Tuesday, March 8, 2011

We made it!

Our 2 weeks on lockdown are officially over, and surgery is upon us.  I can't believe it, but the time actually went by pretty fast and I enjoyed being home with Andrew.  The past few days I have embraced the messes he's made and the fact that he's let me get basically nothing done until daddy or Ga Ga comes to my rescue!  I know it is because I have become his playmate now, since he's so used to having his friends.  I don't mind.  I've played many games, colored with him, created play doh animals and danced around the family room!  I found I had missed those days, and it was nice to have them back, even under the circumstances.
As usual, he's kept me pretty busy... you know, crawling around in his play kitchen sink!
He lined up all of his trains in one big circle going around the track.  He was pretty proud of this!  He wanted to leave it up to "show daddy!"  He left it like this for a few days until he wanted to play with them again so he wrecked it all!  Ha!
Pretending to be E.T. mixed in with all his stuffed animals!  I think he looks just like that part in the movie where E.T. is hiding!  Ha!
He dumps this bin of stuffed animals out as soon as they get picked up.  It's like he can't stand them being smushed in there!  He dumps them out and then hides in the bin!
Of course, we've been watching our share of movies!  If I'm lucky I can get him to put it on his "little T.V." so I can watch "normal human T.V." (as Craig calls it!  Ha!)  Yeah, right.  Like I have time to watch T.V.!
Looking at his 3D Dinosaur book with his 3D glasses!  Ha!  I just had to laugh.



Well, surgery week is here.  Believe it or not, I got packed and cleaned the house ahead of schedule because we are actually in Iowa City now!  The surgeon's schedule changed and he couldn't meet with us the day before (Wed.) so we had to come a day early to meet with him today.  He just gave Andrew a check up and answered any last minute questions we had.  We are relieved to hear that they won't stop his heart this time, but he will be on bypass.  He doesn't think he is going to put in a valve this time, because he said it could do more harm than good at this point (like stopping the growth of his main pulmonary artery, which we don't need to happen!)  This means Andrew will need another surgery sometime to put in a valve, but we are hoping it can be much later, when he is older and the valve will last longer.


 We asked about visitors and children visiting Andrew in the intensive care and also on the regular floor.  Kids are allowed on both floors, as long as they are healthy and we ask that any visitors haven't been around other people who may possibly have been sick.  I want to remind everyone that we welcome visitors this time!  We would be thrilled to see our family and friends show up to see us!  The days get very long while "living" in the hospital.  We know Andrew would appreciate seeing familiar faces too.  We realize it is a long drive to Iowa City... but just remember, there's great shopping and an outlet mall on the way!  Ha!  We also want to let everyone know that our cell phones and texting doesn't work the best in the hospital, but we will try to return messages as soon as we can.  We'll be spending a lot of time in Andrew's room, as we always make it a point to never leave him alone.  We do appreciate every email, card and message- thank you so much for showing us how much you care!


Some of you have asked for the address of the hospital.  Andrew would love hearing from you!  The address is:

University of Iowa Children's Hospital
c/o Andrew Huegel
Pediatric ICU
200 Hawkins Drive
Iowa City, IA  52242

*Note: He won't be in the PICU the whole time, but they said it would still get to him.  We'll start in the PICU on Thursday and probably be there through the weekend.  The regular floor is called 2JCP, if you think the mail will arrive after Saturday or Sunday.  Thank you!
Andrew is relatively prepared.  We were driving around the other day (yes, to pass the time! Ha!) and we were talking about the hospital.  He said,  "Doctors fix my heart, then we can go back home."  It was so sweet, yet heartbreaking.  He loves his home so much, he is going to hate being away from it for so long.
We've been reading this book, which is a great tool for explaining things about his upcoming hospital stay.  I loved how the cover has Franklin sitting up with the tray by his bed, and he even has his special toy with him (a.k.a. Raffi!)  The books covers important things that might be scary to a child, like the x-ray machine, and all the doctors wearing those scary masks.  There is a part where it says Franklin's mommy and daddy can't go in the OR with him, so they hug him goodbye outside.  Daddy was reading this to him the other night and he looked at him and said "Mommy and Daddy won't leave me."  Break my heart into a million pieces right now!  I have told him that we won't leave him, and we'll be with him the whole time, and so will Jesus and his Grandpa Bill in heaven.  I just pray that he'll never know we left his side, once he falls asleep.  I intend to be standing right next to him when he wakes up.

I just can't believe we haven't been through this since he was 7 months old.  Just a baby.  Unable to talk to us or voice his opinion or tell us he's scared.  It is so much harder this time (and I know I said that last time too!)  It just gets harder as they get older because you know them that much more.  You love them more every day, and it is just so hard to think of putting them through this again.  I just can't believe his time has come for this.  We've been putting it off for so long, and it just hit me today that it is really here now.  No more "three more months free" card from the cardiologist.  

It is time.

I came across this poem the other day, and it gave me strength and peace.  I plan to read it to Andrew in the hospital:

God loves you my dear child.
He loves you when you life seems all but mild.
He knows when you hurt, He knows when you cry.
He cares for you and understands when all you can ask is “Why?”
He’s there trying to help you be strong, like all those times you feel you don’t belong.
He’s there when you feel like you’ve got no one; He knows when you need someone.
When life hands you situations you didn’t expect,
All those times when your frown outshines your smile, just remember...
God loves you and He will never leave you.
You are His, my dear child.

Andrew has several more appointments at the hospital tomorrow, and surgery will be bright and early Thursday morning.  If you think of it, if you could send out a prayer on Wednesday evening or Thursday morning, we'd appreciate it.  Please pray for our strength as parents, and for Andrew to fight with everything he's got!  Thank you so much.

"The Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged." Deuteronomy 31:8

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