Monday, October 22, 2012

Because it's too cute not to share!

Ella is doing well since the cath! Her oxygen is still not quite where we were hoping it would be since the repair and she is still desating with activity, but she seems to be a little better for sure! She is usually between 78-83 but we did see her at 90 for the first time in over a year, it didn't stick around too long and she was in the 60's later in the day, but that 90 was enough to make this momma cry tears of joy! I love it when she has all the oxygen she needs!!!!! Prayers for her to sleep well at night are appreciated, she is getting up sometimes 5 times a night and really we all could use some more rest, thanks so much and I hope you enjoy the video of her talking on the "phone"!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Update post cath!

First off I want to apologize for just getting here to update all of you, Ella's blog is having a few technical problems and I have been trying to get it fixed. The counter on our homepage has shown that Ella's page has had well over 411,000 views! Somehow it automatically started over and now shows 20 something views. Anyway I can't seem to figure it out so if you have any tips feel free to comment and let me know ;) Also today is a very special day, it's Ella's Daddy's Birthday!! So we have been celebrating him today which is much deserved since he takes such good care of us all the time! So feel free to wish him a happy birthday too ;) Also check out the latest video of Ella singing She says "sing sing sing and make music with the heavens we will sing sing sing, grateful that you hear us when we shout Your praise lift high the name of Jesus!"

Now on to the update...

 Ella is doing great! Thank you all so much for the prayers! We are home from Dallas and Ella is recovering very well. She doesn't seem to be in any pain at all and is for the most part her normal perfect self :).

Ella's cath went great, we got to the hospital at 6:15am on Friday and got Ella admitted. She wasn't thrilled about the check in, but she loves the big train set in the lobby :) We were so thankful to have my parents there to help keep her occupied during the pre op wait. She was really good, but it was so nice to have their help. The nurse gave her some "goofy juice" to help her get sleepy and not care about what all was happening. It was sad and cute at the same time to watch her that way. She got very sleepy, laid down and said "shhhh" with her finger up over her lips. She never relaxed fully, she still kept trying to sit up and she said "all done" and "no" while we wheeled her to the surgery area. She didn't really cry though and I am so glad, my heart was breaking already. Somehow watching someone else pick up my baby girl (Who has only ever been touched be a small handful of people in her whole life) and carry her into a room where I couldn't see her or help her made my mommy heart ache. I cried harder then I cried before her last open heart surgery when they disappeared through the dreaded double doors even though the risk was far less. Life with Ella is so wonderful that even to imagine living it without her is unbearable.

collateral before plug
 Collateral after plug! Amazing!
Ella had one entry point in her right groin and one on her left side upper chest. They found one large collateral that somehow they missed via echo (probably because Ella wasn't all that cooperative during the echo). Anyway, they were going to coil it but ended up plugging it because her surgeon didn't have the size of coil he wanted (her surgeon is AMAZING). We were happy that there were only a few small AVMs (atrialvenous malformations) and that they weren't a problem. We are hopeful that plugging this collateral will fix Ella's oxygen problems and hold off her next open heart surgery for the next few years.

After the cath was finished the anesthesiologist gave her some medicine that was supposed to help her be drowsy for the next few hours and they told us we would be with her when she woke up so she wouldn't be scared. The medicine didn't work and she woke up in recovery before they would let us go back, that was hard for me to know she woke up without us, but she was well taken care of. She was not happy when she woke up at all. She had to lay flat and keep her right leg straight for the next 4 hours. Some juice, water, and 4 or 5 popcicals, Tomas the train, veggie tales, and daddy, mommy, nana, and grandaddy and somehow we made it! right about 4 hours out she insisted that she needed to go potty and would not go in her pull up so they let her get up and go... their was no stopping her after that hahaha. She constantly wanted to "walk" She walked up and down the halls until she kept desatting and her heart rate was 193, the nurse made her get back in bed. It was good to see her up and moving around even if she did look like a little rug rat with messy hair, purple popsicle all over her face and wearing only her pull up and tennis shoes. Hahaha they kept letting us know we could get her dressed, but we didn't have her clothes from the Ronald McDonald House yet.

The whole stay was hard for Ella, but I just can't say enough good about Dallas CMC. We are so happy we decided to take her there for all of her cardiology care. They are kind, helpful, and very good at what they do. We are SO thankful for the way the staff treated our girl!

Currently Ella's sats are still the same as they were before her cath, and she is still desatting with activity and her heart rate gets elevated quickly. We are hoping that with time that will improve!

Please be praying that her surgery sites heal well and she stays infection free and also that her sats come up soon!

Fun fact - Remember when Ella was 1 week old and they did that experimental surgery where they placed the bands on her pulmonary arteries to give her lungs time to get stronger since they were so damaged from her intact atrial septum and they couldn't do her planned norwood until they got better so they thought they were going to have to do a transplant? Well she was the first one they had ever tried that on and since then they have done that on EVERY baby after her that have had that same problem! They actually do the band surgery as routine now before doing the norwood! How neat is that!? We kinda think they should call it the Ella ;) But I guess in all fairness it should be called the "Forbess" since that is her surgeon's name who came up with trying it on her. Her cath surgion, Dr. Nugent, said that Ella is a super star and we couldn't agree more!! We are humbled that God has blessed her journey so much. We got the report on Friday that Ella's lungs have made a FULL recovery from the damage while I was pregnant! That is incredible, God is SO good and we are SO thankful!

Leaving the Ronald McDonald House to go to the hospital

 Checking in at the hospital

 Waiting in pre op

 The nurse carrying her to surgery

 Post op recovery watching movies 

 and eating Popsicle's 

In our room playing with Nana and Grandaddy

Walking the halls

 Cuddles before bed

 leaving the hospital (yes she was still in her PJs) 

Ella fell asleep on the way back to Oklahoma and kept smiling in her sleep, she was happy to go home! 

Friday, October 12, 2012

Recovery Report

Ella is doing pretty well.  She has been wanting to walk around a lot. The only problem is every time they start walking, her oxygen drops really low. The last time they walked her heart rate got up to 193, so they told them to just have her rest. She is very tired, but doing well in spite of it. They plan to send her home tomorrow if everything is still ok. We will wait and see if the stats get better with activity.  When she is sitting still they are pretty good. Amy & Jon will monitor it from home and if it doesn't get better they will bring her back to have it checked. The surgeon and cardiologist both thought everything looked good in her heart and lungs.

Thank you again for all of your prayers today!

~Aunt Kristina

Surgery is finished & was successful!

The surgery is complete, and Ella is on her way to recovery!  They got to see her for just a moment and she looked very peaceful.  Jon & Amy will be able to sit with her as soon as they get her all set up in a room.  They talked with the surgeon, Dr. Nugent, who is the same surgeon that did Ella's very first cath surgery the day she was born.  Today, he fixed the calateral and said everything else looks amazing! He said she is a superstar! He can't believe her lungs are in such good shape. He said they are perfect now, God is amazing! He described her pulmonary arteries and arch as gorgeous and also said he wouldn't see us again for a couple of years! :)  Another thing, the very first surgery they did on Ella where they had to stop in the middle because her lungs were too damaged so they put the bands on and tried again in a week - they are doing that now on every intact or restricted atrial septum because it worked so well! God is SO GOOD! Please continue to pray for a good, smooth recovery, especially since Ella has to lay flat & still for the next 4 hours.

Thank you everyone!

~Aunt Kristina


It was the lesser of the evils.  She has a calateral.  Basically her heart is pumping about 25% of her blood around her lungs instead of to her lungs. They are going to coil it and expect this will help them hold off on the Fontan for a couple of years. They like to wait as long as they can for the Fontan. They also found a few AVM's but will leave them in for now.  All in all it's going well!  She will have to stay the night because they are doing some repair.  Please continue to pray.  The doctor is doing the repair right now. The recovery could be challenging as Ella has to lay flat for four hours.

Thank you all for continuing to pray!

~Aunt Kristina

In Surgery

Good morning, Just wanted to let everyone know that Ella is in surgery now.  The procedure could take up to 3-4 hours.  Please pray for Ella's protection during this time, wisdom for the doctors, and strength and peace for Jon & Amy as they wait.  I will update again when we have any more info.

We appreciate all the prayers!

~updated by Aunt Kristina

Thursday, October 11, 2012

In Dallas

We are settled in at the Ronald McDonald house in Dallas. Ella's cath surgery will be first case tomorrow morning. We have to be at the hospital by 6:15am. Please pray for a restful night and smooth morning. Also please pray for all of the medical staff working with ella tomorrow to be careful and kind, also for Ella to have peace while at the hospital and while in recovery. It will be a hard day for all of us. Thank you so much in advance for your prayers!!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Ella's appointment

Yesterday was a long hard day for the 3 of us. On Wednesday morning Ella woke up with a rash, it began to get worse and spread. We had to take her to her doctor to make sure it wasn't contagious before we could bring her to the cardiology appt in Dallas. It got really bad Wednesday evening and I couldn't imagine dragging her through a whole day of appt not to mention the 3 1/2 hour car ride covered in hives seemed like it would be miserable. Since she wasn't running any fever for the last few days, it seemed as if it was some sort of an allergic reaction and therefore safe to bring her to her appt after all. It was quite stressful to say the least. We were up after midnight trying to get everything ready for our trip since the whole day had been filled with trying to figure out what was wrong with Ella and not knowing if we could go at all.

The next morning Ella woke up with her rash looking much better and still completely fever free. We hit the road. Ella did really good on the trip down despite her itching.

We made it to her appt at 1:00pm right at nap time. Ella was happy and playing around laughing and smiling. I was emotional, being back in that place again, all the same smells and sounds, familiar faces walking the halls. I remember being very pregnant and sick and having our fetal echo done and here I was watching my beautiful thriving 2 year old spin in the hallway with her big smile. It was surreal as I watched her spin and walk around I knew I would remember it every time I walked into that waiting room for the rest of her life. I tried to picture her at 18 standing in the hallway waiting to be seen and I smiled. I struggle to see the future sometimes and it was nice.

When they called us back we passed echo room number 6, It didn't seem possible that it had been over 2 years since I had laid there so afraid of what we may face, of what our sunshine would face...

The hard part began as we entered the room for her echo. She immediately began to cry and we knew this day would indeed be as long as we thought. She fought us harder then I have every seen she really through her first "fit" as we tried to get her to lay on the bed. We had all sorts of distractions, her favorite snacks, movies, i-phone, stickers, singing... she didn't care she was so scared. She kicked and twisted, she pushed everyone away. Jon and I knew the alternative was to put her under and we were determined to make that a very last resort since it is dangerous. Jon held down her bottom half and I held down the top half as she screamed for her life. I didn't think we would ever get through that echo, but eventually she calmed down some. They scanned her chest for a good 30-45 minutes and it felt like forever to the 3 of us. She would lay very still and calm for several minutes and then start thrashing all about when they would push to hard or make her uncomfortable. It was terrible, but somehow by God's grace we did it. Unfortunately as Dr. Lemler put it, "she is very un-photogenic"  meaning it's really hard to get a good look at her heart because of her anatomy. He told us that even if they sedated her he didn't think they could see all that they would need to see.

We had several test to have done and Ella screamed at each one (seriously didn't know she had it in her!) She is always so easy and sweet at home, I just can't imagine how scared she must have to be to act that way. :( She had to get her blood drawn, I'm thankful it was a finger stick versus an actual draw. But it was hard non the less since it still hurts pretty bad because they slice it and then squeeze it over and over to work enough blood out. Next we had to get a chest x-ray, she screamed the whole time, but at least we only needed 2 shots and it was over fairly quickly. Ella was so happy between tests, she would just smile a play with her red nose a splotchy face.

After having all the tests, we met with Dr. Lemler to discuss them. I struggle with how to update all of you when their is so much information and so many "if's". What it comes down to is that her blood results look a little high, but are fine, her x-ray shows that one of the pieces they left inside of her during her last surgery has possibly moved and she has a broken sternum wire, the echo showed fairly good function but not great in one area ,but not really a problem right now, he said he has a lot of kids with similar function doing good.

We talked all about the oxygen problems Ella has been having for the last few weeks and he said he would talk to her cath surgeon and together they would decide if she needs to be cathed (go up through her groin into her heart and work). Dr. Lemler said he thinks this will need to be done in the next 3-4 weeks unless things get worse or her cath surgeon wants to see her sooner.

We then talked about the hard part. Dr. Lemler thinks it is possible that Ella has developed something that is causing blood that was previously going to her lungs and then her heart is now possibly bypassing the lungs and going strait to her heart therefore giving her even less oxygenated blood then she was getting before which would be causing lower sats. We do NOT know if this is happening yet and the only way to tell is by cath. IF this is happening Ella will get much worse, and the only cure is doing the Fontan. The Fontan is the next big open heart surgery that we were hoping to push until spring/summer 2013 at the earliest. Dr. Lemler ideally likes to wait to do the Fontan at 4 years old although lots of kids have them around 3, Ella just turned 2 in August. We are praying HARD that this is not the problem and that her sats come back up on their own. Dr. Lemler told us that doing the Fontan this early is really not ideal in anyway, he said it would be VERY difficult for her. He said even if this is happening he might still try to hold her off until the spring even if that means she has to wear oxygen, just to get her to 2 1/2 and to get passed the flu season.

This morning I got a call from Ella's cath surgeon's office letting me know that Dr. Lemler and Her surgeon had reviewed her echo and decided that Ella's cath will be 1 week from today. I'm not sure why it is scheduled so soon, I'm hoping it's just because there was an opening and not that it's that concerning.

Some good news is that this morning Ella's oxygen and heart rate were really good! Right now we are taking it one day at a time and knowing that God is in control. Please pray with us that Ella's oxygen continues to stay up so that she doesn't need an early Fontan. We are so thankful for your prayers during this difficult time.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Dallas bound on Thursday

It started out about 6 months ago with the occasional desat into the 50's or 60's about once every other week or so, and seemed to go through phases. Then it began to happen more and more until it was multiple times an hour and nearly every time she would even walk from one room to the other.

Although we were concerned and even talked with her cardiologist, she kept acting fine despite turning blue and being out of breath and she always brought her oxygen right back up within minutes of the desat episode. As long as she kept coming right back up it wasn't quite as scary.

About 4 days of this and we took her in to be seen, she had been desatting a little less but had started having some faster heartbeats when she did desat so that was a concern of possible rhythm problems. We were instructed to buy a blood pressure cuff so we could monitor her multiple times a day along with her pulse ox/heart rate.

A few days later her heart rate began to get very high even while she was sitting still, and didn't seem to come down much at all staying in the 120's. 130's, 140's, 150's, 160. That was it, we called the doctor again and said 160 for a resting heart rate is too high. Meanwhile the last few days she had begun to have some diarrhea and low fever. Both of these symptoms can cause a fast heart rate due to dehydration. Dehydration is not only very serious with a post Glenn baby, but it is also very easy for it to happen since she needs a lot more fluid then a healthy heart kid. We realized that she was cutting at least 3 of her 2 year molars at once. So we thought the pain could also be playing a roll in the heart rate.

During all of this her previous desat episodes into the 50's and 60's seemed to be less frequent but she wasn't being monitored for that quite as much so we aren't sure exactly how often that occurred.

With all this going on, her doctor decided it would be best for her to wear a 24 hour monitor because of  the possibility of a rhythm problem. We were going to get that put on yesterday, but as we began to control her pain level and fever with ibuprofen and give her crazy amounts of fluids, It took a day or two, but she started to improve. So we decided to hold off on the monitor until we could talk with her Dallas cardiologist.

All morning Monday she did well for the most part, her fever was on and off, her heart rate was staying in the 120's/130's, and her oxygen was low 80's. By late afternoon she was having lower then usual sats and I started feeling really uneasy, her heart rate kept dropping to a more normal level.

All day today Ella's hear rate has been pretty good usually under 130, but her oxygen is floating in the low to mid 70's and that is just not where we would like it to be.

 I have contacted Dallas again, and since Ella is just not making enough improvement or even maintaining well enough for us to wait until her appointment on the 18th  we are heading down for an appt the day after tomorrow. We are really anxious for her to be seen and try to figure out the reason for her low oxygen levels.

What we need from you: We NEED your prayers!!!
1. For Ella not to be anxious (if she is too upset they will have to sedate her for her echo)
2. For protection from germs in the hospital
3. For wisdom for the doctors
4. For peace in God's timing
5. For good results and some answers
6. For as little pain as possible for Ella she will be having an echo, an EKG, blood work, an x-ray... who knows what all really.

This will be a long hard day for all of us, but especially Ella. We have seen God's super natural peace over her before in these situations and we ask that you ask God for His peace to wash over her in a way that can't be explained. Thank you all for praying. I will update when I can. We don't know what to expect right now, but we are hoping that she won't have to be admitted. I may not be able to update tomorrow, but I will try to update as soon as I can. Thank you all.


Monday, October 1, 2012

Ella's update

 Ella has been fighting fever for the last few days and also has been having a high heart rate and a low oxygen level. When her resting heart rate hit 160, we decided that we needed to talk to her cardiologist again. We realized that she is cutting multiple molars right now so I mentioned that to him, we both agreed that the teeth/fever could be the cause of her fast heart rate, but since she had been having the desating issues too he thought that we needed to hook her up to a 24 hour monitor. We were suppose to bring her in to get her fitted this morning. I did NOT want to hook her up since she was already in pain and I know from experience that the monitor is VERY uncomfortable also because I really think this is mostly from her teeth coming in (teething is VERY hard on some heart babies). Last night I cried and prayed, I couldn't bare the thought of doing the monitor to her right now especially feeling like it wasn't necessary  This morning when Ella woke up she was fever free and her heart rate down into the low 100's (for the first time in days!) and her oxygen was up into the low 80's for the first time in days as well, her oxygen has been floating around in the low to mid 70's.  So we decided to skip the monitor (with the cardiologists blessing) and watch her some more. Can't tell you how thankful we are that her poor little heart is getting a break from that hard fast beating and that her body and brain are finally getting a better supply of oxygen. Please continue to pray for her as we figure all of this out, thanks so much!