Monday, November 12, 2012

Maddie's Surgery

Short version: 

Maddie is good. Surgery went exactly according to plan, and she is mostly sleeping as she recovers. Tomorrow we should learn all about the tube; no word yet when we might go home.

Longer version:

Long, stressful day… but hopefully this is a turning point for Maddie and it's all growth from here.

We had to get to Wake Med by 5:30am, and Maddie couldn't eat after midnight… we were pretty worried about how she would handle that, since she's still eating every 3-4 hours (yes, even at night) but luckily she was awake and fussy all night Sunday until her 11:30pm feeding, after which she passed out hard… she slept pretty much the whole time until she went into the OR at 7:30am.

Watching them wheel her into the OR was one of those moments you don't forget.

With 2 hours to pass, we went to the cafeteria to get some breakfast. Don't think I really tasted anything I ate... 

About 70 minutes into the surgery they paged me and I was told to pick up a phone… Was not expecting any updates until the end, so alarms were going off in my head -- I'm pretty sure I didn't breathe until I heard the update: the surgeon just wanted us to know that things were going well… asked the nurse to call us from the OR. Whew. 

The surgery was supposed to take ~2 hours. About 2:20 after we left Maddie, we finally saw the surgeon walk out into the waiting room -- incredibly relieved to see that he was smiling broadly as he looked for us. He gave us some pictures from the laparoscopic camera; It seemed like he enjoyed showing off his handiwork. It also added to the feeling of just how amazing these surgeries really are… especially when you remember that this is a tiny tiny baby. Those photos definitely have to make the baby book. ;)

Another 30 minutes or so later, we were taken to the post-anesthesia recovery unit and finally got to see Maddie. Tubes and wires notwithstanding, was sooooo good to hold her again! She noticeable calmed down as soon as she was passed from nurse to Mommy. In this room they were weaning her off the general anesthesia and onto pain medication. She was grumpy and tired with a very hoarse throat; understandable of course. We're not allowed to give her any food or water yet, though… just "eating" off the IV for today. 

Turns out Maddie does not respond well to the narcotic pain meds they tried; it was tricky finding the balance of enough pain suppression but not so much that  her breathing was unaffected. Couple of hours of alternating between oxygen and room air until she got off the narcotic and seemed OK with just tylenol. 

Finally got to our recovery room around 1:30pm, and it's the exact same room we were in for two weeks back in July. (Funny, eh? I'm putting it down as a good sign.)

Since then, Maddie has basically been sleeping… just waking up intermittently to cry out once or twice (usually) especially when her pain meds are low. They tried some morphine around 3pm; but she's had a bad reaction to that as well -- so for the last hour the alarms have been going off every few minutes as she temporarily slows her heart and breathing… but she snaps out of it quickly every time, so the docs are not worried. They'll be avoiding morphine from here on out though. (Alarm just went off again…)

Melissa is finally getting a deserved nap, and to be honest there's very little we can do here -- Maddie has woken up a few times enough to see us and we got a little smile out of her… but primarily we just need to let her sleep and heal. Tomorrow we start the work of g-tube feeding, which will be with us for the next few months at least.

That's about all I know… hope all are well, and thanks for all the support!

Update: Someone pointed out that I never said what the surgery actually was. She had a laparoscopic Nissen Fundoplication and G-tube placement.

Basically, we've been struggling with her weight since shortly after birth... she's well below the one-percentile in weight, and after months of trying to get her back up with other methods, it was time to go with something a bit more drastic. So this surgery should keep her from her bad spit-ups, which should generally improve her quality of life, and gives us the ability to push extra calories right into the stomach and also vent her stomach gas (she tends to swallow air and is a bad burper). The venting and the cessation of bad spits could help her learn to eat more and more, as well.