It's been a number of months since our last post. Life has been busy. The children are growing and Martin and Gracie are like two peas in a pod -- inseparable. Gracie is continuing to grow stronger and she learns so much day by day. Martin is a fireball of energy and personality and although he's a full year younger, Gracie tends to copy everything he does -- for better or worse. They are set to become lifelong friends and the bond between them will only grow stronger because of their shared life experience.
But today, we find ourselves back in Charleston. Martin is due for his third open-heart surgery called the Fontan Procedure. Children born with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome have complex heart surgery performed at three separate stages in their development. Martin is definitely due for this surgery now because of his declining oxygen saturation levels. He has been dropping into the 50s and 60s when he is active (the normal range is 95-100). So intervention at this stage is necessary. And because it is the final scheduled surgery, it will be vitally important in setting the course for the rest of his development through to his adult years.
The circulation change as a result of the Fontan procedure is said to be hard on the body and comes with potential complications. In God's goodness, He seems to have given Martin a very strong constitution and will. Additionally, he eats very well and enjoys his fruits and vegetables. Going into this surgery, he is in the best form possible for someone with his condition. Even with that, we acknowledge that ultimately he is in the Lord's hands after the surgeons have done all that they can.
Tomorrow will be a full day of pre-op. And early Tuesday morning, the surgery will begin.
Pray with us that God will grant him a very successful surgery and a very speedy recovery. That his level of pain and discomfort would be minimal. And beyond that, that he would continue to grow and God would strengthen his heart both physically and especially spiritually. For ultimately, our highest joy will be realized when we can one day see all of our children walking in the truth (3 John 1:4).
8/11/14 | Surgery update from Jamie: During Martin's day of testing at MUSC today he started getting a runny nose. His labs and X-rays looked great but we had a nasal swab done just in case. He ended up testing positive for Rhinovirus so surgery for tomorrow has been cancelled. We are very very thankful that it was caught in time as it would have been dangerous for him to try recover from major surgery while fighting this virus. His Fontan will be rescheduled in 4-6 weeks. Thank you all for your prayers and support.
Martin's Third Surgery PhotosMartin's third open-heart surgery (Fontan Procedure) in Charleston, SC.
Saturday: Say cheeese! Gracie puts on her 'funny face' for the first time post-surgery. She is feeling a LOT better as they let us take a walk around the halls without the nasal cannula! Poor girl didn't want to go back to her room but hopefully the doctors will see her doing so well and discharge us soon. Here's hoping for tomorrow! We can't wait to see how she does when she takes a breath of fresh air! We take so much for granted.
Sunday: Good morning to the sunshine. This little spot on our hospital floor is becoming Gracie's favorite place to look out the window into the clear, blue outside. This morning she is doing much better still. They let us take off the nasal cannula again and she's still in the low 80s. A good Sunday morning it is. Maybe today she can breathe the fresh air outside...
Discharged Sunday and back with her family! Gracie's color is looking really good and she will only improve as she grows and gets stronger.
We were discharged on Sunday! We are so happy to finally be back with our family! We missed them enormously and we were more than ready to be back together again. We are still in Charleston and will spend the next few days letting Gracie rest and...[ abbreviated | read entire ]
She is worn out but wakes up every few minutes to make sure her favorite "Martin video" is playing even though she's dozing off to sleep. She must've played the same video hundreds of times today. Doctors got a kick out of it.
Gracie getting an echocardiogram. The technician says what Dr. Bradley did is a work of art. It's all a bunch of colors on the screen to me but he insists that it looks so clean and perfect. What a blessing!
Another day at the hospital. Gracie had a big X-ray done this morning. It was our job to keep her "still" for the 10-minute scan. The size of this scanner is intimidating for anyone let alone a child!
We are still in the hospital, in the wing of the Children's Hospital affectionately known as "The Floor." Any pair of parents who have both tried to stay overnight in one of the rooms will know that it is aptly nicknamed. Well, today is Saturday...[ abbreviated | read entire ]
No more BLUE fingers! For the first time in her life, she has healthy, pink fingers! Oxygen saturation in the 90s and probably settle into the 80s. Much better than 40s!
She's a survivor! She came through the surgery and is doing really well with recovery so far.
Dr. Scott Bradley is Gracie's amazing heart surgeon. We are very grateful for skilled surgeons.
The surgery was a success! Yesterday was a great big day for Gracie. For the first time in her life she no longer has blue fingers, blue lips, or blue toes. She is a pink little baby girl! That was the very first thing we noticed when we finally...[ abbreviated | read entire ]
Our sweet Gracie -- a few days ago at her pre-op at MUSC. For a "heart baby" she really is all heart. Waving and blowing kisses to everyone including the pictures of people on the computer screens.
On our way to Charleston! Deja vu, all over again.
In Charleston. The day before Gracie's big surgery.
We are back in Charleston. Actually, we were back in Charleston just a few days ago for Gracie's pre-op. It was at that time we had the opportunity to meet with Gracie's surgeon, Dr. Bradley, to get it directly from him what he thinks will need to...[ abbreviated | read entire ]
Deja vu .. all over again. But this time with Gracie.
Getting ready for the heart cath. Gracie has a sweet and friendly spirit normally, but not so much after the procedure.
Recovering after the 6-hour heart catheterization.
Gracie had another visit to MUSC for a heart catheterization. We were here almost two years ago for the first time with Martin. Walking down those halls felt like a total repeat of history. After 6 hours in the cath lab, the doctor informed us...[ abbreviated | read entire ]
Gracie is beginning to understand what it means to be a part of a family. She loves the kids. And the kids love her.
Getting on the plane to head back home -- finally!
We are home! We finally made it back home late Thursday night after a very long trip from Guangzhou to Shanghai to Detroit to Greenville. Gracie did well on the 3 flights but was understandably very tired and so Jamie had the arduous task of...[ abbreviated | read entire ]
The wonderful lady who helped us get the medical expedite and who was our guide in China. She is amazing!
Severe heart condition. Either truncus arteriosus or tretralogy of fallot.
A picture of the other adopting families in our Bethany group in Guangzhou.
Today is our last day in Guangzhou, China. When we arrived on Saturday night, it was late and we were exhausted. The next day we were at the medical exams. And just yesterday we had our US Consulate appointment. Today we are waiting to receive...[ abbreviated | read entire ]
Mommy getting a warm hug from Gracie at a local Children's Park in Xi'an.
She adores her Mommy!
Our little Gracie's oxygen levels are very low. Today was the lowest we've seen at 61% according to the pulse-oximeter (normal levels are in the high 90's, Martin's levels are in the 80's). Pray we can make it back home safely especially on the long, stuffy 14-hour plane ride from Shanghai to Detroit. It'll be wonderful to be back home.
Today, we are leaving Xi'an, which is in the Central region of China, and are heading to Guangzhou, which is in the Southern region. This means three things. First, Gracie will be leaving her home province (Shaanxi) for the first time. Second,...[ abbreviated | read entire ]
It's official! This certificate makes our adoption officially legal!
With the director of the orphanage in Baoji, a very nice man. Gracie does smile for us every once in a while and it's wonderful to see it! If she thinks we're funny, wait'll she gets a load of the kids!
Gracie has bonded remarkably well with Jamie just within 24 hours. It is an answer to prayer really. The next two weeks will be an important transition time for Gracie.
Today was a big day. 11/11/13. Today was the day that Gracie's adoption became legal and official in the eyes of China. Ironically, we were told that today is also "Single's Day" in China -- a celebration of all single people (the "11"...[ abbreviated | read entire ]