Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Day 2: Happy Hearts



This past Saturday was the 6th anniversary of Samantha's open heart surgery.  6.  Wow.  And it's funny, because she was so young and because it was so long ago and because there are no residual after effects that require monitoring or attention, it's something that barely crosses my mind anymore.  Traumatic at the time, sweet relief on the other side.  New doctors ask for health history, and repaired complete AV canal defect always ends up an afterthought on my part.  I honestly, truly forget that it was a very real, very serious medical condition and surgical procedure.



There are some things you never, ever forget, though.  One was the visit by a cardiologist to my bedside the day after Samantha's birth, coming to tell us the news that eclipsed all else.  Another was being summoned to a small meeting room by Samantha's cardiac surgeon at CHOP, to tell us the surgery was a complete success.  All I could do was look at his hands, entranced by the notion that those very same hands, only minutes before, had gently touched my baby's exposed heart, sewn together the hole between the valves to moderate the flows of blood and oxygen, changed the course of her life and given her a future full of possibility.



And it was not without its complication.  While the surgery was a complete success, Samantha off the vent before we even saw her in recovery, her release from the hospital within 5 days, that release came with a price and a new fear.  We left the hospital with oxygen, something we never saw coming.  We had a few weeks (one? two? felt like years) with the noisy whirrrrr of the large electric generator that was hauled into our apartment, playing jump rope with a tangled mass of tubes and cords as we nimbly moved from room to room, of the smaller tanks taken to doctors' appointments, to the store, a wary eye kept on the gauge to judge just how much time we could be away from home before a new tank was needed.  It really seemed like forever, and each follow-up appointment with her beloved cardiologist saw us holding our breaths, anxiously waiting for the news that we were free to remove the canula, the tape holding it to Sammi's delicate cheeks, to end the necessity of the diuretic she was on to remove excess fluid from around her heart.  The longer each of these items was necessary, the greater the risk for additional health problems, pulmonary hypertension, long-term complications... 

And then, before we knew it, an exhale like no other, a new perspective, one of contradiction, one we both wish for all other parents to have, yet would never, ever wish on another parent.  Perspective that changed us, made us realize just how precious life is.

Samantha has changed us in so many amazing ways, from Day 1.  Happy (belated) Heart Day, beautiful Princess!!!

  

15 comments:

ckbrylliant said...

Such a beautiful girl with a strong heart. Thanks for sharing.

Lisa said...

I totally get that statement about a new perspective - one that you wish everyone could have but that noone ever has to experience. Happy Heart Day to all of you!!!

Jenny said...

Loved the pictures...Happy Heart Day Sammi :)

Deanna said...

The oxygen description brings back so many memories as Addison was on oxygen for 9 months. Fun times. (-: I absolutely adore this post, and I hope Sammi has a very wonderful heart day. (-:

Anna Theurer said...

Happy heart day, Sammi-girl!

Kristin said...

Happy belated heart day!! We just celebrated our 3rd heart day. Time flies!

Leah said...

Happy heart day. And oh those Dr. Samantha pictures are priceless!

lovemy3 said...

Happy late heart day!!!

Karrie said...

Happy Heart Day Sammi!!!

Rochelle said...

Happy heart day Sammi! Oh you should have heard Alayna saying, "Sammi, Sammi when I opened FB today and she saw this pic" LOL

Team Lando said...

Happy belated heart day, Miss Sammi!

Pam said...

Happy belated heart day beautiful Sammi....love,love the pictures :)

Anna said...

Happy heart day! These photos are incredible!

evrfwd said...

Wow! what a hard thing to go through, I can't even imagine. I'm so glad that Sammi is here with us and is such a tough little bugger. She is ADORABLE in her Dr. outfit. I love these photos! Happy Heart day!

Melissa said...

I love Happy Heart Days!! We are just 2 1/2 years out from Claire's repair and already we hardly think about it. Darren and I were working on insurance paperwork (ugh!) for next year and talking about health care costs (hopefully not many!) and I totally forgot about her echo....