Our first surgery date, scheduled in February of this year, was cancelled because she developed a UTI five days prior. We were rescheduled for April 6th, and despite another mild UTI a couple of weeks ago, she was healthy enough for surgery this time. The urologist scheduled 4 hours to perform the surgery, which was intended to completely remove the dilated ureter on her right side, as well as the upper section of her kidney that it connected to. This would require one incision on her upper right side near her kidney and another incision down by her bladder.
About 3 hours into surgery, the surgeon called to tell us that her plan needed to change. The upper kidney section was wrapped in blood vessels and although she tried, she was not able to get to it without damaging the vessels that carried blood to Emma's kidney. She didn't want to risk harming the entire kidney, so she decided to leave it. She did remove most of the dilated ureter, but left one small section of it and used it to attach the upper kidney to the lower kidney. So what was meant to be mainly a removal surgery became a reconstructive surgery, which took longer than expected. Emma was in surgery for a little over 6 hours, and she did fine throughout it, although Dan and I experienced some mental and emotional anguish.
Our tired girl playing with toys in the hospital waiting room at 5:30 on Wednesday morning
Taking a toy car ride right before they took her back for anesthesia at around 7:45 am
Dan's parents and my parents came to wait with us. It was a huge blessing to have their support, company, and prayers.
Six long hours later (at about 3:00 pm) we got to see her again in the recovery unit. When she started to awaken, she was whimpering and seemed to have pain, so the nurse gave her morphine and she went right back into a peaceful sleep.
Everyone was happy to see her again!
Some of the special gifts and balloons that our friends and family sent to cheer Emma up.
This was when she first really woke up. Her first complaint was about the IV in her hand and light bulb on her finger.
The IV continued to be her worst source of pain and discomfort throughout the hospital stay. If we had to stay more than one night and day after surgery, they probably would've placed it somewhere else because it was causing her hand to hurt so much.
Emma slept pretty well through Wednesday night, considering how often the nurses came in to give her medicine, check her temperature, etc. Plus, we were in a shared room and got new roommates at 2:30 am. Dan and I of course hardly slept at all. When Emma woke up on Thursday morning, she was ready to sit up and play with toys. She also ate one French Toast stick for breakfast, which was more than I thought she'd eat.
We did some cuddling in bed and played with stickers
By Thursday afternoon, we were really ready to go home. The doctor came by and discharged us at about 4:00 and took out Emma's IV!
Someone was excited to be home!!
Not that home's been a piece of cake, either. She still has a catheter in until Wednesday, which is her new biggest complaint. She has to soak in the tub twice a day to help cleanse it. The heart-shaped bandage is over her upper incision. The lower incision is in the center of her lower abdomen, similar to a C-Section incision.
She also has all of these medicines to look forward to several times a day. She has been taking medicine since the day she was born, so she is a rock star at it, even when they taste yucky.
We've spent lots of quality time on the floor together, although yesterday, she did a little bit of cautious standing and walking on her own initiative. I held onto her, since she's pretty weak and I'm afraid of her falling while everything is still so tender.
She is doing really well and is recovering slowly but surely, and we are so thankful to God for his goodness. We appreciate all of you who have been praying for Emma and us this week - God has certainly answered your prayers. I have a renewed respect for nurses and the work they do! I will definitely not be changing careers anytime soon. I could go my entire life without ever dealing with a catheter, bloody diapers, and surgery-related pain and be perfectly happy. But this is where God has us for now, and we are grateful for how he's protected Emma and provided for us in all ways. We are praying that as a result of this surgery, she will outgrow the issues she has had and not have to experience any more reflux or infections.