Monday 3/4 – 2nd Open Heart Surgery

Thank you all for your incredible outpouring of support, thoughts and prayers today – they surely helped us get through this long and difficult day filled with uncertainty. Judah’s 2nd open heart surgery is now complete. Although it took longer than expected, and once the doctors got Judah opened up they found and fixed some other problems, but overall surgery went well and the team is happy with how it went. Now begins another long road to recovery, but we hope one of the last big steps to getting Judah healthy and ready to go home.

Our day started at about 3:30am, we prepared ourselves and went over to the Children’s Home to get Judah ready and meet the transport team. We packed up the last of our belongings and got Judah all set for travel back to Children’s Hospital. We arrived at the hospital at about 6am, and the PACU team took over prepping him for surgery. They placed IV lines, drew blood, and let us have our last little bit of time to kiss him and cuddle with him and tell him to be strong. Over the weekend the surgical team ended up adding a patient to the schedule before us, a case that they didn’t expect would take too long, so instead of getting in around 7am, Judah finally got in for surgery closer to 9am, which gave us precious few extra minutes for more kisses and cuddles, and one last chance for Judah to pee on mommy. At 8:55am they took Judah (and Yoda) back for anesthesia.


The next several hours were spent waiting and worrying. Every few hours a nurse would come out and give us a very brief update. We were told around 11am that the doctors had made the first incision just an hour earlier at 10. Around 12:30pm we were told the repair was going smoothly and Judah was stable. Closer to 2pm we received another update that work was still going smoothly, and they were getting ready to begin work on implanting the pacemaker. Our final update came at about 3pm, when the surgeon himself came out and said the major procedures were completed, and now they were just performing some final tests, taking him off of the heart/lung bypass machines, and closing him up, and we would be able to see him in about an hour or two.

When the surgeon came out to talk to us, it was obvious that this had been a tough surgical case, but he still spoke with calm and confidence. He told us that Judah’s heart was an especially difficult repair, and said to us “Judah really kicked my ass back there”. The surgery had ended up taking close to 7 hours, when he had expected it to take closer to 3 or 4. Once the doctors got in there, they repaired all of the major issues they had wanted to, the conduit and valve replacement, patching of the ASD, opening and patching the pulmonary artery, the atrial maze procedure and implanting a pacemaker. Once they got in there, they also noticed an issue with Judah’s carotid artery not pointing to the correct chamber in his heart, and they capped and fixed this issue as well.

While the surgical portion is now complete, the first 24 hours after surgery are generally regarded as the most critical. It is now that Judah will require the most monitoring and care, and as we got to go back and see him tonight after it was all finished, there was still a flurry of doctors and nurses coming in and out to check on him. He will remain sedated for up to several days, giving his heart time to regain strength and his body time to adjust to the new parts and pieces inside. The next few days will be difficult for all of us, but we know that this repair, and this recovery is just a step towards a healthier baby, and a major step to Judah finally being healthy enough to come home. This recovery could take several weeks, and only time will tell how Judah responds and what is to come next.

Our most sincere thanks to everyone who prayed, posted online, called, texted, and emailed in support not only of Judah, but also mommy’s birthday today. Though this might not have been one of mommy’s favorite birthdays, it will probably be her most memorable. We are in such awe of our loving family and friends, and even though we did not want to have any kind of birthday celebration, your thoughts and prayers helped to keep us strong. Again, our thanks, and our love to all of you during this long and difficult day, we could not have made it through without your strength and love.

As Judah begins and continues his recovery, we will be sure to keep everyone updated on his progress. Thank you for all of your support and love, and for standing by us and our brave little Judah bear.


11 thoughts on “Monday 3/4 – 2nd Open Heart Surgery

  1. I know this has been a long, hard day for all, but I truly believe this will be Judah’s first steps toward having a normal life and being able to go home with Mommy and Daddy. I have prayed for Judah from the beginning and will continue to pray; that will be the last thing I do before I sleep tonight.
    Judah’s doctor sounds fairly positive about his surgery, and I am going to believe that he knows his business! It will be a blessing for Judah to be sedated for the next few days as he will feel no pain or discomfort, and I know that’s what Mommy and Daddy want. We have a glorious God, and I am sure he will be watching over Judah during this time. I have asked him to bless and keep Judah safe during his period of healing, and I have to believe he will do that. All I can say is Glory to God for giving Judah’s doctors the knowledge and talent to do this very complex surgery to make him well!
    Happy Birthday, Mommy! I know this was a long, hard day for you, but it is the first day of your beautiful angel’s road to recovery. Think how wonderful it will be to take Judah home and give him a normal life of love and security! You all are in my thoughts and prayers each and every day. Please keep us informed of Judah’s condition. Although we don’t see him every day as you do, I know many have become very attached to your sweet baby boy!
    Blessings and love to you all,
    Trish Freeman

  2. Thank you for the update! Please know that all of us on the west coast are thinking of you and sending you all our <3 we pray for an easy recovery
    – raph, sash and Judah's Lil friend Jakey

  3. Great to hear everything went well with the surgery.I know you all have a long road ahead, but now there is light at the end of that tunnel.The end being you all will be able to be a family at home. God speed and sending prayers your way.

  4. Happy belated Jess! What a wonderful birthday present to have the surgery go well and for them to discover and fix another potential problem. I am praying very hard for little cutie pie chubby cheeks J-man. Stay strong you are so amazing to be able to handle this. You’re already proving to be one of the best mommies in the whole world. Love, hugs and prayers to you Nate and Jbear!!!

  5. Guys, stay strong! For your son! He’s a fighter and we all are following the developments and praying for him. He’s so young, but already a fighter!
    All the best – and fingers crossed!
    Maksim & family

  6. Dear Nate and Jessica, What a witness you are to the presence of God in your lives! Leaning on God’s strength you have been able to get through this last surgery and the months preceding it. How good it is that you are able to enjoy each moment with Judah to the fullest. I will keep you in prayer as Judah again begins the journey through recovery. Thank you for sharing your courageous story.

  7. Thank God for a successful surgery! Its hard to believe that someone that you have never met can pull on your heartstrings the way little Judah does! What a beautiful little guy! Stay strong J-N-J

    Love and prayers,
    Carl and Sherry Metz

  8. We are in awe with Judah and all of you, guys! We are wishing you lots of strength, determination, gratitude, and love. You are great inspiration to all of us!
    Sasha and family, Baba Raya, Valentina, and others

  9. You, your wife, and your son are an inspiration. I am praying for you. Love and hugs to you all.

Comments are closed.