Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Working out the Kinks

After heading into the cardiac intensive care unit to get our first post-surgical glimpse of Zoe, we noticed increased activity at her bedside. Zoe's oxygen saturations were a bit lower than expected and her P waves, an electrical current in the heart, were sporadic, which affected her blood pressure. They are also watching her increased carbon dioxide level. None of these issues are totally uncommon following the hemi-fontan surgery, but added stressors none-the-less.

The critical care doctor seemed to be a bit concerned about "staying ahead of the curve." He indicated that he didn't like the "direction the numbers were headed." He, however, emphasized that the numbers were "not yet dangerous." He is being proactive and trying to get her on the right track before there's a real problem.

The root of most of these problems is quite possibly the fact that Zoe is still heavily sedated from the anesthetic. This is somewhat reminiscent of her Norwood surgery, when she had to be re-intubated following surgery, because her body was still too sedated to breathe on its own. When she was ready, she came around.

We are hoping she will do the same this time. In the meantime, as a less restrictive alternative to re-intubating her, they hooked her up to a BiPap machine to help her with breathing. The theory is the assisted breathing will bring in more oxygen to her body and thus regulate her carbon dioxide and other vital signs. Right now they are testing her blood gas every half hour and keeping a very close eye on her. Things seem to be slowly moving in the right direction, as Zoe works out the kinks.

Since Zoe is still sedated, and we are on 9 hours of sleep in three days, with no food intake yet today, we stepped out for a quick bite to eat. The nurse emphasized that we will want to be there tonight, because she will more than likely have severe headaches, as a result of the rerouted blood flow to the upper body. We won't escape the headaches, as her coloring from the nipple line up is quite purple. We definitely want to be there to comfort her as she deals with the likely inevitable headaches.

Please keep the prayers and positive thoughts going for a smooth and speedy recovery for Zoe.


  1. I am a fellow heart momma and I have heard about your family from Amy and Kathy. Just wanted to let you know that your sweet little Zoe is in my prayers. I pray the headaches are not to severe for her and that she is able to handle them as comfortably as possible. Thanks for the update!

  2. Praying for things to settle down and for Zoe to become more stable. It is always such a fine dance after surgery for these kiddos. Hang in there!!!

  3. Praying for a smooth recovery. They had to do a lot of adjustments with Jake at first as well. His heart rate was high due to him being on Dopamine at first. He had issues after the bleeding from the tear. But it was resolved very quickly. I am sure Zoe's will be the same.

    Flooding the heavens with prayers for your sweet baby girl!

  4. Thinking about all of you and sending positive energy your way. You and Caleb keep your spirits up and your outlook positive. You are an amazing family. Much love!!