Travis and I arrived back at the hospital around 8:30 this morning. We both went home last night to get some rest. The night before the surgery, Samuel had decided to stay up late and party, so I faced the surgery yesterday with only about 3 hours of sleep on board. It was a long day, and as much as I would have liked to stay and be with him through his first night, I knew I would never make it through the coming weeks if I didn't get some rest while I could. We got an update when we woke up this morning and then made our way back down to Charlotte.
Samuel had a good night. They are continuing to pace his heart with the external pacemaker, however, we've had encouraging news on that front. Yesterday, after his surgery, his underlying heart rate was in the 40's. Today, they've checked it multiple times (meaning they turn the pacemaker off for a minute or two to see what happens) and his heart rate was in the mid 90's every time. He was still in heart block, but having a higher heart rate is a good sign. We still won't know about the possibility of a permanent pacemaker for many more days, but they are pleased that his heart rate has come up.
We were here for rounds this morning and heard a bunch of numbers that made absolutely no sense to us. The highlights for us were that his underlying heart rate is much better, his chest tube output is good, and he will probably be coming off the ventilator this afternoon. The chest tube will probably come out either overnight or in the morning, along with some of the other things like extra IVs. The chest x-ray this morning also looked good.
We are excited about him being extubated (breathing tube coming out) today. There are a few tricks to this since he has down syndrome and has what they call a "floppy" airway. However, they are encouraged by all his numbers and outputs, so they are working on weaning him off it as I type. I think it will be a few more hours before they pull it, but they are already heading in that direction.
So, I'm feeling pretty good about him today. Like the doctor told us after rounds, it is like Sam has been reading the textbooks because he is doing exactly like they expected. His main issues aren't life threatening and everything else is being monitored and treated with medications. This isn't going to be a lightning fast recovery and we will be in the ICU for a while. We don't even really have a guess to how long he will be in here, but I would say at least a week but probably longer. However, he will definitely be in here while the pacemaker is on.
Travis has gone home for the afternoon to hang out with Luke and get some more down time. I will stay for a while, and then switch with him this afternoon. The CV ICU (Cardiovascular Intensive Care) has a desk and a small couch for us to hang out on, but it's cramped with both of us in here. Since I am continuing to pump milk for Samuel, it makes it easier for me to time my pumping schedule around my visits so that I can continue to store milk here in the freeezer for him. They are hoping to start feeding him by tonight, through a tube at first, and then back to bottle eventually.
His blood pressure has remained low, but they just added some fluids back to help with that, and it went back up within 5 minutes. He's also coming down on his sedation levels, so he's squirming around a lot more.
I think that is all for now. I'll update again later this evening.
Here are some specific things to pray for:
-That Samuel's heart continues to regain function and that he will be able to be taken off the pacemaker
-That his blood pressure can stabilize
-That his extubation goes well and that he won't have to have the breathing tube put back in later
-That his underlying heart rate continues to climb
-That Travis and I get effective rest times away from the hospital
-Rest and energy for Marmie (my mother) as she takes care of Luke during our abscenes during the day
Thanks again, over and over, for your continued support and prayers!