Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Happy Birthday Carson

It's strange how much your life can change in the course of a day. This morning we were prepared to face the reality that our son was going to be born with a very serious birth defect which may require multiple surgeries to correct including the possibility that a section of his colon might be used as an esophagus.

Kristen was induced around 6am this morning and we had hoped that Kristen would push little Carson out around noon. However, when Dr Bodner came in to assess her progress at about 3:30 Carson still hadn't dropped down far enough and his heart rate was unstable so an emergency C-section was called.

I have never been in an operating room and was floored by the number of doctors and nurses in this tiny operating room. There were 12-14 people in the room all working in concert... simply amazing. I was sitting up near Kristen's head and holding her hand, but there was a blue curtain which shielded our view. Kristen was fully conscious the entire time. When the doctor finally pulled Carson from the womb he was extremely pale, his heartrate was about 80, and he was not breathing. We kept waiting to hear him cry out, but of course, he couldn't.

It's an eerie feeling in an O.R. when things go wrong. The tone of people's voices and the look on their faces made it abundantly clear that things were dire. The anesthesiologist actually bent over and offered to put Kristen under sedation and said that I could go to the waiting room if this was too intense for us. We both declined. Kristen and I could hear the team repeatedly attempting to get a breathing tube in him, but with no success. We heard one of the doctors ask for two different dosages of "epi" to be drawn up (not a good sign) and another was discussing the possibility of a tracheotomy.

Finally, we heard his heart rate increase and the team had been able to breathe for Carson using a bag so his blood was now getting the necessary oxygen and was flowing to where it was needed. His color turned pink and we felt a small sigh of relief. They let us spend about 3 minutes with him before whisking him away for evaluation. (see picture below... that's me in scrubs on the left).

After Kristen went to surgery recovery I rode with Carson in the ambulance over to Children's Hospital of Altanta where the team of doctors and surgeons would re-evaluate Carson's condition. However, we had been told that they had finally been successful in passing a very small air tube into his trachea (which is a very positive sign). When we arrived at the Children's Hospital they took Carson to the O.R. and told me to sit tight in the waiting room and wait for their call. Slowly, the good news started to leak in.

First, Carson did NOT have esophageal atrisia as previously diagnosed. It was a problem with his larynx. Next we learned that there was a cyst on the trachea just above his larynx (not actually on it). Finally, we learned that both his trachea and his esophagus are fully formed! They actually drained the cyst right when they found it and Carson did great through the procedure.

The last doctor I saw was Dr Gower who said to me "I want you to buy a lottery ticket for me on your way home tonight. " Apparently, of all the possible conditions which could have caused these symptoms, this was (by far) the best possible case scenario. They moved him to the NICU shortly after surgery and I got to spend about 30-40 minutes with him before returning back to Northside to be with Kristen.

The staff at both Northside & Childrens were amazing. Not only did they provide outstanding care for both Kristen and Carson, they really went out of their way to explain everything that was going on and were extremely nice. Apparently, news of Carson's condition had spread throughout the labor & delivery staff and Kristen said that one of the nurses from the O.R. came to her recovery room and actually began to cry when Kristen told her how well Carson was doing. My sincerest thanks to the entire staff of 20+ people who helped us through this. Also, thanks to my parents for being here not only today, but for the past six weeks while Kristen has been on bedrest. I have no idea how we could have done this without you.

It's been an amazing day for us... certainly one we will never forget.

Happy Birthday Carson!
Mom, Dad, and big brother Evan


Porter County Farmer said...

Isn't it great that prayer works?
What a cutie! -- and all that curly hair! And what a great website his daddy made for him!
Congrats to all of you and to the grandparents and uncles and aunts who are going to get to hold Carson.

GrOG said...


It never ceases to amaze me how fast joy and despair can trade places with each other.

I wish the best for you guys and Carson.