Friday, February 20, 2009


Peeper's been scheduled for surgery to correct her heart defects on Monday March 16.

We will meet with the surgeon on Thursday March 12 to learn more, and Peeper will have all her pre-op testing done at that time.

We'll get a lot more detailed information then, but here's what we know now:

The surgery will involve opening her chest, and then her heart, to repair both the atrial and ventricular septal defects. She will be on a heart-lung bypass machine to oxygenate and circulate her blood while her heart is stopped for the repair.

It's my understanding that the defects will be repaired by inserting patches of a mesh-like material (Dacron?) that will serve as a substrate for her own tissue to fill in the holes.

I think it will take about 4 -5 hours, start-to-finish (from kissing her goodbye until we can be with her again) with about an hour of that being the actual surgery itself.

After surgery, she'll spend a couple of days in the Pediatric ICU, and then move to the regular Pediatric Ward.

We expect that she'll be in the hospital for about four days, so hope that we'll be able to come home on Thursday March 19.

She'll have a follow-up appointment with the surgeon a week after she's discharged, and then will see her cardiologist two weeks after that.

We don't know yet how long to expect it to take for the holes to fully close and the pressure on her lungs to decrease enough to stop the medication.

We're told that a VSD is the most common congenital heart defect and, therefore, this surgery is quite routine.

(Maybe for the surgeon, but not for us and not for Peeper!)

We're also told that, while it sounds awful, the risk level is actually quite low - comparable to an adult having their gall bladder out.

Of course, even if we had a 100% guarantee of no complications or bumps in the road (and, given Peeper's history, we've almost come to expect "bumps" and scares along the way) we still hate the thought of her going through this.

But, given that the holes are not closing on their own, she needs the surgery to protect her lungs from possible damage, and at least it will resolve everything now, so that we can get on with the business of just learning to be a family, and she won't face surgery later, when she's old enough to anticipate or remember it.

Many friends and family members have already called or emailed to ask how they can support us during this trying time, and I can't tell you how much we appreciate that.

To be honest, we don't really know what we'll need the most, besides everyone's thoughts, prayers, mojo and such, but we will discuss it and let them know.

In the meantime, Peeper's scheduled for her four-month "well-baby" exam next week, so I'll be sure and let you know how that goes.

Thanks again for all your concern and support.

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