September 10, 2011

Heart Surgery is a Scary Thing

Today our important topic is somewhat difficult for me to talk about. This is one of my sweet little cousins KG. This picture was taken when she was just 11 days old right after her heart surgery. Here is some of KG's story as told by her mom. 

"KG was born on her due date, a healthy 7 lb. 1 oz. beautiful baby girl. We brought her home from the hospital and went on with life as usual. We took her to the pediatrician at 3 days old for a check up and she was given a clean bill of health(except for a little jaundice). Then when she was 5 days old she stopped eating and over the next day or so she became very lethargic and we were concerned. Later in the day she began to turn a sort of grayish color so we took her to the emergency room near our home. 
"There they told us she wasn't breathing well and they immediately intubated her and put her on a ventilator to help her breathe. However, she was still in distress. She was so severly dehydrated that they couldn't get an IV established after ten attempts! They doctors and nurses continued to do everything they could until she was stabilized and prepared for trasport to a hospital in Boise where she could be cared for in the NICU. There, we were told that they didn't know what was wrong with her but they would keep testing and trying until they found an answer. We were given a parent sleep room for the night and met a pediatric cardiologist first thing in the morning. 
"During our long sleepless night they had determined that KG had a heart defect called Severe Long-Segment Coarctation of the Aorta. This means that her aorta was kinked and not allowing blood flow to her lower body. We soon received an explanation for what had happened to our baby girl and why it was not caught earlier. When a baby is in the womb they do not breathe with their lungs. Instead of blood flowing out of the heart and to the lungs there is a vessel called a PDA(patent-ductus arteriosis) that bypasses the lungs and sends the blood to the rest of the body. In a normal baby, this PDA closes about a week after birth and is no longer needed. For KG, when the PDA closed she could no longer get blood flow to her body because her aorta was blocked. The ER doctors gave her a medication that reopened the PDA and she was to stay on that until they could repair her aorta with surgery. 
"KG stayed in the NICU in Boise for 5 days to gain strenght and let her body stabilize. She was sedated and on a ventilator all of that time which made it very difficult to hold her, but we were with her as much as possible. She was then flown via life flight airplane, to Salt Lake City and taken to Primary Children's Medical Center, "where angels walk the halls". Thankfully, Mommy was able to fly with her and stay with her the whole time. Daddy had to drive down soon after with other family members who were also taking care of our then two-year-old. 
"KG was at PCMC for two days before she had extensive open heart surgery to repair her aorta. The surgery went well and quicker than expected. Then it was just a lot of waiting for her to recover. She stayed in the PICU for about two weeks while she recovered. It was then that we learned that KG has a chromosomal abnormality called Turner Syndrome. For more information we would refer you the the TS Website. After recovering from surgery KG was transferred to a patient room where she stayed for another week learning how to eat and other things a healthy newborn does. Then we were able to bring her home. 
"Since then, life has been a whirlwind of activities and events. KG is truly a miracle in our life and we are grateful to have been blessed with this child in our family."

KG is doing well and we all love her to pieces. She just celebrated her 5th birthday and is now attending kindergarten.

I am participating in a mitral valve repair blogger campaign by Bucks2Blog and was compensated. However, this is a real story and all views and opinions are my own.  

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