Theodore’s Journey, Part II

Saturday and Sunday (3rd and 4th) are kind of a blur. He did get to go back on breastmilk, but from a bottle. Damn, that was hard. Particularly because when babies fuss, my solution is boobies. Boobies are my one-stop baby soothing shop. They are my only parenting trick. (OK, also babywearing and babywearing while bouncing on the birth ball, both of which were clearly out of the question.) I had to have a nurse show me how to feed him, and I actually had to get help figuring out how to get him to suck on the pacifier. Yeah, I’ve never done either of those before.

They had planned to watch his numbers with that catheter in. They did another ultrasound. Showed the same thing as all the others (severe hydronephrosis in left kidney, hypoplastic right kidney. Ultimately, they decided they’d probably need to do surgery to correct, not the valve at the bladder, but the narrowing in the ureter at the kidney exit. (I think they’d like to correct both at some point, but only wanted to do one thing at a time.) They decided to do it Monday morning, then Sunday around noon, Dr. Cooper decided to just do it that day. At 3. Or 5. Or 7. We kept getting bumped, but they did eventually get him in.

He also explained to us that Theodore would need to be circumcised. There is a slight increase in the risk of getting a UTI with intact foreskin. But with only one kidney, and one kidney that is just barely holding on, keeping him from getting a UTI is a pretty big priority. Apparently, foreskin was something we just didn’t need to take a risk with.

And Dammit. I was not upset about the surgery. It was needed, I was surprisingly completely OK with surgery on my week-old premature infant. But that circumcision. Randy said it’s not the end of the word, and I was like – you know, I know that, but for the love of all things holy, what ELSE do I have to give up? I know, ultimately, foreskin is not a huge deal, but it felt like (and still does feel like) it is. I still cry about it every time I think of it.

I am trying to tell myself that it’s just like a C/S – if it’s needed, it’s needed. It’s the UNnecessary use of these medical procedures that is a bad thing. Using the procedures when there is a medical need is a good thing. And my response to myself is “yeah, yeah.” At least they did it while he was under a general, and they gave him stitches and everything.

So… surgery went well. They cut out the narrow part in the ureter and sewed the two ends together. Kidney started draining right away. He installed a stent inside the ureter, just to hold it open while it healed (so the scar tissue didn’t form a blockage). He installed a nephrostomy, which is a drain tube leading from his kidney that comes out his back and looks like a little tail. Both of those should come out after two weeks. He also had an epidural, which I guess they’re starting to give to babies to help with pain post-op. They also gave him morphine.

The big kids went home with grandma and grandpa and Aunt Kelly and had a sleepover for two nights at Aunt Kelly’s house. They seemed to be OK, but when they came back on Tuesday, Wally was kind of quiet and withdrawn, and Genna was soooo clingy and upset and sad and unable to cope with anything.

Everyone hoped that the kidney would drain and then start working right and we could go home. I actually let myself believe that a little. Yeah… hadn’t learned my lesson about that yet.


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