An Unexpected Turn

Yesterday we met with Calvin’s pediatric cardiology team again at Vanderbilt for a follow up echocardiogram (ultrasound of his heart). His body is growing well and it was fun to get to watch him kick and turn in between recordings of his heart. After an hour of picture taking Dr. Parra sat us down and told us that although Calvin is happily bouncing around and growing bigger there is one part of his body that is not growing as expected: his aorta. The aorta is the large vessel that takes oxygen rich blood from the heart and distributes it to the rest of the body. In Calvin’s body this vessel is very narrow due to the fact that it attaches to the right side of his heart (the smaller side that does not received much blood flow – without adequate blood flow the aorta becomes narrow). At our last appointment 5 weeks ago Calvin’s aorta was small, but still on the lower end of within normal limits. We were very hopeful that his aorta would grow on pace with the rest of his heart. It was heartbreaking to find out that it is now measuring very small and will require a third open heart surgery.

The surgery required to fix Calvin’s narrow aorta is called the Norwood Procedure. It is a complex open heart surgery that is performed approximately one week following birth. Our initial plan was that Calvin would spend about 5-7 days in the NICU after birth for monitoring and that we would be able to take him home. Then his first surgery would be between 3-6 months of age. The doctors are now saying that Calvin will receive special IV medications for 5-7 days and then undergo surgery. The recovery time is anywhere between 4 weeks to 2 months in the Pediatric Cardiac Intensive Care Unit.

As I’m sure you can imagine, the idea of our 1 week old baby undergoing open heart surgery was (and is) devastating to Tyler and I. We are still trying to wrap our minds around the whole idea. For me, to sum up my experiences in one word for the past 2 days would be WEARY. I am just downright tired and exhausted mentally, physically, and spiritually over the whole situation. We ask that you would continue to pray for Calvin and also pray that we would have increased strength and an ever-increasing faith in the goodness of God. We are firm in believing that God is the ultimate healer and that he has not left us to fend for ourselves in this situation or in any to come.

We welcome your prayers, thoughts, and questions. Thank you to everyone for your support during this time!


Erica and Tyler


2 thoughts on “An Unexpected Turn

  1. Tyler & Erica, I am so sorry to hear this news. My nephew had open heart surgery a few days after he was born, I know a small piece of what you & your family are going through. I will be praying for you both, & for Calvin–especially that God would continue to provide strength & grace for you throughout these challenges. Love you guys!


  2. Erica & Tyler,

    I am so sorry. I have you all in my prayers. It sounds like you guys are in good hands at Vanderbilt. Stay strong, and remember, I am only a few hours away if you guys ever need anything!


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