He was able to just stitch it together – rather than having to use a patch – which is preferable. So that’s good news, as well – one less thing to worry about!
Jose and I are are just overjoyed with the news. We hope that this will be the final step in his journey to having a more healthy heart and “normal” childhood (one that’s spent out of the hospital!). Of course, he’ll need to stay closely monitored by a team of cardiologists throughout his childhood, but we think this surgery has fixed the major problem that he was born with. While Jose and I were both scared that the surgery took place this young, we’re now relieved that everything went well and even better than planned. Also, by doing it this young, we’re not worried that he’ll remember any of this, and he (hopefully!) won’t have any bad memories associated with doctors or hospitals. 😉
So now that the surgery is over with, we’re focused on Jackson’s recovery. It will be a long recovery (compared to his last surgery) so we’re just taking it day by day and hoping for little improvements along the way. Jackson is still on a breathing tube and line to his heart this morning. Among all the lines, IVs, and tubes that are monitoring his progress, these are the two things we want taken out first. Our goal is to take them both out today, which will make him more comfortable.
Jackson is still pretty sedated, but has been waking up some since early this morning and is agitated with all the things that are poking him right now (which is understandable!). The doctors don’t want him moving too much, so his little hands are restrained to the bed. It’s a little hard to see my baby this way, but I know that these things are temporary and he’ll be out of the ICU soon.
Thank you so much for everyone who sent up prayers for baby Jackson yesterday. We know the Lord had a hand in the surgery room yesterday, and we’re certain He will continue to comfort this sweet child as he goes through recovery these next few weeks.
We’ll continue to write little updates on my Instagram and Facebook, and I’ll post again here in another day or two to keep you all informed!!
Much love – xo, Jose & Amanda