Dylan Zachary Lee has had quite the eventful start to his life. Here’s the rundown…
We had to arrive at the hospital at 5:30 a.m. Per usual, we were a few minutes late (thanks Andrea!). I changed into the stylish hospital gown, they started an IV, and put the baby on a monitor. After a few hours of hanging around, I walked to the operating room. It was a little weird to get up and walk after being in the hospital gown and in bed for 2 hours…kind of anticlimactic. And I even hoisted myself up onto the operating table. They put in the spinal tap…the anesthesiologist was an Iowa grad (go Hawks!). It was quite the bizarre feeling, and I asked about a thousand questions on if what I was feeling was normal. (hey, you try having somebody stab you in the back with a giant needle and see if you don’t get a little apprehensive…) I lay down on the table and they draped the curtain up so I couldn’t see the action. My mom and sister Andrea came in sporting some awesome space suits.
They checked to make sure I was numb and started the process. I actually wasn’t sure they had started until my mom stood up (she was sitting in a chair by my head) and told me they had indeed. For anyone who hasn’t had a Caesarean, it’s quite the bizarre feeling to have people cutting into your stomach, but you can’t feel any of it and can’t see any of it, so you have no idea what is happening. After the first layer, they started using a cauterizing tool for the rest of the incisions. So, I looked over at my mom and said, “Do you smell that? That’s the smell of my flesh burning.” The anesthesiologists (who were really the only doctors in the room concerned with me and not the baby) looked over at me to see if I was about to have a panic attack. I assured them I was joking, but I think they were still a little disturbed.
It only took a few minutes to get the little guy out. At 8:03 Dylan Zachary Lee Harsch was born weighing in at 6 lbs 6 ounces. And he started sucking on the doctor’s finger right away. Shortly after that, he started crying. Which was music to my ears. We were a little concerned he would need a breathing tube, because his lungs looked small on the ultrasound. The neonatologist, Dr. Jackson, almost immediately said, this kid isn’t going to need a breathing tube! They took Dylan to the bed and started dressing the omphalocele and doing other normal baby checks. He was off to the side and I could see him when the doctors/nurses didn’t get in my way. When he was ready to go to the NICU, the wheeled him over to me and I got to hold his hand before he left. Andrea went with him and my mom stayed with me. The doctors finished all the jazz with me and finished me off with a few staples (they obviously didn’t hurt, but it’s weird to know somebody is stapling you like a stack of papers). They wheeled me back into the post-op recovery room and I was done. Andrea shuttled all the proud relatives in and out of the NICU so everybody got to meet the little man.
The Children’s Mercy transport team showed up and they hooked him up to all of their machines for his first car ride. They were awesome and after he was all hooked up, they brought him into the recovery room and let me hold him. Being the smart, feisty little man he already is, he quickly discovered that he could pull his nasal canula out and set off the alarm. Which wasn’t a big deal, but the transport team had to come in each time and turn off the alarm. However, they showed a TON of patience and let me hold him for about 45 minutes before they had to leave. After he left, they wheeled me to my room that I would get to occupy for the next few days. They left the spinal tab in and I got a little button that I could push every 10 minutes and get a burst of drugs. And yes, I counted down each time…
My dad, Toni and Karl headed to Children’s so they could see Dylan when he got there. And of course, his favorite nurse Kristen was anxiously awaiting his arrival. And he already had quite the setup with his clothes, blankets etc. already arranged perfectly…not that we’d expect anything less. They got him situated and put in the central line and did all the assessments. Then the proud grandparents got to check out his new digs. Surgery was scheduled for 7:30 a.m. Wednesday, so after they got him situated he got to relax and try to get accustomed to life in the real world.
After a pretty uneventful night (if you can consider waking up every few hours to have a nurse push on your stomach after a major surgery having to milk myself like a goat every 3 hours uneventful), my mom and Nicki joined Andrea and I in the hospital room as we awaited news of the surgery. Overnight, I had gotten the spinal tap removed and had even tried standing because I was very hopeful I could convince the doctor to give me a pass to go to Children’s to see Dylan after his surgery.
I talked to Kristen, the anesthesiologist, the surgeon and the surgeon’s nurse before the surgery. The omphalocele was bigger than anticipated so they weren’t entirely sure if they’d be able to close it in one surgery. However, being the insta-genuis that Dylan is, he had grown a lot of skin up around the side of the omphalocele. So, they thought there was some chance they’d be able to get it closed. After about 2 hours of surgery (the total anticipated surgery time), I got a call that said it would probably be an hour more. Dylan was tolerating everything great, and due to the extra skin they were going to be able to get it closed in one surgery!!! We were all so excited and extremely impressed!!! The surgeons and nurses were AMAZING!!!
My doctor came by on rounds later that morning and I convinced her that I should be able to go see the little guy. I had to prove that I could walk (somewhat) and promise that I would use a wheelchair everywhere. We headed to Children’s where I got to see the little guy for a few hours. He had been put on a vent before surgery, and was expected to stay on it for a while (putting his liver/intestine back in the abdominal cavity created quite a bit of pressure for his lungs). However, even with all the tubes etc, he looked GREAT! And I was so happy to get to see him.
Lots of friends and family came by to keep me company while I was in the hospital. Between my mom, Nicki and Andrea I was never alone. We discovered the hospital TV had games on it and there was a version of Yahtzee called Cinquo. Being the competitive bunch that we are, we all took part in a friendly competition to see who could get the highest score. Nicki and I had it in the bag, until my mom came through with a potentially unbeatable 402.
I got discharged on Friday around noon. Nicki drove me to the hospital while my mom went to get my pain meds filled and then she met us there. I was walking okay by this point…once I got standing I wasn’t too bad, but the changing of positions (sitting to standing or vice versa) was pretty uncomfortable. Dylan was still doing great, and looked pretty happy.
Nicki, Toni and Karl headed back to Chicago. But no worries…Nicki was already so addicted to the little man, that she immediately booked a flight to come back on Monday, go back to Chicago Thursday morning for class even though she already had a flight to come back on Friday morning for the weekend.
But never worry, grandpa won't let Dylan be alone...
Hey everybody! Did you hear the SCOOP? Dylan made a…POOP!! Now, while this is exciting for any baby, it is an especially big deal for a baby that has had abdominal surgery. Dylan was a champ right after birth and pooped and peed a few times in the bag they had put over his legs. But post abdominal surgery, one of the first major steps is having a bowel movement.
Dylan got his ventilator removed today! We were very excited because it means we get to see more of his adorable face and also means that he’s that much closer to getting to come home. I was a bit nervous for the vent to come off…even though I want him home more than anything, there’s a bit of an addiction in staring at machines all the time. A few of the nurses have reminded me to look at him not the machine to see how he’s doing. He came off the machine like a champ, and continued to have perfect numbers when they drew blood to see how he was doing breathing. They did put a nasal cannula in his nose to give him a little bit of oxygen support. I think it annoys him some, but he gets great joy out of loosening it up by rubbing his cheeks against something and then yanking it out with his fingers.
Attention everyone, take a seat…cuz today’s the day I get to eat!! Dylan got his first “meal” today. For those of you who are worried, of course he’s been being fed the whole time with a yummy solution of TPN and lipids. However, today he got to try getting fed breast milk to see how he handled it. Like everything else, he handled it like a complete champ. He has continued to have tons of poopy diapers (something tells me at some point the excitement will wear off). Everybody at the hospital has been super impressed with how quickly Dylan has recovered from his surgery and how quickly he’s getting to each progressive step.