The Transplant

Linden was wheeled into pre-op about 8:30 this morning sleeping on Laura's shoulder, out like a light. They gave her a few sedatives and the nurses whisked her off to the bowels of the hospital to do their magic.

Our transplant nurse was able to get us a huge consult room where we spent the majority of our day with the family members that were able to come down for the surgery. This gave us a little privacy from what is otherwise a zoo of a waiting room! We were super thankful for that :)

The surgery consisted of a few stages:

  1. Sedate Linden and get all the lines setup for surgery: 3 IV's, 1 Central Line, 1 Arterial Line, a breathing tube, and an NG tube.

  2. First incision and disecting current liver from its location.

  3. Placing new liver into body cavity and making necessary connections back to veins, arteries etc.

  4. Sew up skin and muscle if possible (many times only the skin can be sewed up initially due to swelling and later they close up the muscle)

  5. Final checks to be sure blood flow is sufficient and no clots have formed.

The tubes and IV's were completed uneventfully and we were informed by our transplant nurse when the first incision was made. The disecting of the current liver was performed amazingly by the surgeons. Most of the time a patient would need a blood transfustion during this part as removing a major organ from a body cavity can cause quite a bit of bleeding. This wasn't the case with Linden. The doctors were so precise that no blood was needed until after her new liver had already been placed. As a result Linden's vitals were rock solid through the entire surgery. Whew!

Placing the new liver and making the proper connections also went extremely well as they only had a few connections to make. They then unclamped everything, and watched the new liver turn from a gray color to pink in no time flat! The liver was even producing bile before they closed which is great news.

During closing, the surgeons decided they had enough room to sew up the muscle layer as well which meant she wouldn't need to have a second sugery to close that! Finally they wheeled Linden up to the PICU to check blood flow with a sonogram before allowing us to see her.

This final check however proved to have less than desirable results. They found that the portal vein that supplies the blood for the liver was not providing sufficient flow. The decision was made by the transplant team to reopen and fix the problem by using an additional piece of vein from the donor liver to lengthen the portal vein. This would help to prevent future clots from forming and would allow additional wiggle room for this particular vein in the future.

Thankfully, we had family to laugh and talk with during this second two hour surgery which accoring to the transplant team was little more than a "technical exercise." Linden was stable the entire time and now we are sitting on the sixth floor waiting to see our baby after a long day!

We are so thankful for the amazing surgical team here at Cincinnati and incredibly greatful for all the prayers, kind and concerned texts, and encouraging facebook posts and messages we received throughout the day. Of course we would be amiss if we didn't acknowledge the amazing God we serve and his incredible grace towards our family during the last day and a half.

Through all of this, we have taken comfort in this verse:

You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.

— Psalm 139:16

We know that God has a perfect plan for Linden and are praying for patience and peace as we walk with God through discovering that plan.


  • Pray that Linden will recover quickly and that she will not have any further complications

  • Pray for rest and peace for us as parents

  • Pray for opportunities for us to share the amazing hope Christ has given us with those we encounter

We love you all! Thanks.

Jake Bennett