Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Recovery in CVICU

I sincerely hope that this picture doesn't bother you. I wanted to post it because I thought it would give you an idea of what these little heart babies go through and just how strong they are!
Ella is doing GREAT in ICU...she just continues to amaze us!! She has already been weaned off of some post-op meds, and she's had a couple of lines taken out. If she does not show any reason for keeping the respirator in tomorrow, then the doctors will have it taken out.
I'm not sure if I did a very good job explaining how HUGE it is that she was able to keep her left ventricle and left atrium working for her. She has a working four chamber heart! Because her left side is slightly smaller than the right, her diagnosis is still Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome, but just a "mild" form. Our hopes and prayers are now for recovery, and for the left side to continue to be able to do it's job. If it is not able to work properly in the future, then we will have to come back to surgery and go the single ventricle route. And, if that is her fate, then the sooner the better. Based on the numbers in the left atrium that we are seeing right now, her left side should be fine for a long time. =) I remember hearing "miracles happen at Children's every day". A miracle did happen today, and Ella was the blessed recipient!
You all have been so wonderful to our family and you have lifted our precious baby in prayer. We are so grateful to you, and we cannot wait for Ella to thank you personally.
Love to all,
The Morrison Family

She's out of surgery!

We visited with Dr. Forbess and he was very pleased with our sweet baby's heart. He was comfortable with her pressures in the atrium and reassured us that he tested them several times to be sure. He closed her chest and doesn't anticipate any problems.
Please pray that the left side of her heart continues to function and do it's job. Needless to say, we are elated with the news of her surgery! We thank you all for praying for our sweet little angel!
We love you!
The Morrison Family

Update #3

We received the news that the pressure in Ella's left atrium is GREAT!!! The doctor wanted her to be between an 8 and 10, and she was a 10!!! So far, the left atrium is cooperating and it looks like the left side of her heart is going to be able to do it's job! This is WONDERFUL news...our prayers have been answered!! I almost hesitated to post this because we haven't visited with the surgeon, but we're so elated that we had to share! Please pray that her condition will remain the way it is. I will update as soon as we hear from the surgeon...

Update #2

Ella was put on bypass at 10:22 and it went smoothly. The surgeon is now officially working his magic! More to follow...

Surgery update #1

We had until 7:53 this morning with sweet Ella. She was so peaceful in my arms when the doctors and nurses came to get her. Abe and I both walked her down the hallway to the OR, and gave her a kiss goodbye.
We received our first update from the nurse in the OR at 9:30. She said that Ella went to sleep very easily and that Dr. Forbess was about to start working on her heart. We will receive updates hourly from this point on. We'll keep you posted...

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The big surgery is almost here...

We're just 8 hours away from surgery, and Abe and I are enjoying the evening with our sweet baby girl. She looks so perfect to us that it's really hard to believe that her little heart is so sick. We are both nervous, but very confident that the team of doctors will take great care of her, and that she'll pull through. It is ultimately in Gods hands and the doctors will be working through him. Ella and our entire family cannot THANK YOU enough for all of your spiritual and emotional support, and consant prayer. God will answer all of our prayers and see Ella through this test of faith, so one day she can share her own testimonial with you all and thank you personally.

Love to all,
The Morrison's

Monday, April 27, 2009

Surgery has been delayed...

I'm sorry for the late posting, but I just returned from the hospital and it's almost midnight. (Meemaw kicked me out for the evening so that I could get some rest before her big day!) We learned this evening that the surgery will start at 7:30 Wednesday morning. The doctors have decided to attempt the 2 ventricle procedure first, wait to see how her heart responds, and either leave it the way it is, or go to plan B-the Norwood procedure. The fact that they feel like she could keep her 2 ventricles working for her is great news! I'm off to sleep and shower, so I'll try to explain how they'll do this in more detail tomorrow.
Please continue to pray for our sweet Ella...our prayers are being answered!!!
Love to all,
The Morrison Family

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Weekend update

Is Miss Ella trying to tell us something? Yes, Mommy is a talker!!
Comfy in Daddy's arms!
Miss Ella is resting up from a busy weekend! She has had so many loved ones stop by to see her and wish her well. She promises to be strong and to make everyone very proud of her!
The doctors and nurses have reassured us that her current condition is a good indicator for how her recovery should go following surgery. It is a good sign that she has remained stable and hasn't needed assistance with breathing, or any other heart medications while she waits.
The cardiologist will be in tomorrow to perform another echocardiogram on her heart. What they are looking for is noted growth on her left side--the left ventricle and mitral valve. They will compare measurements from tomorrow's study with those of last week to see if her left side has grown at all. If there is a noticeable change, then they will strongly consider reconstrucing the aorta (widening the aortic arch), repairing the aortic valve, and they would keep her left side working for her so that she would have a two ventricle heart. It is very common for the aorta arch and aortic valve to need additional repair in the future, so additional surgeries are to be expected. If they do not notice any change in the size of her left ventricle, then they would go forward with the Norwood procedure and make her heart function with the single ventricle.
Needless to say, we are anxiously awaiting the verdict tomorrow. We are 100% confident that the team of doctors will recommend what is absolutely best for Ella. We will let you know as soon as possible so that you know how to pray for her.
We love you all and thank you for your love, encouragement and prayers.
The Morrison Family

Friday, April 24, 2009

We had an exciting day!!

I got to hold Ella for the first time since she left was wonderful!!!

Grady LOVES his baby sister!!!
Ella continues to do well in ICU. Her condition is stable and she is being very cooperative and patient while the doctors decide what's best for her. The cardiologists came in to do another echocardiogram this evening. They were using a 3D machine and it was quite impressive to watch. Dr. Forbess (surgeon) stopped by shortly after and let me know that they are going to study the results and see if there is any change or any information that would help them to lean one way or the other. He also stated that he is leaning towards the Norwood procedure, but he wanted more time to think about it and to discuss it with his colleagues. The team of surgeons and cardiologists will meet this Monday, and her first surgery will probably be on Tuesday.
Please continue to pray that her condition remains stable, and pray for the team of doctors as they make a very difficult decision that will determine Ella's fate.
We love you all!
The Morrison Family

Meet Miss Ella Mae!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Mommy and Miss Ella have reunited!

I was released from the hospital this morning, and I'm enjoying every minute gazing at my beautiful baby girl! She is just a precious gift from God!
She's doing great in the CVICU. Her nurses are very pleased with how well she is doing. We are all very proud of her!
We talked to Ella's cardiologist this afternoon and learned that there will be a discussion about the route to take with her upcoming surgery. As mentioned before, she has a "variant" of HLHS. The doctors performed an echocardiogram on Ella soon after she arrived at Children's last night. The echo confirmed what was diagnosed in-utero, and provided additional information. Evidently, her left ventricle is not severely underdeveloped, nor is the mitral valve. However, she has coarctation of the aorta (a narrowed aorta) and her aortic valve is too small. So now the team has to determine whether to go the single ventricle route (treat her as a HLHS patient, which means 3-staged surgeries) or they will take another approach that would reconstruct the aorta and expect the left ventricle to fully function and they would hope that it can do the job of supporting her. If they chose the second route, which would allow her to have a four chamber heart, there are definite risks and complications involved . I remember the cardiologist from Cook Children's telling me that a "two ventricle heart is not neccessarily better than a single ventricle heart". Needless to say, this is a decision that will take a team of doctors a good amount of time to discuss and determine the what will provide the best possible outcome for Ella.
Please pray that she continues to do well in the CVICU. As soon as a decision is made regarding the surgery, I will let you know.
Love to all,
The Morrison Family

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

She's here and she's beautiful!!!

Our sweet Ella has made her grand entrance! She arrived at 3:40 this afternoon weighing in at 6 lbs 11 oz. (after only 20 minutes of pushing!!) She has the sweetest face and disposition! We are thrilled to say that she scored an 8 and a 9 on her Apgars. She looked so good that they allowed her to stay in the room with us for 30 minutes. She was very alert and had her eyes open the majority of the time that we held her. She's now in the NICU where they will start the prostaglandin to stabilize her before her transport to Children's. Letting her go was very difficult, but I know that's what is best for her, and that I will be with her very soon.
We want to thank everyone for your prayers, love and support. We made it to this point because of you all! Pictures are coming very soon...
The Morrison Family

We're in labor!

I'm dilated between a 4-5 and we have started the pitocin drip. We should meet our sweet baby Ella in the next several hours!!! I'm just about to request the edipural and attempt to get a little nap in before game time!
Please pray for a smooth delivery. I'll let you know when she arrives...

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Three days to go...

We're all doing well. Evidently, Ella is still comfy and content inside her mommy! We cannot wait to meet her this Wednesday!!! We're curious to see who she looks like and we can't wait to hold and kiss on this precious angel that we've all prayed for! Grady is so, so excited to meet his baby sister, too! He says that he has so many things that he's ready to teach her!
Please pray that the delivery goes smoothly. We'll let you know if she decides to come before the scheduled induction...

Monday, April 13, 2009

Update on April 13th

We had a great Easter with our sweet Grady! The first thing he asked about on Easter morning was whether or not the Easter Bunny had come. He was SO excited about his basket and goodies! The church service was very moving and fitting for this time in our lives. We left there feeling as if the sermon was written for US, to help guide us on this journey.
In my last posting, I mentioned that I would talk to our delivering ob/gyn to see how she felt about the exam with Dr. Read on Wednesday. She assured me that I could carry this baby for 2 more weeks in my current condition. I was SO relieved to hear this because I was not prepared to leave work just yet.
Speaking of...everyone was completely shocked to see me at school today! I told them that Miss Ella must be comfy and cozy and she'll come when she's ready. Given her situation, I'm not in any rush to deliver. I can tolerate the frequent trips to the restroom and limited sleep because I know that she is thriving and growing stronger every day!
I'm off to wash her clothes and blankies. I've still got to get her things packed--shame on me!
I'll let you know if anything changes....

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Visit with doctor on April 8th

I had my last visit with Dr Read this afternoon. The bio-physical profile produced good results. Miss Ella looks great and is now estimated to weigh 7 lbs 2 oz...she's almost a full pound heavier than our ultrasound 2 weeks ago! I was thrilled!!! My exam with Dr Read caught me by surprise. He let me know that I am 2cm dilated and 50% effaced. I asked him if he thought I would make it two more weeks, and he wasn't so sure that I would. In order to attempt to slow down labor, I have orders to stay off of my feet (as much as possible) and to drink lots of water. Evidently, Ella has her own plans for her arrival and she's already at work!
My plan now is to call Dr Crochet tomorrow morning and ask her what she wants me to do. I'm thinking that she'll want to see me in the next couple of days, also. I'm off to pack my bags for the hospital! I'll let you know what Dr Crochet has to say....

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Ella is fine...Mommy & Daddy are disappointed!

It's taken me a few days to digest what happened at our appointment with the perinatologist last Wednesday. I should begin with the most important news...Ella looks great and is growing and thriving. For that, we are incredibly thankful!
The disappointing piece of the visit was when our doctor-who had previously agreed to deliver our sweet baby-let us know that he would not be able to deliver her if I did not agree to an elective c-section. Let me reassure you that a c-section is NOT medically necessary with her condition. So why would I have a c-section if I don't have to?!? We were absolutely shocked! From the start of the visit, he stated his disagreement with the cardiologist about a natural delivery. He felt that it was more important to have a set time & date so that everyone involved with her care after delivery knows exactly when she will arrive. We understand why he would feel that way, but we also believe that a scheduled induction can pass on that information as well--give or take a few hours. When we set the date for our induction, the NICU will be informed, as well as the staff at Children's MC. The thing that bothers us the most is that he agreed to deliver Ella for us, and when he agreed, he never once said that he would ONLY deliver our baby if we agreed to a c-section. It's so hard for me to wrap my head around this. Considering our baby's unique situation, I can't believe that he would blind-side us with this less than 3 weeks from delivery! Maybe this is a blessing in disguise...
On a more positive note, I put a call in to Children's MC and spoke to the pediatric cardiologist. She reassured me that having a natural delivery was in no way going to harm Ella, nor would it compromise her care following delivery. I am so thankful to her for putting my mind at ease!
So, here's the new plan for delivery. We have a new Ob/Gyn at Baylor, Dr. Crochet. We met her briefly after our other appointment on Wednesday,and we both really liked her. During our visit with her, we set the induction date for April 22. Abe was thrilled with having her on the 22nd...if you don't know, that is his all-time favorite number. (he came back from a trip to Vegas with a tattoo of the # 22 on his ankle...crazy Daddy!)
Luckily, we get to go back to Dr. Read this Wednesday for our check-up. His ultrasound tech will do a bio-physical profile, so I will be able to share an estimated weight following our visit.
Please pray for Ella to continue to grow bigger and stronger, and for Mommy and Daddy to have the strength to get through the next few months.
Love to all,
The Morrison's