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On Wednesday, the day before his surgery, we still hadn't had a chance to meet with his surgeon. We finally told his nurse to let him know that we wanted to talk to him as soon as possible because we still had alot of unanswered questions. She called Dr. Austin immediately and he came right over and met with us. They took us to a little room so that we could talk in private. I think that really scared me! He told us all the risks of the surgery, of not having the surgery and the chances of Timothy making it through the surgery. At the time it all seemed like a blur, I can remember hearing them tell us that they would have to stop Timothy's little heart and put him on a Heart Lung machine. Those words are scary for anyone to hear. especially for a parent of a 5 day old little boy. Then they told us about what we would look like after his surgery. They told us he would be sedated and paralyze until he could come off the ventilator. They also told us that depending on how much his heart swelled from the surgery that they may have to leave his chest open until the swelling went down, he would be really swollen and probably not look too good. Those are all very scary to hear, but we knew that if we didn't go through with the surgery that Timothy would die. After our meeting with Dr. Austin, we felt a little better. Not much cause we knew there was a chance that Timothy might not make it through the surgery. Timothy was to be the third surgery that day. So he wouldn't be taken to the operating room until about 11-12.
Baby Bar

The next morning we were up bright and early so that we could spend some time with Timothy before he went in. We went and saw him, asked how he was doing and made sure everything was still a go for his surgery. Since we couldn't stimulate him too much, we just spent about 15-20 minutes at a time with him. We were getting ready to walk out to go get some breakfast, so that we could see him one more time before they took him, when his nurse turned to me and asked me if I wanted to hold him. I was in shock, because I hadn't been able to hold him since they took him to run the first tests back home. Of course, I said yes. She brought over a rocking chair and handed him to me. I was in heaven. I finally got to hold our little boy again. I asked Joe if he wanted to hold him too. We all know that answer! =) So the nurse helped us again get him and all his cords, tubes and wires situated so that daddy could hold him. That was a very special moment for both of us. We spent alot time holding him and telling him how much we loved him. At 11:30 they still hadn't called us to tell us that Timothy was going upstairs, so we asked what was going on. They told us that the previous surgery was taking a little longer that anticipated and just as soon as he was moved that we could go up with him. Finally about 12:30 they called us and told us it was time. God, we were so scared! I had been doing pretty good and not crying too much so far. We went with him up to the holding area, where we met the anestiologist. Of course, he had to go back over everything with us. We got a few minutes with Timothy and that is when I started crying. Not knowing if I would ever see my son alive again. They took Timothy and showed us to a private waiting room just for us. We got settled in, and Dr. Austin came in to let us know he was about to start. He told us that we would be given updates about every hour. I was so drained and tired, that I laid down on the couch and fell asleep. Joe did the same thing. His mom, Cindy, got all the updates and since everything was going ok she didn't wake us. She woke me up and one point and scared me to death. But it was over, Timothy had made it through the surgery with no problems. Now we just had to worry about the next few days.

We didn't get to see Timothy until about 9 that night. Luckily, they were able to close his chest. (Thank God) He looked alot better than I thought he would. He wasn't hardly swollen yet and just looked like he was sleeping very peacefully. Other than all the IVs, tubes and monitors, he looked just like our beautiful little boy.
Baby Bar


The next few days of course were the most critical. Timothy made it through the first 24 hrs with no problems at all! On Saturday, Oct 15th, the ventilator came off, and one of his three chest tubes was removed! Now they were gonna let him wake up. Timothy was a fighter throughout this whole time. They were having to remove equipment, decrease or stop medications all sooner than they had anticipated because he was doing so well. By sunday, all three chest tubes were removed and he was actually taken off alot of his medications. We didn't know what to think. He was surprising even the doctors. Since he was doing so well on Sunday that we decided to go home for one night to get a good shower, sleep in a real bed, and do laundry. We were anticipating at least 1-2 more weeks up there with him.

Monday morning we headed back to Louisville bright and early. We were both very anxious to see how our son was doing. He was in the PICU after his surgery and would be there until a couple days before he could come home. Then he would be moved back to the NICU until he came home. We went straight to the PICU, and called back to the nurses station that we were hear to see Timothy. We walked back to his room, and I stopped. My heart sank! All that was there was his bed, no sheets, everything gone including Timothy. All I could think was "oh god, something happened and I wasn't here!". Joe immediately went over to the desk and asked where our son was. They told us that he had gotten moved back down to the NICU and was doing great. I never thought I would be so relieved to hear that our son was in the NICU. We went back down to the NICU and asked them if we could see Timothy. Then they had to find him! They knew he was back there, just not exactly where because he was in a different spot than before. Finally they found him and let us back. He was way in the very back, in the area where babies are put just before they come home. When we rounded the corner, I almost thought they messed up again. The only baby back here was in an open crib, not a warming table/bed. But they didn't, it was Timothy and all he had was one IV left and his heart monitors on. He was in an open crib doing wonderfully. His nurse came by and told me his feeding would be soon and if we wanted to we could feed him. Oh my god, another luxury that was taken away from us before his surgery. I was starting to feel like his mother again. Finally I could take care of our little boy and do all the things alot of parents take for granted.

His pediatrician came by and told us that they would start giving him his two medications by mouth instead of IV today. That we knew was a big step in coming home. I didn't want to ask when he could come home because we were told 2-3 weeks and it had only been 4 days! Joe being his curious lil self asked when they thought he could come home. They told us either tuesday or wednesday. Can you imagine, 5-6 days after open heart surgery being able to take you baby home for the first time. We decided to go home that night again so that I could get the much needed rest that I hadn't gotten since he was born.

Tuesday morning, we were back at the hospital again. I saw release forms sitting next to his crib. His pediatrician said that he wasn't going home today because the x-ray of his lungs was a little wetter than the day before and they wanted to get his medications adjusted. But if all went well, tomorrow would defiantly be the day! Wednesday October 20, 1999 was here. We were at the hospital bright and early again. We figured if he was gonna be released, it would probably not be until the afternoon. Nope, we got there and they had everything ready. All we had to do was sign the papers and we could finally take our son home. So 12 days after he was born and only 6 days after open heart surgery our little boy was finally home with us!!!! That was a very special day for all of us!
Baby Bar


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