Thursday, May 20, 2010

Baby John's surgery

So here is the story of baby John's cleft surgery.  We left Monday evening around 6pm to drive to Iowa City and stayed at the Ronald McDonald House.  This is a great place, like a hotel, with a super discounted rate for families with children getting taken care of at the hospital .  There was no TV in the room, and they ask you to make your bed and clean the bathroom before you leave, but they also offer free meals for families and they are only 3 blocks from the hospital.


Wheeling baby John through the hospital the morning of his surgery around 6:30am.

This is the Day of Surgery admissions area- everyone who was having surgery that day came here to check in. The waiting area was full of people, adults and children, getting ready to go into surgery.


Then they moved us to a special area for pediatric patients awaiting surgery, we had our own little waiting room, where the nurse gave baby John the hospital gown to wear, and booties which he kept kicking off. They went through all the details of his health and the surgery, checking his blood pressure with the cuff on his leg, and checking his blood oxygen levels with the monitor on his toe.



Little guy got tired of waiting for his morning feeding, and luckily the nurses had a spare binky which baby John decided he liked alright.  He couldn't hold it in his mouth b/c of the cleft so Mommy held it in place so he could take a little nap.


Sitting with Daddy before surgery


The wonderful anethesiologist, Mary, taking baby John off to surgery.


Notice the pen marks on his cheek- those are the initials of the resident doctor who was doing the surgery on baby John, "D.S." for Don.


Our last look at baby John as they took him away for surgery.  We could hear him "talking" even as they went out of sight.


After baby John went into surgery, we were instructed to go to a special waiting area for families and friends. There was quite a line of people waiting to get checked into the waiting area. One woman keeps track of everyone waiting, which patient they are waiting for, and where they are sitting. When the doctors call up to the waiting area with updates, she lets us know how things are going, and there are little conference rooms close by, when the docs come up to talk with those waiting to explain how surgery went.


To pass the time we read, ate a little breakfast, got on the laptop, and prayed and prayed!


The waiting area was a large room made up a mini pods of chairs and tables.   


Mommy and Daddy holding and hugging each other while waiting for our little boy!


This is the first glimpse we got of baby John- this is in the "recovery room".


He was all bundled up in blankets, and had two nurses looking over him.  One let me take her place holding the tube of humidified air to keep the surgery site from getting too dry.


Then they let me hold him!  Mommy sat in a wheelchair, holding John, and they hooked up his IV to the back of the wheelchair and took us to his own room.


Finally kissing my angel baby!

Daddy and baby John take a nap. You can see his arm braces, which keep him from touching the bolsters in his nose and the stitches in his mouth. The long tube is the humidified air. He's also hooked up to the IV with fluids, and to the blood oxygen monitor, and the blood pressure monitor. It was a chore just untangling all those cords to change his diaper!

A close up view of his new smile- your can see the three bolster in his nose and the stitches in his lip. The shiny surface is the glue over the stitches in his lip. The nose bolsters will be removed two weeks after surgery. The stitches in his lip will dissolve. His face is still a little swollen, and he napped a lot while in the hospital.

Yes he can still nurse! Nothing can stop him from eating! Our latch is different, but I'm so relieved to be able to nurse him! You can see the arm braces very well here, with the strap going across his back to keep them from sliding down and off his arms. We have to remove the arm braces at least every 4 hours to exercise and bend his arms at the wrist and elbow- so pretty much at each diaper change, we take off one arm brace at a time to let him flex his muscles!

Finally loaded in his carseat and getting ready to go home!  Baby John was the second pediatric patient released today- Yay!  My strong healthy boy! He has to sleep in his carseat for the next three weeks, while his arms braces are on, to keep him from rolling over onto his face, to protect the work they did on his nose and mouth.  He has been such a trooper, lots of sleeping, and not too much complaining during all of this- we are so proud of him!

Dr. Canady - the main cleft doc - and the entire cleft team have done such a great job taking care of John! Thank you for your gift of healing!!


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the great pictures and story! My little nephew is a trooper as well as a sweet, cute boy. Can't wait to see you in a few weeks! Love, Debbie

Anonymous said...

This really choked me up. What a brave and wonderful family you are...

Joy Howse said...

thank you so much for sharing your blog with me. I had tears in my eyes as I saw the journey of surgery day with John. It brought me right back to the day we took Aiden in for his surgery. So glad he was able tonurse right away and go home the very next day. Our little ones amaze me! Praying he is still on the smooth path of recovery. If the arm restraints are too bulky and you want something that is easier to handle when getting him in and out of the carseat and just holding him with out all that extra bulk and weight, check out They breath much easier, go on much easier and stay put. Wish I had known sooner about his surgery I would have suggested those! Aiden was in restraints for MONTHS and those were a lifesaver! We called the others his hockey pads. :) Thinking of you and the family.