We had requested a "family meeting" yesterday morning to discuss Caleb's status and his need for surgery. This included the neonatologists (NICU doctors), pediatric surgeons, nurses and respiratory therapist. Since they had been unable to stabilize Caleb on the conventional ventilator, the question remained whether his CDH surgery could be performed on the oscillator ventilator. This is not preferred due to the jiggle and vibrations this vent creates on the body. During the meeting, both the surgeon and neonatologist expressed their concern that Caleb may not survive the surgery and if he did survive the surgery, they were still not sure his lungs would mature enough to allow him to breathe on his own in the future. Since Caleb had good and bad days on the vents with no consistency, the damage caused by his lungs expanding and collapsing is unknown. This lead the NICU doctors to believe that the only way to move forward would be for Caleb to undergo his CDH surgery sooner rather than later. It was then that the decision was made that surgery would be scheduled as soon as possible, which turned out to be later that afternoon. Although the hope is that they will be able to stabilize him once his bowel and liver are no longer in his chest cavity, the outcome is unclear.
The "warm and fuzzy" feeling we so desired as parents was immediately replaced with feeling helpless and scared. It was one thing to know this was a possibility, but to hear it from the doctors was much harder than we could have ever imagined. The next few hours were filled with anticipation as our family arrived at the hospital to see him, consent forms were signed, and we tried to prepare ourselves for the moment they would take him into surgery. In this time, we also received the best gift of all, which was being able to hold our baby boy for the first time at twenty-four days old. We will be forever grateful for the doctors, nurses, and respiratory therapist that made this possible.