Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Julie's Hernia Surgery

Monday was a hard day for me.
My little girl had to have surgery.

It was a pretty minor surgery but the hardest part was that she was so anxious about it.

About a month ago, I took Julie to the doctor for a sinus infection.  While we were there, the doctor discovered an umbilical hernia.  She had a tiny hole in her muscle right behind her belly button.  When she tightened up her stomach muscles, her belly button would inflate like a little balloon.  Then as she loosened, the doctor would push it back in.  Every baby has that little hole when they are in their mom's belly.  It is supposed to close up shortly before birth and sometimes shortly after birth.  If it doesn't, surgery is required to close it up.

So, has she had this since birth?  We have no way of knowing.  This doctor is the first one to notice it.  It is possible that it just was never big enough to notice before and that as she grew, the hole grew too.  Or it could be that the muscles there were weak and she just pulled it and caused the hole more recently.  Either way, when it was discovered her pediatrician thought it was significant enough to send us to a surgeon.  And the surgeon said she needed to get it fixed.

Even though the hole was very small (the size of her belly button), it was dangerous to do nothing.  That little "inflating like a balloon" that I mentioned earlier was her insides coming out of that hole.  And even though they went back in every time that we were looking at them, it is very common for someone with a hernia to have their insides come out and get stuck.  And if they get stuck, it can cause major damage to the person's intestines.  The surgeon told us the smaller the hole was the more dangerous it was because it was harder for whatever came out to get back in.

In light of all that, we opted for the surgery.  Since it wasn't an emergency (yet), we had some time to pick a date that worked best for us.  I made sure to pick a week that there weren't any big tests at school and we picked Monday morning for the surgery so she could have a full week to heal.

Monday we got up insanely early since we had to be at the hospital at 5:50 AM.  Julie was most concerned about getting an IV and despite the fact that they gave her Versed and numbed her hand with a topical bandage, she still freaked out when they put that IV in.  I really think it was the thought of something in her vein and the anticipation of pain that she was upset about.  The anesthesiologist told us she was already numb when it went in.

They took her back soon after that and a friend of ours from church got to be her anesthesiologist and take good care of her during the surgery.  The actual procedure wasn't long at all, about 20 minutes.  She did great.  As soon as she started waking up, they let us go back to recovery with her.

As you can see, the first thing we did was to give her all her lovies.  She might look peaceful here but this was taken just before the storm unleashed.  She was hysterical and was crying and thrashing all around.  She kept telling us that there were too many wires and to get these wires off of her (imagine that with a LOT more emphasis).  She kept saying "I want to go home," over and over and crying through the whole thing.  We were pretty upset because we couldn't calm her down.  But the nurses didn't even bat an eyelash.  They just said "She's fine.  That's just how kids wake up from anesthesia."  But it was very rough to go through.

She pretty much went beserk until she got moved back into a Same Day Surgery room.  And that room held the magic box with the magical words on the corner - "Disney Channel."  Yes, the TV was a life saver.  We turned on the Disney channel and like a magic wand, she stopped crying and was mesmerized by the TV.  We breathed a sigh of relief and called in our parents who were all in the waiting room.  She even got some cool "Get Well Soon" balloons.

Mesmerized by the TV
After an hour or so there, she was doing so much better.  She drank some apple juice and ate some crackers.  They got her up to walk and that was the first time that she felt any pain.  When she got back in bed, she was in a fair amount of pain.  We got her some pain medicine and waited about 30 minutes to make sure she didn't get sick from it.  Then we got to go home.  It was about noon when we got back here.  Everyone was so tired from emotional stress and from getting up so early.  Tim and Julie got a couple hours of sleep.  I only got about 45 minutes of sleep because I wanted to be sure to be awake when David got home from school.  I knew he was worried about his sister and I needed to reassure him that she was OK.

Since then Julie has done very well.  She's been a good patient and is healing quickly.  She will be out of school for the whole week.  I hope that by the time she goes back next week that she'll be pain free.  She won't be able to do gym class for 6 weeks but I assured her that she would be well enough to jump up and down on Christmas Day.

Thankfully she doesn't have any stitches on the outside.  She has stitches on the inside to close the hole, but they used DermaBond on the outside, which is surgical super glue.  That means she can take a shower ("She's waterproof" is what the surgeon said) and she doesn't have to go get any stitches removed.  The glue is also less likely to leave a scar which is good.

All in all, it was a minor procedure, but it was still emotional and stressful for me and for Tim.  I will be glad when my little girl is back to normal again.  And in case you want to see it, she took a picture of her belly button to send to a friend.  If you don't want to see it, just close the window now.


  1. Ahh! No matter how "small" something is, everything is HUGE when it involves our babies! I would be a MESS. Even over something as small as this. Glad everything went well and I'm wishing her a speedy recovery!

  2. Oh my goodness, that sounds exactly like Kora when she woke up from getting her tonsils out. They said she was pretty hysterical when she woke up but it was normal and they gave her some meds to calm her down. They didn't tell us this until she was already calm and they had moved her to the other room. When we saw her she just made little sad whimpering noises and was completely uncomfortable. Then, like you, we turned on the tv and found a bright, loud kids show and that did the trick. She zoned out, fell asleep, woke up and was much more herself. They also told us this was completely normal and how kids wake up from anesthesia. I'm glad to hear she is much better and that it wasn't a long procedure at all. I hope she is still doing well and that it's healed completely since.