our little man...

Our little man isn't so little anymore!

     Last week at his 2 month appointment he weighed 15 pounds (97+%) and was 22 1/2 inches long (40%)!   The doctor was pleased with his growth and said "he looks absolutely perfect".  I am hoping his weight gain slows a little bit so I can enjoy a "little" baby a while longer.
     His left arm is doing great and is just as active and strong as his right.  Connor is able to hold his head up pretty well on his own and loves stretching out and kicking his arms and legs around!
We went to Oklahoma City for Thanksgiving and were away from home for 10 days.  Connor got to meet a lot of our friends and family and was really well behaved.  Thanks to Anthony's mom "Cici" we were able to go out a couple times without the baby!
     Connor is such a good baby. We have been able to take him most anywhere and he rarely cries in public.  We have been able to go out to dinner, shopping and even went to a Christmas concert put on by the Houston Symphony.  He is starting to sleep through the night and sleeps from 6 to 8 1/2 hours straight!  This makes for a very happy and rested Mommy!
     Sarah, Clint and Brooks welcomed little Bennett Payson into the world in November and we are all able to be at the hospital to meet him!  Connor is excited to have a cousin his age with whom he will cause lots of trouble!
     I am going back to work part-time in the new year and am already dreading leaving my little guy but I am also looking forward to seeing patients again :) We found a great home daycare that Connor will attend 3 days a week.


Already 6 weeks!

Our precious Connor is 6 weeks old and the most darling baby.  He is truly a gift from God and we couldn't be more thankful for him.  I think back on my pregnancy and how he literally GREW inside me for those 9 long months.  I obviously knew that at the time but seeing the end product is just amazing.  Every little pain and discomfort was absolutely worth it and part of a miracle.  He is perfect and I often pinch myself just to make sure this is all real.

Connor is growing so fast.  He weighs around 12 1/2 pounds and is quite chunky!  His belly is big and already has arm and leg rolls!  You would never believe he was in the NICU for the first 10 days of his life or that we wasn't allowed to eat for the first 5 days.  His left arm is almost 100%.  He moves it all around but it is just a little weaker than the right but gets stronger all the time.  During tummy time, Connor is starting to hold his head up and rotates it side to side.

We went to Dallas last weekend and Connor slept the whole 3 hour drive!  My mom threw a little sip and see for our friends there to meet him.  He slept the entire time and the rest of the day.  Poor little guy was worn out!  He still eats about every 3 hours during the day but is starting to stretch out night feedings and giving me 4-6 hours of straight sleep!

I am feeling great and am fully recovered from the c-section.  I started running again this week and am slowing getting back in shape.  My goal is to run a half marathon in the spring.  Anthony is in full force Ironman training.  He wakes up early to train and fits in workouts during his lunch break so that he gets to spend time with Connor and me in the evenings.  In the morning, Anthony gets Connor from his crib and loves on him before his morning feeding and hardly puts him down in the evenings.  It is so sweet to see them together!

We are heading to Dallas this Friday to meet our new nephew/cousin.  Sarah's c-section is at noon and we are so excited to meet the 3rd little boy cousin!  After that we are heading to Oklahoma City for the week of Thanksgiving. We are happy that all our friends and family are going to meet Connor.

Thanks again for all the prayers, messages and texts!  Hope everyone is enjoying the cooler weather.  I am taking advantage of my little baby heater named Connor and spend much of the day snuggling with him :)

Our growing baby

Connor had his one month appointment yesterday and he gained 3 pounds in two weeks!  He is 11 pounds 4 ounces.  I guess all those hours we spend nursing are paying off!  He is in the 94th percentile for weight and 50th for height.  Anthony is disappointed with his height and his hopes for Connor to be an Olympic swimmer.

Connor is moving his left hand and wrist!!  It's an answer to all our prayers!  I knew it would just take time for the nerves to heal but seeing that cute little hand open up for the first time brought tears to my eyes!  It is still not as strong as the right we are hopeful that it will be soon.  While the doctor was examining Connor yesterday he commented on how strong his legs are and of course Anthony's response was "he's going to be a great cyclist".  God help this child if he doesn't love all things triathlon!

The blood clot is GONE!!!  We went for another ultrasound 2 weeks ago and the blood clot in his brachial plexus was no where to be found.  The doctors thought this would take up to 6 weeks and we would have to continue to give him the blood thinner shots twice a day until it was gone.  Thankfully we don't have to give those shots anymore it just broke my heart every time the tiny needle poked his leg.  Thank you all so much for the prayers they have truly been answered!

Here are a few pictures from the past couple weeks!

Connor's nursery

Here are some pictures of Connor's nursery.  There are a couple more things I need to hang but who knows if/ when that will happen.  I am glad that I got the bulk of it done before Connor made his early appearance =)

we are home!

Last Thursday we got the go ahead to GO HOME!  YAHOO!!!!  The only test/ procedure still on the doctors list was figuring out the right amount of Lovenox (blood thinner) to be giving Connor each time.  Every person metabolizes the medication differently and it is important to always give the right dose so we would have to drive back to the hospital in downtown Houston on Friday morning for another blood test but I didn't care... after 9 long days we were finally going home!!!  I carried Connor in the front door and introduced him to our dog Maddie who kept her distance and just sniffed him.  Any time he cries she walks over to me and looks in his direction as if I can't hear the cries also.  It really is sweet.

Connor is just a doll.  He rarely fusses and if he does he is easily soothed.  He loves noise and being in motion (riding in the car, sitting in his swing or just being rocked).  He actually sleeps a lot better if there is some sort of noise and nothing is too loud not even Maddie barking at the door bell.

My mom flew down here last Saturday and had been so much help!  She drove us to doctors appointments until I got released to drive, has been cooking lots of yummy food and just being the best Grammy to Connor.  We have also made daily trips to the grocery store, Target, the mall and even to meet Anthony for lunch.

Anthony went back to work on Monday but calls often to check on our little man and can't get enough of him once he gets home.  Connor definitely knows Anthony's voice because he always perks up when he gets home.   Daddy and son really bonded during those first few days in the NICU before I was discharged from the hospital.  It is so sweet to see them together.

Thank you so much for all the prayers and good thoughts we truly felt the love and are so blessed to have all of you in our lives!

Cheering on his two favorite college teams on Saturday

ready to start riding bikes with daddy

father son bonding :)

Good day and good news

The neuro team ordered MRI's of his brain, neck and brachial plexus to check for any neurological problems which they said could take up to 4 hours and he has to be very still while in the loud MRI machine.  If he was moving too much they would have to put him under mild sedation which I really didn't want to happen.  One of the care flight nurses was with him the entire time and was stocked with breast milk and sugar "soothies" to help him be calm.  This flight nurse happens to part of a group that Anthony swims with and he known her and her husband for the past couple months so we felt very comfortable with her taking our little man to the tests.  He did great and did not need any sedation!!!

 Just a few hours later the doctors came to tell me the good news that his brain and neck looked totally normal and there are no signs of any clots or bleeding!  They did say there was some inflammation around some nerves in the brachial plexus causing mild nerve damage which correlates with the theory that he got his arm stuck or something while in utero which caused the blood clot and mild nerve damage.  They think this happened in the couple days before he was born when I noticed the decreased movement.  I am so thankful that my doctor wanted to go ahead with the c section and not induce me or just monitor the movement for another day or two.  The neurologist told me that she is quite confident that he will regain full use of his arm over the next few months!  Good thing his momma is a physical therapist!  I'm going to have to revisit my pediatric class notes :) They actually might send us to a a pediatric PT to get going with exercises.

We are just waiting for the two hematology tests tomorrow and if they turn out good we can go home!!!!  Finally!  Connor is 1 week old today and we are so ready to take him home to meet Madddie and start our life together out of the hospital!  Thank you so much for all the prayers and good thoughts they defiantly worked!

Sweet baby Mercer, Connor's neighbor in the NICU, passed away last night surrounded by family and friends.  They know he is no longer suffering and is in a much better place but it was just heart breaking to see what they were going through.  Sometimes I think we all need a reality check when things start going not our way and remember that it can always be much much worse.  As sad as I have been and as many complications as we have had Anthony and I have realized that Connor is by far the healthiest baby we have seen here and are so thankful for him.

Still in the hospital....

Well, we thought Connor was going to leave yesterday or today, but that is not the case. While all of his GI issues seem to have resolved themselves we are now back to his arm (the reason he was originally brought here). They did another ultrasound Monday morning and saw that Connor has a small blood clot in the upper part of his arm. The good thing is that the clot is not restricting his blood flow at a level that causes much concern.  When he was first admitted here they didn't find the clot, but are very certain it was there and that the tech doing the ultrasound simply missed it. A positive from this is that when they did do the initial ultrasound they tested his blood flow rate and the rate yesterday was better than on the first ultrasound. That fact lends validation to the idea that it is getting better. 

The severity of the clot seems to be fairly low to moderate, but he will have to be given a shot in his thigh twice a day for 6 weeks. Dr. Arnold does not seem to think that he has any sort of clotting disorder and that the clot was likely formed by whatever event happened inside Amy that may compromised his arm. 

Last night Connor got his first shot by the nurse and this morning Amy administered the shot. She did very well, but was nervous to stick her little man with a needle.  Amy and I both will have to be proficient in doing this before we leave as we will administer the shots from home.  They are waiting for some results to learn if they are giving him the correct dosage. Every kid is different in how much they require. 

The other issue is his the lack of movement in his left arm.  The great thing is that it has done nothing but gotten better since we have been here. The doctors seem think he could have a mild case of Erb's Palsy. If that is the case it will be something that usually resolves itself over time. However, the neurology team just came by and assessed him. They have ordered an MRI to be done on Connor just to make certain they can rule out any other type of neurological problems that may have been caused when he was compromised in utero.  They are pretty confident that the tests will come back negative, but they just want to be sure there is/was not another blood clot in his brain. Our doctor who has been very upfront and honest seems very positive that nothing severe is going on, but we won't know until after the MRI. 

A couple of things need to happen before we can leave. 1. We need to get the results from the MRI. 2. The doctors need to dial in the correct amount of blood thinner they will put him on. 3. Amy and I need to become proficient in administering his shot. 

Amy has been such a strong woman and I am so lucky to have her. Today she is struggling and has been sad as all she wants is to take her baby home with us and for him to be okay. Please continue to pray for our little man, that we continue to draw strength from Christ, and that the doctors are able to continue to treat any issues that arise. Please keep praying for Connor's buddy and neighbor Mercer and his family. 

Thanks again for sending prayers, positive energy, and thoughts our way. We can feel the spirit of The Lord working and can feel all of you in our hearts. 

Anthony, Amy, and Connor.

Sent from my iPad

Getting better

It's Anthony here, we wanted to give everyone an update. Connor had a good weekend. He began breast feeding (sorry if that is tmi) and this was kind of our last "test" with respect to ruling out any other GI issues. He has been processing his food very well, so the docs feel really positive that we have no more concerns with his GI issues.

Sometime this morning the neurologist will come and examine his arm and they have ordered another ultrasound. While his arm has made progress everyday it is still not 100% and they want to make sure they can rule out everything possible before sending the us home home.

We have been very blessed to have the Ronald McDonald house here on the NICU floor. Since Connor is in the NICU and we are not patients here we can't sleep in his room. The RMH makes it possible for us to be right down the hall.  This is amazing because if we didn't have it we would be staying in a hotel a few blocks away and it would make Amy and Connor's breast feeding sessions a lot more difficult. RMH will now be a charity that we donate too and if you're looking for somewhere to throw some cash we can attest that they do amazing things and make it very convenient for families going through hard times.

Amy is doing so great and is such a strong woman. Her doctor released her from the hospital a little early, so she could be with Connor and I. Amy was in lots of pain and could barley walk but she put her pain and discomfort aside to be with us. She is getting better everyday though.  She is an amazing woman and I couldn't be any luckier.

We hope to go home today or tomorrow. Please pray that that happens.  Thanks to everyone for Your prayers, positive vibes, phone calls, and everything else. This would have been a lot more difficult with out you all.  A special thanks to Amy's parents, my mother and grandmother for being with us through this time. We love you all.

One more thing, we have made friends with the parents of another patient in Connor's NICU.  Their little guy's name is Mercer and he doesn't have very long to live. His parents are followers of Christ and trust in God's plan for them and their little guy. While it kills me to even write about this right now it is such a testament to how strong people can be with the power of The Lord watching over them.  Please pray for baby Mercer and his amazing family.

Family united!

I was discharged from the hospital this morning and after a brief stop by the house I came down to memorial Hermann children's hospital to see my two boys!!  Thankfully I have had my parents by my side this whole time and they are planning on staying through the weekend.   Anthony's mom and grandmother have been down in Houston with Anthony and Connor the past two days.  We are so thankful they have all been here with us and don't know how we could have made it hrough this time without them!

Connor is absolutely adorable are getting better every day.  They don't think we will ever know what exactly happened to his arm.   They think that he had it caught on something or the cord was wrapped around it or something like that.  The important thing is that it he is moving it more, has a increased grip and his skin color is normal.  There are still two red areas and he will fuss a little bit if we mess with it too much.  They are going to have a neurologist look at it on Monday.  As for his belly he had meconium plug syndrome.  The first poop that babies have is called meconium and usually occurs in the first 24 hours.  When there is a meconium plug it is harder for the baby it pass and they usually need a little help.  This is what happened with Connor and as soon as they gave him an enema it all came out and his distended belly started getting better.  I am hopefully going to get to breast feed him tomorrow and hopefully he will start having normal poops which will allow us to go home sooner.  His breathing is great now.  He was only intubated for one day and then on  C-pap for one day and now he is breathing on his own and his O2 saturation is 100%.

Anthony and I gave him his first bath tonight and he hated it at first but LOVED getting his head rubbed and hair brushed.    

Thank you for all the sweet notes, texts, emails and prayers!  We are going to keep updating this blog when we have any news.  

Baby Connor is here

Connor Joseph Hilbers was born October 3 at 4:00 pm. He weighed 7lbs, 8oz and was 19 inches long.

Monday evening I began to notice him moving much less in my belly. By Tuesday morning I was very concerned and went to my doctors office first thing in the morning. Connor had a great heart rate but had very little fetal movement. We spent the rest of the day in the hospital while I was being monitored.  After tests and an ultrasound they decided I could go home but needed to go back to the doctor first thing Wednesday.  At that time his heart rate was good but he was still not moving much.  My doctor recommended that I have a c-section as soon as possible due to the decreased fetal movement and she didn't think Connor would have tolerated being induced basically he just needed to come out.

My surgery went well and Connor came out crying and looked great!  About 30 minutes later when the neonatologist was examining Connor they noticed that there was a bump near his left elbow and suspected it might be broken... After the x ray showed no break they started to worry about some sort of vascular issue (possibly compartment syndrome) and decided he needed to be transferred to another hospital with specialists.  I made them let me get out of bed so I could see my baby before he left on the helicopter.   When the care flight team arrived I was holding his hand and talking to him.  His breathing was really labored due to pain and from being agitated so much so they decided to intubate him (breathing tube in his throat).  Connor was careflighted to Memorial Herman children's hospital in downtown Houston about 9:00 last night.  Anthony drove down there and has been with Connor all night and today.  Connor's arm has been getting much better without any intervention and they are no longer concerned about the arm.  His abdomen became distended and firm so they placed a orogastric tube which began to drain a greenish fluid.  They suspected that his intestines might be twisted so they did an x ray with dye but that didn't show any problems which is great and he didn't need emergency surgery last night.   He has already had a couple poopy diapers today so that is good news especially since they were worried about his intestines.   

Basically something was/is wrong with Connor but they are not sure what.... All the potentially bad things they suspect are being ruled out which is reassuring.  Anthony has been by his side this whole time holding his hand, talking to him and letting him know how much we love him.  He is still in the NICU and is still intubated, but hopefully they will take it out this afternoon.  We really do not know what is wrong but all the original problems are getting better.  He is moving his arm more, the color is more normal and his abdomen is much less distended.  

My doctor came by this morning and said that she will let me leave tomorrow morning which is 2 days early so that I can be with Connor.  We are planning on getting a room near the hospital downtown so that I can start breast feeding and be with Connor (I have never even held him).  Please keep us all in your prayers for a speedy recovery and no new problems so that all 3 of us an go home together soon!

So obviously I am not a consistent blogger but I am hoping that once the baby arrives I will be better so that I can keep family and friends updated on our lives.  I get asked a lot "how do you feel?"  How is the pregnancy going?" Thankfully it has been quite uneventful so I don't have much of an answer for people, but I do have a lot of thoughts on my pregnancy in general.

1. I feel so thankful and blessed that I am able to have a healthy and uneventful pregnancy and I wouldn't trade it for anything.
2.  I think people who say "I love being pregnant!" are either A. Lying or B. totally and completely crazy!  I mean seriously how can you love weighing 20+ extra pounds?  It just makes life so much harder!
3.  While sitting put a big beach ball in your lap then try to bend over to tie your shoe.  Thats hard you say?  yes, indeed it is!  Welcome to the world of pregnancy!
4.   Some nights I almost want to cry when I think "all i want to do is lay on my stomach."
5.  Waking up multiple times a night to pee is exhausting... maybe it is just getting me ready for what's to come.
6.  Walking is a fantastic means of exercise!  Coming from a girl who has gone running 5 days a week for the last 5 years... walking is so much fun! and relaxing! and enjoyable!  Don't get me wrong I am itching to start running again but I have definitely enjoyed my nightly walks with Maddie (our pooch).
7.  When someone tells you that they don't know the gender of their baby please just believe them and don't say "Oh, you are keeping it a secret!!"  I truly don't know and I won't know until that baby enters the world!

I really feel pretty normal most of the time and have yet to have any swelling or stretch marks but I think I have had a few light Braxton Hicks contractions.  I still have 5 long weeks to go so I'll just cross my fingers for the best.  Since about 15 weeks I have had some pretty killer thoracic back pains and now my low back in beginning to hurt if I am up on my feet a lot.  I have not had any weird cravings but I do crave everything I craved prior to pregnancy but now I indulge in those cravings.... ice cream, donut holes, any and all types of candy, pretty much any dessert.  In the 1st trimester I wanted to (and did) eat a Chick-fil-a sandwich and huge cup of lemonade almost every single day for lunch.

The nursery is almost done!!  I am just waiting to add one more thing and then I will post the pictures!  My mom and sister were here a few weeks ago helping us get it all together and add the finishing touches.  They were SO much help and I just love how it has turned out.  I can't help but smile every time I walk into the nursery.  All we need is a baby and we will be set =)

Here are some pictures from the past couple months.

35 weeks

32 weeks
Jason Marz concert

31 weeks

29 weeks

Growing belly

I am really looking pregnant these days!  The other day I was grocery shopping and they were handing out samples of wine and the worker said "would you like to try... oh nevermind!"  I guess I should take that as an clue that I obviously look quite pregnant!


20 weeks on our anniversary trip to downtown Houston 

24 weeks

Baby's heart

On June 6th I went to a fetal heart specialist just to make sure that the baby's heart was looking good. First I had to sit down with a genetic specialist to discuss the possibility of our baby having some type of heart condition. I was told that every couple has about 1% chance of having a baby with a heart defect. Anthony has a 3% chance of fathering a child with a heart defect (it could be any heart defect not just the one he was born with). So 3% seems low that is 3 times more likly than most people. The interesting thing is that they have no idea why these heart defects occur. They think that it is a combination of genetics, exposure to unknown things while in utero and other unknown factors. I absolutely loved the doctor that did the echo/4D ultrasound. The heart looked PERFECT! I saw all the chambers of the heart, blood flow and all the valves. The doctor was impressed with how well she was about to visualize the heart and said that the baby has no major heart defects. She also said that there are some minor ones that do not show up on echo/ultrasound so she recommends the baby to have an echo once it is born. It was seriously amazing to see our little baby so up close and personal. It was moving its arms and legs but kept covering its face as we tried to get a good picture. So maybe this is a indication that we have a shy little one.

This is our baby's side profile at the 20 week ultrasound

This is the 4D picture of the baby's face (honestly I think this picture is a little creepy).  

Medical updates!

First of all we want to thank everyone for all your support and prayers over the past few months! Anthony has covered from open heart surgery with flying colors! He was back at work 2 weeks after surgery, starting to run 2 weeks after that and now "getting back into triathlon shape". All of his precautions were lifted 10 weeks after surgery and thankfully he listened to me and the doctors and let his body heal before entering training mode. Except for his fresh scar down the middle of his chest you would have never believed he had just been through such a extensive surgery! His goal is to do the Texas Iron Man triathlon in May 2013 (swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles and run 26.2 miles)! Amazing to think what you can do if you put your mind to it... A full ironman 14 months after open heart surgery! He is truly an inspiration to me daily. (remind me of that when he is training 15 hrs a week, working full time and we have a newborn at home!)

Cindy, Anthony's mom is also doing fantastic! She has been such a trooper though her whole ordeal! After a week I the hospital she was discharged and came back to OKC. A few weeks later she was back at work and doing physical therapy for her shoulder. In times like this you really realize how fragile life is and to what really matters.

I'm sure most of you know but Anthony and I are expecting our first child on October 14th. We are beyond excited and can't wait for it to finally get here! I was pregnant over a year ago and lost the baby at 8 weeks so we were a little cautious after seeing the positive pregnancy test. Thankfully, because of my past miscarriage, my doctor wanted to see me ASAP for blood work to check progesterone and other levels so I went to the doctor 1 day after the positive test. All my levels were right on tract so we were excited but still hesitant. We went for our 8 week appointment and 1st ultrasound 2 days before Anthonys surgery and he told my doctor " I'm more nervous for this appointment than me heart surgery in 2 days!!". Seeing our sweet tiny baby and the heart beat was amazing! I was beyond excited! Every appointment since then has gone great and the babys heart rate has been between 160 and 180bpm. This past Wednesday we went to our 20 week appointment and ultrasound. Right away we had to tell them that we do not want to know the sex of the baby and she said she would just have us turn our heads when she "gets to that point". The ultrasound was seriously the coolest thing I have seen in a long time. We could see every single vertebrae, 10 fingers and 10 toes, stomach, heart, brain, everything! I was in awe! The baby was moving quite a bit; putting both hands up to its mouth, stretching it neck and opening its mouth. Somehow Anthony and I both managed to keep our heads turned away and we didn't find out the baby's sex. The babys heart looked good on the ultrasound but due to Anthony's history I will be having a fetal echo (echocardiogram) just to make sure there are no defects. Anthony has had numerous echos but a fetal one is new to us so I'm not sure what to expect. October can't get here soon enough!

Making progress

Mom had a better day today. The physical therapist got her up and walked her about 20 yards on her floor. She has been sitting up in her bed more today and coughing up a lot more "junk". The docs took her off as much pain meds, but she still has a really good dose. There has been some chatter about them removing her chest tube soon, but we haven't had a for sure on that. I just spoke to her and she sounds better. She does keep going in and out of sleep so Randy will periodically say "mom wake up". She responds with "I'm not sleeping. I'm just closing my eyes".
It's actually kind of funny.

It kills Amy and I that we had to leave and come back home. We can't stand not being there, but Amy had patients she had to see, I needed to get back to work, and we had to check on everything here. We will be going back to be with her and help out anyway we can late next week.

I am so thankful that my brother, Randy and his fiancé were able to stay at the hospital with her last night and tonight.

Mimi visited an orthopedic surgeon in Tulsa yesterday. They will operate on her clavicle and hand early Wednesday morning. Her pre op visit is tomorrow and if we hear anything different we will let you all know.

Special thanks to Uncle Mike and Aunt Karla Connor for referring their close friend Dr. Mike Tanner the orthopedic surgeon that will operate on Mimi. She said he and his staff are the best she has ever met. Also, thanks to them for taking Amy and I to lunch on Tuesday afternoon. It was a really nice way to remove our minds from the situation for an hour, even though I kept worrying I was going to miss something at the hospital.

In a room!

That's right, she's in a room and out of ICU. She still has her chest tube, central line, and her foley catheter, but she doesn't require the type of care the ICU would provide. We did have great nurses in the ICU and are very thankful for them.

Thanks again everyone!

Post op update!

Mother had a rough night dealing with discomfort, pain, and coughing, but she is making great strides on her road to recovery. They told us that she may be moved into a room and out of ICU today or tomorrow. This is great news as it means she doesn't require as much immediate care, but she will need more assistance from family as she can't do much of anything on her own. Such as drinking water, scratching her forehead and adjusting herself in bed. I gave her her first drink of water since about 11 am on Sunday this morning and it was glorious! She looked up at me through her swollen eyes, tried to smile and said "we take these things for granted".

She wants to thank everyone for their prayers, thoughts, and concerns. We have had soooo many people here at the hospital it has been incredible. She has by far been the patient with the biggest "fan club".

I'd like to give a special thanks to her dear friend Kathy Real for staying with her a couple of nights and being very flexible and able to come back to stay with her next week while Randy and I return for work.

I would also like to say that Amy and I have been very thankful that our bosses have been so generous to let us "do what we need to do" with this situation.

We will continue to update with her progress!


Mother's surgery update

6:00 pm we got the call from Dr. Archer, the thoracic vascular surgeon that repaired her ribs. Everything went really well and he only had to make one incision and it was under her left breast. They plated the 3,4, & 5th ribs and he said that she didn't have a lot of fluid in the area and on the lung so that's great. He reported that the muscles around the ribs looked much better than he anticipated. The ortho surgeon is now working to get her shoulder relocated and she should be out soon.

Thank the Lord for a great surgery! And thank you all again for your support.

Sent from my iPad

Mother and Mimi's update

We have received tons inquiries regarding the details of the accident and the status of everyone involved. This is the best to way communicate such info for everyone and I will update this blog with updates throughout the process.

The accident: mother, Mimi (my grandmother), a family friends 8 year old daughter, and my moms two small yorkie dogs were traveling west bound on I 40 home to edmond, ok around noon on Sunday March 25th. They had been on the interstate for about one mile and a man attempted to pass them and when he did he clipped the rear side (assuming left but haven't seen police report yet) of their suv. My mother was driving, Mimi was in the passenger seat and the young girl was in the back with the dogs. They were sent off the embankment and apparently went airborne before rolling down the hill 3-4 times. The vehicle came to a stop upside down. The young girl was okay and able to get out of the vehicle. She had minor bruises and a seat belt burn. Thank the Lord! Mimi (keep in mind this woman is 78 and maybe weighs maybe 130 lbs), crawled out of the vehicle with a broken left hand, broken right clavicle, and bleeding pretty badly. She was unable to help my mother out of the vehicle as she was pinned upside down. Mimi managed to walk up the hill and obtain assistance. The paramedics were on location in about 15 minutes after the wreck and use the "jaws of life" to get mother out of the vehicle. They took them to sparks hospital in Ft. Smith Arkansas. After assessing my mother they determined the best option was to fly her to Tulsa's St. Francis hospital as they have a much better trauma center and a great thoracic/vascular surgeon.

Mother's injuries/condition: She sustained the worst injuries to her chest/ribs. She has multiple fractures in multiple ribs on her left side. Two ribs on her upper right side have fractures, but they will just let them heal. The left side needs to have 3 maybe 4 ribs plated due to multiple fracture on each rib some of which are limiting her lung space. The doctor said her left side is "crushed". We were able to see the cat scan and a 3D image of her chest and it looks pretty bad. The broken ribs have caused her left lung to collapse but they have a tube so her oxygen levels are great! The broken ribs have cause her to have what's called a "flail chest". From what I understand is that the ribs are pushing down on her lungs and causing the lungs to shift downward into the rest of her organs. There is no need for concern as the operation will alleviate most of this issue. It causes more discomfort for her. She is scheduled for surgery at 2:45 pm tomorrow to plate the ribs. She has a fracture on her humerus and her left shoulder is dislocated. As of right now they won't operate on the shoulder, but the orthopedic surgeon will be will be in the OR to pop her shoulder back in place. He came by earlier to do it, but could not get it so he wanted to do it while she is under anesthesia. Left side of her face is very badly bruised and cut up. Her left eye is swollen shut and black. They had to stitch up her eye lid in a couple of places. She has a few minor fractures in her face. I spoke to the plastic surgeon earlier and he explained that it is very unlikely that she would need and procedures on her face. The rest of the injuries on her or lots of cuts and bruises all over her arms and legs.

She is very with it for being in this state. Everyone has been impressed with her status given the horrible accident. She has been insanely tough today. They gave her a PCA pain pump and she hasn't used it much, but we have encouraged her to use it more as it will only help her.

Mimi is being brought up here to consult with an ortho surgeon about her clavicle. She is very sore and bruised up.

Hannah, her 15 year old yorkie dog was killed in the accident and her other dog is MIA.

We are very thankful that everyone is stable and will be okay. This has been a very surreal experience for us and without prayer, friends, and family it would have been much harder. These types of accidents happen all the time but we always think "that wouldn't happen to me". Very eye opening for us.

We thank you all for your support (3 weeks after my heart operation) we are truly blessed with amazing people in our lives and can't imagine not having you all.

Thanks again and we will keep you posted via this blog.

Anthony J. Hilbers

Post-Op visit!

Hello all!

Anthony here. I went for my post-op check up today and they had nothing but rave reviews! Everything looks great and they even called me the "rock star" patient. I guess bc I was able to be released from the hospital so soon. And they think I look the same as I did when I went in last Thursday for my pre-op testing. I informed them that I certainly did not feel the same. I had veteran cardiothorasic surgeons, nurse practitioners, and nurses coming by bc they wanted to meet me. They are just really stoked to see a patient with "tet" doing so well. They are seeing their research and hard work really paying off and they were nothing but proud. They were very thankful for me being very fit and healthy as well. They also said this (being healthy and fit) has played a tremendous roll in my recovery. I sure as hell don't feel like an "athlete" right now though. When I get my lungs working I feel like I have an extra 75 lbs attached to me and I feel as if I may stop breathing at times to bend down and tie my shoes, but they say this is very normal and too keep my lungs working. I should get it back in a few weeks or so....I sure as hell hope so!!!

I am completely off my norcoe (pain med w/oxy) as of yesterday at about 630 am. I feel more pain, but don't feel all loopy and my nausea has gone away almost completely. I am on a dose of Advil a couple times a day and that seems to help. They gave me a muscle relaxer to help with my back. Guys, my upper back is SOOOO incredibly sore. I never could have imagined this type of soreness in my life. As for the INTENSE pain in what I thought was my lower right lung, turns out it's air or fluid rubbing b/t my lung and rib. It could possibly be from one of my tubes that I had in my lungs, but not really sure. They said there is nothing to worry about and that's just going to be very painful for the next few days and should subside with time. That pain is so intense!!!

Something else pretty cool is that they have asked me to be a mentor/camp counselor at the pediatric heart camp in Meridian Texas. It's a week where kiddos with heart disease/defects (age 8-16) can go and feel "normal." They do fishing, canoeing, zip-lines, archery, etc. When they asked me I jumped all over it. I have really felt led to be a sort of "big brother" to kids with heart issues. I am sure it will be very hard at times, bc there are many kids who will be struggling more than we could ever dream, but it will be amazing to help them do things that they have never imagined doing. Plus, they will for sure give me a ton of inspiration in my life, I'm sure.

It looks like Amy and I will be making our way back to Houston on Saturday morning and I will be at home all next week. They anticipate releasing me back to work on the 19th. This all depends on my energy levels and overall fitness. Right now I get really tired pretty easily. This morning we left for the hospital at 8:30 and didn't return until about noon. I was whipped out! Another 10 days of healing should do me just right though!

Thanks again for all your support, prayers, good vibes, and kind words. This would have been a tremendous race for me without your support, the love of my EXTRAORDINARY wife, my mother, grandmother, brother, amazing in-laws and the best pediatric cardiologist I could ask for D. Kent-O Ward. With all of you wonderful people in my life it made it a walk in the park...well kind of!

Much love and respect for all of you!

Anthony J. Hilbers


Anthony was discharged from this hospital this afternoon. He had an echo and chest x-ray this morning and everything looked good. They sent him home on a few meds and had nothing but rave reviews for his progress. We are in Coppell at my parents house and will stay here for the rest of the week. He has a follow up appointment with the surgeon on Thursday and after that we should be cleared to go back to Houston. We went on a long walk around the neighborhood which wore Anthony out but it is good for him. We're hoping to be able to walk more and more everyday increasing his endurance. I guess this is when it pays off to have a physical therapist as a wife :)

Chest tubes gone!

Anthony had a pretty good night and slept well. He was having some pressure in his chest which was probably from the chest tubes. They took another chest x-ray this morning and everything looked great. The surgeon and cardiologists said he was ready to have ALL the chest tubes removed! YAY! They gave him some extra pain medications and the nurse practitioner literally pulled (really fast) the test tubes out. He felt much better after and could finally take deep breaths again. They are going to do another echo and chest x- ray today and if everything looks good he will be able to go home tomorrow!!

Moving right along

A big team of doctors has been through today and they are very pleased with Anthony's progress. They removed his foley cathether, central line and a couple IVs. Right now he is still on the pain pump but they are about to take him off of it. He is getting ready to sit up and go for a short walk. The surgeon told him to move around until he starts to feel out of breath to make his lungs work harder. He just finished a smoothie and a bowl of fruit and is looking forward to lunch. He will be transferd to the cardiac floor this afternoon. He still has 3 chest tubes that will hopefully be removed tomorrow.

Day 2

It is Saturday morning and things are going good. I spent the night in Anthony's room right next to him. He had a pretty good night but was pretty nauseous from the morphine so they switched his PCA pump to Dilaudid which really helped. He started drinking water and Gadorade once the nausea subsided. He was on 2L of O2 overnight but now they have taken it off and his oxygen levels are staying up around 98%. This morning he asked for his glasses so he can watch his vital signs and sports center. Hopefully he will be able to eat some yogurt for breakfast soon. I am also hoping to get him up and in a chair this morning. The surgeon and doctors will be rounding soon so we will know more after they see him.


Anthony is in the cardiac ICU. He is extubated and starting to wake up. I am having to repeat things like "the surgery went great" and " I know you are hurting, they gave you morphine". His temp was 94 degrees because they cooled him down for surgery so now they are warming him up. He was shaking a lot when we first got here. His heart rate was a bit high 120 bpm and blood pressure was 150/60 but they have gotten both of them down to normal ranges now. He has 3 chest tubes that are draining but there is not too much blood. Everything is going good and it is so nice to see him waking up! Hopefully we will move to the cardiac floor tomorrow evening and get a lot of the tubes and lines disconnected. The patient next door to Anthony is a tiny baby in a crib with a mobile over it. I can't even begin to imagine what their parents are going through. At least I can ask Anthony how he is feeling and what he needs. Thanks for all the support!

Anthony sighting!

We just got to watching them roll into ICU. He is still intubated but breathing on his own. I will be allowed to go sit with him in his room in about an hour. It was kinda crazy to see him laying on the stretcher with the tube in his mouth but they said everything went great.

Surgeon update

Dr. Forbess the cardio thoracic surgeon just met with me and said that everything went according to plan and he is doing great. He heart is beating great and the valve is working perfect. He should be rolling down the hall in 30 min. He will still be intubated (has breathing tube in mouth) and totally sedated. They are hoping to extubate (take the tube out) him in 4-8 hours.

Off bypass

yay!! He is off bypass and everything looks great!!! They should be rolling him down the hall in about an hour. The surgeon should be by to talk to me soon. Praise the lord!

On bypass

The OR nurse called again and said that he is now on bypass which is the heart/lung machine. They are starting to work on his heart now. Everything is going good and they will tell us once he is off bypass.

So far so good...

We woke up early this am and checked in at 6am then went to pre-op and got to meet the cardiac anesthesiologist and Anthony got prepped for surgery. He was in good spirits but a little anxious. He said he felt like he does on triahlon mornings but this time he won't be working hard. Now we are sitting in the cardiac ICU waiting room waiting for phone call updates. The OR nurse just called and said that everything is going good and they began surgery about 15 minutes ago. She will call with updates every hour. We have a pretty big group up here: my mom, Anthony's mom, her friend, Delta, Anthony's brother, his fiancé and me.

Friday is the day...

... For Anthony's big surgery. We are headed to Dallas on Wednesday night and will spend Thursday doing per-op tests and such. The surgery is scheduled for 8am Friday so we will be at Childrens bright and early! The surgeon should be out to update us on Anthony's status around noon. Then Anthony will go to recovery then the cardic ICU. I will be posting updates as I get them on this blog so check here if you are interested! Thanks for all the prayers and words of encouragement!

Anthony's heart surgery update

As many of you know Anthony was born with a heart defect known as Tetralogy of Fallot. When he was 6 months old he under went open-heart surgery to repair the defects. All along he has known that he would eventually need to have his pulmonary valve replaced as it is part of the normal progression of the heart defect/surgery. He has been monitored over the past almost 30 years (yikes! We are getting old!!!!) and it was decided that this may be the best time to go ahead with the surgery. His cardiologist recently referred him to a pediatric cardio thoracic surgeon in Dallas named Dr. Joseph Forbess. We met with the surgeon last week and were very impressed. Like Anthony he is an avid cyclist and understands the amount of stress Anthony puts on his body with triathlons and all the other aerobic activities he does. The surgeon studied at Harvard and has had several documentaries done on him which can be found on you tube.

The surgery should last about 4 hours which includes 40 minutes on the heart/ lung bypass machine which will oxygenate his blood then pump it back to his body while the surgeon replaces the pulmonary valve. Dr. Forbess expects the surgery to be very routine for him and says the risk of something happening is less than 1%. The fact that he is in great physical shape and has no other medical issues helps decrease the risk. Anthony will have to stay in the hospital for about 4 days for monitoring and will be off work for about 2 weeks. We will plan on staying in Dallas at my parents house for a few days after being released from the hospital before returning to Houston to finish his recovery. Anthony will have sternal precautions for about 8 weeks which limit how much he can push, pull or lift to 5-10 pounds. Anyone want to come live with us to help me carry in groceries, carry the vacuum up the stairs or put stuff up on the top shelf since Anthony will be out of commission? They expect Anthony to be back 100% in 3-4 months which includes full out riding and hopefully training for a full iron man triathlon. The long recovery is not due to his heart recovering but rather from the orthopedic surgery of cracking his chest open and wiring it back together.

One question a lot of people have is why is he going to a pediatric surgeon vs. adult surgeon? The pediatric surgeon is an expert on these types of procedures because it all began with a congenital heart defect which he deals with daily. He and his team are much more comfortable performing these surgeries because they know exactly what to expect. The surgery is going to be performed at Childrens hospital in Dallas and Anthony will likely be one of the few adult patients on the floor.

We are hoping to schedule the surgery for the first week in March, but will keep everyone updated as we move on in the process. I am hoping that this blog will be a good way to keep everyone up to date with Anthony's progress. As always lots of prayers will be appreciated as Anthony goes through this major surgery!