I can’t think of a better way to ring in 2014 than by bringing my thirteen month old son, Kane, home from the hospital. We were discharged from the Stollery Children’s Hospital on December 31st, just in time for a New Years celebration!
Kane was admitted to the Stollery on Friday, December 27th for open heart surgery. Dr. Ivan Rebeyka and his team successfully repaired Kane’s Supravalvular Aortic Stenosis during a surgery that felt as though it took forever, though in reality was only about four hours.
No matter how many times I have photographed heart babies, nothing could have prepared me for seeing my own child in the Pediatric Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (PCICU) after surgery. The swelling, the tubes, the IVs…overwhelmed me. I knew Kane was in the best possible place with the most capable people, but my gut reaction was still panic.
Prepare yourself the next few photos are intense…
Throughout Kane’s time in hospital, I kept family and friends updated through a group on Facebook. This was a phenomenal way to be able to get information and photos out to everyone, but also was a huge support system for my husband, Harrison, and I. The positive messages posted on every update and photo kept us going and though I didn’t often reply to specific comments, know that each one touched us deeply and helped us through a tough time.
Kane spent two nights in the PCICU, before moving to the Pediatric Cardiology Unit (4C3) where he spent another two nights. Kane’s speedy recovery can be partially credited to his amazing resilience and determination to get moving again, but the rest of the credit goes to the nurses, surgeons, cardiologists, residents, fellows, respiratory therapists, physiotherapists…I hope I’m not missing anyone…who supported him during surgery and his recovery.
Please feel free to share our journey. My hope is that parents going through a similar experience will see a success story, hospital staff will see gratitude, and organizations like the Family Centred Care Network, Treasure Life, Ronald McDonald House, and the Madden Deluca Foundation will see that they are making a difference.
Our experience has strengthened my passion for photographing medically fragile babies. If you know a family who would appreciate the gift of family photographs, whether in hospital or after they are at home, please contact me.