Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Sunday December 30, 2012-Surgery Day

Day of the Surgery

It is hard to describe the feelings we had this day.  We woke up having slept amazingly well--at least for parents that had a son going into surgery the next day.  The preparations of surgery started the night before with a sanitation bath and another one in the morning.  Joshua's last feed before the surgery occurred at 3 AM.  More tests were performed and his IV was inserted at 4 AM.  Around 7:15 AM, he went down for an echocardiogram.  In this echo, we discovered his vein was closing even more--another confirmation that we made the right decision.  He came back to the room around 8 AM.

Stephanie's parents met up with us shortly after that.  Many heart moms have told us that they wish they would have gotten a picture of their baby without the heart scar.  Because of this, we decided to take many pictures of Joshua.  Emily brought Logan and we continued to take pictures as a family and got the snapshots we wanted.  Logan was not thrilled to be a part of it.  Another special moment before surgery was the opportunity I had to bless Joshua with the power of God.  I will never forget this moment and experience that I had to bless my child before his major heart surgery.

Check out that cute body. 

The whole family the morning of surgery. 

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Stephanie's parents made it down from Boise after driving all night.
The time came quickly when it was time to take our precious one to the OR.  Stephanie carried him in our arms as we tried to hold back tears and avoid the thoughts of what may come.  At 10:10, we kissed our little guy one last time before handing him over to Dr. Pribble--the anesthesiologist.  We watched him take Joshua down the hall and into the room.  We stood there and cried for a few minutes then slowly made our way down to the waiting room.  After observing how empty the OR waiting room is on Sunday, we made our way up to our 3rd floor room to where Stephanie's parents were.  At 10:30, we attended the sacrament service here in the hospital.

The sacrament service was a great place to be.  We had just barely left our son to be operated on and our emotions were very tender.  The opening song, "The Spirit of God" got me teary eyed.  My eyes were not going to dry up for the rest of the meeting.  I believe Stephanie was in the same boat.  The Spirit was strong during the meeting and a great source of comfort and peace came over us.  John 14:27 doesn't lie!

Throughout the operation, we received the following updates:

11:30 AM--The prep work was completed.  Joshua was sedated and all the necessary IV's, tubes, and other prep work was completed.  Also, the first incision was made.

1:25 PM--He was not yet on the bypass machine.  Dr. Burch (the surgeon) was working on the BT shunt.  Everything up to that point was going well.

3:22 PM--He was now on the bypass machine and had been for about an hour.  Dr. Burch was done with the shunt and was working on the pulmonary veins.  Everything was going well.

5:24 PM--Dr. Burch was done with the complicated procedures.  He was putting in some draining tubes, ensuring that there wasn't any internal bleeding.  Also, they were about to start a post-op echo via the throat.  In this echo, they would be able to see the back of the heart and ensure there isn't anything wrong.

5:54 PM--The post-op echo looks good.  They will watch him over the next 1.5-2 hours for any signs of negative affects of the procedures.  They continued to look for any bleeding as well.  Everything looked good at this point.  Also, the chest would most likely remain open for a couple days. (With packing gauze on top of the open chest)

7:00 PM--All is done and Dr. Burch will be out shortly to speak with us.

7:15 PM--We met with Dr. Burch.  He looked very exhausted and he seemed in good spirits on how things went.  He explained more in detail on exactly what was done during the procedure.  He also gave us a shunt that is like the one in Joshua's chest.  Dr. Burch went with a 4.0 mm shunt, which is slightly bigger than most shunts they do.  His hope is that it will help promote greater growth in the native pulmonary artery.  The larger size shunt also allows Joshua more time before he outgrows the shunt.

8:25 PM--We were taken into the CICU and saw Joshua for the first time after his surgery.  He looked really good!  He had a lot of tubes and IV's coming out of his chest, arms, and legs, which was a bit hard to see.  We did like the little tux vest that he had on though!  (It was actually the packing gauze over his chest, but it looks like a vest)

During the night, they had to do a 12-point EKG-which looked CRAZY!  Talk about a lot of wires and tubes!

We spent quite a bit of time with him that night and I slept in the sleep room the hospital provided us that night.  Stephanie went to Mark and Barbara's house to spend the night with Logan and her parents.
All in all, our joy is full!  Ammon said it best in Alma 26:8;16;35.  No matter how the recovery road goes, we are grateful to our Heavenly Father for being with Joshua through the surgery. 


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Joshua Kent Ipson was born December 1, 2012 with a very complicated combination of congenital heart defects. After 2 1/2 months of fighting for his life, he passed away on February 13, 2013. We invite you to share our experiences as we grieve his loss, rejoice in God's plan, & keep Joshua's message of hope alive.
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