Thursday, March 13, 2014


If I could use one word to describe Jeremy it would: Superman.

 I did not know the strength a baby could have until I watched him recover from open heart surgery.

Jeremy was born with a complete AV Canal that would eventually require surgery. Our biggest hurdle to getting him to surgery was getting him to gain weight, the weight they wanted, 5 kilos (about 14 pounds). In October 2013 his surgery was finally approved for 1 November 2013. He was admitted on Halloween, so needless to say "Baby's First Halloween" was not what we had envisioned. But, we keep the humor and the jokes, we dressed him up anyway... he went to all of his pre-surgery appointments dressed like a skeleton... that had (get this!) a little heart in the rib cage.

We elected to have the surgery at Cincinnati Children's Hospital. The military was awesome with this process, we got to choose the hospital and they got us there. Cincinnati was an easy choice - our families were close enough to drive there. Our other family (the one here in Virginia) followed us out... there was no way Big Jeremy was going to be okay with deploying without his eyes on Little Jeremy after surgery.

We were lucky that we got to spend a few days with family before the surgery. It was nice to have that time, and not have to constantly think about the first of November.

The longest day of my life was 1 November 2013. As the process was explained to us, Jeremy would be knocked out, his blood would be re-routed through a bypass, rib cage would be cracked open, and then the surgery would happen, he would be sewn back together and sent to recovery. I am sure this is a much condensed version of events, but that is what I took from it. For six hours I sat in the waiting area watching families come and go. Periodically the nurse would phone or come out to tell me where they were at in the surgery, when the incision had been made, etc. It seemed we were the only ones left in the room when the nurse finally came out to tell us he was in recovery and it was just a matter of time until we could go see him.
For the first few days post-surgery Jeremy just looked like a shell of the baby I loved so much. He was so doped up and unresponsive. He had so many wires and transmitters, IVs, not to mention the suction-vacuum tubes coming out of his lungs, that it was nearly impossible to find a spot to hold. Within those few days he healed remarkably.

By the time they moved him to the step down ward it was as though he had never had surgery. Save the fact that he could not be on his chest, and had to be picked up in a new way... but he was all smiles... like nothing had ever happened.
Today unless you see his scar, or feel his chest (the wires that hold his rib cage together), you would never know he had surgery. He is hitting milestones about 2 months behind typical babies, and he is currently trying to learn to crawl.