Little Isabelle has made it through her marathon surgery and is now resting on the other side. Surgery took a little over three hours. She did really well, did not need extended intubation and woke up well after surgery. The doctors were really happy that even though all her organs are inside she doesn’t seem to be breathing harder. She is now sleeping peacefully on some pain medications and an epidural. They had to put a mesh in because Izzy has no muscle right where her ribs come together. This was not the best case scenario as the mesh comes with some risks of infection and future complications if the mesh doesn’t stay in place. She also did not get a belly button, something we knew would be the case. When she is older she may choose to do a second surgery where they stretch the muscle and fat across where the mesh is so that the sunken in look won’t be as pronounced and also give her a belly button. This would be cosmetic so it will be her choice.
Izzy is currently hooked up to a bunch of things. Let’s see if I can list them all:
- NG tube to keep her tummy empty
- O2 nasal prongs
- 2 IV access points for medication, morphine etc
- Heart monitor stickers
- O2 saturation monitor
But honestly the room is so much quieter than when we were in NICU. The beeping isn’t constant. It feels peaceful. We will be in PICU overnight and then tomorrow move to another ward for about 5 days as they wean her off her epidural and start allowing solid food again. The surgeon suggested after that we will be managing pain for about 2-3 weeks. She explained that with so much pulling and component separation of the muscles, this is a much more serious surgery to recover from than a c-section. That just broke my heart because I remember how brutal c-section recovery was. A friend reminded me that Izzy won’t remember this and that is what I need to keep remembering.
She woke up a little while ago and her throat is really irritated because the NG tube is bothering her. When the nurse asked if she wanted any water her eyes grew huge and she raspily exclaimed “yah!” But then she had to suck on the sponge and did not like that one bit. Refused with her emphatic “no no no”. Glad to see a glimmer of her old self through the drugs.
This morning we walked into the hospital and we had a happy healthy little baby who happens to have an omphalocele. But let’s be honest- the omphalocele and all that is associated with it was a big part of our life. Every day Izzy wore her spanx and her corset. Every bath she squished it and massaged it. Every time we held her against us we felt the warm, soft squishy omph push against our shoulder. Through the last year and a half of dressing changes, turtle shell protectors and various binders we had just gotten used to the omph being there. And now – it’s just gone. I don’t know when I will get used to being on the other side. I know that the next five days will be tough as we stay at the hospital and help Izzy cope with recovery. But after that, only time can tell. There will be challenges and joys as she grows up. Her scar will remind us of this hard journey and the strength we gained from it. But one thing is certain. I know I will miss that squiggy omph for a while.