This is long. And mostly for my record keeping.
Alec pre-surgery. In the waiting room. Loving on another patient.
We discovered Alec had Meckel’s Diverticulum in December of 2013. They wanted to wait 4-6 months before performing the major surgery to repair it. Meckel’s is a bulge coming off of the intestine. People usually don’t know they have it unless it causes problems or if they have an appendectomy. When the doctors go in to remove the appendix, they always check for Meckel’s. They discovered Alec’s Meckel’s during his orchiopexy. I wrote about it here.
Pre-surgery. No clue what’s coming.
I told Alec’s surgeon that I felt like the Meckel’s was causing some digestion issues since Alec seemed to have problems digesting solid food. From six months old, right up until his surgery (he was 13 months) I felt like I should mostly nurse him until after the surgery because breast milk is so much easier to digest and so much gentler on the tummy. His surgeon said the Meckel’s most likely wasn’t causing any digestive issues. I love doctors. I have always had good experiences with doctors and I respect and trust them. And I wasn’t upset at him for saying this, but in my heart I still felt like I was right. After Alec’s surgery, the surgeon came in and told me that they discovered that the bulge had changed position and was now blocking the inside of Alec’s intestine instead of pointing away from the intestine. He also told me that I was correct to assume the Meckel’s had been causing digestive issues. Had he been on a more solid food diet, he would have been very miserable. Score one for mom’s intuition!
Right before they took him away from me.
When we scheduled the surgery, they told us Alec had to be admitted at the hospital for three days. They also said he wouldn’t be able to eat anything (even breast milk!) for 24 hours after the surgery. That was the part I was dreading most. Alec nursed ALL THE TIME. It would be hard for both of us.
The first time I saw Alec post-surgery.
We left Provo at about 4:30am to make it up to Primary Children’s in Salt Lake by 5:30. His surgery was schedule for 7. They got us in and ready and then we waited. They came and took him right at 7. They said it would be about 3 hours. I was sent to a waiting room. I read and pumped and waited. They first needed to do the orchiopexy again. At about 9:00 the first surgeon came out and said everything went perfectly with that. Then at 10:00 the second surgeon came and said his part went perfectly as well. He said Alec was still coming out of anesthesia and they would take me back as soon as he woke. I was with him by 10:30.
Coming to a little after surgery. I wanted to hold him so badly.
After he was fully recovered from anesthesia, they took us to the recovery room where we would spend the next three days. Alec was totally out of it, and when he was awake he was miserable. They kept him on Morphine and Tylenol. He was also on IV nutrition.
His oxygen would de-stat every time he got upset so they had to keep an 02 blow nearby.
Adam took great care of the girls and did exactly whatever was needed to help me the best he could. I sure love that man! Adam’s mom also came up the day after Alec had surgery and helped where she could.
Adam brought up Jane and Megan, and my sister brought down Norine for a visit.
The day of the surgery Alec mostly slept. Adam and the girls came to visit but not for long since Alec was still pretty out of it. That night he slept off and on but when he did wake, he wanted to nurse which was hard for both of us. I rocked him all night long. The next morning he woke up so much happier! He slept off and on and we were preemptive with pain meds. Adam brought the girls again and my sister brought her Norine for a visit. Alec was super stir crazy. It is hard to keep a 13 month old in a crib attached to an IV! So…he ripped out his IV. OUCH! They let him be IV free for a few hours so we wandered the halls. Up and down and back and forth. I was SO TIRED and we probably walked several miles. Alec was so happy to be free for a while.
Alec when he woke up the day after surgery. So much happier!
Practically running back and forth. He had a ball he was chasing up and down the halls.
Then they had to hook his IV back up. How do you expect a boy to renounce his suddenly new-found freedom? So then we spent more hours in the hall, up and down and back and forth but this time I had to push around his IV and make sure he didn’t trip over it or get too far ahead of it. Alec loved it. I didn’t. Oh well. It’s over.
He wanted out reeeeeeeeeeeally bad.
Earning his keep
I tried to pump every couple of hours since I couldn’t nurse him and I could tell right away that the pumping wasn’t doing a great job emptying me (I even have the best, top of the line, pump.) By the end of day one I was in a lot of pain with a clogged duct. I felt mastitis coming on. Alec didn’t sleep much and I was all alone taking care of him and I was in pain and exhausted and it was pretty awful. I kept reminding myself that I was way more miserable than Alec and that it would be over soon, but it was hard. Our room had no shower and I hadn’t really thought out my food situation well enough so I was hungry all the time. There was a shower I could use but it wasn’t close to Alec and I couldn’t bear leaving him while he was sleeping in case he woke and I wasn’t there. They had a couch bed thing for me to lay on, but with my back issues, I was very uncomfortable. Adam and the girls would come visit and relieve me a little and feed me, but Alec didn’t want anyone but me. I cried a lot while we were there. I was just so exhausted and super miserable.
They finally let him drink some of my milk from a cup. He LOVED that! I had to measure it all out and only give him 1 oz. He wanted more. He wanted to nurse. I was pumping about 2 oz in 5 minutes, so when they let me up his intake to 2 oz, I secretly nursed him instead. I only let him go 4 minutes, but it was exactly what we both needed. After a couple of times, my clogged duct pain was GONE. And he was so much happier. Adam wasn’t super happy when I told him I nursed him before they gave permission. But I felt like it was OK. I was super careful. And shortly after they let him nurse freely. And I admitted that I had already been nursing him. And they weren’t mad! Score!
First taste of milk in 24 hours. Happy boy!
The first time I nursed him. Secretly. Shhhhhh.
That second night Alec slept zippo. We were SO TIRED. I thought he would sleep and sleep. We were so ready to go home!
Just watching TV. I was pumping and he would get SO MAD if I closed the crib on him. I was so worried he would try to climb out. But he didn’t.
No rest for the weary. Especially when the nurses come in to check on you every time you get even close to falling asleep.
A clown came by and visited. He let Alec keep his nose. (He had about a million more.)
The next morning they told me that they thought it would be one more day. But when the surgeon came around and discovered Alec had spent hours walking the halls and nursing with no problems, he said we could probably go home…as soon as Alec had a soiled diaper. I was super depressed about that because Alec didn’t have soiled diapers at home that often. I told him this, so he let us go home! He said he had never released a Meckel’s patient 2 days post-op before.
We got home and Alec continued to recover like a champ! I only gave him Tylenol for the first 24 hours and only just-in-case he was in pain. Which he wasn’t. He recovered super great and has been doing great ever since. We are so glad to have that behind us! Alec got three little incisions, plus a little bigger one on his belly-button. I feel sad that my precious perfect baby has to have these scars, but they will only get smaller as he gets older and they are a small price to pay in the long run.
His tummy incisions. The yellow is not infection. Just flakey skin.
My Alec, like all my children during medical procedures, was a super trooper. I love that boy and hope there are no more stiches for many many many years to come! AKA, NEVER.