Thursday, May 26, 2011

Mommyhood--The Downside

So the last 24ish hours have been rough. Very rough.

Let me start with the following picture.


Yup. That's my Blueberry with needles coming out of her head.

The story basically goes that Tuesday Blueberry was on the fussy side on and off and not eating a whole lot. Wednesday it was worse. Way worse. Not wanting to eat much. Would not take a morning nap at all. Finally took a brief 30 minute afternoon nap only to wake up screaming.

I nursed her, hoping to put her back to sleep. She did fine for about 10 minutes and then all of the sudden popped off and began crying again. Hard.

Decided to change her diaper, see if something was happening there. Well, when I took her diaper off, I saw a lump. A golf ball size lump. On her groin. Start mommy-hyper vigilance mode. Called the pediatrician, explained what was going on, and got her an appointment for a little more than an hour from when I called.

When the pediatrician saw her, he diagnosed the lump as an inguinal hernia. (For those curious--this link is a picture of another baby girl--not Blueberry--with an inguinal hernia about the same size as hers). The cure? Surgery. They were to call a surgeon first thing in the morning to set up an appointment. In the meantime, I was to take her home and keep a close eye on it. If any bleeding or change of color began to occur--go to the ER. Never comforting words.

Well, we got home and about 5 minutes later, she puked. All over me, herself, the floor. Nastiness. Keep in mind that at this point she hadn't really had a proper nurse since about 2pm. Brief discussion with husband. Called the nurse hotline, she called the on-call doctor (fortunately it was the pediatrician I had just seen that afternoon), and on his recommendation, by around 6:50 we were off to the ER.

I think what was really scary for me (other than knowing the potential for what could be going on--more explanation below) was watching her get rapidly more listless (in between throwing-up episodes) and not want to eat at all (this being my little girl who will happily have a snack at just about any moment--it's amazing she's as tiny as she is given her normal love of food). Plus the throwing up was unsettling. She continued to throw-up on a regular basis up to before they took her into surgery. Not even sure exactly what it was she was throwing up by the end.

At the ER they tried to push the hernia back in manually but had no luck in doing so. At which point they called it an "incarcerated" hernia. Basically meaning that the doctor couldn't manually push the intestines back where they belong. The only solution--surgery. The danger of an incarcerated hernia is that it becomes strangulated--or that the blood supply to the intestines gets cut off thus killing of the intestines. Obviously not a good thing. And could happen at any moment once you hit the incarcerated stage.

It took a bit of calling, but they found a surgeon who was familiar and comfortable with performing this kind of surgery on a child (several refused before they contacted this surgeon). In the meantime, they tried to put an IV into her arm. Unfortunately, she was dehydrated enough that they couldn't find a big enough vein to work with, thus the end result of having the IV in the head. Let's just say that was enough to arouse her from her listlessness and produce a violent protest.

Around 10pm, she was off to surgery. It was (thankfully) a short surgery. They were able to put everything back where it belong--including part of her ovaries that had forced their way through the hole (so frightening--if they hadn't been able to do that, they would have had to remove one of her ovaries). She did beautifully, and in fact, the nurses in the recovery room brought us back much faster than they normally do as she woke up so well and was charming everybody with smiles and playing around. Of course the minute she saw me she burst into tears and then proceeded (thank you Lord) to eat voraciously for a good 45 minutes while they monitored her.

At that point they took us up to the children's unit (really beautiful unit--lots of color and murals). I stayed with her all night and once she and I were settled, Chris went home because I felt at least one of us needed to have a decent night's sleep.

She did pretty good considering. Wouldn't let me put her down pretty much until we came home today and I put her in her crib for a nap around 10am this morning, but that was OK. We just slept on the couch/bed they had and she basically nursed all night long (except for the hour and a half between 3 and 4:30 when she decided it would be a great time to play. They had a nice little play room that we went and explored for a bit until she started rubbing her eyes). I was very grateful that they didn't fuss about us sleeping together or try to insist that I put her in her crib. I think at that point I might have just climbed in the crib with her and slept that way!

In total I got about 2 and a half solid hours of sleep plus a lot of micro-naps. Since we've been home she's alternated from playing happily, nursing a lot, and taking long, long naps. Seems her recovery is going to be all right. She's on Tylenol, and you can tell when that starts wearing off, but other than that, she's doing all right. Eating, nursing, movement, all good.

I'm so thankful that everything went as smoothly as we did. I really liked her surgeon, from the brief moments we had with him. The anesthesiologists were both really nice (one of them a guy from London!), and the night nurses were fantastic. From start to finish I felt like things were progressing quickly and appropriately and that the people involved were being legitimately helpful and considerate. Such a relief.

I was rather proud of myself. I did good. No breaking down crying (although I will admit I came close to it a couple of times). I even managed to help hold her as the put the IVs in without stressing out to much (They asked before they started if we could handle being in there. I wasn't about to leave her to deal with that on her own). As I put in a Facebook post, I hit a new level of Mommy-hood having survived 12 hours of living in puked on, peed on clothes while handling a high stress situation in a rather put-together manner (if I may say so myself).

I do find it amusing that she managed to charm every single nurse and doctor who came into contact with her. Every time someone saw her, the comments ran along the lines of "What a beautiful baby" or (even more common) "Look at those eyes!" She is officially in the records as "The cutest baby ever" (as stated on the phone by the recovery nurse to the children's unit nurse as he delivered his report Blueberry's status)!

All in all, could have been a much worse experience. But I'm glad it's over. Recovery will hopefully go well, and theoretically this will make a number of things much better for my baby girl. The only big thing we have to watch out for is that the other side of the groin doesn't do the same thing as that is a risk. Praying hard against that one.

1 comment:

Stephanie said...

Oh, my goodness! Sorry to hear about your troubles and stress! It's so hard to see our babies sick (Toby spent time in the PICU and Abbie in the NICU, but neither had to undergo surgery). Glad she's fine now. Get some rest, mommy.