Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Surgery Is Set

On December 19 at about 7:00 pm Eric looked at the forecast and decided that we should hit the road for Rochester, Minnesota.  He was afraid the interstates would shut down in the morning and we wouldn't get to Ellie's appointments with her new cardiologist.  I called a our neighbor to cover until our sitter could come, packed bags, made a list for the the sitter for the morning and we jumped on the road.  

The snow started five minutes into our drive and continued the entire trip.  The snow was coming straight at us and the majority of the time we couldn't see the lines on the road. A trip that should have taken 3.25 hours took us over 5.  I can't believe I didn't pull my camera out to capture some of the crazy winter weather. We were never so excited to see our hotel as we rolled into the parking lot close to 3 am.  Ellie was  rock star on our trip and we tucked her in at 3:00 am and she settled right in.  At 6 am my alarm went off to give her a bottle.  It would be the last bottle she could have until after her sedated echo.  She only took 2 ounces and was ready to go back to sleep. 

We woke up Thursday morning with much of the morning to kill before Ellie's echo at 12:30.  Around noon we made our way through the underground tunnels to the waiting room for Ellie's echo and to meet her new cardiologist.  There was a buzz of people in the tunnels and you couldn't help but wonder why people were on the campus.  So many people with a variety of stories behind their smiles and hellos.  

We made our way to the front desk and checked Ellie in.  She was a trooper the whole morning.  We thought we would be driving so thought "no bottle" would be easy.  Little did we know that we would be watching the clock tick instead.  

Ellie stole hearts in the waiting room and we shared about our journey to her with a sweet grandma that asked question after question. 

 I think this is one of my absolute favorite pictures of Ellie and her daddy to date. This picture is worth a thousand words.  She has wrapped herself around her daddy's heart and this picture is proof.  

The staff was so amazing as we began our journey back to the room where they would do Ellie's echo.  Her nurse fell in love with her and felt awful that every time she came close to Ellie she would scream hysterically.  Her new cardiologist came in and we could hardly talk over Ellie's hysterical cry.  She decided to get her sedated and then we would visit. 

The process to get her sedated was awful.  She fought it tooth and nail.  By syringe 2 and 3 of meds she had figured out how to spit it out and would was crying so hysterically that she was choking.  I was never so thankful that she was in her daddy's arms as we both had tears in our eyes as we watched her struggle through this.  In time the meds kicked in and she fell asleep in her daddy's arms. 

Eric and I sat back and watched all the machines around us.  They were monitoring all her stats and trying to decipher what was going on in the echo was nearly impossible. 

They took all the pictures they needed and then Dr. Cabalka, her cardiologist came in.  I had received Dr. Cabalka's name from my friend Diana.  She had a friend who had adopted a little girl from China with a severe heart condition and they had just been to see her and had amazing things to see about her.  I can't even begin to tell you the peace we had when we met Dr. Cabalka. She had been amazing on the phone but in person she was a true gift on this journey of Ellie's heart.  She spent so much time with us talking about Ellie's heart and explaining things in ways we could understand.  But more than her being Ellie's cardiologist she wanted to know about Ellie, her past, her orphanage, her family.  She is a Christian and has been to China and a variety of other countries on medical missions.  She understands adoption and wants Ellie to feel loved and secure before we walk the road of surgery. As she spent time with us and we shared Ellie's story you could see the tears in her eyes, the compassion that she had for our little girl. She saw her as more than her patient, she saw her as our precious little girl.  

We heard very similar terms out of her mouth that we had heard weeks before at Ellie's first cardiologist visit.  There were a couple things that we didn't realize though.  Ellie's heart is working 2.5 times harder than a normal heart.  The hole is causing the left side to be enlarged and it is the size of a small adult heart.  The hole is allowing blood to flow directly to her lungs so if she gets any type of respiratory infection she could go downhill fast.  She isn't in heart failure so surgery isn't an emergency but it needs to be done sooner than later especially with all the potential winter germs floating around. 

After we finished our consult with Ellie's cardiologist we tried to wake our sleepy little girl.  She stretched and those little feet went in the air. 

In no time we saw those precious little eyes pop open.  She was pretty excited to see her bottle.  After Ellie ate we made our way over to the hospital to meet with Ellie's surgeon, Dr Burkhart.  We heard many of the same things come out of the surgeon's mouth as he explained what was happening with Ellie's heart.  He then began to share what her surgery would look like.  In one breath he said this was a very straight forward surgery in the heart world. In the heart world it is considered a minor, non complex surgery to which we are grateful. In another breath he told us he would be putting Ellie on bypass, stopping her heart, cutting into her heart and then sewing a patch over her hole.  So while comforting that Ellie's heart condition is not complex when you hear your daughter's heart will be stopped on the operating table your stomach can't help but knot up.  Some of his last words to us were "I have 3 kids and I will treat her just like my own!"

Eric and I continue to sit back and see God's fingerprints all over our little girl.  There is no question in our minds why he handpicked her for our family.  He showed up in a big way as he moved her paperwork through the system and knew she needed to be out of the orphanage and into our arms.  And now we see the even bigger picture that she needs her little heart fixed.  We continue to see his fingerprints on blessing us with an amazing cardiologist and surgeon that we feel more than comfortable placing our Ellie in their hands in the days to come.  God has shown us that he has and will provide everything we need.  He has provided so many people like you to stand in the gap for us and we know we have many standing behind us covering Ellie in prayer. 

Surgery is right around the corner.  It is set for January 8.  We will be heading to Rochester on January 7 for Ellie's preliminary work up. We won't know her surgery time until Monday after the schedule is set.  Please pray for Ellie's little body and heart this week. Pray for her health and that we can all stay healthy for the next 7 days.

We are so thankful that we can rest in Him and His faithfulness.

Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
Hebrews 11:1

He will cover you with his feathers, 
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. 
Psalm 91:4


Teri said...

You are all always in my prayers. What an amazing little girl Ellie is with amazing parents. Praying as God leads the way.


Paige said...

Praying for your precious girl daily, that she won't get sick before the surgery and that it will be a huge success!!!

DiJo said...

I will see you in Rochester!!! We will be praying for "Baby Ellie!" So thankful she is home, and that soon she will be all patched up, and ready for all that God has planned for her!

Happy New Year!

likeschocolate said...

I will pray for Ellie! I know one of the things that gave my husband and I strength was knowing that so many people were praying for our son. While one wishes that they did not need surgery you will be glad to get it over. Waiting is the worst. Our son has Tetrology of Fallot (whole in heart and aorta and pulmonary valve not attached) and we were always scared he would get a cold or turn blue before his surgery. The two hardest parts are waiting for your child to come of by-pass and the first time you see them post surgery with the scar down their chest. The good prt is they keep them pretty sedated the first day in order to give than time to heal and rest. Sending a hug and prayers your way.

Jen said...

Praying for Ellie and your family~

Adeline Sanchez said...

You are all in our prayers.
God is good.

Paula said...

Those are easy dates for me to remember...in 2012, I arrived in China on January 7th and was united with my daughter on the 8th. The 8th marks our first family day anniversary. Sending hugs and prayers your way!

Betsy said...

Sending hugs and prayers your way Julie and Eric. We just love little Ellie and know she will do well. Please let us know if we can do anything to help. xoxo

The Allen Family said...

Praying for your family.

Melanie said...

I just came across your blog (found it through Ivy Joy's blog) and am so glad I can join you in prayer as you head into surgery with sweet Ellie. We also have a heart baby from China and oh what a blessing she is (along with her big sis and little brother also from China)!

My thoughts and prayers are with you!

Melanie in AZ

JLee said...

Ellie and your family is written on my calendar for those dates. I will be praying! I learned of your blog through my friend Lauren Gordon.
Jennilee in CA

Susan said...

Praying for your precious girl's surgery to be a success and for God to wrap His loving arms around your sweet family!!!

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