So! Bad news first: Moira’s going to need surgery.

Good news: it’s a pretty simple procedure, during which she’ll only be under general anesthetic for about two hours. After that she’ll be given drugs–but not kept unconscious–to keep her immobile for 3-4 days until she recovers. Once she recovers…that’s it. She can go home and resume the business of babyhood with no restrictions on her movement or activities. Moira might be a little clingy, in which case the best prescription is love, snuggles, and her favorite snackies.

More good/bad news: she is likely not suffering any pain at all right now. Good in that she is in no pain from her hernia, bad in that something is keeping her awake and we are at square one again. We’re thinking teeth. Awful, wretched, horrible teeth. She’s probably also sensitive to dairy and gluten, which is a separate matter and one we can deal with quite easily (like, don’t let her pinch cheese off Maggie’s plate).

Best news: this is a one-time deal. Once she recovers, she never has to think about it again. This type of congenital diaphragmatic hernia is called a Morgagni hernia (hi, Googlers! Make yourselves at home) and does not have the symptoms–or the underdeveloped lungs and life-threatening potential outcomes–of other types of CDHs. She is at risk of a strangulated intestine, yes, but her lung function is fine.

We’re bummed that she has to have surgery at all, of course, but no life is free of complications and in the general scheme of things, this is a fairly minor bump in the road. The facility in Leeds is excellent and we’re confident about the care she will receive there. Since this world-class medical attention is not costing us a dime (what UP, national health care!) we decided to do the karmically nice thing and donate a few extra Wii-motes to the pediatric waiting room so more sick kids can play with the Wii there. They have a sweet setup but apparently sometimes the remotes “go wandering.”

The fact that Leeds is only 30 minutes from our house is probably the best part of this whole scenario. Trying to get her initial appointment scheduled was difficult. The infamous NHS wait times loomed. But it’s a bureaucracy, the NHS, and if you’re willing to lean hard you’ll get what you want. Tom made a phone call and I had Moira’s pediatrician weigh in, our appointment was scheduled in a prompt and convenient manner and we’ll schedule the surgery this week for October. And really, I don’t think that’s unique to the NHS. I’ve had more ridiculous wait times and unpleasant receptionist experiences in the States than I’ve had in England.

I will say when we got irritated with the scheduling, we toyed with the idea of bringing her back to the States to have it done in Boston but logistically that would have been a nightmare. Add into that the fact that one of us invariably gets sick when we cross that many time zones and…yeah. Undertaking an international health trip for the four of us to get Moira to Massachusetts (or wherever our insurance would have covered) would have been a nightmare scenario; the absolute last resort after all other options had been exhausted. I’m glad we only have to go 30 minutes from home. Maggie can continue to go to school and have play dates with helpful friends and sleep in her own bed; Tom can stay at home at night with her and spend the days with me in the hospital. It’ll be a hard few days, but it will pass.

So that’s that. Once Moira gets patched up, she’ll be just fine and we can resume our lives. We may even book a vacation for November. Onward!


4 thoughts on “Fixer-Upper

  1. Good news……… yea, I guess it is. For sure it could be worse. She is so little to have to go through this. And these little people have a longer memory than we give them credit for. God willing she won’t have much pain. I guess I know she won’t. You and Tom will be with her, she will NOT suffer! She is just so sweet………
    Regarding sleeping, after the surgery you can correct that. She might just be wanting extra lovin’ in the middle of the night……… Had a friend who was still getting up once or twice a night after her son was 2. The Doc said, let him cry it out. He stood in his crib and for 2 nights cried and called her………. “mama, help”, “mama, please”. She sat on the steps and cried her eyes out. By the 3rd night, he slept the whole night.
    I know how scared both of you are……… this too shall pass.

    • Thank you! The best part is that she is very young so the worst of it will fade from her memory.

      I’m pretty sure the sleep is related to teething and digestion since it isn’t the hernia; in any case, I could never let her cry it out to sleep. Maggie was a terrible sleeper too (although not this bad) and now she’s great so it might just be a matter of waiting for her to outgrow it.

  2. Glad to hear it’s expected to be a one-and-done surgery.

    I had abdominal surgery for an intussusception when I was an infant and I think I turned out okay (you can’t blame a childhood surgery for a stunted sense of humor, right?). As a bonus, I came out with a scar that looked like a second belly-button! Of course that was using 1975 surgical technique; M2’s surgery will probably be laparoscopic and she won’t have any cool souvenirs to show off in primary school.

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