First, I would like to preface this post by introducing myself to the readers, I am the eager father to be of baby Andrew. Kelly did spectacular with the surgery and is currently recovering and sleeping for the first time in 48 hours. As everyone more than likely knows Kelly had pre-natal surgery to fix a neurological impairment called Myelomenigocele or an opening of the spine in Andrew's back at the L3 level.
April 25th 2011: We headed to Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) from Lancaster (61 miles) for more screening and baseline testing including an echocardiogram which examines the fetal heartbeat, chest x-ray and more blood work. Last we met with the team of surgeons, neonatal doctors and anesthesiology to go over pre-operation instruction and the time line for surgery. After, another long day at CHOP Kelly and I went out for a long walk and dinner at White Dog Cafe to get our minds right for the upcoming day. The restaurant was three Victorian houses combined and prides itself on all natural and oraganic foods. After our meal the nerves really set in especially for Kelly, she was up all night thinking about the upcoming events with nervous energy. I really empathize with her and any of the other moms who have undergone this long journey, especially now, knowing what the individual goes through.
Day of Surgery 26 April 2011: We reported to CHOP at 5:30am for early surgery prep and go over last minute details. Kelly and I pride ourselves on the paying attention to all the details including being early for any appointments. So when we leave Philadelphia's Windsor Hotel and plug CHOP address into the GPS, the receiver cannot pick up a viable signal. Personally, I was freaking out inside but wanted to remain calm so that I don't frustrate an already nervous wife. Anyway, after 15 minutes of maneuvering through the streets of Philadelphia we made it to our destination 10 min early. After getting into the building, Kelly was prepped fast with two IV lines, one in each wrist. Then Anesthesiology came in and placed the epidural in the L1/L2 space to numb the area around the umbilicus. Soon after, I had to say good bye and they wheeled Kelly into the OR. She does not remember any of this but I will never forget how hard it was to watch my wife and son move off into the operating room. After about 2 hours in surgery, I talked to the Pediatric Neurosurgeon and Maternal surgeon who had very little to say other than it went well " Thank God"about the surgery.
After the surgery Kelly was wheeled back to the room still in a stupor from the general anesthesia. The next 24 hours were a living hell for her, she was on a drug called Magnesium Sulfate to ensure her uterus does not start contracting. This drug has many adverse effects including: dry mouth and hot body temperature; altered state of consciousness; sore throat and to make the dryness worse she was on fluid restrictions. Mine and Kelly's mom's job was to ensure her lips remained wet and "no fluids". Kelly tells the Magnesium drug feels like the worst flu x 1000. On a lighter note, she was being her self my little bull dog by trying to negotiate the nursing staff to allow her to have "ice chips"or "lozenge" to relieve the sore throat.
Post-Operation day 1 (27 April 2011): Today is a better day, Kelly is off the Magnesium drugs and starting to be more of herself. She is trying to sleep but the barrage of nurses, doctors and specialists are ensuring she only get little sleep. Additionally, she is having problems with fluid in her lungs and low blood pressure, which the doctors are constantly readjusting meds. On a positive note, we were able to hear Andrew's heart beat (121 BPM) and able to see the fixed low back. Hopefully better times are on the horizon.