Prescott, WI

The Nelson Family

Finnick Nelson
Heart Defect

Our son was diagnosed on June 12, 2019 at my 20 week Level 2 ultrasound with Transposition of the Great Arteries, a congenital heart defect . We were referred by my perinatologist to Children's Minnesota Hospital- Minneapolis Cardiology Department for his future care and following during my pregnancy. The pregnancy progressed with no further complications and our son Finnick entered this world on Monday, October 28, 2019. He was received by the Children's neonatal team and stabilized with an umbilical line to administer prostaglandin for his heart and an endotracheal tube (breathing tube) inserted as his oxygen saturation levels were low and he was displaying cyanotic extremities. Once he was stabilized I was wheeled from the operating room into the NICU resuscitation room to see our little man. I was allowed to touch him and even give him a kiss before my husband departed with the team and him for the CVICU. He was welcomed to the department by approximately 12 RN staff/doctors/respiratory therapy,  An ECHO was performed bedside and it was determined that he needed a Cath Lab procedure called a septostomy to open a hole between the upper chambers of the heart to allow better oxygenation of his blood until he had decompressed enough from the stress of delivery to undergo his open heart surgical procedure called an Atrial Switch Operation. To our surprise we were informed he would be having surgery at 2 days old! We were mentally prepared for day 4-7, which is what the surgeon told us during our initial consult. He went to surgery the morning of October 30, 2019. The procedure took 4 hours at which time he was taken to his room for recovery. During this time he was found to be unstable and having blood pressure issues. The surgeon came and talked to us and told us he would be opening his chest bedside to evaluate. There was a bleeding vessel which was causing issues. Once the bleeding was stopped it was determined to leave the chest open for two days with a synthetic dressing on it to seal it and return him to the operating room for chest closure later in the week. Trying to make the best of a stressful situation being in ICU with a newborn we decided to "celebrate" Halloween by getting dressed up. He was stable so we incorporated pirate costumes for him and Mommy. He was a big hit with the staff/doctors. Finnick was taken to the OR on Friday, November 1st for his chest closure which went very well. Little by little over the progression of his 18 day stay in the CVICU and cardiac stepdown rooms he slowly was extubated (breathing tube remove), central lines, foley catheter , umbilical line, arterial lines, and NG tube removed. He had a feeding tube inserted in his nose which ended in his jejunum which is at the start of the small intestine below the stomach so we could start feeding him breast milk. He eventually was allowed to attempt to nurse which was very tiring for him. It was compared to training for a marathon by his occupational therapist. He would sleep for hours after short attempts at the breast and was supplemented with fortified breast milk in his feeding tube. He was also started on bottle feeds which he liked because they were obviously easier for him. Little by little we worked towards going home and on Friday, November 15th we were discharged to home. What a happy day for our family of 5, but also very scary for us. Mom was very stressed even with her medical background. Maybe that made it more difficult just being knowledgeable and visualizing the things that "could" happen. We've now settled into this crazy new routine and I'm enjoying be a mother to 3 boys! Finnick's older brothers.....6 and 4 are loving him so much. 

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