May 24, 2012

Miss A's Heart Procedure (And My Freakout)

Yesterday's echocardiogram didn't show any significant improvement. The balloon valvuloplasty is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. PT/4:30 p.m. ET tomorrow (Thursday).

I'm trying not to freak out. Rather unsuccessfully.

Last night, after Miss A's last feed and the lights in the guest room turned off (R sleeps in there during worknights), I snuck downstairs and grabbed a spoon and carton of ice cream. Proceeded to eat 1/4 of said carton, directly out of the carton.

This morning, I called the doctor who will be performing the procedure to talk about whether it could be postponed for a while. He thinks it could be postponed for up to a month or so, but not the 6 months to a year that I was hoping. Since I'm due to go back to work in 3 weeks, doing this in a month would mean I'd have to go back to work right after rather than have a few more weeks to spend with her afterward. So despite being really, really nervous about this, I opted to stick with the original plan of doing it tomorrow.

After that decision, I baked a pan of brownies and added an entire can of cherry pie filling into the middle of them for good measure.

That was about 8 hours ago. The pan is now half empty.

I really want to teach Miss A a better method of coping with stress, one that doesn't involve food. I decided that today is not the day to begin modeling such a method. I need to start with something that involves only a small amount of stress, like a hangnail. Not something like a 9-week-old baby undergoing general anesthesia so that something can be threaded up into her heart.

R, who usually scolds me about my sweet tooth, apparently is feeling the stress too - he also started dinner with a generous piece of chocolate cherry brownie without me even offering it to him.

I don't know if it's that Miss A is picking up on my stress or just really bad coincidental timing, but this is the first really bad night she's had. At our late afternoon feeding, she started pulling away from my breast and ate a little less than usual. (I weigh her on an infant scale at the beginning and end of feedings so that I know how much she's getting.) Then she started screaming bloody murder before our early evening feeding, and only took an ounce. She would suck at my breast 1-3 times, swallow, then pull away and scream.

She screamed for about 2 hours.

We also tried a bottle with some Pedialyte. She took maybe 1/4 of an ounce, probably out of surprise about the different taste, before the screaming recommenced.

The pediatrician said he thinks it's probably her picking up on my stress and not to force her to try to feed. He said she will be given fluids during the procedure tomorrow and that we can catch up on the nutrition later if need be.

We managed to get her to sleep, and she's been sleeping soundly for about 3 hours now, probably because she's so worn out from all the crying. She's had about 1.25 ounces (breast milk plus Pedialyte) in the last 8 hours.

And to top it off, our precious, sweet, 14-year-old dog started to have something bother one of her ears tonight. She's shaking her head literally every 3 seconds, stopping occasionally only long enough to try to scratch at it with her foot and whine before resuming shaking it. I couldn't see or feel anything in it. I tried gently cleaning it with q-tips, then applying hydrogen peroxide to the areas that were bleeding from the scratching.

It didn't help. The shaking (which causes jangling of her collar and tags) continued. I wet down some cotton balls and tried rubbing those in her ear. It didn't help.

The constant, repetitive jangling of her collar was more than my completely frayed nerves could handle. R offered to have her go into the guest room with him, and I took him up on it. I'm not sure he's going to get any sleep tonight, which is the whole point of him being in that room. And it is the first time I've banished the poor dog from my presence. She hates to ever have me be out of her sight. I feel horrible, but I just couldn't deal with that on top of Miss A's shrieking screams and my nerves about tomorrow.

This is not how I wanted the night before her procedure to go.

The doctor said it's a routine procedure, that "it will be a piece of cake" and "she'll do great". (His exact words.) That complications are rare, and serious complications are extremely rare. But if you've read this blog for any length of time, you know that "rare" doesn't comfort me, because we've wound up on the "rare" side of the odds (in both good and bad ways) many times.

Please, dear God, let tomorrow go well. Let her be okay.


Anonymous said...

Good luck!

Julie said...

Thinking about you guys Rebecca. It will be nice when this procedure is behind you.

Libby said...

I can just imagine your nerves. Even with my P's being, well, old, it is still a stressful time when I've been sitting outside the cath lab waiting for one of their procedures. But your doc is right, this is routine nowadays, so take some deep breaths and try to hang in there for Miss A. Praying for peace and a quick and successful procedure today. {{Hugs}}

PBJmom said...

That sounds really hard. Even though it's routine as a mom you can't help but worry. I'll be thinking of miss A and going for a quick successful procedure.

MyTwoLines said...

I will be saying prayers for your baby! Keep us updated. So grateful she has access to great medical care!

Emily Erin said...

Thinking about you guys and praying for Ms. A! Hope that everything goes well and your poor doggy is able to get some relief from whatever is in her ear!

MyTwoLines said...

PS Ain't no shame in a little chocolate overdose every now and again :)
PPS Can you just take the dog's collar off until she stops scratching? Hoping she gets some relief!

Anna said...

Praying for you all!!

Reese said...

Rebecca, no blame for the brownie/ice cream overdose. Praying for a quick, uneventful and successful day for Miss A. I'm so sorry you guys are going through this. You're right--"rare" is not a comforting phrase to a lot of people. Keeping you in my thoughts and prayers today.

Silver said...

Totally with you on the "rare" thing - that's a feeling it's hard to shake when you've been on the wring side of the statistics - BUT it's also true that it is EXTREMELY unlikely that anything will go wrong. Will be thinking of you and Miss A - she's shown she's a tough little character just by her very existence - and keeping an eye out for updates.