Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Lottie's Ticker Gets Fixed (Mostly)

Lottie's heart adventure started at a routine visit when the doctor noted, after much furrowing of brows, that she actually had an extremely obvious heart murmur that somehow no one had ever noticed before. He recommended getting it checked out immediately, because it was a fair bit louder than the normal kind that just goes away. We were all a little nervous, of course, but tough baby that she is, Lottie went ahead and got her shots afterward anyway. No sense being a heart patient with whooping cough when you can just be a heart patient, right?

Anyway, the pediatric cardiologist got us in right away. Incidentally, if you've ever wanted instant sympathy and special treatment from anyone, just say "pediatric cardiologist" three times fast. It totally works. Anyway, Lottie had a great time during her EKG and echocardiogram, but I can't really say the same for the poor technicians. The EKG apparently requires just two full seconds of holding completely still to get enough data. Lottie, wiggly little creature that she is, took over fifteen minutes to hold still for that long. The echo went the same way. They had to call in assistance to blow bubbles and sing songs to get her to stop giggling and bouncing long enough to get a few good pictures.

The techs knew their way around babies, though, so eventually they got it done, and the doctor came over five minutes later to talk over the results. Turned out she had a severe pulmonary stenosis, which is when the valve that takes blood from the heart to the lungs is really constricted, as well as a giant hole between the upper chambers of her heart.

So, yeah. That was scary.

Dr. Amin recommended surgery right away. There was apparently no real threat to her life just yet, but there would be once she got bigger, so we might as well get it fixed while she's tiny and healing would be easy. He recommended a catheterization, where they'd run a catheter through a vein in her thigh up to her heart and use it to inflate a balloon in the constricted valve and place a patch over the hole.

Tired people in the hospital room. Note comfy seating.

My only regret is that we weren't there long enough for a bath in the giant bath tub.

So on September 3rd, we all walked into the local children's hospital to get it done. The nurses were all terrible nice, and the room, I have to say, was super cushy. For a hospital room, I mean. And there was free food. What's not to like? Other than the infant heart surgery, I mean.

Jim enjoys the complementary Froot Loops.

Lottie enjoys the complementary remote, and nurse-calling-thingy, and cell phones, and everything else she can reach.

Before long, they had her tucked into an adorable little hospital gown and ready to go. Despite not having eaten for eight hours, she was remarkably cheerful and was excited to meet the nurses, the doctors, and all fifty-three anesthesiologists (there were actually only about seven, but it seemed like more).

Exhibit A: Adorable little hospital gown.

So, long story short, the anesthesiologists took her away, then I went back to wait in the hospital room. Noah got back from taking Jim to preschool shortly thereafter, and we waited for a couple hours. A nurse called every half hour or so to let us know how things were going. Finally, we got the call to come down to the operating room doors so we could walk with her to recovery. Poor baby looked like a mountain of blankets with a teeny little smooshy face. It was actually pretty adorable, but the only picture I have is on my phone. I'll see what I can do about that.

Lottie is knocked out from the anesthesia.

And now she is extremely unhappy about being less knocked out.

The recovery wasn't super pleasant. She was alternately completely unconscious and very unhappy about becoming more conscious. Noah got to carry her upstairs in a wheelchair, and then we more or less took turns holding her on our laps until she woke up completely.

This is how she looked all afternoon.

After she was up, Dr. Amin came over to discuss things with us. Basically, primary objective was achieved, second one not so much. The pulmonary stenosis was fixed and looked good, but the hole was bigger than they thought. The ultrasound had judged it to be 8-9mm in diameter, but actually it's more like 15mm. Apparently, that would be considered a pretty big hole on a ten-year-old, let alone a teensy baby. So the trouble is that Lottie is too small for a catheter big enough to carry the correct size of patch to fix the hole. It doesn't seem to be causing any trouble right now other than making her get tired a little faster than other babies, so instead of going to open-heart surgery, he recommended waiting until she's 18 months or so and then doing another catheterization. And since he has infinitely more medical degrees than we do, we're totally taking his recommendation.

So that is the status of little Lottie. Recovery was ridiculously easy once we got home. Seriously, she had heart surgery and got to go home the same day with nothing more than a little puncture wound on her thigh that cleared up within a week. Science, man.

And this is how Lottie looks post-surgery.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

An eventful 3.9 months.

Apparently I haven't posted since the end of May. Whoops. Allow me to fill you in on what's been going on.

In the middle of August, Jim started preschool.

Jim gave me the option of "slightly dopey sneezy face" and "possessed," so take your pick.

Preschool is going very well. He gets to learn some social skills besides "bulldoze," sing exciting songs, and do messy crafts that I don't have to clean up afterwards. He's a pretty big fan, and so are Noah and I. His preschool's Facebook page even posts pictures every day of the what the kids did, so I can spy on him from afar, thus assuaging my "shipping-the-kid-off-to-be-cared-for-by-strangers-for-twelve-hours-a-week" guilt.

Lottie grew some teeth and started eating food.

Chocolate pudding is totally a finger food.

So far, she's got quite the sweet tooth. Her favorite foods include bananas, jelly toast, ice cream, and pudding. Cruel creatures that we are, however, we also feed her broccoli, curry, tuna melts, and other savory fare.

Did I mention that both kids had surgery? Well, they did. Both of them.

World's cutest hospital gown.

Yes indeed, ladies and gents, surgery for little babies. I'll tell you the whole nerve-wracking story another time, but suffice it to say that Lottie's doctor found a heart murmur when she was 7 months old, and she was whisked off to heart surgery before she was 8 months old. Don't let the term "heart surgery" scare you too much, though; it was done by catheter, so she came out of it with nothing but a little puncture wound on her leg. She'll need another surgery later, but this one fixed the most pressing issue (a severe pulmonary stenosis).

Not to be outdone, Big Jim had his own surgery.

Apparently Jim has sized himself out of the most adorable gowns.

Scroll back up and notice how tired Jim looks in the going-to-preschool picture. We took him to an ear-nose-throat guy because he's an awful snorer, and he ordered a sleep study that showed that Jim had really bad obstructive sleep apnea, so his tonsils and adenoid needed to be chopped out. That just happened on Friday the 26th, so he's still in recovery-mode (much harder than Lottie's, as it turns out), but hopefully this'll fix what ails him.

Aaaaand that's about it for major news, at least as far as I can think of. I've got pictures uploaded to show Jim's and Lottie's surgeries and a few other odds and ends, so hopefully the next post won't take nearly four months.