Andrew's Emergency Surgery

Friday, July 12, 2013
These last few months with Andrew have been such a roller coaster ride. Four months ago I noticed a change in Andrew's stools. His stools became very watery for a number of weeks and so I decided it was time to take him in to the doctor to make sure that everything was OK. The doctors first response was to test to see if Andrew was having a reaction to dairy, so he asked us to use a dairy free formula for a couple weeks to see if his stools would go back to normal. Following the 14th day of trying a new formula...with no change in his stools, we went back to the doctor. As the doctor checked out Andrew, he discovered that Andrew happened to have an ear needed to start him on antibiotics which would have an effect on his stools. This meant that, for the time being, we would have to ignore the problem with the stools as we moved forward to take care of the ear infection.
The frustration was that...we would have to take 10 days for the antibiotics and then wait another couple of weeks afterwards to wait for the meds to pass through him to see if there was still an issue with his stools. We are now about 6 weeks past our first visit regarding his stool issue. There was still no change with Andrew's stool at this back to the doctor's office. The doctor checked him out again...and couldn't figure out what was going on, so he suggested we wait another week to make sure the antibiotics were out of his system. At this point, I was super frustrated.
Don't get me wrong...I LOVE our pediatrician. My frustration was not with him. Andrew has always been a difficult baby. He still struggled with sleeping (we were still just getting about 3 hours of sleep in a row), Craig and I would take turns in the middle of the night attempting to soothe him, babysitters had to have a thick skin to watch him for just a few he would cry the entire time. I remember taking him in to his doctor (a different doctor...we switched due to unprofessionalism) because I KNEW that something was not right with Andrew. He had spent most of the night crying...and not just any cry, it was a painful cry. The doctor just told me that he was a very difficult and colicky baby. I left in tears because I knew something was wrong.
Flash forward, back to Andrew's stool issue and my extreme frustration with the lack of answers. After 4 months of no answers...the SCARIEST DAY OF MY LIFE happened...

July 12th, 2013... a few weeks before Andrew's first birthday...
I went into Andrew's room to get him out of bed. I changed his diaper, like usual, and brought him out to feed him his breakfast. During breakfast, I could smell that he needed a diaper change, so once he finished eating I changed his diaper. When I opened up his diaper, it was overflowing with blood. I YELLED out to Emily to put her shoes on, and as quickly as we could...we were out the door and on our way to the ER. In hindsight, I should have called 911, but I couldn't sit there and wait for them. In route to the ER, my brain could not think straight...for the life of me I couldn't figure out how to get to the ER. I knew the general direction of the hospital, but I couldn't think of the street to take to get the ER...and was there a different ER for babies/children? I called my mother in a panic. As soon as she answered the phone I was screaming through my tears...WHERE IS THE ER? HOW DO I GET THERE? WHAT STREET DO I TAKE? My mother is amazing! Not having a clue as to what was happening, she remained calm on the phone for me. She calmly asked what was happening. I screamed to her that Andrew's diaper was full of blood and I need to get him to the hospital. She calmly gave me step by step directions and she was on in route as well.
WOW...the ER staff was AMAZING!!! They could tell from my distress that there was no time to take my information. They ran with me to the back and already had doctors and nurses waiting in the room. They immediately took him out of his car seat and I sat down as they surrounded Andrew to take care of him. It was the worst moment of my life!! While this was all going on...I kid you almost 4 year old daughter stood at the end of the table and very calmly told Andrew, "Don't worry Andrew...they are going to take care of you. Don't be scared Andrew...You're gonna be OK". I didn't even have the strength to do that, yet my daughter could. I was the hot mess sitting on the side, watching through my tears. My mom showed up soon after to take care of Emily so she didn't have to witness anything scary, allowing me to stay with Andrew.
After ultrasounds, x-rays, and radiology was determined that he had a meckel...a small extension on his small intestines which produces acid. The small intestines are not guarded against acid, which in turn created ulcers which eventually bled out. During all of the testing, Andrew filled up a second diaper of blood...forcing him to need a blood transfusion before he went in for emergency surgery to remove the meckel. On top of the meckel, they also determined that Andrew had C-diff...which was THE CAUSE OF HIS LOOSE STOOLS FOR 4 MONTHS!!!! I'll address his c-diff issue in another post.
Andrew was in surgery by 4PM the same day. One of the hardest things I had to do was to hand him over to the OR nurse and watch her walk down the hallway to his OR. I remember walking away, waiting for the elevators doors to open, so that we could head to the waiting room...and when they opened, my mother-in-law was in there. As soon as she opened her arms for me, I just broke down...the flood gates opened and they weren't going to stop anytime soon.

The surgery took a couple of hours...and it went very well. The doctor came out and explained to us how it all went. They were able to go in through his belly button and removed about 2 inches of his intestines. The expected recovery time was 4-7 days. By the grace of God, Andrew was ready to go home three days after his surgery. During his recovery, he pulled out his GI tube the first day, and his IV the third day. It was as though Andrew knew that he didn't need them because each time it happened, the doctors wanted to replace the tubes, but decided to monitor Andrew without them for a little while before making it official.  We were overjoyed when the surgeon gave the orders for Andrew's discharge.
I kid you not...Andrew was a completely different baby post surgery. It was clearly evident that the cause of his, what seemed like, unending crying and lack of sleep was due to this meckel causing extreme pain and discomfort in his belly. Two weeks following his surgery, we returned to the surgeon for a follow up...and Andrew went from being in the 8th percentile for his the 50th percentile...IN TWO WEEKS!!!! He slowly started to sleep longer through the night and he smiled more during the day.


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