Life Flight

We arrived home with Tucker on July 3rd, spent 4th of July with my family, and went to his first pediatrician appointment the morning of July 5th. Travis, Teigen, Tucker and I went to his appointment at 9:00 AM feeling confident that Tucker was doing well and that it would just be a quick checkup. Oh boy were we ever thrown for a loop when the nurse tested his oxygen level and got readings around 60. Tucker’s allowed oxygen range is 75-85. She immediately got the doctor and had him try. After getting similar results he grabbed the phone and called Tucker’s pediatric cardiologist. Unfortunately his pediatric cardiologist was out of town. The next option was to call the Seattle Children’s Hospital Cardiac Unit. The doctors at SCH decided that Tucker was at risk and needed to be life flighted back to SCH as soon as possible.

SCH immediately deployed a life flight jet and specialty nurses from Boeing Airport in Seattle. While they were in route Tucker was being swarmed over by doctors and nurses in Bozeman. After the pediatrician made the call he placed Tucker on oxygen and sent us to our local hospital. When we arrived there Tucker was admitted into the nursery. He was intubated, given a blood transfusion, hooked to numerous monitors, and much more. The doctors and nurses worked on him and monitored him until the life flight nurses arrived. The life flight nurses were updated on his condition and then began prepping him for travel.

Around lunch time the doctor in charge told Travis and I that one parent would be allowed to fly with Tucker. They said that whoever was flying with him should rush home, pack a bag, and return to the hospital within an hour. We decided that it would be best if I flew with Tucker, Travis drove, and Teigen stayed with my parents. Therefore I sped home the 12 miles, packed as fast as I could, and then headed back to the hospital. When I returned the doctor said that the life flight nurses decided that they wanted to get Tucker 100% prepped and safe for travel before we headed out. They said there was a lot of turbulence on their trip in and they expected more of it on the way out. They estimated we wouldn’t be leaving the hospital until about 5:00 PM. Travis decided to head home, get packed, and hit the road, while Teigen and I and my family sat and waited.

At 5:00 PM they rolled Tucker out of the nursery in the airplane safe setup and headed for the ambulance. In the hallway outside the nursery the nurses paused for a moment so that all of the family could wave and blow kisses to Tucker. I quickly gave Teigen kisses and hugs, thanked my family for sitting with me all day, and ran to catch up to Tucker and the nurses. We loaded into the ambulance and headed for the airport. At the airport we loaded into the life flight jet and began our ascent. I stared out the window of the jet and tried to keep it together as my mother waved goodbye from the parking lot below.

We arrived at Boeing airport, switched to another ambulance, and headed for Seattle Children’s Hospital. It was late by the time we got to the hospital. When we arrived at the ICU I had to wait in the hallway. About a half an hour later they finally let me be by his side. They informed me that his normal team of doctors wouldn’t be in until Monday morning therefore until then they would work on keeping him stable. On Monday morning his team of doctors would access his situation, make a plan, and do everything they could to help him. I sat by Tucker’s side for the next couple of hours. Travis and his parents (who met up with him part way) finally arrived around one o’clock in the morning.

What an emotional day. When we first found out Tucker had a heart disease I was 4.5 months pregnant. We had 4.5 months to emotionally prepare for everything that the doctors said he would require. This time was different. We were caught so off guard. We were so happy to have finally arrived home with our baby. We went to the appointment thinking everything was fine and had accepted the fact that doctors said he shouldn’t need another surgery until around six months of age. Talk about wanting to have a melt down and a cry session, but at the same time knowing that we have to keep it together for our 4 year olds sake and for Tucker’s sake.


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