First Surgery

How do you prepare yourself, your children, and your family to turn your child over for open heart surgery? I don't know if I will ever be able to be "prepared" as Jessica will have more in the future as well. Before her surgery we took pictures of each of the children with her. The top one is of our son, Matthew. So often we thought it would be Jessica going to heaven. At the end of 2004, it was Matthew who left us for heaven. We never know or quite comprehend, how God's ways are not ours.

At 13 1/2 months of age, on Oct. 29th, 1997, Jessica had her first open heart surgery. . .

. . .on Oct. 29th, 1997, Jessica had her first open heart surgery University of Michigan, by Dr. Ed. Bove. It is a day we will never forget, handing an outwardly very active, healthy child over for surgery. We stayed at a hotel the night before, not wanting the night to end as we played with her. She stood by the couch as we were looking at a magazine, taking those little inserts out and putting them in another place in the magazine - going back to it, moving it again. Our hearts ached so. How do we hand her over? What if she does not make it? Was it the right thing to do? Oh, all the thoughts exploded in our minds. We slept little that night, taking turns holding her in our bed, savoring her. I will never forget walking her to the OR. I've walked the same hall many times and it always comes rushing back in my mind, walking up the long ramp type of hallway as I was holding her, her little legs bobbing on me. I wanted to run, hide away with her. I've imagined Mary, watching Jesus as He was carrying His cross to his death destination.

They gave her medication that made her very "happy" and she waved good-bye to me, not fearing anything. I left the room weeping, falling to the floor outside. She made it through the surgery, and we saw her about four hours later. It was hard to see her with all the tubes and lines, her face puffy, but it looked like all went well. We were hopeful. Little did we know how the next few days and weeks would keep us in a whirlwind, near death's door.