I am a Christian, a mommy, and a wife who makes her living caring for other people's very tiny or very sick newborn babies as a neonatal nurse pracitioner. When I'm not at work I love to read, cook, and bake. I love most dogs, and tolerate some cats. I was born sarcastic and try to find the humor in every situation (much to the chagrin of my poor husband).
I bought Sophie this onesie when I was still pregnant because I really thought she would be bald…and this would have been REALLY funny. However, she was born with hair…so not nearly as funny as I hoped!
Zoe has a toy that is a dog dressed up like Santa. She LOVES it, but she plays with it constantly so it is disgusting. If she didn’t love it so much I would throw it away, but I know it would break her heart. Sophie is not a big fan of it either…
UPDATE: Santa Dog kicked the bucket shortly after this...Zoe DESTROYED him...so it was her fault, not mine.
So yes, I broke the cardinal rule and left Sophie alone for a second with Zoe. I ran into the next room to grab the phone. I heard Sophie make a very cute coo sound and peeked my head around the door and this is what I found.
Did you notice what is around Sophie’s head? Zoe’s toys…I did NOT put them there. Apparently Zoe was trying to entertain Sophie for me. When I went back out there, Zoe decided to give her a kiss…for being so good! I know someone is having a heart attack that I let my dog be so close to my baby…but she is SOOO good, the worst thing she has ever done is lick her. I know I know…there is always a 1st time, but look at that smile on Sophie’s face, so cute!
So far so good…Sophie had her surgery on Tuesday, September 4th. It was scheduled for noon, but they took her back early, probably because she was making too much noise screaming in the holding room! Dr. Jensen was able to find the fistula and it was very small and very low (both good things). Sophie did not get to eat until the next day so it was a very long night, but once she started eating again she was VERY happy. We were discharged home on Thursday (a day before I thought we would get to go). We had a great experience at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital, I was very pleased with all of our nurses, and I’m picky! She is doing very well so far, we had a check-up with her surgeon this past Tuesday and he said she is healing well so far. Keep those prayers coming, they are working! We have another appointment next week and he is going to examine her a little more closely to make sure she is healing inside and out. Poor Sophie! Here is my BIG girl in her hospital attire, with her matching IVs. All 12.5 lbs of her.
Since sweet Sophie had to have surgery before I could have her baptized/christened we had one of the chaplains from Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital baptize her. I have worked with Raye Nell Dyer for years and think the world of her so I asked her to baptize Sophie before her surgery. My mom, “Aunt” Janet, Blake (Sophie’s Godfather), Michelle (Blake’s wife), David (Blake’s son), Adam, and I were all present. My sister (Sophie’s Godmother)had to be at a doctor’s appointment so she was there with us in spirit. My dad was at my house taking care of Zoe, so he was there in spirit as well. Sophie cried through the whole thing because she was starving…but once Raye Nell finished the prayer she was quiet, at peace before her surgery…but only briefly…
ADDENDUM: January 11, 2011
As I am moving all these old posts to my new blog (the free one) I have been reflecting on the early days with Sophie and how very hard it was. I remember when we were preparing for Sophie's surgery I just had this horrible nagging sense of impending doom re: her surgery. I could not figure out what was bothering me so much. I just kept praying that I would figure something out so that I could send her into surgery with positive thoughts and hope instead of the dread that was plaguing me. I am normally a very positive person, but I just couldn't shake this.
One morning while we were staying with my parents I woke up and realized that what was bothering me was the fact that I had not had a chance to have Sophie baptized and that I truly felt like I was sending her into the OR unprepared. I knew she was God's child, I just wanted to make sure she knew. I realized that I had this horrible fear that she would not make it out of the OR and I knew I would never forgive myself if something terrible happened and she wasn't baptized.
I know that many people believe that unbaptized babies have a direct admit to Heaven, but my Catholic upbringing made me wonder...would she be stuck in Limbo forever? I still don't know what I truly believe. I cannot imagine that an unbaptized baby would not be admitted to Heaven, I almost cannot believe this and do what I do. But for my own child, I could not risk being wrong. When faced with hopeless situations at work, I always ask parents if they would like their child to be baptized. I have baptized countless babies. I guess it just makes sense I would need this assurance for my own.
At the time I felt badly that her Baptism was so informal (in the consult room outside of the ORs). I felt bad that her Baptism wasn't a bigger celebration. In retrospect I realize how very special this Baptism really was and I wouldn't have it any other way. Well...maybe not having Sophie be NPO would have made HER happier, but it was special screaming and all.
Adam had to go out of town for a week and I didn’t want to be alone so he took us to my parent’s house for the week. It was so nice to have a change of scenery and company while Adam was out of town! Sophie didn’t get to ride on the boat or go in the lake, but she did get to show off her swimsuit attire…
Most of you have already received this update, but here is the story. We spent the entire day on Tuesday and Wednesday, August 21st and 22nd at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital with Sophie. On Friday, August 17th, we noticed that one side of her labia was red and swollen, we took her to the pediatrician and he put her on antibiotics. On Monday night, August 20th, when Adam was changing her, it looked like she was passing stool from her vagina (NOT GOOD). So we went back to the pediatrician and then met with a pediatric surgeon. On Tuesday, August 21st she had a barium enema (looking for a connection between her rectum and her vagina) which was normal. We took her back on Wednesday, August 22nd for a pelvic ultrasound (looking for an enlarged uterus), which was also normal. However, we still saw what looks like stool in her vagina and we had no explanation for what we assume was an abscess in her labia. She was scheduled to have an examination under anesthesia on Friday, August 24th.
Out of desperation and hope I emailed a surgeon from Vanderbilt that is amazing. He is no longer performing surgeries, but is still doing research and working in the clinic (the same clinic where Sophie's surgeon is). I have worked with him for 9 years and have seen him perform miracles many times. I always said if I needed a surgeon I wanted him on the case. Since all our tests were coming back negative, but I was SURE of what we saw and knew there was something there I asked him to look into our case. He examined Sophie on Thursday and was able to find her fistula in 2-3 minutes flat, saving her from a procedure under anesthesia.
Sophie does have a rectovestibular (aka rectovaginal) fistula (a connection between her rectum and vagina) but a normal anus. This is EXTREMELY rare but this surgeon has seen it once before in an older child. I am grateful that Sophie has a diagnosis and a normal anus (that sounds funny, but most of these fistulas are associated with an imperforate anus (no hole on the outside) and are therefore a more complex repair). And I am so incredibly grateful that this surgeon was willing to see us and saved her from yet another procedure. He really is an amazing person and I am so thankful he is still working at Vanderbilt.
Sophie’s particular problem is virtually undocumented in the United States. Dr. Pietsch and Dr. O’Neill (two of the VERY experienced surgeons at Vandy) have each had one patient with this, but both were older children (since this type of fistula is usually associated with trauma…having a congenital fistula makes Sophie that much more unusual). Most of the cases that have been documented were in India and Japan. Most of these cases were associated with a labial abscess just like Sophie and they aren’t sure what comes first the fistula or the abscess. It figures I would have a child with something this rare!
The plan for Tuesday, September 4th, is to perform a thorough exam under anesthesia to see how high the fistula is and to determine where it goes. Dr. Jensen is hoping to remove the fistula from below without needing to perform a colostomy. However, in the literature, 1/3 to 1/2 of the patients required a colostomy later because the fistula either recurred or the patient got an infection. If she needs a colostomy she will have it for a few months (up to 6 months) so we are really hoping to avoid this intervention. We expect to be in the hospital for 3-4 days post-op. Dr. Jensen assured me that he will not perform any intervention unless he is positive it is the right thing to do. If during the exam he finds something unexpected, he will not do any intervention until he discusses it with someone else. He also told me he wasn’t sure who he would talk to, since this is so rare, but the bottom line is that he won’t intervene until he is sure what he is doing is the right thing for Sophie. I feel confident that she is the right place with the right people!
I think that is all for now…please keep us in your prayers for a while, even if we avoid the colostomy initially, we have to keep her infection free and let her heal before we are out of the woods. In the wise words of Sister Theresa (I think)…I know God doesn’t give us more than we can handle…I just wish he didn’t trust me so much!