… especially when your little one is sick and you don’t really know why. For those of you who follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you probably have some idea of what’s happened, but for those of you who don’t I wanted to pop in and post a little update.
Two weeks ago our sweet Katelyn started vomiting. And let me tell you, this went WAY beyond spitting up. This was forcefully splattering our faces, getting in our hair, drenching bath towels. Yuck. I didn’t know what had happened. My precious girl went from a happy not-at-all spitty baby to this vomit machine. In just a few days. It was ridiculous. We were both at our wits end not knowing what to do. I was afraid to even put her down because even when sound asleep she would open her mouth and formula would come back out! Without her ever waking up, I was afraid she would choke.
So I did what any parent would do after about 24 hours of her throwing up forcefully after every bottle (sometimes during a feeding while the nipple was still in her mouth!). I took her in to the doctor. Unfortunately, that first day I was only able to see a nurse practitioner. I didn’t care, I just wanted to get an opinion on what was going on with Katelyn. I knew something was wrong. Babies don’t just start randomly throwing up like this. It wasn’t normal. Her weight was fine. Her belly sounded normal. I was told it was “probably” reflux but to come back on Monday for a weight check (we went in on a Thursday).
After a very long weekend, Monday finally rolled around. I told my husband that I didn’t care what he had going on at work, I wanted him to come to the doctor with me. If I was going to have to make an ass of myself to get the help we needed for our daughter, I wanted him by my side. I knew this wasn’t reflux – we dealt with that with Garrett. This was something totally different and I was scared something was seriously wrong. Luckily we saw the doctor this time. And he immediately saw something different. He told us she had lost 4oz in 4 days, asked us a bunch of questions, felt around on her belly, and then calmly told us that he wanted us to go down the hall for an ultrasound, that he suspected something called pyloric stenosis. He also explained that if it was indeed pyloric stenosis then she would require surgery.
Wait, what?! Surgery?!? Yes, surgery. Our baby girl had to have surgery on the day she turned 1 month old. Very, very scary.
To explain, pyloric stenosis is, in the most simplest terms, when the muscle that connects the stomach and the small intestine gets too large to let food pass through for complete digestion. Since nothing or very little can pass through, the vomiting takes place. Dehydration and extreme lethargy can also occur. So the surgeon had to go in and cut through the muscle to make it where food can pass through again. So you know, this condition usually presents between 2 and 8 weeks of age. It is something that is seen in 3 out of 1000 babies. It is most common in males, especially first-borns. So for our girl to have it is even more rarer. It’s also hereditary… we’re still trying to figure out where it came from. In addition, now that she has had it her future children are 20% more likely to have it.
And while my daughter had to have surgery at 1 month old and will forever bear the scar on her belly, she is back to being her happy self. No more vomiting. Hardly even any spitting up. I can lay her down without fear that she will choke on vomit. It was scary for all of us. It was tremendously stressful. But our girl is happy and healthy again. I am just so relieved that what we went through was so easily fixed – a lot of parents and children don’t have it as easy as we did.
Think of this as a public service announcement. While you may never come across another parent dealing with pyloric stenosis … I want you to know to trust your parenting instincts. I was told my girl had reflux. I had my doubts. I knew it was something more serious than just plain old reflux. Don’t be afraid to get a second opinion. Trust your instincts … no one knows your baby better than you.