Where do I even begin? Carson is 19 days old today!
I was induced on Dec. 26th, and had him by c-section at 2:04pm on December 27th, 2011. He came out screaming, and was a beautiful 7 pounds 7 ounces and 19 inches long.
We were diagnosed at 21 weeks along so we had time to prepare for how we wanted things to happen. Before I even went in for the induction Nick and I decided that once Carson was born Nick would go with him to the NICU and transfer when him to Children’s Hospital (CHLA) when it was time. After he was born and wrapped up they brought him by my head as I was being stitched up and I told him “I love you, be strong baby, I’ll be there as soon as I can.” It was so hard to say hi and bye at the same time but I knew I had to and I had prepared as much as possible, but honestly nothing can really prepare you for that moment. Carson was taken to the NICU and stabilized and Nick went with him.
Once I was stitched up I was taken to recovery. The recovery room was very difficult. It was hard to lay there and wait for the numbness to go away while listening to all the other new babies cry. After I was able to move my legs and lift my butt off the bed I was transferred to a postpartum room. On the way they carted my big-ol-bed into the tiny NICU so that I could see Carson one last time before he was transferred. It was amazing, I cant even describe the love I felt for him. I just reached into his bed and rubbed his leg (the only thing I could reach). I dont remember if I asked or they just said, but the let me kind of hold him. He was attached to wires so I got to hold him in my hand but not put him against me. Regardless of how I got to hold him, I got to hold him! and that is want mattered.
Then I was taken up to my postpartum room. I actually handled it really well. I was really tired and slept quite a bit. I just tried to send my good vibes over to Carson. Nick was amazing, he was running back and forth from CHLA to where I was with new pictures every time.
On the 28th I got out of bed (PAINFUL), I was determined to do everything I needed to do so that I could be released early. I completed my list of things I needed to do by the evening of the 28th, and on the 29th I was discharged. I was so excited. I couldnt get to CHLA fast enough! Seeing him again was incredible. He was so beautiful. I just stood above his bed as long as I could tolerate the pain and talked to him. He was going to have his surgery the next day so we talked about how strong he was going to be, and how many people loved him and were praying for him, we talked about how mommy and daddy were here for him. We even talked about funny things like how we couldnt wait to get him home so that he could watch cars go in circles real fast (Nascar) with Daddy. Carson was so adorable. Every time we talked to him he would suckle his little lips, he knew our voices.
It was so hard to sleep Thursday night, knowing that his surgery was the next day. My son was only three days old but was facing open heart surgery. I dont think I have every prayed so hard. On the morning of his surgery they asked us if we wanted to hold him. I felt like I had won the lottery. HELL YES!!!!!!! So I held him for about 45 minutes and Nick held him for an hour. It was so amazing to see Nick hold him for the first time. I feel in love with both of them even more.
The doctors came in and talked to us. They told us how long it would take (4 hours) and gave us a pager so that they could page us when he was done. Nicks parents met us before he was taken back, thank goodness, because they really were able to keep our mind off of things. We just tried to pass time as much as possible. My mom met us a little later. Carson was taken back at 7:05 am and we got the page at about 11:00 that he was done. We went back to the CT-ICU and there he was. I was so happy to see him. But it broke my heart to see him that way. Babies have tiny chests, and because of this they leave their chest open after open heart surgery to allow for swelling. It was very graphic and nothing could have prepared me to see my baby like that. Nick and I cried and hugged each other and cried some more. It took the nurses all day to get him stable, but they never let us know how hard it was. They made it seem like everything was fine and I am so thankful for that. Once he was stable, he flew through recovery.
Here he is hooked at a million different things (he is super swollen from his body retaining fluid from the surgery and from the IV fluids.)e They said the chest usually stays open for 3-5 days after surgery. Carson’s chest was closed on Monday. His drainage tube came out Wednesday, and his breathing tube was removed Thursday. He was put on a little oxygen but did very well breathing on his own.
Thursday we also were moved to the step down unit called CV-ACUTE. In this unit I got to hold him as much as I wanted and feed him. It was amazing. Heart babies sometimes have a hard time feeding because it takes them so much energy. Carson was eating small volumes at first but continuously ate more and more and eventually was up to his minimum 55cc’s.
I didnt leave the CV-ACUTE unit the entire time I was there. It got pretty lonely at times because my mom got sick, and couldnt be around Carson and Nick was at work. However, I was not willing to leave Carson’s side. I fed him every feed, and changed all his diapers. I couldnt wait to get him home.
We were discharged on Wednesday, January 11th. Carson was just 15 days old. When we were first diagnosed and met with the surgeons and the cardiologists we were told he would be in the hospital a minimum of 4 weeks but more likely 6. Carson flew through recovery. We are so proud of him. He is such a strong amazing little man. He is our hero.
Here he is getting dressed and ready to go home, our happy little boy amazes us every day.