Claire Bennett Update

Surgery day
**Trigger warning -distressing content**

I was up at 6am after an awful nights sleep. The ward I was on were great did my obs early and any medication so I could get to ward 1 around 6:45. Tom arrived at 7, again he had a rubbish nights sleep.

We both felt physically and violently sick, our baby who was 4 days old was going for open heart surgery. We took pictures with her, loved her and hugged her, just incase she didn’t make it through the operation. The surgeon told us yesterday that the procedure you were having called the ‘Norwood’ was the most complex surgery they could do on a babies heart.

When the time came, we had to speak to the anaesthetist and again confirm we gave consent. We walked her to theatre in her big bed and we were allowed in to the anaesthetic room, holding her hand and talking to her whilst they administered the anaesthetic to put her to sleep. We told her how much we loved her and they showed us she was on a large inflatable heated mattress that was keeping you nice and warm. Then we were escorted from the room. Once in the stairwell, we both cried so much.

We went to get all Florence’s bits from Ward 1 as we would be going to CPICU after the surgery. We had been given a parent room on Ward 1 for us to stay in which was an absolute godsend. We got a quick look around CPICU and met the Ward Sister who took us through what would be happening when she came back. The operation could take between 5-7 hours, we didn’t want to wait at the hospital so went off to Fosse park for 4 hours. After 5 and a half hours we got the call to say surgery had finished and it had gone well. We headed to CPICU to meet with the surgeon.

We spoke to the surgeon who said that surgery had gone well. We were told to expect Florence to come back from theatre with an open chest, but the surgeon said that she had tolerated the operation so well, they had managed to close the chest in theatre. He was so pumped it was infectious, we both looked at each other and said we were not going to get too hyped. We were so relieved that Florence had made it through the surgery and that it had gone well. We then had to wait to go and see her, whilst they settled her in. The ward was closed whilst she was admitted and no other parents were on the ward. We phoned the grandparents whilst we waited to come in.

Florence’s nurse came to get us because we could go and see her. There was a lot of nurses around Florries bed space all hustling and bustling. She had 3 chest drains and they kept doing something called ‘stripping the drains’ it reminded me of curling Christmas ribbon. It was very intense, so after a while we went to our parents room for 30 mins before coming back up to CPICU.

Leicester Royal InfirmaryEast midlands Congenital Heart CentreKeepthebeatHeart LinkTiny Tickers “The Tiny Hearts Charity”Little Hearts MatterBritish Heart Foundation