Welcome to India

This blog is intended to make a country that most Westerners find to be otherworldly not so much so. We enjoy sharing our experiences, noting our observations, highlighting our impressions and otherwise recounting our adventures in India while helping our blogwatchers to be vicariously closer to this grand country. Welcome to India.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

You're Out!

Our second "family exit" photo of 2013.

Here is one of many of Jaya's nurses who came to say good-bye.

With Grandma out in the real world!

A little known fact about Jaya's day of birth last March 31st is that, in addition to being Easter, it was also baseball's Opening Day.  One more reason Jaya's Dad thinks Opening Day is the best day of the year.

So it was only fitting that, on the day that the baseball season ended, so did our second stint in the UCLA's hospital.  

"You're Out!"

Infant daughter's heart surgery complete and successful?  Check.

This was also the year UCLA baseball won the NCAA championship - not sure how that fits exactly but it's on the same theme.

Jaya's heart has long since been beating with the best of 'em, but it was the fluid in her lungs that kept us in the Pediatric ICU longer than expected.  Today was day four of no fluid in the lungs, which led even the most cautious of doctors to declare our little girl "Healed and ready to go home!"

Once again, our hearts overflow with thanksgiving and gratitude.  What a 2013 it's been.  

Now back to Santa Barbara for about a month, a December of travel and, as long as everything stays strong and healthy for Jaya, back to India in early January.

Thanks for all the love and prayers, Team Jaya.  We did it!


Monday, October 28, 2013

Okay! Anytime Now!

Like my jumpsuit?

Sleeping like a Bruin.

A visit from Grandpa John.

And Uncle Todd (with a special shirt, too)

Daddy/daughter finger hugs.  Nothing better.

Still here in the hospital, a place we've grown very comfortable with after almost exactly two months here in 2013.  The fluid in the lungs has decreased, is almost under control and it just takes a few days at a time to determine exactly what is causing it or whether or not it's fixed, healed, better and/or healthy.

So here we remain.

Our long overdue exit is anticipated to be Wednesday or Thursday of this week.  Not a moment too soon.  Fortunately, we have maintained perspective, continued to appreciate all the work of our dedicated doctors, nurses and medical staff, had many visits from people along the way and know that we'll be back in the game soon.

Our daughter's heart continues to beat as strong as ever, and for this we are forever grateful.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Step-by-Step, Almost There (Still)

Daddy and daughter.

Just before surgery at the local botanical garden, Descanso Gardens.

The "journey" metaphors when living in the hospital are just too appropriate.  The goal is clear, the journey is tumultuous, the end has seemed near for over a week.  Jaya's health and surgery are, by all measures, strong and successful, but we're still here due to some stubborn fluid in the lungs that keeps returning whenever we give her food (as opposed to nutrients via IV).

So here we sit, here we remain.  Trying to maintain composure and keep our heads up knowing we will be out soon, but not as of yet.  

Our overwhelming sentiment is one of thankfulness - our daughter had open heart surgery and not only lived to tell about it, but is better because of it.  Anything but thankfulness would be a loss of perspective.

Thanks for the notes, comments, prayers, emotional support and energy you've directed our way.  

Almost there.

Monday, October 21, 2013

On the Home Stretch (despite some small setbacks)

(Above are some pictures of our daily effort to keep Jaya tolerating this environment.)

And JUST when we were practically packing our bags to leave, doctors noticed some fluid build up in Jaya's lungs that would keep us here for a few more days.  The hope is to drain this fluid with medicine early this week.  Each day it does not drain, we will be taking further steps to make sure it's gone and our little girl is (as close to) 100% when we leave.

Jaya is getting a little impatient with the ongoing nuisances, discomfort and sedentary life of the hospital.  Still using a small dose of pain meds, she is generally comfortable, but knows that this is not the life her parents have promised her.

We're hangin' in there as a family - keep praying and holding Jaya close to your hearts.  Thank you, thank you for your persistence and support!  

Saturday, October 19, 2013

A Big Step Forward

Two steps forward, one step back, then a big step forward?  We'll take it!

After a couple days that felt somewhat like stagnation, understandable when your heart was literally in someone else’s hands just days earlier, today we made the biggest leap forward so far when all of Jaya’s connecting tubes were removed and she is now virtually wire-free!

She had open-heart surgery on Tuesday.

Today is Saturday and she’s wire-free.  And in Mom's arms.

How awesome is this kid?!!!!

It shouldn’t be long now before we get word that home is coming soon.  Always remembering to keep our hopes tempered for rapid progress in these children’s ICU kind of places, we are enthused by today’s results.

Your prayers and support continue to carry us, Team Jaya!

More from us coming soon.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

"Two Steps Forward, One Step Back"

An angel and a flower

An angel and some gourds

This is what Jaya thinks of her medical team!

One of the immediate lessons we learned during our six weeks in the Newborn ICU was the consistent pattern of “two steps forward, one step back.”  Today in the Pediatric ICM we have taken a small step back on Jaya’s road to recovery.

Jaya had been back on breast milk for the first 36 hours after surgery, but we had to put her on Pedialyte only due to a tissue in her chest that still needs to heal, but without the fatty fluid so prevalent (and healthy) in breast milk.  This simply means that we have something we need to be watching closely which impacts her day-to-day routine (food) and that she has had to adjust to not having as substantive a nourishment as she normally has.  And she has some specific and unexpected improvement needed before we can take her home (again).

She is understandably uncomfortable, is back on some low doses of pain medication, feels constrained by the many wires and is simply wondering why we can’t just take her home.  With Mom by her side 24 hours and Dad there approximately 12 of those hours, she is gonna make it, but the progress of the past two days has slowed down a bit. 

At the same time, she had some more significant tubes removed today, which is the first sign of continuing recovery.

We’re in it to win it, Team Jaya.  Thank you for your consistent support and life-giving words, texts, comments, “likes” and love.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Jaya: An Ever-Improving (and Recovering) Heart

Just a few pictures here from our Pediatric ICU recovery room.  Pics of Jaya coming soon!

Day 2 of the Great Jaya Heart Mending Undertaking has shown just how resilient and strong our little girl is.  Doctors and nurses are marveling at how successful this surgery was and how well Jaya’s heart is doing, much to her parents’ relief, delight and gratitude.

Signs of an impressive recovery process:

1.    Breathing tube removed?  Check.

2.   More wires being removed daily?  Check.

3.   Blood pressure fluids and medicine decreasing?  Check.

4.   Gaining in comfort level and lowering pain medication?  Check.

5.   Eating on her own?  Check.

6.   Showing signs of her old personality?  Almost.

While we are very encouraged by all of these recovery signs, we still have more hurdles to overcome in the next week.  We are simply marveling at medicine and the expertise of the doctors and nurses all around us.

Open-heart surgery on a 6-month old?  And successful?  Astounding.

Continued prayers:

1.    Further ease of rest (last night was a long night) and regaining of strength and her little personality.

2.   Continual removing of wires and lowering of medicines due to her gaining energy and alertness.

3.   Echo-cardiograms continue to show all positive signs and great results of the miraculous surgery.

Thank you for all your effort, energy, emotional support and for beating down heaven’s door on behalf of our Jaya Marie. 

Keep it up, Team Jaya.  We’re getting there!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Jaya's Heart Surgery Complete

Jaya and Mom have some fun in the sunny Southern California pumpkin patch.

Jaya chooses her very first pumpkin to decorate her recovery room.

Waking long before sunrise at 4:30am to be admitted to the hospital at 5:30am, we were in surprisingly good spirits, hopeful, peaceful, yet really wanting our day to start and end as soon as possible.

Holding Jaya until the last moment, covered in the thoughts and prayers of so many, we released our little girl to the arms of trusted strangers and attempted to release our worries and concerns at the same time.

It would be a long day, but in the end, our little Jaya’s heart is well on its way to helping her have a long and fulfilling life.

By the end of the day, with three meals and three miles of walking complete, countless texts, ceaseless deep breaths, and a whole lotta hugs behind us, we finally talked to the surgeon who assured us that all was well and our Jaya would be on the road to recovery soon.

They successfully formed a new wall that created four chambers in her heart rather than the two she had, they checked on previous work with arteries, bands, valves, etc.  They concluded that her heart was strong enough not to need a pacemaker and also were very hopeful that she would not need future heart surgeries. 

We could not be more happy with today, and more thankful to so many of you behind us, around us, supporting us, praying with us, keeping us close to your hearts. 

Further prayers requested for:

1)   A strong and swift but complete recovery over the next 7 – 10 days.

2)   That the breathing tube would be removed soon and our little family would be officially reunited (i.e., Mom holding daughter again).

3)   No complications or unforeseen issues.

More from us tomorrow.  Right now we have a little girl to go see and love on.