This picture was taken the morning of Gabi's birth. I had a scheduled induction because she was 1 1/2 weeks late. Gabriella Justine was born November 1st, 1999 and weighed 7 lbs. 6 oz. There was a neonatologist and a nurse from the NICU present at her birth as well.
Just before Gabi turned 3 months old, her reflux began to get out of control. She wasn't keeping anything down and was starting to lose weight. I took her to see her gastroenterologist who said that he thinks we are approaching the time that Gabi will need to get her heart fixed. To my surprise he said "Most of the time, once the heart is fixed, the reflux is fixed, too." (He was right. She never had a problem with reflux since her surgery.) The GI doc spoke to the cardiologist who agreed to put Gabi in the hospital and work on getting her scheduled for surgery.
Three things to tell about this picture: First, It shows how lethargic Gabi easily got. Second, after an IV infiltrate, she had to keep a warm pack on her arm to decrease the swelling. Third, the headband she was wearing was used from the pressure bandage I had after donating platelets for Gabi in prep for surgery. 4 people donated for Gabi's surgery. Me and my mom (Nana) donated platelets, and her dad and Papa (my dad) donated whole blood. All of it was used for the surgery.
This picture showed Gabi smiling the day before surgery and shows a slight blueness in her face. The doctors and nurses forewarned me that some milestones may be lost after surgery. They were right, Gabi lost her smiling milestone. She started smiling again a few months later.
Gabi's surgery was 4 1/2 hours long. I got to walk her to the surgery holding area, kissed her, and off she went to surgery. We waited with family in Gabi's hospital room where we were frequently updated by the nurse practitioner about the progress of her surgery. The part I was most nervous about was that in order to operate, they had to stop her heart and place her on a heart lung bypass machine and when they were through, her heart had to be shocked to restart it.
- ET tube connected to a ventilator to breath
- NG tube was to keep the stomach empty
- 3 chest tubes to remove drainage from the surgical site
- Foley catheter to keep her bladder empty
- IV's for medication and fluids
- Central lines also for medications and fluids
- Arterial line to monitor blood pressure
- CVP (central venous pressure line)
- Cardiac electrodes applied to chest to visualize her heart rhythm
This is a closer picture to show the ET tube (coming out the right side of her mouth). It is taped in place to prevent it from becoming dislodged. The NG tube is coming out the left side of her mouth. The rolled blanket under her neck and shoulders provided for the proper angle of her airway. A cardiac electrode and her dressing are seen just above the blanket covering her.
I originally wasn't going to let Jeremy visit his sister until she was awake and breathing on her own, but the nurse explained to me that it's good for siblings to visit. She said often they imagine the worst. Her nurse was very good at explaining to Jeremy what everything was for and why she needed it.
The next pictures were taken of Gabi's heart during surgery:
For the year following Gabi's surgery, we kept the scar covered and never allowed it to get exposed to the sun to minimize the scar. Today, at 7 years old, her scar is barely noticable as you can see below:
Find us over here at our blog: Gabi's World