Posted on June 24, 2013
As many of you already know, Owen Brian Wheelan made his entrance to this world last Monday, June 17. Siobhan went into premature labor the night before and the fetal surgery team decided to attempt the second surgery on June 17, to take the tracheal balloon out and keep Siobhan pregnant. They were unable to complete the fetal surgery and had to deliver Owen at 6:30 pm. As far as the result of the initial fetal surgery, Owen's lung development before he was born far exceeded the doctors' expectations of how much improvement we could hope for. Yay!
Despite that good news, the past 7 days have been very touch and go for Siobhan, Pete and Owen. He had been very unstable during his first few days of life and his medical team decided to do his hernia repair surgery on June 20, despite his instability. The hope was that the surgery may help improve his oxygen to carbon dioxide ratio, which had been way out of balance for unknown reasons. The diaphragm repair surgery was a success, his liver has been placed in his abdomen, and the team found a tear in Owen's bronchial stem, which was the culprit to not being able to get his carbon dioxide level down to normal. The doctors tried to fix the tear but were unable to, so Owen was placed on a high-oscillating ventilator to try to keep his lungs still enough to allow his body to heal the tear on its own. Since finding the problem and this new type of ventilator, Owen has been responding so well to his treatment and the staff has been slowly weaning down the amount of support he is getting from the machines. He is becoming more alert and active every day (especially when Siobhan and Pete are talking to him!), and his doctors say they are blown away by how well he is doing.
Siobhan has been discharged from the hospital and due to some help from some amazing people, the Wheelans were accepted into a wonderful facility close to UCSF called The Family House, where they will be able to stay until Owen is discharged from the hospital. Siobhan is still recovering from her own surgery so this young family will face some new hurdles as Pete must return to work this week, but they are beyond grateful for the love and support that family, friends, and even strangers have been showering them with. Siobhan and Pete say that they hear multiple times a day how strong of a fighter Owen is, and they believe he is benefiting from every bit of love and prayer that has been directed their way.
Thank you a hundred times over for the abundance of financial and spiritual support you have been giving Siobhan, Pete, and sweet Owen!!