Monday, April 16, 2007

It's 10:45pm

Can it really still be the same day?  Even tonight my 7yo commented that he hadn't seen Eliana for 2 days.  I told him that he had seen her last night and reminded him of how we had prayed over her.  He said it felt like a lot longer.  Boy, did I agree!

Tonight is hard.  My Mom and I drove back over to the hospital to visit Eliana tonight.  When we got there we found out that the other baby in the room was having a "procedure" and we couldn't go in.  I was so sad to hear that.  The nurse told us that it would be at least an hour.  It was already about 8:30 or 8:45 at this time. 

I asked how she was doing and the nurse said she was doing great!  She thinks that she'll be moved to the floor tomorrow!  For this reason, she encouraged me to go home and sleep.  I want to sleep, but I also want to be with my baby!  I've never had to leave a baby before.  At least when she was in the NICU I was in the same building and could go in ANY time I wanted to.  The PICU is very different - maybe too that it's a different hospital.  I really don't know.

The nurse told us she would let us go in to see Eliana for "1 minute" if we wanted.  I of course said yes!  She had Mom and I put on masks and then we went to see our little girl.  She was asleep and looked well - well, as good as it gets following major surgery and with many tubes and wires still attached!

I stroked her skin & hair and talked with her.  I wanted to kiss her, but the mask made it difficult to do this.  Our visit was very short - much too short for me.

I miss my little girl!  I want to hold her and love on her so very much.  My 7yo today told me that he thought he probably missed her more than I did as it had been longer since he's seen her.  Sweet boy - sweet thoughts - but I don't agree with this statement.

So many thoughts swirling through my head.  Exactly 4 months ago we welcomed this little girl into the world.  She was in ICU then too.  My emotions were a complete wreck!  I wish I had started this blog then as the struggle was overwhelming to me then and it has helped greatly to write and share my heart.  I was so overcome with grief over the struggles and difficulties that we were facing then and going to face in the future.   How I have grown to appreciate so much about our little girl that I love so very much.  She is a precious gift!

Roger saw the attending anesthesiologist (Dr. Schulman) again this afternoon by chance.  When he recognized Roger he broke into a big smile and said "She did great!".  He and the other dr were a sweet gift this morning.  I have a very vivid image of the two of them taking my little girl.  Dr. Schulman thanked me for letting him have my little girl when I placed her in his arms.  He conveyed that it was a privilege for him to be taking my little girl!  He seemed to really appreciate how precious she is to us!  The two doctors then turned to walk to the OR.  Dr Schulman had Eliana cradled in his arms - just the way that I hold her.  I watched them walk down the hall talking to each other in an easy comfortable way.  All the while, I could see my precious Eliana's head and her hair bobbing with each step.  I remember watching them walk towards a window as the day was just beginning and then turn the corner toward the OR.  I remember wanting this image to be saved in my memory.  It was a calm, sweet departure.

I ran into the surgeon and nurse practioner outside of Eliana's room this afternoon.  I asked how she was doing, though they obviously had not yet been in her room as I was just leaving it.  They both thought she was doing great!  I also saw the other anesthesiologist in the hall and we exchanged smiles.

I found out that Eliana was on the heart-lung bypass today from 8:50 until  10:15.

We continue to be blessed by friends - one who arrived shortly after we did today and spent most of the day there with us.  Her dh took off from work so that she could be with us!  This is a gal that I don't know very well - yet.  Her children have had multiple surgeries and she really understands the stress of it all and was willing to be there for us through it all.   She frequently stopped to pray over specific things and to offer praises too.  She was watching Eliana as I was talking with her this afternoon and said "Did you see that?  She tried to smile at you!".  I didn't see it and am so glad she did. 

I'm so thankful for the friends that were able to be with us physically today bringing food, comfort, hugs, tears, praises and laughter too!  It made the day much easier having support right there.  I'm thankful for my parents for being with my other children and having a fun day with them.  I'm thankful for the many, many, many who have prayed for us so faithfully.  It continues to warm my heart to know that so many care about our family.  How amazing is that?! 

I could go on and on with my thank yous.  I don't think I'll ever be able to adequately express them.  Just saying thank you seems too little.   I hope all of the people that have reached out to us - family, friends and people we don't even know - know how very much it means to us!!!  Each gesture, email or prayer.   I have often not been able to respond though I thank God for people often in my prayers.  The body of Christ has been fully at work and we have been so very blessed to see it in action. 

Please continue to pray for my little girl.  Pray for my mama's heart that misses my baby.  Pray for health for our family.  We are hoping the children will be able to visit her soon.

If you have emailed me, I've not been able to check for the last 2 days (since my laptop stopped), but will check as I am able to.  Hopefully tomorrow.

Thank you precious friends for standing with us!  I'm going to sleep now for hopefully a full night's sleep.  It has been a very long time since I've had that and hopefully I'll be able to sleep well.  Will post more tomorrow as I can.

With love,

ETA:  I've spent far too long typing.  Wanting to thank people and not wanting to leave others out.  I am so thankful for each of you!

I just called and spoke with Eliana's nurse.  She is doing very well.  When she wakes, she is fussy and they continue to give her pain meds.  She told me that the chest tube is probably pretty uncomfortable.  Hopefully she will be able to have removed tomorrow.

Her O2 levels are great - 99.  Heart rate and other vitals are good.  I asked if anyone had been able to hold her and she said no due to her chest tube.  I'm hoping and praying that if she needs held that the sweet doctor I met earlier will be there to hold her.

Really going to sleep now. 

Late afternoon update

Hi Friends,

Wanting to update you a little more on Eliana.  She is in a critical period now - and we will know much more about her recovery tomorrow.  Please keep praying for her!!!

I have seen God's hand on this day and on so many things that have happened.  I will try to write some of that when I'm able to.  I appreciate prayers and know that it has paved the way for so many things to go so smoothly for Eliana today.

When I was with her this afternoon, she seemed to be having some difficulty breathing.  The nurse told me that she was fighting the tube.  She then started to wake up some and then started gagging.  They decided to remove the breathing tube and we needed to leave the room. 

She looked so much better with the large tube out of her mouth.  It was replaced with smaller nasal tubes for oxygen.  The nurse put the clear tape on both cheeks - and nothing yet on the hurt places.  Please pray for healing for her skin. 

She woke up again when we went back to see her.  She started crying.  A really, really pitiful and weak cry.  It hurt my heart to hear her as her voice is very  hoarse.  I couldn't pick her up which I so wanted to do!!!  There are limited places to touch her too.  I tried stroking the very top of her head and getting close to her face. 

One of the nurses suggested a pacifier.  We tried that, without much success.  I told them she really prefers her hands (which aren't an option right now).  They brought something to dip the paci in to try to help her, but she wasn't all that interested in sucking. 

The rounding doctor came by and ordered more pain medicine for her which helped greatly and allowed her to go back to sleep!  The dr commented several times on how cute Eliana is.  She also said that she would love to hold her - if I didn't mind.  I told her that I would love to know she was being held as that is her preferred method of being comforted!  She told me that she likes to hold the babies while sitting in a recliner during the night.  I told her that I would feel much better about leaving Eliana there during the night without me if I knew that someone was holding and loving on her!  (What a sweet praise that this doctor wants to do that!)

I was very blessed to have sweet friends join us today - to talk, laugh and best of all pray!  To notice what the details of what was happening and to pray for problems and to praise God for the blessings. 

Need to run.  I'm home for dinner and then off again to the hospital.  I'm planning to come home to sleep tonight.

Thank you so very much for your prayers.  Please keep praying for her recovery.

With love,

Just saw my baby girl!

We walked up to the PICU about 12:30 and asked to see Eliana. We were able to go right in! I heard these words and went as quickly as possible to the doors. I hurried in and then paused to find out her room number. When I was told I half ran to her room. I just wanted to see my baby girl! She looks so very tiny in such a big bed.

It is so good to see her. It hasn’t been that many hours - 5.5 hours - but it seemed like forever to be away from her. She has a LOT of wires/lines attached to her - several IV lines, a catheter, a chest tube, a breathing tube, ekg lines and more. It was hard to find a place to touch on her and kiss her - but I found them! I can’t resist touching and stroking her. I even added a pink bow to her hair.

She is still heavily sedated. The nurse said that she is doing well. They hope to remove the breathing tube later today. The chest tube may be removed tomorrow depending on how she is doing.

I’m so very, very tired. It seems like a long, long time since I’ve had a full night’s sleep. A lot of stress in these last 4 months too! I may go home or to a friends house to take a nap. It’s hard to think of leaving my baby. As a mom, don’t you always put yourself and your own needs last? I do plan to get some sleep today. I’m so very relieved that this part is over!

Please continue to pray for Eliana. There are still risks of complications. We’ll know more by tomorrow morning how things are looking - but so far, everything looks great! Please pray for healing, health and anything else you feel led to add.

Thank you sweet friends for your prayers and words of encouragment!

With love,


Holes are repaired!

We just spoke to the nurse practioner who has been in with Eliana during the surgery.  She said that all has gone well!  Her holes are repaired!!!  (I need the emoticon with many happy tears here.)  They are still working on her - chest tubes need to be inserted and all that is involved with closing her up.  We are hoping to meet with her surgeon, Dr. Jaggers in about 45 minutes or whenever the surgery is complete. 

After we have spoken with Dr. Jaggers, Eliana will be moved up to the PICU.  It will be about 1.5 hours until we will be able to see her then.  I really want to see my little girl.  I've been holding onto her hair bow and really just want to hold her.

Thank you for praying.  Please continue.  I'll write as I know more.

With love,




Surgery started at 8:45am

We just received word that surgery has begun and all is going well.  Will continue to update as possible.



Update at 7:30am

Hi sweet friends,

We are here at Duke.  Our morning started at 5:30am - 30 minutes later than we had planned as we slept through the alarms.  Thankfully we woke up then!  We quickly got ready and said good-bye to Rebecca and my mom.  Our 2yo woke up as we were leaving so Rebecca went to be with him.  I think that this may have been a gift from God to her.

We made it to Duke at 6:17 - a few minutes late.  It was fine though as we had to wait to be checked in.  We went back to the pre-op.  Eliana was checked - oxygen (96%), bp, temp (low and hard to get a good reading).  They were concerned about her temps so we had her wrapped in warm blankets after dressing her in a tiny hospital gown. 

Then one of the anesthesiologist (sp) came in to meet us.  He is very nice.  Shortly after the attending anesthesiologist also joined us.  He is also very very nice.  They explained what would happen.  They told us that they would lower her temp to 30 so her temps weren't a concern.  They are also going to try to use some adhesive that will hopefully not irritate her skin any more than it already is.  One of the drs said "we'll fix her heart today."  The other doctor thanked us for letting them have her.  I could tell that they both enjoyed children.  So very nice.

We handed her over and they carried her down the hall.  I watched the two of them talking and could see Eliana's sweet head - with her hair sticking straight up - as they went to the OR.  We weren't allowed to go with her to OR due to her age.  She was fine being handed over to them.

We are out in the waiting room now with 3 of our friends.  God's peace is so very evident.  Thank you all for your prayers.  Will update again as possible.