Several days ago we noticed 2 little bulges in Calvin’s inguinal area.
The pediatric surgeons decided that the sooner we do surgery the better, because the smaller the baby the smaller the hernia, and the easier it is to fix it.
So this morning at 3 am, Calvin started fasting for his surgery.
Nate and I left him at about 5:30 to take one of our new BFFs from the Ronald McDonald house to the airport, and then went home to shower and do some laundry and cleaning.
We figured this was a perfect time to get stuff like that done, since we couldn’t feed Calvin, and we didn’t really want to sit there and watch our baby starve!
We got back at about 8 – the surgery was scheduled for 9:30.
The nurse said that he had been OK while we were gone, just whimpering a little because he was hungry.
(Enter broken heart.)
We snuggled him as much as we could and tried to explain why we couldn’t feed him.
I think he understood because every time I started talking to him he would calm down.
He never really cried, just whimpered a little.
He’s so tough.
A little after 9:30 we took him down to the pre-surgery room.
The anesthesiologist came in and explained her plan for putting Calvin under.
After she left I began to question the surgery.
I asked Nate why exactly we were doing this, was it really the best thing for him, it’s only little hernias, does it really matter?
Nate explained that if we didn’t have the surgery eventually his bowels would come all the way through the muscle, he could get an obstruction or infection, need a major surgery instead of this little routine one, possibly a colostomy, and he could maybe die.
I decided we should probably go forward with the surgery.
Then I explained it to Calvin and he seemed to understand.
Then I told him the story of his birth, and that he’d already been through a surgery way worse than this one and that he would be OK.
He was calm and snuggly.
We waited for what seemed like aged for our surgeon to come in.
Dr. Cromblehome is one of the fathers of open fetal surgery and is the Chief of Surgery for Children’s Hospital and the University Hospital.
IE, he is amazing, and we were shocked he wanted to do Calvin’s little routine surgery.
He was the surgeon for our open fetal surgery, and it meant a lot to us that he cared enough about Calvin to keep being his surgeon later.
One of the hardest parts of this whole process was watching them wheel Calvin away towards the OR.
Last time I was able to go with him, we had the surgery together.
This time it was just him, and I was left to wait in the waiting room.
After our surgery, Nate told me watching us go to the OR was the hardest thing he’s ever had to do.
He said when he’s an anesthesiologist he will remember those feelings and remember that the person he’s in charge of keeping alive has loved ones worrying in the waiting room.
He said this time it was much better for him, because I was with him.
He was even able to get a little nap in.
After he went back to the OR we went to the cafeteria and grabbed lunch.
It was the very first time we ate lunch at normal lunch time since Calvin was born.
Then we waited in the waiting room until Dr. Cromblehome came out and told us everything had gone really well, and they would be bringing him back to his room soon.
We went back to his room and waited. And waited and waited.
Our nurse called down to the PACU to see what was taking so long – turns our Calvin was enjoying the anesthesia a little too much and wanted to sleep a little longer.
We weren’t too worried because after our fetal surgery it took Calvin nearly a week to wake up –
so we were kind of expecting it.
The plan was to extubate him in the PACU and then bring him right back to the NICU.
He finished his surgery a little before noon and came back to the room – still intubated – a little before one.
And then he continued to sleep….
(Nate loved that his lead shield for the chest x-ray that checked placement was a normal person’s thyroid shield.)
We hated seeing him with his breathing tube, the poor little guy looked even more little and helpless not breathing on his own.
One of the goals of having the fetal surgery was to avoid more surgeries later in life.
This surgery had nothing to do with myelomeningocele, prematurity, or the fetal surgery, it was just a random event that he would have had regardless of all that.
So there was no avoiding this surgery, but now we know for sure that if the fetal surgery allows us to avoid even one extra surgery in his life it was all worth it!
FINALLY around 11 pm he started breathing on his own and waking up a little bit, so we pulled to tube.
He woke up right after that, ready to eat after almost 24 hours of no food.
Calvin earned some serious snuggles today.