Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Duodenal Stenosis

On day 3 of Blaise's little life he was taken to the Children's Hospital in Mainz because he was spitting up everything he ate and then some. It was also a suspicious yellow color. Our Saturday morning began very early when the nurses from the nursery called me down after he had spit up. When I got there they were already changing his clothes. I tried to nurse him I think but was unsuccessful. I called Jan crying around 6am and had him come to the hospital - I knew something wasn't right. Jan had come down with flu-like symptoms, yet drug himself to the hospital. He wasn't allowed into the nursery because he was sick. I was in the nursery with Blaise for hours trying to nurse him after every time he spit up. The nurses were trying everything to help me, but as the hours ticked by I started falling apart. Blaise was pretty calm throughout all of this, even though I wasn't. We tried giving him formula in case he was allergic to my milk - I was balling throughout the whole process...I saw my dream of exclusively breastfeeding Blaise begin falling apart. He didn't keep down the formula either.

The pediatrician in the hospital was scheduled to come at 5pm that Saturday, but by 11am, Blaise hadn't kept anything in him since the night before. I was a complete mess and close to walking out of the hospital with him to go to the Children's Hospital when the nurse suggested transferring him there. She got everything into motion and I ran and put shoes on and got Jan and when I came back Blaise was dressed for outside and in a car seat. We took a taxi to the hospital - it's about 3 minutes away. The doctors were waiting for us when we arrived and he was taken directly to the ultrasound. The doctor said it looked like a problem in the small intestine. Blaise was a trooper and was very well behaved during the exam. They then took him to X-ray and this showed a possible twisted bowel. The surgeon came and examined him and evaluated the ultrasound and X-ray. She said since we could not rule out the possibility that it was the twisted bowel she wanted to operate immediately. She said she would rather open him up unnecessarily than not do a necessary surgery. They began prepping him and gave us the run down about the anesthesia so we could give our consent and off he went. We took a leap of faith - we had a choice: trust the doctor, or not. We did.

I hadn't been discharged from the other hospital yet. The surgeon, Dr. Weltzien, recommended that we go back to the hospital so I could have my final exam and be discharged while Blaise was in surgery. I didn't want to leave, but she assured me that he'd be fine and it would be better to be there when he was out of surgery. I was quickly discharged from the other hospital and back within about 45 minutes. We called my parents and asked them to come to the Children's Hospital and wait with us. The doctor had told us he'd be about 2-3 hours in surgery. My Mom had sent my Dad to the cathedral after we had initially informed them of what was happening and when we called them to come, my Mom was at the cathedral (which is behind our apartment), putting in a direct request to the Man Upstairs. My Dad went and picked her up and they took a taxi up to the hospital.

The doctor called Jan's cell phone when the surgery was over and told him everything had gone well and it was the lessor of the two evils - the small intestine (Duodenal Stenosis - There was a membrane blocking passage. They were unable to just cut out the membrane because it is connected to the bile ducts. They therefore cut the membrane and sewed it to the sides of the small intestine. They put in a splint to keep the sides apart and ran a tube down below the splint to allow milk to enter his intestine, but without having to pass through the operation site. The doctor even spoke to my mom in english to explain everything to her.

We were told to go down to N-ICU to wait. He would be transferred from the operating room to NICU and once they had him stabilized and transferred, we'd be called. We waited about an hour and then spoke to the doctor and got to see him. We were warned ahead of time that there were a lot of tubes. He had the tube down under the splint, a tube into his stomach to allow the bile to come up instead of going down. He was also still on a breathing machine which was only a precaution. They left him on it until he woke up. They also had him on monitors. We stayed a while but finally left around 10pm I think. I said it was the worst and best day of my life.

I was a complete mess and was happy to get home and take a shower. I had worn the same pajama pants and t-shirt for the last 2 days and hadn't showered in 2 days either - not to mention the multiple bodily fluids on me - from myself and Blaise. My milk had also come in that evening, luckily I had a small hand pump at home from Andrea. The next day I went out to the pharmacy and rented an electric pump to get me through the time when Blaise was in the hospital. During the day, I was able to pump there and they kept my milk for when he was able to begin having it and I'd pump at home at night and in the morning. I was really worried that this would mess up nursing, but we've now been home for 3 weeks and he's nursing like a champ!

Everyday he got better and better. His surgery was on January 10th and he came home on January 29th. He's now broken even - he's been home as long as he was in the hospital. Soon it will only be a distant memory. We are indebted to the health care staff at the Children's Hospital in Mainz. How do you thank people for saving your child's life?


Jen said...

Thank you for sharing such an emotional time!! I've been so curious as to the details of those early days and I'm so amazed at your strength and ability to cope in a situation so scary and fast paced. It just seems like you must have felt a thousand emotions, some very new and extreme at both ends, all in a few short days. Just from a hormonal standpoint, a routine delivery can be traumatic. The fact that you had to be in there sort of alone seems terrifying. You obviously were far from alone though. I know Rose has big connections!

I'm so glad Blaise is continuing to do so well and that you have stuck with the nursing, especially since it meant so much to you! You are a superwoman!!!

I wish I could thank your wonderful doctors and nurses too. They kept you guys in one piece and I'm grateful to them by association! Again, we can't wait to meet Blaise. The fall can't come soon enough. We miss you guys tons.

IUgirl78 said...

I agree with Jen. Thank you for sharing what happened with all of us. I felt so bad not being able to do anything, though we all were offering you guys up in prayer. It sounds like Blaise was in great hands and God was certainly watching over him.