Wednesday, April 8, 2009

lip repair

Rowan had his lip repair surgery at Duke University Hospital. Our day started very early, without much sleep the night before. Rowan was allowed to drink breast milk at 2 am and Pedialyte at 4am, so we woke and fed him at these times, trying to prevent him from being too hungry before surgery. We might as well have skipped the 4am feeding. He *hated* Pedialyte.

We had to be at the hospital at 6am. Since Rowan was only 3 months old, his surgery would be one of the first that day. We were early, and got there even before there was anyone at the desk to help us out. Rowan was starting to feel hungry, so we walked and sang while he tried to eat his burp cloth.

Finally, it was time to go back into the prep area. The nurses listened to Rowan and gave him a general check up to make sure he was all ready for the surgery.
We got him all ready in his hospital gown, and he tried to take a nap while we waited for everyone to be ready. His surgeon, nurses, and anesthesiologist came to make sure we didn't have any last minute questions. At first they weren't going to let me go back to the OR with him, but I insisted. So I got suited up and carried him.

The hallway was really long. I held him close to me and told him that everything would be all right. I held him while the gave him the gas to make him sleep, and handed him to the nurses. It was then out of my hands. I went back to the waiting room to wait with John.

The surgery took about 3 hours. The nurses called several times from the OR to give us updates, and Dr. Georgiade came out as soon as he was finished to tell us how it went. Waiting was so hard, we were relieved when it was over and we could get our first look at our "new" baby.

At first, Rowan's face was very swollen, but that wasn't a surprise. After all, it hadn't even been an hour out of surgery. I didn't like his new face at all. I wanted them to take him and put him right back the way he was before! It's very strange to have the way your baby looks change so drasticly. It didn't take me long, though, to start to love his new face, too.
We stayed in recovery for about 45 minutes, and then it was time to go to his room. It was only noon, but it already felt like it had been days.

Rowan slept a lot. He'd had some narcotics for pain in the recovery area, but after that all he needed was baby Tylenol. He also had an IV so he could get fluids and antibiotics. The hard part was getting him to eat some Pedialyte. He still hated it, but he had to drink and keep down 2 oz for 2 hours before he would be allowed to drink some milk. We managed to get it into him, and he kept it down, so finally he was able to drink his good milk!

He didn't have much of an appetite, and he slept very soundly. We had to feed him with a special squeezable bottle and syringe nipple to keep from hurting his lip. He didn't like this very much. He really wanted to suck on something. It was amazing how fast the swelling in hisface went down. Later, on the same day that he had his surgery we could already see how he would look.

Both John and I stayed at the hospital that night with Rowan. I slept on a fold down chair, and John slept on a camping mat we brought with us from home. We got as much sleep as we could that night, and early the next morning Dr. Georgiade and his residents came by to see us. They said that Rowan was doing very well, and that we could go home as soon as we wanted. John went to pack up the car!

My mom, Rowan's Mamaw, came up to help us out that first weekend home. She was so excited to see what he would look like, she met us at the door. We were very glad to have the help. All Rowan wanted to do was suck on his fingers, and that was the only thing we wouldn't let him do, so he was a very mad little boy.

He had to wear arm restraints, called No-Nos for two weeks after his surgery. He got his stitches out after one week, but he had to keep the No-Nos so he wouldn't mess up his repair. The saying at the hospital was "first fix, best fix," so we made sure to keep those little hands out of his mouth. It wasn't an easy job!

One week after his stitches came out, the scar was already starting to fade. Rowan will need more surgeries in the future, but the first step is all done. We're so glad. He's such a handsome little boy!

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