The combination of a mother's instinct and the Holy Spirit is a powerful thing. Powerful enough that it saved my daughter's life in a situation we never thought we'd find ourselves. The past two months or so have been a mixture of traumatic, stressful, spiritual, challenging, inspiring and hopeful. We are extremely grateful and blessed to now say that "relief" is also part of that journey, ever since my sweet girl had her heart surgery on July 12.
We had known since our days in the NICU that she was born with a heart murmur. I honestly can't recall if she was given an echocardiogram at that time or not, but we were told she was otherwise healthy and moved on with our babies once they were all released one by one to come home. Two months after their delivery, we had the four of them under our roof and began life as a family of six with 32 bottles to give every 24 hours and about 60 minutes of sleep as new parents to quadruplets. There were follow-up doctor visits to check potentially worrisome issues with their eyes, with Kailey's hips and so on. But her extreme far sightedness actually correct itself as she grew and her hip dysplasia did as well. Logan and Trystan were both in great health and despite Harrison's serious illness in the NICU, he has zero complications to this day. Just two small scars—one on each side of his chest—to remind us of that day in particular we nearly lost our little boy.
Since the day of the diagnosis, I've learned more about congenital heart defects and complications than ever. We learned that small ASDs can often close on their own over time or even be closed by a minimally-invasive catheter surgery using an artery in the leg. But more extreme cases, like Kailey's, require open heart surgery. Immediately, the husband and I began to educate ourselves on pediatric open heart procedures and everything it entailed, what to prepare for, what kind of recovery to expect and long-term effects. The silver lining of having open heart surgery meant the fix would be final and there would be no need for Kailey to ever undergo any of this again.
Not a day has gone by since Kailey's surgery that I don't thank God for giving me that "feeling" that something was wrong and leading me to the right place to diagnose Kailey and repair her heart. My mother's instinct has never steered me wrong and I know I have Him to thank for that! It has been been just over one month since surgery and we truly cannot believe everything Kailey has gone through or how amazing she looks and acts now!
Recounting this journey so soon after—especially since we had to make a return trip to the ICU due to complications less than one week after being released from the hospital—is certainly full of emotions for me as a mama. But prior to Kailey's surgery, I'd found some books and blogs and other information that proved vital to us surviving this journey as a family and also to help prepare ourselves as parents, Kailey as a patient and her siblings as her support team in what was to come and how things would happen. Just like I've shared my experience with a quad pregnancy and having and raising quadruplets, the husband and I agreed we needed to share this unique journey as well for those coming behind us that find themselves facing the same or a similar diagnoses and those overwhelming and fearful feelings of the unknown.
I'll be back soon with additional posts about the day of surgery, her recovery, the things we used to help prepare, what to pack for a week in the ICU and how to help siblings along through a process like this. A heartfelt thanks goes out to our family, especially our parents, who were vital throughout all of it and to our close friends who were a great source of encouragement and support these past few weeks.
Kailey now proudly talks about her superhero heart and we, as her parents, couldn't be more impressed and thankful with the true superhero that she is!