“Just remember, you can do anything you set your mind to, but it takes action, perseverance, and facing your fears.” ~Gillian Anderson

Monday, March 25, 2013

Owen Robert Bell

*This is an email that my dad wrote and sent to their friends and family.  I thought that this was the best way for me to post about what our sweet angel has gone through so far in his life.
Owen Robert Bell—
My Life so far:
Born 8.08 pm on February 26 ,2013 weighing 8lbs 10oz and 20 inches long in Orem, Utah, much to the delight of parents Damon & Sian, his siblings, Olivia & Sophie, Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles and cousins, family friends and relatives.

Eyes open and surveying the world unaware of the drama to follow.

His pediatrician (Dr. Edwards from Alpine Pediatrics) noticed a heart murmur and ordered an EKG. The result was that Owen was rushed by ambulance 40 miles up the Interstate to Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City where he was immediately placed on a regiment of drugs to stabilize his condition. On Tuesday, March 5th, 2013 Owen underwent a 5 hour open heart, by pass surgery performed by the chief pediatric, thoracic surgeon Dr. Gruber and his wonderful medical team. His surgery went very well. The team had to repair three issues. 1. Replace a portion of his Aortic arch because his aorta was too small to allow blood to flow to his body. 2. Repair a Coarctation of the Aorta which means his Aorta was too narrow and 3. a Ventricular Septal Defect which was a large hole (6mm) between his left & right ventricles which are the pumping chambers of the heart. He also has a few small holes in the upper chambers of his heart which (apparently) are no cause for concern. The VSD was repaired by placing an H type of mesh device into the opening. The surgery which took about five hours involved stopping is the young heart, completing the surgery, and then restarting his heart. They were able to fix all of Owen’s issues with no complications.

In the picture you can see the Owen is on a ventilator, and numerous other intravenous tubes. Owen was in the cardiac intensive care unit (CICU) for twelve days. He was extubated but could only maintain breathing on his own for about 15 min. as his lungs had collapsed, and he needed to be re-intubated again. Two days later he was extubated again and, this time he did well.

This was Owen on his 2 week birthday. He is still looking very sorry for himself but is still receiving expert attention from his personal nurses in the CICU. He had visits from Grandpa Allen, Uncle Jimmy and was as fed up as everyone else from the constant questions being asked by Granddad Bob. Of course Mommy and Daddy were there everyday and sometimes even having a sleepover. Nanny Barbara had a tough time with all of the nasty bits and was the substitute Mom for Olivia & Sophie. Owen now has a 3 inch incision scar on his chest which is healing nicely. Even though he seems at peace in this photo, he has endured many doses of morphine, is still on the ventilator and also a nasal feeding tube. He receives his medication intravenously and has a catheter to remove his waste fluids. He hasn’t been able to feed for 10 days and will have to undergo a swallow test before he is discharged.

Sian finally gets to hold her baby. After twelve days in the CICU, Owen was moved to the third floor Cardiac Recovery Unit where he was on 7 liters of oxygen. Overnight this was reduced to 5L and then 4L and then 2 liters. Finally he was weaned off oxygen onto room air and even though the picture below shows him in his car seat with oxygen, he is only on a very low amount.

He is now at home in Eagle Mountain, Utah being fussed over by his two older sisters. We are also grateful for the excellent medical attention that Owen received in his first three weeks of life. We are amazed that the surgeons were able to work on a heart which is roughly the size of a walnut. We are grateful for all of the prayers and good wishes that were sent to Owen and his family. We thank you all from the bottom of our hearts for your kind thoughts and prayers.