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Liz Stokes


OHS… It wasn’t until I was on the CICU floor that I learned what those three letters stood for, open heart surgery.

July 30th. Our son is just two weeks shy of three months old. We should be at home watching him roll over, feeding him bottles, traveling, and showing him off to family and friends yet here we are in the CICU and his own great grandmother who’s 96 years old has yet to hold and love on this kiddo. This stay is starting to take a toll. I miss my bed, I miss human interactions, I miss my friends, I hate walking in the halls. My anxiety is out of control because I find my OCD reappearing. I’m taking control over the things I can control and I’m pretty sure I’m driving Rob crazy. I’m back to my routines- superstitions to keep the negative from happening and the positive flowing. I know it’s all ridiculous but it helps me to have some control when I know I have no control.

Lesson learned. At that moment, I let go. I gave it all to God and you know what- my anxiety immediately diminished. That is until I walked through security at Children’s.

My son was having open heart surgery for the second time in less than three months. We walked in with no fear. This time I didn’t turn sob queen when my son was rolled out the door. I just knew he would return.

“Lord please be with the surgical and anesthesiologist teams, doctors, nurses, assistants, and staff as we enter this next stage of Carter’s journey. Help guide Dr. Bryant through this procedure. Be with Carter and help him to remain strong and courageous through this operation and the coming days. Help to heal his heart and keep the blood clots away. Help our family to be strong for Carter and keep him calm over the coming days. Thank you for bringing Carter and his family into our lives. Amen.” – Carter’s Momma

Little man pulled through like a champ. Carter is out of surgery and they were able to close his chest! We are waiting to see him. They repaired the patch, removed scar tissue, elongated it, and used a different and stronger material to correct it. They did not add another shunt. If they had after repairing the patch it would’ve provided too much blood flow/oxygen to his lungs. When he came out of surgery (aka at his sickest) already his sats were in the mid 80s and all other numbers were looking amazing! He’s only on 40% oxygen. That’s less than when he went in!

The coming 48 hours are critical for Carter. and even after those have lapsed we will not be out of the woods. He has a pseudoaneuroysm in his groin from his heart cath. aka a blood clot. It’s small. Dr. Bryant believes it will be ok and dissolve on its own before becoming a threat. Blood clots for the coming three months are a real threat- they are life ending if they go anywhere near his torso.

Goals are to continue weaning oxygen and get him off the ventilator.

Dr Bryant is looking to do his next open heart surgery at the end of October. He’s headed out for his vacation and jokingly said he hopes not to see us upon his return.

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