So after weeks of Oliver becoming increasingly well we got the transplant call at 3.30am on Thursday 20th March….a potential donor had been found and Oliver would be going to theatre around 8am.
Our initial reaction was shock, he was doing well, his billirubin had fallen, maybe Oliver could fight this, but once we’d woken up and done the English thing of making a cup of tea we agreed we knew this was the best time and we might not get this opportunity again.
After making arrangements for Ella we woke her and explained we were going on an adventure and that Oliver was going to get his new liver and tummy and dropped her off at her Nan and Granddad’s before heading to the hospital.
Oliver was awake even though it was early and still dark and must have wondered why Mummy and Daddy were there so early! Oliver’s favourite nurse Amanda had him overnight and she too shared our nerves!
Packing up Oliver’s belongings seemed so odd after nearly 4 months on Ward 2 but Oliver thought it was great seeing toys he’d not seen in ages and found a cuddly hippo hilarious…making us feel more guilty for what he was about to go through. Both Oliver’s liver and gastro consultants came to see us and as the night team nurses went home they popped their heads in to wish Oliver well.
We got Oliver into his gown and took him to theatre at 10.30 where I was able to hold him while he was put to sleep and the transplant coordinator said she’d update as half way through which would be around 4pm, the operation would take around 12 hours so we had a very long day ahead.
After wandering around Birmingham for most of the day we got a room at Ronald Mcdonald House where we could stay and got the update at 4pm that all was going well. Finally our next update came at 7pm and we were told to get to Intensive Care for 8.30pm.
And there he was, our beautiful little boy fast asleep hooked up to so many lines and monitoring and he’d made it through the first big hurdle. His poor tummy looked like it had a football in it and the surgeon said he’d aim to start closing Oliver’s tummy over the weekend. As Oliver had such a small tummy it was not possible to close it straight away. We met the surgeon and anaesthetist who’d without a doubt had an exhausting day and they told us it had gone as well as expected but to be prepared for setbacks. We returned to be with Oliver before saying goodnight and getting some much needed sleep.
Yesterday we spent the day by Oliver’s side and so far so good. Being the little fighter he is Oliver was resisting the sedation and trying to grab his ventilator tube and looking around at us and holding onto our hand. Some of the nurses from Ward 2 also came too see him.
The next steps will be to try and close Oliver’s tummy and then they can try to reduce his sedation and ventilator. Oliver’s now on a cocktail of medication to manage his pain, infection and to stop his body rejecting his new organs and some of these will be for life.
It’s surreal to believe that less than a month after signing the consent forms the wait is over and we now just have to hope that Oliver recovers well. Finally we can make some progress…and that’s all thanks to the family who through their own loss were able to help our little boy.