The new and "improved" Aiden...
The toughest part was handing him over from my arms to the doctor and watching them wheel him farther and farther away to the operating room. It's so hard - not knowing if that will be the last time your baby will lay in your arms. It may sound dramatic, and I know that realistically most surgeries end well, but the more times you go through it the more worried you become that "what if this time" something happens.
That fear is enough to paralyze a momma's heart. Ricky and I sat there where his bed was minutes before and held each other, crying, wishing, praying. I don't know how long we sat there, but the tears continued to flow freely even after we collected our things and exited the pre-op area.
Baby Hudson began kicking, reminding me to EAT SOMETHING, so off to the lobby we went in search of food. Even though eating was the last thing I wanted to do. Over breakfast I began thinking about just how much emotion a heart is capable of feeling. It got me wondering if those stories you hear about elderly couples dying within days of each other from a "broken heart" might actually have some truth to it. Sometimes when we are in the throes of Aiden's Journey I wonder how much pain my heart can feel before it would literally break in my chest. Maybe the amount of love balances it out, keeping it in tact. Only God knows for sure the workings of our mind, body and soul.
I do know that I am humbled by the outpouring of love and prayers from across the country - all for our Aiden. Keeping up with all the emails, Facebook posts and messages sure made the time fly by and calmed our nerves as we waited through the 3.5 hour surgery.
We are now in the PICU in a private room and Aiden is resting comfortably. They have given him a med to help relax him as he tends to be extremely feisty coming out of anesthesia. He opened his eyes slightly at one point and called out for me :) Ricky and I were able to reassure him of our presence which settled him right back down. Then he asked for "Jake" - his stuffed toy from Jake and the Neverland Pirates and snuggled back to sleep.
After speaking with Dr. Fearon (craniofacial surgeon) and Dr. Sacco (neurosurgeon), they informed us that everything went as planned during the procedure. While his brain didn't "expand" immediately as it had done during his previous cranial vault (indicating increased pressure), the skull bone was a bit thin which might be attributed to things beginning to get a little tight in there. Either way, the surgery was needed and successful.
Dr. Fearon pulled the brow bone out - or "overcorrected" - by about a 1/2 inch. This would be equivalent to 2-3 years of normal growth. They also put a nasal bone graft in between the brow bones to improve the shape of where the nose meets the brow.
They were able to open the previous wavy incision with little issue and once again, the wound looks amazingly thin and clean. We are confident that you will hardly be able to see it once it is completely healed. Dr. Fearon believes leaving the head wound uncovered allows oxygen to penetrate the incision and promotes a faster healing rate.
As for treatment plans in the near future, he doesn't anticipate any surgeries for around 4 years when he will undergo the midface distraction with the RED device. This is great news as I will most likely need every ounce of 4 years to prepare myself for that one!
Ricky just went to grab lunch, then we will tag team - we don't want to leave Aiden's side in case he starts to wake up. If we can swap out the broken recliner in our room with a better one I am going to stay the night with him and Ricky will catch up on some sleep back at the Ronald McDonald House. I really want to be the one here with him, but Ricky has already been urging me to let him stay so I can sleep comfortably, you know, since I'm 6 months pregnant and all. We may be fighting about this until they kick one of us out tonight at 8 :)
Here are a few post-operative pics. He is only slightly swollen at this point, however the swelling will increase quite dramatically over the next 48 hours before it finally starts the slow process of subsiding (which will take a good 4-5 weeks). They assure us he is not in any pain - might just have some headaches (um, I'd say so) but from the older kids who have undergone this same procedure, they've been able to conclude that the incision site itself and post-operative pain is not too bad.
Thanks again for following Aiden's story! Feel free to share it with others by using the buttons at the bottom of this post - these craniofacial kiddos go through so much and I want to spread awareness!