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Today was a full day, carrying within it an extraordinary range of emotion and a lot of information, so I hope you don't mind if I keep it somewhat brief ... we're so exhausted, and tomorrow is going to be a big day not only emotionally, but for our own preparation for Ewan's medical care, so we definitely need our rest.
Shortly after we arrived at Ewan's room at the NICU, I got to hold that sweet baby again. He was just on the canula for breathing support and was free of the CPAP which I know he absolutely hated. I held him for an hour and a half -- maybe more and I think we both enjoyed it. Some of the meds they're giving him can make him a bit cranky (and we also learned that he is a boy who does not like to be wet), but I kicked into fulll mama mode: rocking, shushing, stroking his hair, rubbing his hand, kissing his sweet head. I could have done that all day.
For the most part, he stayed calm. And when he wasn't, I loved on him all the more.
Later in the afternoon, we met with the doctor who will be performing the cath lab procedure that is currently scheduled for tomorrow. He sat down with us for about an hour or so to explain to us the procedure, its importance, and what they're looking for. When we pulled out our notebook, he said he would write everything down he was explaining and then give it to us.
We went over the basics of Tetralogy of Fallot -- he explained the variations within ToF with Pulmonary Atresia, and within that all the different types of possibilities for what they could see, some far more severe than others. I'm not going to go into the technical details here, but with Ewan's specific make up, there appear to be a few possibilities, one definitely more desirable than the others -- each with varying possible outcomes. This catheter procedure is really the only way to tell.
As he explained it, the cath lab procedure is all about building a road map of Ewan's heart. What they see tomorrow will tell them where they need to go and what they need to do. Tomorrow's procedure will give a team of twenty or so pediatric cardiologists and surgeons who will use that information to discuss Ewan's specific case on Friday or Monday, and together determine an appropriate course of action.
We really appreciated how incredibly straightforward and understanding this doctor was with us -- we know this can't be an easy part of his job to talk to parents as honestly as he did about some of the possible grim outcomes of their children's conditions. He didn't pull any punches, and made it clear that he would meet with us immediately after the procedure was completed. He also said they as doctors don't perform any procedure on a child that they wouldn't be willing to perform on their own children -- and if that there was a hospital or a doctor that could do it better, that's where Ewan would go.
Some other information about the cath lab: Ewan will be sedated while the catheter procedure is done. It is expected that it will take about two hours, and the doctor will meet with us immediately after. But it is only after the team of pediatric cardiologists and surgeons meet that we will know what kind of surgery we can expect for Ewan, and roughly when it needs to happen.
It was very hard on my heart to hear all this. I look at that sweet, adorable baby and wonder how in the world something could be so wrong with him. I want to use my mama magic to make it all go away -- instead I have to trust his care to others, hand him over for things that irritate him, leave him at night when all I want to do is cuddle up beside him. His broken heart is at the center of mine.
Before we left, I asked James to baptize him. The risk of tomorrow's procedure causing death is very minuscule (0.03%), but I didn't want to get to the point where Ewan was going in for something big and we hadn't done that yet. It's definitely a comfort.
As I said: tomorrow is a big day. Please pray for us. If that's not your particular bent, happy thoughts, good vibes, and well wishes all accepted as well. It must be said: your prayers are truly carrying us. This is such a poignant and emotional experience -- I gave birth less than a week ago, and it will be some time before I'm recovered from that physically. We're both incredibly sleep deprived. We have a baby in the NICU. This is our first time doing any of it, and there isn't any road map for us as to how. Your prayers are carrying us along -- I know myself well enough that we aren't making it by our own strength. Not by any stretch.
In short, we (all three of us) need you.
The papa bear needs you.
The baby bear needs you.
The mama needs you.
Lord, have mercy on us all.