My Heart Warrior

The day of Ella’s surgery is a day I’ll never forget and a day I don’t wish on any parent.

Again I wanted to share for other parents who may be walking this journey and for those that want to hear Ella’s story. You can read more about Ella’s diagnosis on my previous post.

We had made a last minute beach trip the week before, our happy place, because as a parent you always fear the worse.

One of the hardest parts leading up to her surgery was her pre-op appointment and having her sit still for blood draws and other tests. She had a few meltdowns but thankfully Vanderbilt Children’s was stocked with toys and ready for anxious kids like her.

The morning of Ella’s surgery we had to be at Vanderbilt at 6 am, I remember sitting in the passenger seat quietly because I had no words but seeing the most beautiful sunrise and having this crazy peace that she was going to be ok.

And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Phil 4:7

After we arrived and they called us back, she was a little uneasy because after so many doctors’ appointments, she became terrified. Thankfully Vandy has a great child life team to help calm her down, in fact that’s what Ella now wants be when she grows up, and an actress! When her anesthesiologist came to take her back which reminds me of another God wink, we had requested a doctor and they said we couldn’t request, but guess which doctor walked in, anyway he carried her off singing Veggie Tales Songs and she was singing along. So I had a little more peace.

Now the hard part, the waiting….

Ella’s surgery was almost 3 hours but felt like forever. I will never forget the number of friends we had at the hospital. So many special people had come by just to hold our hands, pray with us, bring food, extra coffee, etc. We even had friends from across the country fly in just to be with us and other friends who called and prayed with us over for the phone. One thing I will never forget was I had a friend who was texting me scripture every few minutes, and something so small meant so much.

Every hour the nurse would call to give us an update. The best was when she called to say he had completed the repair and was closing her up. Dr. Bichell finally came out to tell Jason and I that everything had gone well! I have never been so thankful!

We had to wait about an 1-2 hours before we could see her, and it may have even been longer, again the day was a blur, which is another reason for me writing this, to remember what I can. We were finally able to see her in the PCICU. They were already surprised at how well she was doing. The next step was getting her blood pressure down until she could be moved to the recovery floor.

The next few days were a challenge, trying to keep a busy child occupied and getting her blood pressure down. They were finally ready to remove her chest tube, which I think was pretty painful for her, and the IV out of her neck, but 2 less items attached to her! Once they removed those she was able to move a little more and even managed to walk around the floor a little bit.

After just a few days in the PCICU she was ready to move to a regular room! We spent a total of 5 days at Vandy which to me was remarkable watching how quickly a child can bounce back after such a big surgery.

I have nothing but great things to say about the care that she received from Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital. I’ll never forget being so exhausted, because let’s be honest it’s hard to sleep in a hospital chair with a machine beeping every few minutes, and Ella being wide-awake at 2 am. One of the night nurses came in and said you rest, she can come sit with us at the nurses station. It was also my birthday so I think that was the best birthday present!

We were finally ready to go home! With lots of extra goodies!