Stephen's Story (Part 3)

One day, several weeks ago, I called the Pediatrician (I had “fired” the awful GI doctor) after Stephen had blood in his spit-up. I told the receptionist on the phone it was an emergency, and I brought Stephen, along with with spit-up bib to his office. While there, he projectile vomited all of the bottle he had just drank. I begged him to tell me what to do to help my child. I felt like my baby was at rock-bottom and something serious was going on. I remember the Pedetrician putting his head into his hands to think. He suggested trying to up the dosage of his reflux medication for a few days, and if that didn’t work, we should think about going to see a Pediatric surgeon.

2 days later, after no change with the dosage of medicine, DH and I decided to take Stephen to see the Pediatric surgeon. I immediately felt peace when I met this doctor; he was gentle, caring, and honest. I won’t give out names on here in case of internet searches, but I nick-named him Dr. God-Send (not only was he a great doctor, he was a Christian…he had a picture of Jesus in his office, with pictures of all of the children he had helped surrounding Him). For once I didn’t feel like some crazy woman making up stories or being dramatic about my child, because he understood.

He sat us down and explained to us what he thought was going on. The blood in the spit-up was most likely due to an acidic ulcer trying to form on the lining of Stephen’s stomach, or it was from his poor little esophagus being literally burned from so much coming up. However, his main concern was the choking. He had heard of babies’ whose parents had ignored GERD like Stephen’s, and the babies would either fail to thrive or end up dying from pneumonia or choking to death.

Dr. God-Send gave DH and I two options. The first one was to continue down the road we were on, with forcing Stephen to eat, feeding him in his sleep, trying a million different medicines, and not sleeping/not turning our backs for fear of something happening to him, until he grew out of it (which could take up to 2 years, if that). The second option was to correct/strengthen his esophagus and stomach by doing what is called a Redo Laparoscopic Nissen Fundoplication surgery. The doctor told us exactly what would happen during the surgery, and he laid out all the risks and possible complications so we were aware of what we would be doing if we chose that option. He had us go home to think and pray about it, and to call him later on his cell phone (the only doctor I’ve ever met who gave me his personal cell phone number).

My immediate decision was NO to the surgery. It terrified me. I knew he needed to have something to help him, but I couldn’t bear the thought of him being cut open or having scars for the rest of his life. I felt sick to my stomach and couldn’t think. DH prayed and prayed and interceded for me and Stephen when all I could do was cry.

After lots of praying, crying, asking God for a miracle, we decided to go through with the surgery the next week. We called Dr. God-Send and let him know of our decision, and he assured us that he believed we were doing the right thing for Stephen. He said to call the nurse the next day and set everything up, and that we would have a healthy baby boy by Christmas.

The morning of the surgery came, and I could barely stand up. I kept feeling like I was going to pass out. I couldn’t look at Stephen without bursting into tears. Dr. God-Send met us in the pre-op room and explained everything that would take place again before, during, and after the surgery. He gave us the option to back out one more time, but we felt like it was right. I just held and rocked Stephen until he fell asleep. Then the nurses came and let us say goodbye to Stephen for just a little while. We were to go to the PICU and put our things in Stephen’s room, then come back to the waiting room (the scariest place on earth) until the doctor came out or they called us to come back to recovery.

The hour and a half we spent in that waiting room was the longest hour and a half of my life. DH went to get us something to eat, and then we just sat and waited. Finally Dr. God-Send came into the waiting room to let us know how things went. As soon as he said Stephen was doing great, I gave him a huge hug. He said the procedure went perfectly, but the amazing thing was a birth defect they had found as well. Stephen also had what is called a hiatal hernia. This is a condition in which a portion of the stomach protrudes upward into the chest, through an opening in the diaphragm. The diaphragm is the sheet of muscle that separates the chest from the abdomen and is used for breathing. Babies can be born with this condition and it can make GERD worse. Dr. God-Send was able to repair the hernia as well, and if they hadn’t have found that problem also, Stephen could have gotten worse as he got older.

Soon after, we were called back to recovery. It was awful seeing my precious little boy hooked up to an IV and monitors and everything else. I felt awful and even though I knew in my heart it would help him, I was still scared I made the wrong decision about the surgery. We were finally allowed to hold him, and not long after we went with him to his room in the PICU.
(To be continued...)

1 comment:

Christina said...


You are such a caring person and a wonderful mother. Don't forget that. I have been praying for you and Paul.

Christina S.