My first baby girl had surgery for pyloric stenosis when she was 2 weeks old. It was a scary experience, especially so close to her birth.
If you are still out there, I’m sure you thought I’d given up and quit this whole blogging scene a while ago. But I haven’t. I’ve just been having a baby and trying to keep said baby alive. Jesse and I have been doing a pretty good job though. I mean, look at this sweet little face. Totally alive. And totally adorable.
Aside from being horribly sick in the beginning of the pregnancy and replacing my toes with sausages and being exhausted at the end, I had a pretty easy pregnancy. If you had asked 37 week pregnant Ashley that, she would have disagreed. It’s crazy how that pregnancy amnesia kicks in once it’s all over! Anywho, on to the story of how this little sweetness came into the world!
I left work at 3pm on a Tuesday afternoon for my 38 week appointment. I had been having a few spaced out contractions throughout the day and was about 2 cm dilated, but wasn’t expecting anything to happen any time soon. I had meetings scheduled for the next day and wasn’t supposed to go on leave until the following Monday. In my head I’d have a week off to finish getting prepared and to relax a bit. Haha, what’s that about best laid plans? Baby Girl had not been moving quite as much the past few days, but I didn’t think too much of it. I figured she was just out of room and getting ready for her grand entrance, but when I told my OB about it she was concerned. She put my on the fetal monitor and kept an eye on me in the office for about an hour and nothing seemed abnormal. However, my reporting a change in movement concerned her and she said she wanted to go ahead and induce me, just to be safe. I agreed and so she said “I hope you’ve got your bag in the car, because you’re about to have a baby.” Luckily, I was packed and ready to go.
She sent me right across the street to the hospital, it was now about 4:30 pm. I was alone and freaking out. I had called Jesse, who had just gotten off work, and he said he was going to take a shower, eat dinner, and then meet me there. I believe I said a few choice words to him and then he said he’d be right there. He wasn’t. He did do all the things he said he was going to and he still made it there before I finished all the paperwork. I hate it when he’s right. My mom also came over to the hospital, she actually beat Jesse there even though she stayed at work to finish stuff up before coming. At this point I was mad at everyone, except my best friend in Florida who stayed on the phone with me until I could get myself together.
Once I was all situated my OB came in and broke my water, around 6:30pm. I dilated to about 4 cm after 3 hours, so they started Pitocin. After an hour of Pitocen I was really starting to feel the contractions, and I was tired after being at work all day. I had been working overtime almost everyday for two weeks beforehand to get everything ready for my leave, so I was pretty burnt out. I opted for an epidural so I could get some sleep, and I am so so so glad I did. My labor progressed through the night until about 7am, then it was time to push!
I only pushed for about an hour. It would have been less than that except Baby Girl was moving around in the birth canal! Every time I pushed she would move her head, so she was blocking herself from being able to go under the pubic bone. My OB (who was on-call that night so she was there for my whole labor and delivery) finally had to use the vacuum to move her head down so I could push her the rest of the way. In retrospect, this is hilarious and a total reflection of my stubborn little girl, but at the time I was not amused. I was surprised, and happy, that Jesse was a trooper and he did not pass or leave the room at all! He was there holding my hand and encouraging me the whole time. It’s one of the things I remember most vividly.
Our baby girl, Mara, was finally born at 8:30am Wednesday morning, a whole two weeks early. She was 7 lbs. 13 oz. and 19 ¾ inches long and absolutely perfect. She was laid on my chest right after she popped out and she picked up her head and looked me right in the eyes when I said “Hi Baby.” Then they took her away to clean her up and check her vitals and so they could stitch me up. My epidural had worn off at this point so I felt every stitch, which was the most painful part of the whole experience.
After she was out and there, all I wanted to do was sleep. In fact, the exhaustion I felt for the first few days was the hardest part. That and the fact that breastfeeding just wasn’t working out for us. I would say I had a pretty bad case of the “Baby Blues” and was teetering on the edge of possible Postpartum Depression, but I didn’t have time for that to happen.
Ten days after bringing Mara home she became very ill. She couldn’t eat and what she did eat she projectile vomited right after. At first, we thought maybe it was just reflux, but one day the vomiting became more forceful and the amount increased and we knew something was wrong. We stayed up holding her in shifts that night wearing towel ponchos as she continued to be sick. We took her to the pediatrician first thing the next morning and he sent us to the hospital to have an ultrasound of her stomach. He believed she had a condition called Pyloric Stenosis, which is when the Pyloris (the sphincter at the bottom of the stomach) essentially grows closed and does not allow food to pass through into the intestines. The food has nowhere to go, so it is forced back up. This condition can only be corrected through surgery to cut open the Pyloris. All of this of course scared the shit out of this new mom!
The ultrasound showed that she had an enlarged Pyloris, but not enough for the Pyloric Stenosis surgery so we were sent home to basically wait it out. At this point, Mara was 13 days old. She continued to be sick the whole day and by that evening she went 8 hours without a wet diaper. I called our pediatrician and he told us to take her to ER. Once we were admitted to the ER they put Mara on an IV and were told that they could not admit her for Pyloric Stenosis because her Pyloris was not enlarged enough. She continued to vomit while on the IV, so we were finally admitted because she was only getting worse.
The next day we had two more ultrasounds, during the third she threw up on the radiologist before they finally confirmed she had Pyloric Stenosis. Apparently, baby girls do not usually have this condition, it is more common in male babies at a later age, which is why they were hesitant to diagnose her with Pyloric Stenosis. They had taken out her original IV for the ultrasounds and then could no longer get a good vein on her arms or legs so they had to put an IV in her head. We had the sweetest nurse, Brian, who kept saying that she was a princess and the IV was just her tiara. That evening she started vomiting blood because there was nothing else for her to vomit (we were not allowed to feed her due to all of the ultrasounds). Talk about scary! Brian fetched the pediatrician on-call and they spoke with the surgical team immediately. After this, they scheduled her surgery for the next morning, but we still were not allowed to feed her. They gave her medicine to help with the pain and she finally slept some.
She had her surgery the next day, which went perfectly. It was about an hour-long surgery, but with prep and post-op procedures we didn’t see her for two hours. The absolute longest two hours of my life. Afterward, we were able to slowly able to reintroduce food. It took several feeds before she was able to start keeping things down and I felt like such a bully because she just kept wanting more food. We were finally released when she could eat 3 oz. every three hours, which was 5 days after we were admitted (2 days after the surgery).
We were told that once all was said and done she would be a completely different baby, and boy was that true! She started sleeping at night, only waking every 3 hours to eat. She became more alert during the day and she finally started gaining weight. She still struggles with pretty bad reflux, but despite it, she is a happy little girl. She is all smiles and chatty in the mornings and she sleeps 8-10 hours through the night. She loves to be moving, whether it’s having a dance party or riding in the car and she loves to eat. She has a little scar on her belly from surgery, but that is starting to fade with time.
Now that she is healthy and starting to sleep for longer stretches, I’m hoping to return to the blog world! This week I am working my final week at my job and then I will be home full-time with my baby.
*A note if you are worried about a baby with Pyloric Stenosis. It is terrifying and being told it is a routine procedure is not comforting at the time. I’m sending you virtual hugs! And letting you know that my daughter grew to be in the 90th percentile for weight and height. She is a beautiful little girl full of life with a tiny scar on her belly.*