On December 7th, the doctors found that Bella had coarctation of the aorta. This needs immediate fixing and so shortly after hugging my parents goodbye around 10:00 AM, we found out the news. We had been on our way to get some lunch when the doctor called us and said that we needed to skip lunch and come to the hospital right away. Miles and I looked at each other and knew, "This is it."
The doctor brought us back to his office and explained wonderfully what it means and that they needed to fly her out to Omaha, Nebraska that day. Shortly after we ran to the nearest McDonalds, picked up some food, and sat in the NICU lobby waiting to say goodbye to Bella. A nurse, Judy, had requested to be the accompanying nurse on Bella's flight to Omaha.
The hospital gave us a bag of goodies from the Mended Hearts group in the city. With it we were given $100 and a few gift cards as well as some other goodies. We were so grateful.
After they let us wash up and see Bella (who was completely out on morphine at this point), we headed straight home and literally threw things in one of our giant suitcases and left. Unfortunately we didn't get to leave Rapid City until 6:00 PM. By this time it was already dark, very snowy, very icy and just very cold.
Our three cats we entrusted to one of our good friends Katie. It felt so weird to walk out the door without even kissing them goodbye!
We finally arrived in Omaha around 4:00 AM our time (Omaha is one hour ahead of Rapid City time). First we drove to the Children's Hospital and got to see Bella who, again, was out on morphine. We were told to be back at the hospital around 8:00-9:00 AM, as her surgery would be the second one of the day. Her surgeon wasn't in then and would be in the morning... or, later on in the morning.
Fortunately we had reservations at a nearby Air Force base. We found our way there and crashed for a few hours -- not nearly enough time for sleeping, but enough to get up and go see baby Bella before her two big surgeries.
After a briefing from her surgeon and the anaesthesiologist, Bella was whisked away to surgery after kissing her goodbye. There was a private room designated for us as parents of a child undergoing cardiac surgery (as well as aorta). With the dimmed lights, couch and recliners... you can expect that we slept the entire 4-5 hours she was in surgery! (Well, I had nightmare after nightmare, so I'd get up, walk around and come back to the room. Miles, however, was OUT).
It seemed like forever, but her surgeon came in and told us everything went well. We found out at this time that Bella had been in a HECK of a lot worse shape than anyone had ever led us to believe. This wasn't surprising to us, to be honest. We'd been telling everyone as much all along, but kept being reassured that she was just fine-and-dandy. In any case, her surgeries went well and now it was just time to wait for her to recover.
Which is what we're doing. In Omaha. With very little to do, lol. Today my husband wants to take me to the zoo ... and it's snowing. I find this hilarious and extremely sweet at the same time.
Bella's progress will be daily updated via CaringBridge.org at her website. Click here to be taken to it.