My Baby Needs Surgery
My baby needed hypospadias repair
"Your baby needs surgery." The words that make any mother's heart stop for a minute. I have been blessed to have seven beautiful, healthy children. To me they are perfect! But my last little one, my precious 7 month old had to have surgery to correct a congenital birth defect. He was born with hypospadias. This is not noticeable to anyone, and in order to keep this lens G-rated, I will not go into details, but apparently is not uncommon. No one really discusses this with you. I had never heard of it until my precious baby was born.I originally wrote this lens when, his surgery fast approaching. He needed general anesthesia, a breathing tube during the procedure, and several weeks to several months to recover. I have spoken to other moms whose sons had this surgery. They all did fine. But when it is MY baby, or YOUR baby that needs surgery, it is scary! Hopefully sharing my experience will help some other parent who is facing hypospadias repair or any other surgery on a baby.
What is hypospadias?
Hypospadias is a male birth defect that occurs in approximately 1 in 150 infants. Basically, the urethra develops abnormally. It is usually diagnosed during the physical examination of a newborn. My OB told me immediately upon delivering my son that he had it. My pediatrician confirmed it as soon as he examined my newborn son. He told me that my baby would need to see a pediatric urologist soon after birth. We met with a urologist when our baby was just 9 days old. The urologist suggested we wait until our little guy was at least 6 months old to have it corrected. Our journey of waiting began...
To be continued...
I'll add updates after surgery
I plan to add updates to this lens after our baby's surgery on Monday. I am so blessed to have this precious boy and blessed to have a good pediatric urologist that I trust. Above all, I know that the Greatest Physician of all, the Lord God will be with our boy and with us. I'll let you know what happens!
Ever hear of hypospadias?
Had you ever heard of this condition before?
What to expect
Our son had his procedure done at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Satellite Surgical Center. They called the day before to tell us what time to arrive. Arrival time was 6:45. We didn't sleep much the night before. When we got there, we were shown into a waiting room and given a baby hospital gown to put on our baby. Then they took us to a pre-op area where they weighed him and measured his length. Next we were given hospital ID bracelets; one for his dad and myself and one on his ankle. The nurses were very helpful and informative. They explained that we would meet with his surgeon and anesthesiologist before they took him back to the OR. She asked about his general health, teeth, any illnesses, the last time he ate or drank. She explained exactly what would happen step by step. We got to meet with the anesthesiologist who asked us questions and explained what she would be doing. Our Pediatric Urologist came out and met with us briefly and asked if we had any questions. During this time, we were made comfortable and I got to sit and hold our sweet boy. Then an OR nurse came out and introduced herself to us and told us she would be his nurse during the surgery. She picked up our baby and he snuggled right into her shoulder. They took him back to the OR and showed us where to wait. I did my best not to cry, but it was nerve-wracking thinking about the surgery to come! Our little fellow was all smiles as he waited to go into the OR.
Rules for Babies (or children) who need anesthesia
- No food, milk, drink, candy, or gum after 11 PM the evening before your procedure, EXCEPT...
- Clear liquids (water, pedialyte or other clear liquids) are okay until 2 hours before arrival time for surgery
- Babies may be breastfed until 3 hours before arrival time for surgery
- Healthy babies 6 - 12 months old on the day of the procedure may have formula until 6 hours before your arrival time for surgery
- Do NOT give your child aspirin for 2 weeks before surgery. (Aspirin is not recommended for any baby.) Your child may NOT have Ibuprofen products (Motrin, Advil, etc), Naproxen products (Aleve, Naprosyn, etc) and other non-steroidal anti inflammatory (NSAIDS) for 3 days before surgery unless approved by your child's surgeon. Tylenol or Acetaminophen is okay.
- If your child becomes sick the day before or the day of surgery, call your surgeon's office or surgery center
Comfort Items - Bring a "lovey" for your little one
It was suggested that we bring a comfort object--a special toy or blanket for our baby. Of course we took his glow worm. A sweet teddy bear would be a lovely comfort to any little one needing surgery. Here is a sweet teddy bear that will be baby's friend for years to come!
It's over! Whew! He did fine!
Our son's surgery lasted about 90 minutes. Typically hypospadias repair lasts from 90 minutes to 3 hours depending on the severity. We were glad that our guy's was routine and easy (according to his urologist anyway). We were comfortable in the waiting room, and met other parents who were also there for the same surgery. Our surgeon came out to tell us that he was done and into recovery. He said they would come get us as soon as he was awake. Soon I could hear a baby crying, and I knew it was our guy. Almost immediately, the nurse came back to get us. She said that she had just removed his IV and that made him cry. I guess he didn't like that very much. He was a tiny bit cranky, but amazingly in pretty good spirits considering what he had just been through. I was able to hold him and nurse him immediately. What a relief we felt. He was a bit hoarse from the breathing tube that had been in his throat. He looked great--he had only a little wire on his big toe that was measuring his pulse oxygen and he had a baby blood pressure cuff on his leg. She told us about the procedure and explained his after care that we would need to do at home. We were so thankful to God and relieved that he came through the anesthesia with no complications. He had a gauze bandage and then a pressure bandage over the area. The pressure bandage looked like a piece of packing tape. That stays on for 3 more full days. He had a stent in (basically a catheter). That will stay for 2 weeks, so she explained how to care for it and demonstrated how to irrigate it in case it became clogged. I got to try it while we were still there. We gave him his favorite toy--his gloworm--and a rattle to distract him while we did this. We had to wait until the urologist came to check one more time on the bandage and the bleeding. She explained what to watch for and gave us written instructions to take home with us. Then we were sent home with our precious little one.
The bandages are off!
It didn't look as bad as I expected
We removed the bandages. I was a bit worried to say the least. It really didn't look as bad as I thought it would. I was pleased about that. There is some bruising and it looks a bit raw, but not too bad. Do you know what it feels like pulling off a bandaid? Now imagine pulling off a super bandaid from a very sensitive body part on a baby. Before we could take off the bandages, we soaked our little fellow in a tub of warm water (no soap). He enjoyed sitting in his baby tub and watching himself in the mirror. Honestly, after 72 hours, and many diaper changes, that bandage was not as stuck as it started out. After about 15 minutes and a dose of infant Tylenol, we pulled the entire bandage, the gauze and the tape off. He only fussed a bit when the top of it was stuck to his abdomen. It was easy, really. Now we have to be careful to glob a large amount of vaseline on the front of the diaper with every change, so nothing sticks to his skin or the stitches. We also have to have him sit in a warm tub of water twice a day for 15 minutes for the next 2 weeks to help the stitches dissolve and the healing do better. And I have to be very careful not to pull out the catheter by accident.
Post Op Visit
Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
The only minor glitch we had occurred 10 days after surgery. Our little guy woke up with a fever of 102. Since our pos-op instructions said to call if he had a fever over 101.5, we had to call. Since our urologist is based at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and we live a good hour and half away, they had me email pictures of his healing to make sure the fever was not from an infection due to the surgery. The on-call doctors and nurses were great. They called right back and said that everything looked good and our urologist was not at all concerned about any infection. They suggested I call my pediatrician if I was concerned. Since our baby was already on antibiotics, I figured I would wait and see what happened. The fever was gone by the next day. However, after our urologist looked at the pictures, he decided the catheter could come out a bit earlier, so we made an appointment to go to the Philadelphia campus of Children's Hospital the next morning. Driving to the city and parking our 12 seater van was the hardest part. The catheter removal was simple. Dr. Z took care of it while our baby sat on my lap. Snipped one stitch that was holding the catheter in place and gave it a quick pull. Done! The baby didn't even flinch. He said that things looked great and we had to continue soaking our little guy in the tub to promote healing. Now we are done until 4 months from now, when we go back for the final follow up visit. Whew.
The Follow Up Visit
Quick and easy
We went back for our follow up visit five months after our little guy's surgery. The follow up visit was quick and easy. They weighed him, and asked if we noticed any problems. The biggest question was "Does he pee straight?" He does, so things are good! We have to go back one more time when he is four years old and potty trained. The doctors would like to observe him urinating, and make sure the stream is straight. I am not sure what he will think, having to "perform" for the doctors, but I guess we will cross that bridge when we come to it.
A good explanation
This video explains it very well. It does contain photos of the condition and repair, so do not watch it if you might be offended. The photos are not at all bloody or disturbing, but they are of a baby's private area. I found this video to be extremely helpful in explaining the condition and the surgical repair.