A Scary Time

Stella was born, full-term, on New Year’s Day in 2010. She was a strong, 8lb. 9oz, baby girl with a head full of hair. She seemed healthy and was sent home with us after the standard couple of days in the hospital. Once home, though, we started noticing that she had an unusual way of breathing. We could see her little ribs, like she was take quick, but deep breaths. Little did we know that she was struggling with a heart defect.

At 5 weeks old, Stella caught a cold, RSV, and was sent to the ER at Children’s for observation. At this point, her lungs were clogged from RSV, but more importantly, her defect was more audible . The second day at the PICU, one cardiologist said, “you know about her heart, right?” Our world stopped for a moment. We felt helpless. We were told some heart defects could heal on their own, while others, such as Stella’s, would need surgery immediately. However, with the RSV, Stella was too sick for surgery. We had to wait for her to get better before a surgeon would consider operating on her.

On March 29, 2010, at 8am, a now 12-week old Stella had open heart surgery to fix her VSD, DORV (Double Outlet Right Ventrical). The surgery took about 3-4 hours, and we were able to see her in the recovery room. We were told that everything went well; however, she was bleeding more than typical after the surgery. A few hours later, she went into cardiac arrest. My husband and I walked into her room as the head cardiologist was doing compressions on such a little one. The world stopped again for us, as we could only hope and pray that the doctors and nurses knew what they were doing.

As Stella stabilized, we were informed that there was fresh blood in the chest tube and that the surgeon was called in to see what was happening. Turns out, the compressions caused the temporary pacemaker wire to puncture her aorta. With a quick stitch, Stella’s heart was fixed again.

The following day was rough because Stella had been through so much physically. However, as she recovered from the surgery, she gained a strength we hadn’t seen before. By the end of the week, she was drinking 8 oz of formula at each feeding, versus barely 2 oz prior to the surgery. Her smile returned and on Easter Sunday, just 7 days after surgery, she came home with us.

Fast forward to today – Stella is now 7 years old. At her most recent cardiology appointment, her cardiologist indicated that had she not known about her surgery, she’d never be able to tell. From her standpoint, Stella’s heart was perfect.

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Stella was born, full-term, on New Year’s Day in 2010. She was a strong, 8lb. 9oz, baby girl with a head full of hair. She seemed healthy and was sent home with us after the standard couple of days in the hospital. Once home, though, we started noticing that she had an unusual way of breathing. We could see her little ribs, like she was take quick, but deep breaths. Little did we know that she was struggling with a heart defect.

At 5 weeks old, Stella caught a cold, RSV, and was sent to the ER at Children’s for observation. At this point, her lungs were clogged from RSV, but more importantly, her defect was more audible . The second day at the PICU, one cardiologist said, “you know about her heart, right?” Our world stopped for a moment. We felt helpless. We were told some heart defects could heal on their own, while others, such as Stella’s, would need surgery immediately. However, with the RSV, Stella was too sick for surgery. We had to wait for her to get better before a surgeon would consider operating on her.

On March 29, 2010, at 8am, a now 12-week old Stella had open heart surgery to fix her VSD, DORV (Double Outlet Right Ventrical). The surgery took about 3-4 hours, and we were able to see her in the recovery room. We were told that everything went well; however, she was bleeding more than typical after the surgery. A few hours later, she went into cardiac arrest. My husband and I walked into her room as the head cardiologist was doing compressions on such a little one. The world stopped again for us, as we could only hope and pray that the doctors and nurses knew what they were doing.

As Stella stabilized, we were informed that there was fresh blood in the chest tube and that the surgeon was called in to see what was happening. Turns out, the compressions caused the temporary pacemaker wire to puncture her aorta. With a quick stitch, Stella’s heart was fixed again.

The following day was rough because Stella had been through so much physically. However, as she recovered from the surgery, she gained a strength we hadn’t seen before. By the end of the week, she was drinking 8 oz of formula at each feeding, versus barely 2 oz prior to the surgery. Her smile returned and on Easter Sunday, just 7 days after surgery, she came home with us.

Fast forward to today – Stella is now 7 years old. At her most recent cardiology appointment, her cardiologist indicated that had she not known about her surgery, she’d never be able to tell. From her standpoint, Stella’s heart was perfect.

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