Friday, June 30, 2006

Gregory family heart story.

With the birth of our son Austin came a world wind of emotions. We knew even though we were putting an end to the complicated pregnancy, that his birth would bring so many more challenges.

At 22 wks pregnant my husband and I went in for a routine ultrasound and came out not knowing the road ahead may bring. After two more ultrasounds our worst fears were confirmed… our precious unborn son’s heart did not develop right. We met with Dr. Kanakaria who bless his heart kept telling us that we did not do anything to cause this, he promised us that when Austin was born he would make sure he got the best of care. It did not keep us from wondering what we did, and making us feel like our world was being taken from us. In utero he was diagnosis with Common Atrium, Single Ventricle, Pulmonary Stenosis, and possible Heterotaxy Syndrome, and asplenia, and until he was born they would not be able to draw any further conclusions.

On July 3, 2005 Austin Skylar Gregory was welcomed to this world. As soon as he was born I got to hold my precious son in my arms, and with in a matter of seconds he was wisked away from arms and taken down to NICU. I did not want to let him go, but made sure my husband followed him and watched him closely. Not long after his birth he was vented, but seemed to remain stable. As the days went on we thought he was progressing well and soon would be on his way home. Then we got the call…and when we thought the ride was coming to an end, we QUICKLY realized it was just getting started. One minute we were told that our son would be coming home in a few days, and the next Dr. K decided that Austin was going to need to get the BT Shunt placed in after all. Three days later he was in surgery. Dr. Bailey said the surgery worked great and he should be home by that weekend, but that night he had a few setbacks. My husband, Suzy, and I watched as the doctors calming starting bagging our son. In a matter of days he turned for the best…the ride was looking good. Once again we prepared to bring our precious angel home. The day we were getting ready to bring him home, he starting having complications with his breathing and heart. Dr. K and Dr. Bailey decided to do an echocardiogram. We were told that the procedure should only take an hour, well an hour turned into a few hours. All of a sudden we got the call to meet the doctor on the heart floor. We were told that Austin would need emergency open-heart surgery. The BT Shunt was clotted. The doctors gave him little chance for survival. They did not foresee him making it out alive. All we could do was cry and hold each other hoping for the best. My husband and I got to spend about an hour with our son before going into surgery. He lay there hooked up to machines, he looked so peaceful, but yet his heart was still broken. Would he ever be whole again?? Me and Mitch got to go down with him to the OR, when the time came to leave him there not only were we but the nurses eyes were filled with tears, we all feared the worst.

The Surgery was a SUCCESS; it did not take long at all. Dr. Bailey and his team did a great job. Austin once again proved just how strong he was. He was a fighter. and like papa called him he was a TIGER They had to leave his chest open, because of the swelling. They decided not to put any more pressure on his chest. He was in critical condition but he was doing well. We had spent the next day by bedside watching our angel, and within ten minutes of leaving his side we started to have a heart attack. Luckily Dr. Bailey was at his bedside and literally used his fingers to pump Austin’s heart. Austin’s body functions started to fail at time but the doctors always seemed to make everything work again. He then got NEC and his abdomen soon became swollen, after about a week he fought it off with the help of strong medication. He was looking good again. I finally got to hold him, but it was not for long he seemed to not be doing well off the ventilator, so they had to re-intibate him. Then his central line got infected and when they pulled it our blood clots released into his body. Austin did not let them get him down; he fought and kept fighting harder then ever. It was so hard to just sit there and watch our son go through all of this knowing there was nothing we could do to make things better for him. Why couldn’t it have been us? We would have done anything to take his place. A week later, Austin suffered from a neurological stroke. He was down for some time. Dr.’s feared the worst. What kind of damage happed to him during that down time?? They thought he may have lost his vision. After that he just laid there helpless. They were no longer able to take blood from the line, and he was getting bedsores. The NEC came back. Things were not looking good. We had to start deciding how far we were going to push our son. The doctors wanted to place a broviac in put the day they planned to do it, they soon realized his veins and arteries in his upper body were no longer any good. They were thinking about placing it in his upper thigh. They sent in someone to let us know what the changes would be. My husband asked her what the chances that this will work are and what are his chances of survival. She looked at us with tears in her eyes and said it would only give him a few more days of life, that they knew he would not live to see his first birthday. We were so overcome with emotions; all we could do was lay our heads by our sons and cry. After some more tests were taking they realized that his body had been full of at least 35 blood clots and inside the clots were sepial fungus. They said they could get rid of the fungus, but they would have to get rid of the clots first, and that could take months to do. Austin did not have months. He was swollen from head to stomach, and some times you could see blood at the edge of his eyes. He was not looking good, and you can see he was getting tired. He no longer help our fingers like he once did, and he just lay there lifeless, even though he had been off the drugs for a while. He would not wake up. Then the news came that his head was swelling. Apparently he had a blood clot on the base of his brain blocking the blood from leaving his brain. They wanted to put drains in his head to take care of the blood problem. But they said there is a good chance that he would die in OR. They said a healthy child does not have a good chance of survival, so his were really not good. When we looked at our precious son we knew he was tired and it was time to just let him rest. I could put him through anymore pain. My husband and I decided to place him on comfort care. We left the vent on and continued his medication, but did not allow any more intervention. If he started to pass they were to call us. Four days later, on August 29, 2005 we received a phone call that it is time and for us to get there quick. We lived about 45minutes away so we called his godmother Suzy and asked her if she would go sit with him. We wanted someone that loved him there with him if he passed away before we got there. When we got there we were a companied by his godfather Scott, godmother Suzy, and Janet a family friend. My husband and I went up to his room. We got him dressed in his coming home outfit. We talked to him and told him that we loved him so much, and we would really miss him. Then we had them take everything off of him. We did not want him to pass hooked up to wires and machines. My husband Mitch made sure they gave him plenty of drugs so he would not feel pain. And then we took turns rocking him. It was only the forth time I help him and my husbands 3rd. Mitch knew how important it was for me to be the one who held him as he passed. I was to first to hold him when he came into this world and I was going to hold him as left. It took him 15minutes and I fell that he felt no pain. He gasped for a breath three times and on the third one he passed away. He looked so peaceful, like a little angel. My husband rocked him, and then I got my first and last dance with him. It felt like he was in heaven dancing with me. After Scott, Suzy, Janet, Joey (Mitch’s brother) and Mitch’s dad came in and held him too. When the time came to take him down Joey wanted to go with him, and it made my husband and I realize we could not let him go alone. So with a lot of persuading they let me sit in a wheel chair and carry him down. We took him into the morgue and gave him kisses.

He service was beautiful; Mitch and I dressed him, did his hair, and arranged all of his tigers around his casket. It was our way of showing him to all those who never got to see him.

His life was never easy but he was a strong fighter. We were not only proud, but also blessed to be his parents. Looking back on the experience it was a long roller coaster ride, but well worth it. We promised ourselves that as long he got one breath of life then we did him right, we did not let them talk us into aborting him when we were pregnant, because we knew he was special and deserved a chance. Austin was too precious to live on this earth. God had something else planned for him. He is now our angel. We knew that it was his time; we had to let him go to heaven so he could be hole again. We did not do it for ourselves. This was all about his quality of life. My husband and I may now live with a broken heart, but our son’s heart is whole again, and that’s what matters. We will never be the same people again, but we learned that family is what matter and nothing else. Austin will forever be remembered. He had such a huge impact on people’s lives. We thank you Austin forever thing you taught us, you are truly a miracle, and a beautiful angel. We know you are up there in heaven watching out for all the other heart babies. WE LOVE YOU!!!!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

God Bless you Austin, and happy first birthday in heaven. We miss you terribly
Suzy, Austins Godmother, Tanners Mom.

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