ECMO

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As of yesterday, Jack had utilized all available resources to help make him better – except one. As of today, that is no longer the case. Today Jack underwent surgery and was put on a machine called ECMO. ECMO is the entire reason they sent us here in the first place. Less than 100 hospitals in the United States have an ECMO machine, and to have one available to us (only 2 hours from home) is nothing short of a blessing.

Jack had a really good day yesterday. He was stable and pulling good numbers. We had planned on making a quick run to Ames, and his status made us feel better about our choice. We arrived back to Iowa City to find that he was still doing well. This morning while Adam was trying to figure out how we were going to get our flat tire fixed (a lovely surprise) he gave a call to check on Jack. They told us he had a serious dip in the numbers early this morning and they wanted to put him on ECMO this afternoon. We immediately headed to the hospital (barely making the first shuttle from where we are staying). After what can only be described as one of the longest mornings of our life, we were sent out to the lobby to await the completion of the surgery.

So, I will try to explain what ECMO is, but of course it’s pretty technical. Basically, they went in and surgically put two tubes in his neck. One of the tubes removes 80% of the blood from little Jack’s body. The blood is then run through a machine that oxygenates the blood, and then it is carried through the second tube back into his body. The purpose is to give his heart and lungs a rest so they can heal. Instead of his heart pumping the blood to the lungs where it would then be oxygenated and carried to the rest of his organs, the machine is doing all that for him: outside of his body.

To say the machine is horrific and awful to look at would be an understatement. It is hard to describe, but there are tubes running all over: filled with blood. His body is more swollen than ever (although in the next 24 hours, his body will lose A LOT of the fluid and will look almost normal. His head will remain swollen.) I have never been nauseated by blood, or needles, or anything medical really: and I had a very hard time walking into his room after he was all set up. He looks so sick and the machine is just so intense.

We were told several times today that this is the last resort. They did say that most times this machine does exactly what it needs to, but there are rare cases when it doesn’t work. Generally they would know in less then 21 days if it is going to work or not: probably more like 7-10 days. Of big concern is bleeding in the brain: which can happen because he is on a medication that makes his blood thin to avoid clotting.

Adam and I are heartbroken but we have not lost hope. Adam told me that he has been thinking a lot about the story of Lazarus. Even though Martha knew “the plan” and knew that death was not the end, she was still so sad when her plea for the Savior to save her brother appeared to be unanswered. Adam and I do know that our family is eternal and if we are not able to raise our little son in this life, we will be able to be with him in the next. All the same…we sure would love to have the chance to raise him here on Earth. We love him so much and know that he is as sweet as they come. Our prayer now is that this machine will work and Baby Jack will become strong and healthy: so that we might enjoy that sweet spirit in our life for many years to come.

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17 responses »

  1. my heavens elizabeth – your faith is nothing short of completely inspirational to so many of us!! it’s ok if you lose it for a little bit… we’ll all be here 🙂 I certainly hope that you get to raise Jack on earth too; I can’t think of a more fortunate baby than Jack, who gets to be part of your family and have you and adam’s commitment and faith right now; absolutely amazing. our thoughts are with you as always. whatever you need, whenever you need it!

  2. I want Baby Jack in your/our family for many years to come! I love that little guy so much. Our prayers and thoughts continue to be with you!
    Love,
    Mary

  3. It sounds like the staff is being up front with you and telling you what is going on, that is a blessing also. Your updates are much appreciated, I can’t imagine what you are having to endure , but we are here if you need to call someone, anytime night or day. We wish we could be there to hug you and hold you up, but know that we are in spirit. Love you guys…… Kisses to Megan from the girls.

  4. I’m still sending you my love and support and I hope things look up, but it is amazing to read how much faith you two have and inspiring.

  5. All our love and prayers are coming from this part of the State of Cal. We love you all and you are in our thoughts as you go through this most trying time. May Heavenly Father and your faith continue to hold you up. Love to you all, we will see you later.

    Love Aunt Val and Uncle Kenny

  6. Thank you so much for these blog updates. I know it’s hard to share what’s going on, but it’s a blessing to all of us to be able to mourn with those who mourn. As hard as it sounds like the ECMO machine is to watch, I hope that it works well. Love you guys! -Carrie

  7. Wow–it is always so nice to hear your updates and amazing to hear how faithful you and Adam both are! We are praying that all goes well with Jack and that you can enjoy him for a very long time!! We are thinking of you and wishing and hoping for only good things for your family and especially Jack!

  8. ECMO is a good machine to help jack out

    I have seen ECMO help many kids and I know Jack will benefit greatly from this machine

    good luck

    mark johnson

  9. We continue to keep your family in our prayers. We hope little Jack will be able to come home with you. A lucky boy he is, to have you as parents! Thank you again for allowing us to share in your journey through this blog; it’s a special blessing to us. Hang in there.

  10. We continue to pray for Jack every chance we get, and for strength to accept God’s plan. I wish we could be with you.

  11. OK about that flat tire!!!! Do you have Ezra’s number?
    Did you forget we said that they will do ANYTHING you need???? I assume that you are just too stressed and focused on little Jack, so I will call Ezra for you.

    The ECMO machine sounds so scary and yet a miracle machine. God Bless the men and women who receive
    the inspiration to build these things and God Bless the
    people who train to use them.

    There are so many miracles in our lives- and a great deal of
    sorrow and sacrifice. Both are part of the plan. I just
    pray that the miracles will rise to the surface in your hearts and memories as the days go on. And that you will continue to know you are loved Susan

  12. Thank you for the updates on little Jack. We are wishing him well and our thoughts are with you and your family. I can’t even imagine how hard this is for you. Baby Jack is in all of our kids prayers at dinner and bedtime..we love you guys..

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