SAN FRANCISCO -- Matthew Ouimet's first full night with his transplanted organs was relatively quiet and, ultimately, drama-free.
The 2-year-old Antioch boy, who received a donated liver and kidney during a 13-hour surgery at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital that began Tuesday evening and ended Wednesday morning, experienced three episodes Wednesday night in which he sat up with his eyes open.
According to Kristi Ouimet, Matthew's mother, doctors decided to place EEG probes on the toddler's head to monitor brain activity. As of 10:30 a.m. Thursday, no abnormalities had been found.
Likewise, an accelerated heartbeat that concerned doctors was determined to have a perfectly natural explanation -- it was Matthew, even while sedated, reacting to the sound of his mother's voice. Once Kristi Ouimet left ICU, under doctor's orders, his heart rate slowed to normal.
Moreover, bleeding slowed around the implanted liver. It had been a concern, though not unexpected, in the hours after surgery.
"There's some extra bleeding," Kelly Ouimet, Matthew's father, said shortly after noon Wednesday. "It's not unusual. There's no (further) surgery (planned); there's no change in the treatment. We talked to a surgeon who said, 'This is acceptable. We're moving forward. This is not a sprint; it's a marathon.' "
Dr. John Roberts took the lead on the liver transplant. Dr. Peter Stock, who handled the kidney procedure, advised the Ouimets early Wednesday morning, even before Matthew was out of surgery, that there were reasons his new organs might be slow to "wake up."
"What he told us was that the kidney was an adult organ now on a pediatric blood flow," Ouimet said. "And the liver has to mend with the host. This is not completely unforeseen."
Wednesday afternoon, Roberts confirmed in a statement that what Matthew has been experiencing is not out of the ordinary, especially for pediatric patients.
"Matthew's conditions have improved since this morning," Roberts said. "It's quite normal for new organs to take time to 'wake up' in a new patient, especially when the recipient is as young as Matthew. In the next 24 to 48 hours, we are looking to see how the new liver and kidney are functioning. We will continue monitoring Matthew's laboratory results for infection and any toxicity issues."
Matthew waited 15 months for his organs. For 23 months, he and his family had commuted to UCSF's pediatric dialysis unit -- a 94-mile round trip from their Antioch home -- six days a week for four-hour dialysis treatments.
The waiting continued even after donor organs were located Monday morning and proven to be a match. Surgery was delayed for 12 hours Tuesday.
The wait, Kristi Ouimet said Wednesday morning, was worth it.
"It makes me feel like everybody was telling the truth," she said, "and that he really is going to be OK."
Matthew was diagnosed with the genetic condition primary hyperoxaluria Type 1, which leaves the liver unable to cleanse harmful oxalates from the blood. The condition affects small organs in the body, usually starting with the kidneys, and led to him suffering end-stage renal failure when he was 5 months old.
Once the transplanted kidney -- only one was implanted -- and liver become fully functional, those concerns will be a thing of the past.
So will the commutes to dialysis, and the home treatments Kristi gave Matthew every night. One treatment was peritoneal dialysis, in which his abdomen was filled with fluid for two hours so that his skin would expand to accommodate his new organs.
"So that worked?" Kristi Ouimet asked Stock. "They fit OK?"
"They fit," Stock said, with a smile. "We shoehorned them in there."
As soon as a bile duct was inserted into the new liver, Stock told the family, Matthew would be taken to ICU. The toddler was wheeled out of surgery around 7:30 a.m. His parents finally got to see him in ICU around 9:35.
"We were able to kiss him and touch him, and tell him how much we love him, and how brave he is," Kristi Ouimet said. "So it was scary, but it was still very special. We really needed that. We needed to see that he was there and that he made it through the surgery."
Staff photojournalist Jane Tyska contributed to this story.
Follow Gary Peterson on Twitter @garyscribe.