Sunday, September 13, 2009

Surgery for James

We got a call yesterday at 3:30pm saying that there were at least 2 portions of his bowel where things were no longer moving through (based on comparing x-rays), so the surgeons had decided to prep him for surgery at 5:00pm. We rushed to the hospital, made calls, and arranged for Maddie to have a "playdate" with our friends the Newells so that Keith's mom Darlene could be with us. My parents had just checked in to their hotel in Eugene for the UofO Ducks football game, so it took them a couple hours to get back to the hospital. Our dear family friends the Knopfs also arrived, so we had a good support team.

I held it together for brief moments off and on, but especially once we got to the hospital I was a basket case. The chaplain was at James' bedside and we laid hands on his head as she prayed a blessing over him. Then the whole team of doctors came to prep him and we followed as they rolled him down to the OR. That is a trip that no 2-week-old baby should have to take. We got to give him one last kiss before they wheeled him in and they began the surgery at 6:30pm.

Saturday @ 8:30pm:
James has made it out of surgery. They found a substantial amount of
his small intestine which had been destroyed by the NEC and were
forced to remove about 50-60% of his small intestine. Normal babies start
with a little over 200cm, but because of his growth restriction James
only started with about 100cm. Since they removed about half of that
he will essentially be down to a quarter of what a normal baby would
have. They have told us that this is enough for him to be able to be fed in some way, however there will be lots of things that will need to be done to manage it (they haven't even talked about those details yet, as it's a long way down the road). One good thing was that were able to clearly identify the bad areas, which is not always the case in these situations. We are very fortunate that the skilled surgeons decided to operate when they did, since James did not appear to be as sick on the outside as he really was on the inside. I think they were surprised to find just how much damage had already been done and, had they decided to wait much longer, the outcome could have been irreversable.

The more immediate concern is for his overall stability. He is still
extremely sick and his progress right now is really managed minute by
minute. Keith and I have been with him for a little while and he seems
to be stabilizing somewhat, although his heart rate is a little faster
than they would like. We are staying in the hospital tonight so we can
be here if anything changes, but right now he is progressing very well
considering the circumstances.

Sunday @ 10:00am:
James was a trooper through the night and the nurses and surgeons are happy with how he's holding up so far. His stats are stable and are a bit better than they thought he'd be at this point. He is very swollen over his whole body, which will likely get worse over the next few days before it gets better. He has an open wound across his abdomen (covered with a special film and then gauze/dressings to allow his bowels to expand if the pressure builds up in his abdomen. He'll need another shorter surgery, probably next week, to sew up this wound. He also has a tube in his colon leading to the outside and an ostomy (open area with a sterile plastic bag sealed over the top) on the other side of his abdomen which allows surgeons to see his intestines and how they are healing.

While all of this was not news we would have hoped for, Keith and I
thank the Lord for allowing him to make it through to this point and
that the surgeons were able to clearly identify the diseased areas and
remove them successfully. James is still in critical condition and we know this will be a very, very long haul for both him and us.

We continue to pray for him to stabilize and heal from his surgery and
that he will stay free of infection or other complications.

Thank you all for all of your prayers and support.

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