Monday, August 25, 2014

UPDATE: Surgery Recap & Post Op Piper

Hey ya'll!
Last time we chatted, Piper was about to head into surgery for her hernia repair. With such a long and eventful day, then subsequent restful weekend, I haven't gotten to post about specifics. Check out our recap of surgery day, as well as the time since.

Thursday, August 21st - SURGERY DAY
The first thing I noticed upon waking up, was that I was nerves. If you know me well, you know this is rare, but I felt a peace that Piper was in good hands (both of God, as well as surgeons'.)

My mother in law, Kay, stayed home with Tallan, while Matt, Mr. Mark (my father in law) and I headed up to hang with Piper before surgery. After praying over that sweet babe as a family, we began a day of waiting. If you've ever had surgery, you understand that most of your day is spent waiting on logistics, and this day was no different. 12:30pm surgery time turned into 4pm surgery time as the day ticked by. The best part? We were in NO hurry. Piper had taken her time telling us she was ready for this, we did not impatiently schedule this surgery, she did with her stable stats. No due time...this would happen.

Our quiet waiting changed as soon as a team in surgical blue came into the NICU. 2 scrub nurses, 2 respiratory therapists, and 2 anesthesiologists made their way to our babe, and began the journey to the operating room. This involved administering some anesthesia immediately, the unhooking of all her machines, as well as someone taking over to manually breathe for our girl. I had been prepared all day for surgery, I had been prepared for them to move her and her equipment, I had been prepared to walk behind our baby to the operating room. I HAD NOT been prepared to see a man, with a breathing bag attached to Piper's vent tube, taking my baby's life in his hands. Duh, I knew they'd have to turn her machines off...but BRUTAL doesn't even begin to describe the sight of that breathing bag. The sound of that breathing bag. Brutal.

Matt and I then followed the surgical team, a quiet somber baby parade, to the surgical floor, where we would see her off. The nerves about surgery? - still not there, but a primal mommy feeling was. I have not been in control of my child since delivering her, I'm used to having others care for her, but this was different. These people were taking a part of me away, down a hall, into an unknown that I was unsure she'd return. The primal mommy in me experienced a guttural pain that is indescribable unless you've been there. We kissed our Pipey, and wished her luck, and prayed. That's all we could do. Brutal.

The waiting during surgery was quick for me, thanks to YOU! I had not had my phone all day until this moment, and was quickly distracted by tons of sweet sweet pictures of friends, family, strangers in their "Lucky Chucks!" We were completely overwhelmed with the outpouring of love and support from you all on that day. I know now, my peace on surgery day was because of your prayers. Thank you, so very much. There are no other words. Thank you!

A speedy 90 minutes flew by, and we were met by our camera crew (totally will blog about them soon) ALL SMILES as they came in from the surgery. That's right, our camera crew got to witness her surgery! Their smiles were telling, and my heart began to lift. They were quickly followed by our favorite guy, Dr. Iqbal, Piper's surgeon. This man, who had postponed her surgery once before, who has been cool and calm, who has been extremely objective......was no short of HYPED UP walking into the room to chat. He explained that Piper's diaphragmatic hernia was a typical repair, in which he moved her tummy/bowel into the correct place, then repaired her diaphragm using her internal oblique muscle. 

Piper's stats stayed extremely happy happy stable during surgery, no additional assistance was needed for her during the procedure, and he was extremely happy of the success he had. Praise Jesus ya'll! STEP ONE - HERNIA REPAIR........CHECK! DONE! 

Now? We go back to allowing Piper to rest, relax, grow her little lungies, and chilllllllllll. The biggest success we have had since surgery day is that doc's have been continuing to wean down her vent support settings since the night of surgery. (Most times, like we talked in previous posts, babies need more support, and sometimes crash after surgery.) Not Piper Grace. She got her belly fixed and has kept trucking along. She's a rock star. 

What's next? A lot of things are next. They are tiny baby things that tell us we're making progress. There is no time frame on these things, because we, along with her team, are allowing Piper to call the shots. Here are some small steps you can begin to pray for as we navigate Piper's road to recovery:
  • Her oscillator vent will wean down enough to be able to switch to traditional vent 
  • Her tummy/bowel will begin processing fluid now that they're activated/in the right spot
  • The team will decide when to add precious golden mommy milk to her diet.
  • Her lungs keep growing for her success off vent
  • No regression - No ECMO!
Of course, LONG LONG TERM goals will be no vent, holding that babe, cleft lip repair, dare I say the word...home? These are on our minds, quietly, but not our our current radar. Hope that make sense to ya!

In the meantime, no news is good news from us. It means her daily stats are stable, her progress is improving, and we are just proud of no crazy changes. Again, we are in no hurry. Piper is calling the shots. She came out of my tummy determined to fight, to place her hand on our hearts, on your hearts, and teach us patience and grace. I love watching God work through her. I love you all for how God is working through your prayers. This road is long, and there will be ups and downs, and I don't know how this story ends. Regardless, this story involves YOU, and we are so thankful. 

3 weeks old - wide awake 8.25.14 - with baby blues!


  1. This little girl, Piper Grace is an amazing little girl.. My Husband Johnny and I are praying each and everyday for Your family and that Precious Piper Grace. God is Awesome and he blesses us each and everyday. I am filled with Happiness each time I read about her and your family.. God Bless you all... Johnny and Rhonda Pruitte, Faithbuilders Sunday School

  2. Thanks for sharing this incredible journey with y'all and little Piper Grace. Your faithfulness to trust in Him is awesome. Keep the trust and love, for you're not alone. What gets me through my tough times is " Be Still and Know I'm God." Love, Prayers, and Blessings , Carolyn Clay (Faithbuilders)

  3. Thanks for sharing your incredible Journey with us. Piper is one amazing little girl!!! You are also an amazing Mom with Enough Faith to go around for thousands!! Prayers are continuing for this Baby Girl, for healing and good health!! Praying for all of you for strength, Comfort, and Peace!! Look so forward to continuing your Journey with you and your next update.

    The Ely's

  4. Continued prayers for sweet Piper!