As some of you know, we have been in the hospital with Calvin for about a week and a half now trying to keep his oxygen levels stable. He’s been on and off oxygen everyday and we will remain here until his next surgery which has been moved up to Wednesday the 17th. This difficulty maintaining his oxygen levels was expected as he outgrows his shunt from the last surgery. The recovery time for his next surgery, the Glenn, is projected to be about 1-2 weeks. It will be somewhat less intense than his last surgery where they reconstructed his aorta, but still major open heart surgery. Everyone always asks, “What exactly are they doing in this surgery?” I wish there were an easy way to explain it. Tyler and I sometimes feel like we’ve been throttled into an excellerated med school class on pediatric cardiology. Basically, they are taking his jugular vein and connecting it straight into the artery that goes to his lungs. Right now the blood from his jugular vein goes to his heart, gets pumped through his shunt from the last surgery, and goes to the lungs. With this new anatomy the blood from his upper body will passively flow to the lungs without going to the heart first to be pumped out. This reduces the strain that his heart is currently under. The surgeon will also stop and open his heart to widen two necessary holes – which is really long and boring to explain why. But now you know 🙂
The best part of this surgery is that Calvin will no longer need the shunt which makes him far less “fragile.” For those of you who have experienced Calvin’s 15 pound girth in person, probably the last word you would use to describe him is fragile. He’s not sickly fragile, but his health has the potential to be…volatile. Any upper respiratory infection, like a common cold, has the potential to make it more difficult for blood to flow through the shunt into his lungs. If he gets too dehydrated, the shunt could start to narrow. The shunt is his life line right now. The only way his blood gets oxygen is through the shunt. This is why we have been keeping him on lock down for now. Also the statistic that 1 in 5 babies with his heart anatomy don’t make it to their first birthday – that one makes me throw up in my mouth a little every time I come across it. BUT many of those deaths are classified as “interstage mortality” ie between the shunt and the Glenn surgery. So, we are in a sense, reaching a milestone. By God’s grace we are through the most risky stage.
After his recovery we will be joyfully inviting all our friends and family to celebrate Calvin’s Half Birthday! And that he will be cleared to be immersed into society to the fullest extent -as long as everyone washes their hands 🙂
If you made it this far, thank you for all your prayers, support, and love for our family!
Erica & Tyler