First Flight + First Surgery = First 48 Hours

In hindsight, it wasn’t just Wilson’s first few hours with us that were intense, but pretty much the whole first two days. I will forever be thankful that she was non-emergent and there was no rush to get her anywhere for care, but I will also be forever blown away by all that did transpire upon her arrival earthside.

When we had the Bigs here with us on Friday, we asked them, “Did you guys know that Wilson flew on a plane before she rode in a car?” (technically she was transported in an ambulance first to get to the “fixed wing” with the Transport Team from Children’s, but still – that’s not a car either). Their eyes bulged with this revelation, as did ours really, when we found out it would be happening. Again, this choice came from the fact that she wasn’t in need of a life-flight. She just needed to get to Omaha smoothly and swiftly and the little plane with their three-member team and transport isolette was the best way for her to go.

There was no room for either of us to join but that’s maybe for the best in hindsight, too, because I think it would have been really unsettling to be worried about every little thing going on in that plane in real time with real eyes on her. Not that knowing nothing while driving along behind her was exactly great either, but I digress.

As frantic as Ben and I were to get home and then get on our way to Omaha, once we did, it turned into a very long day of waiting to find out exactly what would happen with Wilson during our time here. We had been told she needed surgery to fix (i.e. put back in) the intestines that were in the omphalocele, and I think we both assumed that would happen Wednesday upon our arrival to Omaha, but we didn’t actually meet with the surgeon until late that afternoon which clearly meant nothing happening that day (except the getting a place to stay and getting a new breast pump and starting the process of arrangements for the kids back home and pretty much everything but sleeping because why would anyone need sleep after 30-36ish hours of mostly being awake and also pushing out a baby?).

Our first thankful for Thanksgiving was that Willa (I already find myself calling her both which is confusing my fuzzy brain even a bit more than normal) would in fact get to have her procedure. We didn’t know if the holiday would mess with things, but they scheduled her for an 8:00 time slot Thursday morning and we were thrilled to be there a little before 7:00a to spend time with her before walking over with her to the OR floor.

Then, of course, more waiting. We anticipated 1.5 hours but naturally they still had to get everything set and I don’t think things really got going until 9:00 or so. And then a fair amount of time passed (Ben’s parents were here waiting with us; my parents were hanging with the kids in Hastings) before someone came out to update us that Wilson was doing great but that things were going to take longer than expected.

Alrighty; not terrible news but also not really news, either, which I get for the sake of people in waiting rooms not getting on Google the second the med pros walk away, but it doesn’t exactly leave a mama with a sense of peace, either.

By noon, my anxiety levels were High. I could not figure out what was going on with our baby and after pumping for a second time in the OR Lactation Room, I had Ben run back across to the NICU floor (they are in different buildings which has rightfully been a wee bit confusing for folks) with my milk, only for that to be the time the surgeon came out so she (Oh, yes, my friends. #WonderWilson has been surrounded by #WonderWomen during her entire existence) could update us on WA’s procedure.

And that right there was when I learned about the blockage in her bowel that they discovered and which had to be removed (and then the whole rest of the bowel had to be checked for obstructions/visible issues) in addition to the intestines making their way back inside.

Oof. That is a lot to take in about your 36-hour-old newborn’s health and without your husband by your side in the doing so.

img_8362Added to that, even though we knew things ultimately went well and everything was back on the inside and connected as it should be, the surgeon warned me that we could be looking at more like a month’s stay instead of the week or two that we originally thought because everything was going to need time to heal and then see if it could function properly (i.e. poop was main goal and just the first one of those could take a week in coming).

For clarification, that’s when I lost it. Tears streaming down my face, trying really hard not to ugly cry until she walked away, LOST. IT.

I knew Wilson was fine, but the thought of being away from home for that long and away from the other kids pretty much tore me in two in that moment. And unfortunately I was still under the impression at that time that the Bigs weren’t allowed on the NICU floor AT ALL, so the whole thing was just beyond overwhelming to think of our family being split like that for so long. To be honest, I don’t know when clarification came – sometime later that day, thankfully – but siblings who are 3+ and potty trained can come on the floor if they are healthy and that little nugget of info saved me from complete meltdown for sure.

We were not yet done, however, with the waiting game for that day.

The surgeon also explained post-op that Wilson would need a PIC line put in for IV fluids to support her until feeds could begin (which had to come after the poo) and that if the PIC didn’t go in, a Central Line would have to instead and that would mean another operation. So mid-to-late afternoon, the NP started her first attempt with the PIC, told us it would be at most an hour, and we went to sit in the NICU waiting room. 45 minutes passed before we got the update that they while they got it in, they couldn’t get it go far enough up her arm to count so they came out to tell us they were trying again.

After another 45-50 some minute wait, we learned that one also didn’t work and that they wouldn’t be attempting again until during the night shift. As you may know from the FB updates, that overnight one DID work and all was well when we returned on Friday, but going “home” Thursday night was still an unsettled place to be for our heads and our hearts.

Thankfully, once we got beyond the 48 hour mark, the trend started to move up and up toward progress (and the kids got to come see us!), more of which I will detail for you in posts soon to come.




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