first post-birth meeting with surgery

Baby had her first x-ray and appointment with surgery since she was born two months ago.

We were scheduled for a CT which required baby to fast for four hours beforehand, but ended up getting a chest x-ray instead. Baby was put on her back and her head was put into a Styrofoam block and masking taped together (which was hilarious) to keep it from moving. Her arms were held down by heavy bags, and an image was taken of the front of her chest. She was then placed on her side and her arms were masking taped above her head so she wouldn't move, and a side image was taken. She stopped crying immediately after she was let free, and all in all the process was extremely smooth. We had an hour and a half to burn before our meeting with surgery, so I fit a nursing session in and we had time to relax a little before our next appointment. (Side note: two parents and one small child makes for one ridiculously relaxing morning. I told my friend who carts around her three kids in the clinics by herself that I almost felt guilty being so... free, haha.)

We met with nurses and a medical student who asked us the gamut of questions, and awhile later the surgeon we originally met with prenatally came in. She said that baby appeared to be doing extremely well at birth and now. She's putting on weight, feeding great, and isn't having any breathing problems. The mass is still there, so it will be removed as it can cause cancer in her teens or later on in her life. We are scheduled for a CT in a little over 6 weeks, and then another follow-up with the surgeon afterwards. This CT will give us a better idea to see where exactly the mass is. Right now it appears to be in her left lung on the lower lobe, but there is a chance it could be in her upper lobe as well. They also want to check for the possibility of a sequestration, which basically means that the mass would have blood supply and need a different surgical technique.

Baby would have a small hospital stay (less than a week). The type of surgery she would undergo depends on the nature of the mass. She might be able to undergo a less invasive form of surgery, but may also need a more "old fashioned" version. With either version she is expected to heal well (as babies do). Also, lungs develop to the age of 8, so her upper lobe will help to compensate for the absence of her lower lobe! She is expected to be able to breastfeed, with perhaps a pumped bottle right after surgery to see how she's doing, but otherwise this sounds very manageable.

We are looking at scheduling a surgery near the holidays - either slightly before or after. That mostly depends on our preference. I'm leaning towards before the holidays since we'll have more time. I'm heading back to school in Madison in January, and am not sure how I'll handle a surgery immediately beforehand. Regardless, this takes precedence, and although it's nothing that will require months of rehabilitation, I'm learning I need to give us all time to get back into a groove before making too many commitments!

Baby update 9/12/13

I've realized I might have unintentionally left people hanging with what is going on with baby's CCAM. Things have been, for the most part, exceptionally normal and I suppose I haven't even thought of an update when there is seemingly nothing to update.

That being said, this is a quick run-down of where we are for anyone who has been curious.

Baby was born healthy, and an x-ray showed her mass was "minor", "nearly resolved", etc. She did not need assistance breathing, nursed like a champ, and showed no signs of any kind of health issue.

We brought her home and were originally supposed to meet with surgery at four weeks, but the surgeon said she would like a meeting closer to eight weeks. We meet with surgery next week, and she will also get a CAT scan to see what is going on with the mass. Just like when she was in utero - this thing can actually shrink down to nothing and disappear on its own. If there is any evidence of one at all (even a small one), she will undergo surgery to have it removed. Leaving it in could cause complications down the road, even if it is minor and not causing her any harm right now. Obviously, we won't know what is going on until she has the CT.

Right now we can only evaluate her based on her outward appearance and actions. Baby is still nursing and developing as she should. She's putting on pounds like crazy, smiling, cooing, sleeping for extended periods of time and puts up with being terrorized by her older sisters. If I didn't know she had health issues I would never suspect it. I would even go as far to say she's our healthiest and calmest baby.

I haven't really allowed myself to pay extra close attention to her breathing. As most parents know, you can drive yourself NUTS wondering if they stopped breathing during the night, so I kind of just keep a normal eye on it and not over-analyze. She does get the hiccups a lot and will occasionally have that weird, out-of-nowhere gasp that babies do every once in awhile. It's enough for me notice, but I don't think I would pay any attention to it if she didn't have the CCAM diagnosis. We are mindful of how we swaddle her and little things like that, but like I said, our day-to-day life is otherwise completely normal. Well, as normal as it can be with four weirdo children.

That's pretty much it, and you can probably see why I didn't bother to post an update in awhile. Outwardly she appears very healthy, and we won't know anything about a potential surgery until next week.

I want to thank everyone who asked how baby was doing and told us how happy they were things turned out so well. And to those who reassured me the scariness of the beginning would be a distant memory - you were right! :)

learning to smile :)