Tuesday, June 4, 2013

a successful surgery!

You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
Psalm 139:13&14

Phebe - Open Heart Surgery

Firstly, let me just say... Praise the Lord! Our prayers were answered in a BIG way, to God be the glory.

Phebe had her surgery on Thursday 30th May and was discharged on Monday 3rd June - 4 days post-surgery! In fact, she took her first cautious steps just 24 hours after surgery on Friday 31st May - where she walked to the toilet for a pee - she was having none of this diaper stuff! Her progress was nothing short of a miracle. I have to admit though, she got a lot of her tubes/wires/lines/catheter taken out just before she took those 8 steps back and forth to the toilet and we knew she was in a lot of pain while they were being removed... she was exhausted and promptly fell asleep! By Friday evening she was given the go ahead to be taken from the intensive care unit to the surgical ward.

On Saturday the doctor's came around, they were amazed with her progress and said she was in a position that she could almost have went home, but because she was just 48 hours post-open-heart-surgery they just didn't feel right about sending her home so soon! She walked to the playroom and thoroughly enjoyed her time there, she spent a good part of the day out of bed, she wanted to sit on the seat, she wanted her noodles... basically, there was no stopping her!

By Sunday she was marching around the ward, chatting and showing off her new pajamas to the nurses, she was even trying to CLIMB! I was amazed with her progress.

On Monday all her monitors were turned off and she had her final ECHO, x-ray and bloodwork... I say final, but in fact this ECHO is her new baseline, her new normal, with her fixed heart! We also gave her a little bath, which she loved. We were later discharged, 4 days post-surgery!

God is so amazingly good.

Phebe had so many friends and family praying for her, we couldn't have gone through this without them, we are so thankful for each of those prayers. The incredible surgeons and team that looked after us during our stay at CHEO (Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario) are nothing short of amazing. I am just going to put the names down here, so some day when she's older, Phebe will know all those who loved on her and made this possible, especially those surgeons and their incredible God given skills. We are so blessed that they are part of Phebe's story: Dr. Maharajh & Dr. Shanmugam - the two surgeons that completed the surgery. Jocelyn & Andrea - the surgical nurse and social worker that kept us calm and updated prior to and during surgery. George & Marissa - the two nurses in the PICU unit that were with us during those first two days of recovery. And then there were many other nurses during our remaining days in the surgical ward (5 East, Room 3): Dianne, Rebecca, Shannon and Eleanor.

Now a little background... the 5mm hole they went in to fix actually turned out to be a 10mm hole and there is still a small leakage now, after surgery. We knew this was a possibility, because of the stitching around the patch. This leakage is very minor, at this stage it is considered a heart murmur, however there is still a high chance of probability that it will fix itself over the next few weeks. The scar tissue that forms around the stitches (that were used to sew the gore-tex patch on the hole) may close over where the leakage is. Also, this is definitely not a reason to go back in and fix it again, the only difference this slight murmur will have on her life is when she visits the dentist, she will need to take an antibiotic prior to the visit.

We are so relieved this surgery is behind us and we can't help but praise our little girl, for her courage and bravery. We were told when they woke her up after surgery, she was a little hysterical, asking for us... so they sedated her to calm her down. When we were finally able to see her, she could hardly keep her eyes open from the sedation, but you could tell how glad she was to see us. She would come in and out of reality, touching us, holding our fingers, appreciating us running our fingers through her hair. It was so special. This whole experience has created a very special unique bond between us all. She trusted us every step of the way, she leaned on us and I know she clung to our love and care even more than ever.

Here are some pictures (taken with my little point & shoot camera) to document her time in hosptial:


Thursday 30th May : Pre-Surgery

Phebe - Heart Surgery Phebe - Heart Surgery


Thursday 30th May : Post-Surgery

Phebe - Heart Surgery Phebe - Heart Surgery


Friday 31st May : Day 1 Post-Surgery
Stomach tube out, electrical wires out, neck line out. catheter out and her first cautious steps to the toilet.
She was discharged from the PICU and taken up to the surgical ward, later that evening.

Phebe - Heart Surgery Phebe - Heart Surgery Phebe - Heart Surgery Phebe - Heart Surgery


Saturday 1st June : Day 2 Post-Surgery
She loved being reunited with her sister, that's when we saw her first grin of happiness.
We even made it to the playroom today. And she got to eat her favourite comfort food, Mr. Noodles!

Phebe - Heart Surgery Phebe - Heart Surgery Phebe - Heart Surgery Phebe - Heart Surgery Phebe - Heart Surgery Phebe - Heart Surgery Phebe - Heart Surgery


Sunday 2nd June : Day 3 Post-Surgery
There was no stopping our little fighter, she even went as far as attempting to climb today!
She also marched around the ward, chatting with the nurses and showing off her new pajamas.

Phebe - Heart Surgery Phebe - Heart Surgery Phebe - Heart Surgery Phebe - Heart Surgery


Monday 3rd June : Day 4 Post-Surgery
She got her final ultrasound, bloodwork and x-ray and we were ready for home.
Not before a bath and a final goodbye to Dr. Shanmugam, who she adored. He teased her a lot about Tigger & Foxy, which she loved!

Phebe - Heart Surgery Phebe - Heart Surgery Phebe - Heart Surgery

Thank you so much for all your prayers and love, it is humbling how many of you have reached out to us in the past week.

[ the flickr set is here ]


  1. That is an amazing story of one brave little girl! I am so glad that the experience was good (thanks to the Dr.) and that she has recovered so quickly! I love the photo of her with Lilah and of course the very first one... it is so poignant.

  2. It is wrenching to see it all...but so obvious this little one felt the prayers. I am so glad to see her smile and know this is behind you all. Sweet sweet angel.

  3. Oh Jill, I'm a little teary eyed reading this post. Your little Phoebe has come through so so much and You are quite right to be very proud of her!

    What wonderful news that her op has been a success!!!

  4. Anonymous05 June, 2013

    she is one brave soul and will do great great things! bless you and your family for unconditional love. her smile and zest for life is so contagious!!!


  5. So happy to read that she is doing so well. Love the picture of Lilah hugging Phebe in the hospital bed. God is good!

  6. What wonderful news !!!
    Yourblittle girl is so brave

  7. Your little princess is so brave and strong! What a great lesson of courage and resilience, she is just amazing! I wish you a full recovery little angel, you and your sister are amazing and you are blessed to have such a loving and caring family!
    Sweet hug to you, little Phoebe!
    Guylaine, mother of 2 little China girls xx

  8. What a beautiful and brave little girl!She will be fine,God is good!Kisses

  9. Anonymous07 June, 2013

    Just catching up on the blogs. So happy to hear that surgery went well and that Phebe is recovering nicely. Thanks for sharing these personal and beautiful photos. Wishing continued successful and quick recovery, Wen

  10. How wonderful! I'm so happy everything has gone so well!

  11. Simply amazing. I got teary as I read about her needing you all so much when she awoke from surgery. What an incredible bonding experience. That must be at least one of the silver linings of little Phebe having to go through this ordeal.

    I'm overjoyed for you all. And I can't wait to hear how you'll keep up with the little miss with all the energy she'll have now!