Evie got discharged from her second surgery the night before Brandt had his!
Even though the day was long, it was really good time with Brandt. He was laughing and playing despite the fact that almost every time he fell asleep, it was time for another test. They did an EKG, chest xrays, echocardiogram, and bloodwork. We spoke with anesthesiologists, two of the cardiologists who will be on duty in the PCICU, and two of Dr. Bradley's assistants. It's encouraging to have gotten to know so much of this team, and feel they really care about Brandt and know his medical condition and progress so well. We even had some good-natured teasing with Dr. Bradley about the fact that Brandt had on one of his Ohio State outfits and Dr. Bradley did part of his schooling at Michigan.
Cathy, one of his medical assistants had some great input about Brandt's development and couldn't believe he was the "starving" baby they sent home. She feels his fine motor skills are advanced while he might be struggling a little with gross motor skills such as sitting up...but that he's not severely behind. All of the doctors reassured us that this surgery definitely poses fewer risks than the first, and Dr. Bradley estimates only a 5 to 7 day hospital stay, which would be great! (When we were on our way back to the house where we were staying, we got a call from Evie's parents saying she had been discharged today!! She was in the hospital only 5 days and is doing really well.)
The doctors also explained that the pain expected from this surgery involves the changing blood pressures to the upper portion of the body, and more swelling than the first surgery. They don't know for sure that this causes headaches to different degrees of severity, but they suspect so. They said his little soft spot on the top of his head will even be swollen. Drainage can also be a problem during recovery...but the net result of taking out the shunt they put in and connecting the superior vena cava directly to the pulmonary artery of the heart is a decreased work load on his heart. His oxygen saturations won't actually improve much until after the third surgery. But he should have more energy and they think the babies grow better as well, although this is not a documented fact. One interesting thing about this repair is that since they use heart tissue that is already there, and are able to remove the gortex shunt, this repair grows with baby. We continue in awe that God has given such skill and knowledge to medical science today for these operations' strong success rates.