10:00 pm – I’m back from Little Rock now, and Miriam and Emma are still doing well in the hospital.
Aftera a second echocardiogram (basically an ultrasound of the heart) this morning, the doctor met with us this afternoon. He said that heart seems to be doing fine. There is still some leakage around the patch, but that’s fairly normal for a hole like this. Since it’s stitched on, not glued, there is leakage around the stitches. This should go away with time as the heart walls grow over the patch – possibly in 6 months or so.
The doctor is now saying that there is only one misdirected vein (running from the lungs back to the wrong chamber of the heart in an endless loop) instead of two, and that one of the remaining three is very large, and should be conducting enough blood. The other side (heart to lungs) actually has an extra vein, though small.
The multiple chest x-rays show normally healing lungs, so they’re not worried about that. The local hospital was worried, but the Little Rock cardiologist says that’s because they’re not used to seeing recent open-heart surgery patients, and that everything is normal.
Basically they don’t sound concerned about her recovery in any way, other than helping her to gain weight. To this end, she has stated eating 30-calorie formula instead of the 24 she was on before (nomal is 20), plus they have started her on an additional diaretic prescription on top of the one she already has (this is to prevent buildup of fluid in her previously weakened lungs).
We are very grateful that there are no other surgeries or other intensive medical procedures on the horizon at this time!
My personal theory is that it’s been less than three weeks since her open-heart surgery, and the healing and growing process is just going to take time. Miriam is a little more worried about the 4 ounces she lost in the last week or so, and rightly so, but we’re hoping that the new formula will help her to start catching up. She’s still at 8 pounds at just over three months old (born at 6 pounds 11 ounces). It’s hard to be patient through this process – we are very ancious to see her improving physically.
Fortunately, she’s acting pretty healthy in all other respects. Her color is better than before the surgery, she’s gradually smiling and paying more attention to those around her. She’s been kicking and waving her hands around a bit more as well, and she just discovered the joy of books this weekend! (see below) We’re just realizing that with her physical strength still very low, she won’t be getting as much physical stimulation at this age as Elise did, so we’re going to try to find her some more visually stimulating toys and books.
The doctors are thinking that they’ll send her home tomorrow. The only thing they’re still working on is keeping her blood-oxygen percentage up. She’s been on a very small dose of oxygen (lowest amount possible) while there, which is helping her breathing a bit. We’ll see how she does without it tomorrow.
Miriam’s mom, sister, and a family friend are all going to visit tomorrow, so they can bring her home if need be.
Please continue to pray that she will start putting on weight and gaining strength! We are also waiting to see if our bills will be covered by Medicare – our health insurance turned out to be far worse than we anticipated. Hopefully we’ll know something there in a month or so.
Thanks for all your prayers so far! God is good, and He is supporting us and Emma through this time.