An Update on Audrey and Her Heart Story
Moms on Call Team Member, Olivia Pinheiro, shares her 4 year old daughter’s story about what the day of surgery looked like for her device placement for a Congenital Heart Defect and how her recovery is going. Or, as they like to call it, Audrey’s Big Day!
A little over a month ago, Audrey went in for her heart “modification”. If you’ve been following along, we recently discussed what the days following up to her surgery looked like. Any type of surgery at ANY age can be fearful. We prepared ourselves and our little one for her big day at the hospital and now we are sharing what that looked like, how recovery is going and what we are doing to thrive day to day!
Audrey’s Big Day
The night before the surgery we prepped our home and family for Audrey’s big day. Although her surgery was outpatient, we were informed ahead of time that she would likely stay overnight for observation, so we prepared our household. Off went our doggie to doggie daycare and big brother spent the night at Grandma’s so we could head out early the next morning.
What we packed for a night at the hospital
- Audrey’s most favorite blankey and a stuffy to cuddle up before and after surgery.
- Cozy pajamas for everyone, including Mom and Dad.
- LectroFan Classic Sound Machine
- This is a tried and true staple in our home for great consistent sleep!
- It helped to keep her environment consistent with what her nights look like at home.
- A book, Franklin Goes to the Hospital
- We’ve been reading this book up to her big day and has helped her understand her big day.
- Yes, the iPad made it in the mix!
- We weren’t sure how much movement we’d have after surgery, so her learning games and movies keep this little one still!
As we entered the hospital, we reminded Audrey of her bravery on this big day! The staff welcomed us with lots of information and answered any last minute questions we had before they wheeled her away. They even came in to ask if there was anything that Audrey wanted or needed and handed us another teddy to add to her collection. (This was just what she wanted, of course)!
Ya’ll, it isn’t easy watching your little go off into others’ hands, and even just rewriting this makes me emotional! The hospital gave her goofy juice (and bubbles) leading up to the surgery to calm her nerves (and ours) so she was wheeled off with all smiles! Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta & Sibley Heart Center really took care during each and every step of the way to make her (and us) feel cared for!
My husband and I hugged each-other tightly and got teary eyed as we watched her wheel off. We wandered around the hospital, through the gift shop and cafeteria keeping our minds busy until we received a call to head back to a room to wait for her to wake up. This is no easy feat, no matter how big or small your little one’s day is. There are no words to describe the moments after waiting to hear how everything went.
After, her doctor came in to update us with only good news, and once she was breathing on her own and more awake we could go in to see her. And let me tell ya, once this little awoke she was ready to go, go go! The day was filled with trying to keep her in bed resting, and not all about the hospital!! Luckily Children’s Healthcare was prepared! We wheeled her to the butterfly garden in a wagon for some ice cream in the sun, and to the library for an activity we could bring back to the room (and of course to see the therapy doggie, and get some quick snuggles in). And now our goal was keeping this one still for the next 6 weeks as her body recovered. The device placed in her artery to fill the gap would need to stay put while tissue grew around it, meaning no jumping, or falling! Oh boy! We’ve got a social and movement child on our hands, so let’s take a look at what that looked like! HA!
Keeping a little still in the summer isn’t easy, especially once they know they aren’t supposed to do x,y,z. Then it’s all they WANT to do! So we kept Audrey busy with activities we knew would keep her still!
- Quiet time activities that worked for a us!
- Wikki Stix
- Playing picnic in the park!
- This is great outdoor activity for keeping a little one still!
- Be sure to pack real snacks to enjoy outdoor time even longer! We got lucky with a visit from an ice cream truck on our outing.
- Lots and lots of indoor play on her go to’s!
- Staying as consistent to the schedule as life allows!
- Bath Time
- Realistically, this looked a little different for those first few days.
- We had to be very careful around the incision site, and couldn’t “soak” her leg until this was healed. So lots of quick showers with mommy, or washcloth baths until we could safely bathe.
- This also meant no pool! That was a tough one in the middle of summer! But we managed!
- Finding a balance!
- As a Mom and Dad duo this was definitely a struggle! Momma wanted lots and lots of quiet in room activities and Daddy was ready to go, go, go (we see where she gets it!). So we found a balance! If we were out and about, we brought a wagon we could stroll along in to keep her from running and trying to keep up with it all!
- This was a life saver!! She gathered her fave items and made herself at home. This made outings much less stressful for Momma, that’s for sure!
We hope sharing our story of Audrey’s Big Day has helped ease your Momma or Papa mind in parenting! Days like this, as big or small as they are, can be a struggle! Our little one was so brave and a lot of that had to do with the preparation up to the day. Her bravery eased our parent hearts. And these little ones truly are SO resilient!