My soul melts away for sorrow; strengthen me according to your word!

This is my comfort in my affliction, that your promise gives me life. (Psalm 119:28, 50 ESV)

Friday, May 5, 2017

G-Tube Surgery = Success

Monday was a big day for Miss Verity! If she were able to retain and speak about the memories of her experiences during our hospital stay, she would probably first mention how incredibly hungry she was for most of that time, lol. We had to end her feedings by 8am, with surgery prep beginning at noon and the surgery scheduled for 2pm. Unfortunately, the previous surgery ran late, so Verity's didn't begin until 3:00.

The nurses adored and fussed over Verity!

Waiting comfortably in Daddy's arms.

Ted and I waited about an hour while Verity was in the operating room. I confess I was a bit anxious; my stomach was in knots all throughout the morning. It was hard having our baby go into surgery, knowing she would be under anesthesia. Thank the Lord, all went well, and after it was all over, a nurse took me back to the recovery area, where I got to hold Verity and comfort her. I was so thrilled to see how she clearly responded to having Mommy hold her--there was a noticeable difference compared to when the nurse was trying to calm her! I loved that she relaxed in my arms and became more peaceful.

We were only in this "holding area" about 15 minutes, and then Ted joined us and we moved to our overnight room. It was nearly dinnertime by this point, so we got Verity settled and then parted ways: Ted to go home to take care of the rest of the family (who had been holding their own all day, bless them!) and I to the hospital cafeteria to grab a soup and salad to take back up to our room.

Verity was not very happy when I returned and took over from the nurse! But rocking and singing to her helped. I ate my dinner very slowly, one-handed, over the course of an hour and a half before she calmed down a bit. She had to wait 6 hours before feeding, and then when it did start, it was to be the slow, continuous feeding that we typically do at nighttime. That seemed to make sense and lined up with our usual schedule; we began the feed at 9pm, and I pumped and hoped to get a bit of sleep.

HA! By midnight it was apparent that Verity was not interested in sleep whatsoever. She seemed to be in considerable pain, at least according to her screams. (There is nothing wrong with her lungs, that's for sure...) We ended up giving her some more pain medication, but she continued to be unhappy. The nurses were tag teaming with me, trying to help soothe her, but nothing was helping. They wondered if her tummy was not doing well and stopped the feeding, restarting the IV instead.

The night was a blur...there would be times when she would seem to settle, just enough for me to crawl onto the sloped couch, spread a blanket over myself, close my eyes, and...jerk back to reality when she screamed again. I think they did restart her feed at one point only to stop it again. They found an infant swing to bring in when I mentioned that she usually sleeps in our swing at night. That helped for a bit as well. But nothing helped longer than a few minutes at a time.

I was sure that Verity just needed a good meal! Of course I don't doubt she was experiencing pain as well, but by 5am, when she was just plain mad, I begged the nurses to PLEASE resume her feed. Imagine if you hadn't eaten for 13 hours, and then when you were finally allowed to eat, you were given one bite of bread every 10 minutes. Would that help you?! I think not! That must be similar to how Verity was feeling! Girlfriend likes her food!!

After going up the chain of command, we got the approval to resume the feeding and stop the IV. (You may hear my eyeballs rolling here...why would a mama not be allowed to feed her baby?! Yes, I understand the surgery and all...but really!) So feeding resumed...and she fell asleep. Hooray! At 6:10am the residents barged in to wake me up and ask me questions. Having just gotten about 20 minutes of sleep (double the amount I had gotten the rest of the night), I was rather disgruntled, and even more so when I realized they had awakened Verity, too. UGH. I held her in the rocking chair and we both dozed off and on until they came an hour later to stop the continuous feed.

But! Proving my point, at 8:00 when we started her full feeding (60ml over a half hour), oh! Was she ever so much more content! She did continue to make little shuddering sighs/moans now and then, similar to the nights after she got new casts on her feet/legs. But it was SO much better. Her little voice was hoarse from all the screaming during the night! By 9am she was resting well enough that I felt comfortable telling the nurse that I was going to go grab breakfast.

In the cafeteria I was able to meet up with another T18 mama! Paige and I had connected via Facebook soon after our diagnosis, and I've followed Addilyn's journey online as well. It was nice to meet in person and chat awhile!

Back in our room, I prepped for Verity's 11:00 feeding, during which I received the G-tube training needed to bring our girl back home and care for her ourselves. I posted this video on Verity's Facebook page with permission from the mama who made it, so if you're curious about what exactly a G-tube is, what it looks like, and how it works, take 6 minutes and check it out! I watched it before the consultation with the surgeon and then showed it to Ted the day of Verity's surgery. It's interesting and was super helpful for me in mentally getting ready for this change.

This is how I found her after I got back from breakfast;
I don't think she missed me a bit!

Ted arrived after his morning work meeting, so together we went over the instructions for using the G-tube for both feedings and medications, cleaning it, venting it (when her tummy needs to release some gas), and general site care. I was just so eager to leave the hospital and get home to NAP!

Now we are at the end of the week. I am happy to say the G-tube has not been yanked out, lol, and Verity's pain seems greatly subsided. I'm still cautious with holding her and don't even like to put her up on my shoulder to burp in case it's still tender. We give her an extra layer of cloth over the belly area when buckling her in her car seat as well. At the 2-month check-up yesterday, our pediatrician said the site looks good. There is some redness but not bad, and some inflammation is to be expected.

We continue to work on oral feeding as time and interest allow, but in the meantime, what a relief to finally be rid of the nasal-gastric tube and see Verity's sweet little face!

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