Yesterday afternoon, Lachlan came home. Home to sunlight, home to a breeze, home to a big brother, home to squeals of said big brother, home to quiet music, home to cat whiskers, home to the sounds of washing the dishes, home to swaying branches, home to us. Welcome home, little lamb. We think you'll like it here.
While I did spend my 30th birthday yesterday in a hospital room, I did so surrounded by the ones I hold dear - my three boys (two little and one big) and my parents. A chocolate cake, made by my sister-in-law, also happened to be in attendance, sweetening the day even more. Finn warmed my heart so much with the nearly thirty kisses he planted on Lachlan's forehead.
It seems that I can only manage one update a week - stolen computer time in between mothering two boys in different locations. Lachlan continues to do well. Last Tuesday he was moved out of the ICU and into his own room, with a bed and some privacy for us. (There's no way to get away from the beeping, though - I swear I will hear those beeps in my dreams for the rest of my life.) We're basically just waiting to see if Lachlan can get to the point where he takes most of his breastmilk orally. If not, we're looking at him having another very minor surgery to insert a temporary gastrostomy tube in his stomach to supplement his oral feeds. This is pretty typical of babies with HLHS. So we'll be here for at least another week, one way or the other.
I'm really having to work on my patience, because even if Lachlan isn't quite ready to come home yet, I am. I need to gently remind myself that he'll be home eventually, and that eventually we'll settle in to what will become our new normal. Right now I just feel like we're all floating in this limbo, and it's a challenging place to be. I'm thankful for Lachlan's health, but I'm just tired.
Tomorrow is supposed to be a beautiful day - maybe we'll head to the gardens with Finn. I'm tempted to rip off Lachlan's monitors and run outside with him, too. It's a shame to be alive and not be outside right now! Soon enough, soon enough. I think I'll pick some flowers for him to look at and smell in the meantime.
Warm wishes and much gratitude for your continued prayers and positive thoughts!
Umm ... sorry for the blurry photos. I've found it challenging to take good pictures in the low-light ICU. Also, just so you know ... the red around his eyes has nothing to do with having open-heart surgery. It's simply because he was bruised and banged around during birth. That's what happens when you're a whopping nine pounds, apparently. :)
My apologies for not keeping you updated this week - it's been a doozy. Let me start by saying that Lachlan is doing wonderfully.
At the beginning of the week we weren't so sure. A test had revealed what could have been an obstruction in one of his pulmonary arteries, but he was doing so well that the doctors were baffled. They ordered an angiogram and we had to wait until today for the procedure. As you can imagine, we spent the week biting our nails in anticipation.
There is no obstruction whatsoever! He's on the fast road to getting out of the hospital now, especially since he's able to take most of his breastmilk orally. We can't wait to have him home, but we'll believe it when we have the baby in the car seat. I'm crossing my fingers for him to be home for my 30th birthday on March 20th. I can't think of a better way to celebrate.
Lachlan looks and acts like a typical two week-old. His alert periods are getting longer, and he's such a delight to sing to. He makes the funniest faces, and thoroughly enjoys concentrating on his Munari mobile as well as the Nikki McClure prints.
Thank you again for all of your support. I plan on printing off each and every comment to be included in a special baby book for Lachlan. He is such a dear boy, and is so fortunate to have so many people pulling for him.
This will be quick, because I'm heading in to be with little Lachlan for the night (until Patrick takes over at 1:30 am.) More good news ...
... I'm heading in to BREASTFEED! Forget the bottle stuff for the first go - I'll put him directly to the breast first in hopes that he remembers that glorious twenty-minute nursing session right after he was born! Lachlan had his vocal chords checked today, and everything is working fine. Paralysis of the left vocal chord is common in HLHS babies because the nerve has to be stretched out of the way during surgery. The result can be difficulty with swallowing. But he's fine!
AND ... he is no longer on any heart meds and is doing fabulously. More tubes and wires were removed today, and his supplemental oxygen will be removed soon, too. They're talking about moving us out of the ICU to a room of our own (with a bed for parents to sleep in, thank goodness!) All of his doctors are amazed at his progress. They prepared us for a 4-6 week hospital stay after surgery, but it looks like we might be going home much sooner, if all continues to go well. We're so humbled by the fortitude of this little fellow, and so grateful for the skills of the medical team here at Duke.
Honestly, we're just downright elated.
Again, we have a huge debt of gratitude for your prayers and well-wishes. Thank you!
From the Sew Liberated daddy:
We have been learning a whole new language since we arrived in the ICU with little Lachlan. Like most professions - including my own - the medical profession has a jargon which is quite daunting at first but which, like all jargons including slangs (remember learning those cool words as a teenager?), confers a sense of belonging to a community once you can use and understand it.
The word of the day is "extubated," and what a beautiful word it is! It means that the invasive respirator tube has been removed from Lachlan's throat - and he is breathing pretty much on his own. (He has just a little oxygen to help him along, which is completely normal for someone recovering from his surgery.) At the same time, the nurses and doctors took out a whole bunch of other lines and tubes, including the tube that had been draining fluid from his chest.
Even better news - the absence of those tubes means that we can hold, cuddle, snuggle, enfold, and otherwise embrace him. (If there is medical slang for this activity, I have yet to discover it.) I had hoped to share pictures of him in our arms, but the camera is at home and the photos not yet downloaded. So stay tuned for that.
Lachlan is progressing really rapidly. He has been moved to the less acute area of the ICU (slang for "intensive care unit"). The next step will be to move out of the ICU to a private medical room - where there is a bed for parents to sleep. We are also working on getting him to take a bottle, and ultimately to breastfeed again. For now, he is getting that good, early breastmilk through a tube.
Thanks for everything. We've been digging your totally awesome support.
From the Sew Liberated daddy:
We were overwhelmed by your warm wishes for Lachlan. What a lucky boy to receive so young so many warm wishes, prayers, and positive energy. The support of this community, from all over the world and from many people otherwise unknown to us, truly helps us get through the difficult moments. I think it is a sign of human support and empathy more generally for those going through tough times, and I hope that all of you who are going down a similarly thorny path can see this as a sign that you do not walk alone.
Lachlan is doing remarkably well after his surgery, which ended about 12 hours ago. This was a risky surgery and he will assuredly have some ups and downs over the next several days, but his strong showing so far suggests that his surgery was a success. I am sitting with him overnight in the ICU, touching him and alternately singing and playing some wonderful relaxing music provided by our friend Josh. He has many new tubes and machines, including a respirator, which should gradually be taken away over the next several days. It has been a night full of hope.
Hello Lachlan Anderson, contemplative one, born naturally and beautifully after twelve hours of labor on Sunday night, February 27th! He weighed in at 9 pounds even - the more rolls the merrier!
Lachlan was able to nurse for about twenty minutes before they took him away to start the IV drip that will keep his heart pumping well until surgery. It was glorious for all involved.
He's such a mellow little fellow, and enjoys being wrapped snugly in a blanket. His other early interests are his left hand, pumped colostrum, sleeping, the Nikki McClure prints in his crib, and sucking on a pacifier since the doctors won't let him go to the breast. Any sucking practice is necessary for babies with HLHS, so maybe he won't be able wear Finn's favorite shirt as a hand-me-down, which states "I will NOT be pacified!" in a cute, anarchist way.
Other than his heart, he is perfect.
Lachlan's surgery will happen tomorrow (Wednesday) morning, and will likely take the six hours or so. Please, please, send your healing thoughts his way. This is a little babe who has already changed the world, as we've witnessed in Duke's new "Heart for Bonding Initiative," which changes the perinatal protocol for babies born with congenital heart defects. May he live a long, full life and be able to make his mark even deeper.
These next few days are going to be a roller coaster. I'll try to update you about his progress as I find the time and energy.
Love to you all.