We were told that Ava had to have emergency surgery and was being transported to CHLA. This was all planned before her birth and they knew there was a possibility that she might need emergency surgery. I spoke with Dr. Kallin, Ava’s surgeon, over the phone and he said he would be at CHLA in 30 minutes. So, I ran out of Kaiser Sunset and left Alex with her family. My mom and I ran to CHLA’s CICU,  about two blocks down on the same street. CHLA already knew what was going on but they had us wait because Dr. Kallin was not there yet. Once Dr. Kallin got there I was told to meet him. The area of the CICU I was lead through was like a labyrinth, I assumed I was where surgeries were performed. I was taken to a secondary waiting room while my mom waited in the main waiting room. Dr Kallin came and gave me a short rundown with two other hospital employees. Ava was still having tests and echos done and I was told the man performing these tests was the best at what he does.

Then I went back to wait with my mom in the main waiting room. We waited until Dr. Kallin called me and my mom into a private room. Dr. Kallin gave me more information about the surgeries to be performed, this is when I signed the release forms for surgery. He made a comment about not wanting to even begin discussing the possible brain damage Ava might have because they had a difficult time getting her across the street. They were still in the process of doing the tests and although they said the veins were small they had not yet told me that they couldn’t do the surgery. Dr. Kallin said that if I were to hear from him soon that it was bad news, that I didn’t want to hear from him until after the surgery. This was at about 7:30 P.M. I asked about survival rates but I didn’t know the right questions to ask so I got the wrong answers. I said that I hoped I didn’t hear from him.

I went downstairs and called Alex’s parents. I told them things weren’t looking good and asked them to not tell Alex yet because I was scared of her reaction. Her parents said they were going to come and speak to Dr. Kallin with me and left Alex with her sisters. I waited in the lobby downstairs while my mom waited upstairs in the CICU waiting room. Alex’s dad called and it sounded like they couldn’t find us. So, I went outside and saw Dr. Kallin speaking to Alex’s parents, grandparents, and my mom. He had found my mom upstairs and came outside with her to find me. That’s where Dr. Kallin explained to all of us that he was not capable of doing the surgery because Ava’s pulmonary veins were too small.

After that he took us all upstairs and we were hassled by security. Ava was still downstairs in an emergency area and we were waiting to see her in the CICU waiting room. Alex’s parents stayed until we all saw Ava. The social worker helped us get Alex an emergency discharge and counseled us on the best way to tell Alex about what was going on. After that Alex’s parents left to get her from the recovery room at Kaiser Sunset. As I waited for Alex I played with Ava’s hair and rubbed her head. When Alex came I met her in the hallway upstairs, she couldn’t walk, and I took her into Ava’s room to tell her everything I was told so far.

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