Okay, life has been busy and I’ve got a lot to share. I’m just now getting near a computer, we’ll see how much of this I get typed. Just so you know I’m doing the typical mom thing – multitasking! I’m reclining in the NICU with a sleeping Mason snuggled up on my chest while typing. We just finished reading a few Beatrix Potter stories on my Kindle and I sang to him. So let me back up and tell things from the beginning.
Wednesday morning we came to our hospital for Mason’s c-section. They checked me in, ran through a whole list of medical history questions, drew blood, and started an IV in my hand. I read books on my Kindle or talked to Jason trying to relax. A bit before we headed to the operating room I got to drink this nasty lemon/salt mixture to neutralize stomach acids. It was pretty awful. Then we walked over to my surgical room.
Jason waiting outside while I got up on the table and the anesthesiologist did my spinal block. First a small shot to numb my back (it burned), then the spinal itself. In a spinal block you just have an injection, no tube is left in the back. It goes into effect very very quickly. From there I was laid back down, catheterized, and painted with betadine pretty much from top to bottom. The thing I was not expecting was that I would still feel tingly somewhat, though once they had the drape in place and my doctor ready I wasn’t feeling anything. My doctor was awesome. Let me just say that up front. He told me the plan, which was to take their time opening me up and finding the safest way to get Mason out while protecting his back.
While Mason stayed breech he had twisted so that his lesion (opening on his back) was more toward my hip instead of facing front. That made it possible for my incision to stay the traditional low, horizontal cut – a blessing for my own recovery. When Mason was out I still did not get to see him, though I could hear him. The neonatology team took him right away to an area in the room to stabilize and get him covered in a sterile way. Jason was able to go watch and take pictures while I laid on the table and got put back together. My doctor was kind enough to do extra stitches and avoid staples so I don’t have to get things removed later.
Mason weighed in at 7lb 4oz and about 18.5 inches long.
Here is a picture of his back. I’m sharing it because it is something I looked for online when we first learned of Mason’s diagnosis. It’s a bit messy/graphic. If you look closely the thick red cord in the middle is his actual spinal cord. Surrounding that is a little skin but most of the tissue there is the durum (sac surrounding the spinal cord and nerves.
Once that was done Mason was put in a warming isolette and wheeled over by me. I was able to touch him a bit, see his head full of hair, and then he was wheeled away to the NICU. Meanwhile I was put on a bed and wheeled to recovery. It is such a weird feeling to not be able to move my body. No matter how hard I tried I couldn’t twitch a toe, much less bend my knees and lift my bum, which were the goals for recovery. Over the course of 2 hours the numb sensation wore off and I did meet my movement goals, just in time for the transport team to bring Mason over.
After getting an IV, getting stabalized, getting a priesthood blessing, and being tucked into a special transport isolette he was ready to head to Children’s Hospital. I got to touch his head and shoulders for a few minutes and then he was taken away. It was hard to watch my baby disappear out the door.
I got put into my own room and the new routine began:
The IV painkillers were doing a great job keeping me comfortable. I had lots of people in and out of my room doing my own care checks and it seemed like nobody knew how to coordinate their visits, so I got a lot of interruptions to the resting part.
I was able to talk to Jason and to Mason’s nurse and get updates on Mason. One unexpected thing was that before Mason was even 8 hours old he headed into surgery. Originally the neurosurgeon was planning to do back closure between 24 and 48 hours old. Mason needed to have a plastic surgeon in on the closure and the only time one was available was right away. So off to surgery he went!
He made it through surgery pretty well. The creative sewing needed to make the skin Mason had cover his entire back left him with a scar that is mostly horizontal and that has ‘dog ears’, or extra flaps on either end just like little puppy ears. These will stretch flatter as he grows most likely, and if it hasn’t flattened by a year old can be smoothed out surgically once he’s past the initial baby growth spurts.
On Thursday morning according to nurses Mason was doing well, staying sleepy post-surgery but also handling the pain well without morphine. They put a feeding tube down his throat because he’s got to stay on his belly for 48 hours post-op. The first feeding he only kept part of his 8mL down (that’s only 1/4 of an ounce – tiny amounts). The good news overnight was in his diapers. Mason has been peeing and pooping on his own. Even better, when he is cathaterized to empty out the bladder he’s generally been empty. This is amazing!
Mason finally reached 24 hours old Thursday morning and Mommy got a leave of absence from her hospital to come visit for a few hours. This is fairly unusual and we were really blessed with doctors who made it happen. The first few hours of my visit to Mason were spent talking to him and leaning over his warmer to touch and smell his newborn goodness. Then a wonderful NICU nurse took the neurosurgeon’s restrictions and made it possible for me to hold Mason anyway. Neuro said the most important thing was for Mason to stay laying on his tummy. The NICU nurse put mommy laying in a recliner so she became his bed and he was lifted from his warmer to mommy’s chest for 45 minutes of kangaroo care skin-to-skin. It was heavenly! His vitals stayed stable and he settled in for a nap for the duration.
Eventually I had to go back to my own hospital, which stunk. I think the only thing that made it possible was that Mason was sleeping peacefully. If he had been awake or crying I would never have made it out. I spent the rest of my Thursday in the same eat, sleep, pump cycle, counting down to my 48 hours from surgery because I was determined to be released for good.
Recovery from a c-section so far isn’t my favorite, but it could be worse. My favorite doctor sent his resident to make sure I was feeling up to being released today, with instructions to let me go right ahead at the 48 hour mark. Yay! He had warned me that the 2nd day is generally worse than the first post-op, and he’s right. My incision does hurt more. But it’s totally doable. I was so happy to get the official release right at 48 hours.
Since then I’ve been here at Children’s with Mason. He is doing wonderfully, so well in fact that the catheter has been spaced out to every 6 hours and he’s still emptying his bladder and leaving nothing for the catheter. He’s also doubled his feeds today up to 16 mL (half an ounce) and seems to be tolerating them fine. Our neurosurgeon wants Mason to say on his tummy until tomorrow morning just to be on the safe side, but I also was able to hold Mason again for an hour.
Well, that was a whole lot of updates in one long post, and I need to get off here for now. Mason needs a kiss!