Beautiful. Unique. Complicated. One-of-a-kind.
On Tuesday, July 17th, around 7 AM, precious Brooke Cai Wei will be going into her 2nd major open heart surgery. She will be having what is called the Fontan procedure, which is basically an operation that re-routes her blood to go around the heart, so that her heart is relieved of some of the stress. You see, Brooke was born with a very special heart....she really only has half of one, and it is positioned in her chest in a very, very unique way, which makes it slightly more difficult to operate. Her single-ventricle heart just can't keep up with the workload of pumping blood to her entire body like our two-ventricle hearts are able to do!
For all of you "medically knowledgeable" people out there, Brooke has had the first phase of this procedure in China when she was 13 months old. This is called the bi-directional Glenn shunt, which has allowed Brooke to thrive as she has, protecting her heart from being overworked and providing her body with higher oxygen amounts in her blood. In "medical speak", the Glenn connected the right side of her pulmonary artery to her superior vena cava (SVC), and then "tied up" the left side of her pulmonary artery. This takes the venous blood from her head and upper limbs directly into the lungs...completely bypassing the right ventricle! This takes a HUGE load off of her heart.
This Fontan procedure she is having will complete this re-route, by redirecting the blood from her lower extremities directly to her lungs! This procedure will connect her inferior vena cava (IVC) to the pulmonary artery, which the SVC is already connected to due to the Glenn shunt! The IVC will be connected to the pulmonary artery through a shunt or a "baffle" that the surgeon will create that will go through her heart. This will enable all of her blue (unoxygenated) blood to flow easily directly into the lungs, so that her right ventricle is only responsible for pumping her red (oxygenated) blood back out to her body. This will decrease the workload of her heart by half...which is just perfect since she only has half a heart!!
Have I lost you yet? :)
This is not an easy surgery (in case you couldn't tell) :) and we would love, love, LOVE for you to join us in prayer for Brooke. For lack of infection as she does not have a spleen (which puts her at a much higher risk), for doctors' skill and wisdom, for Brooke to be brave through it all, for peace and comfort for our family as we walk this road with her!!! Let's just say that sitting for 10 hours waiting for her to come out of surgery ain't gonna be easy, folks!!!
God has a beautiful plan for her life, and we are trusting Him with Brooke. We can do nothing to heal her heart....only HE can. Please partner with us in prayer for a successful surgery, and for a healthy, smiling, beautiful baby girl to be returned to us as quick as possible after surgery!