Did you know that it is very common for preemie babies to have hernias? Well, I didn’t but I sure learned.
When Drake was 6 weeks old he was well on his way to going home. Nurses made whispers of how he may go home soon with how well he was eating. Suddenly Drake started throwing up all he ate and then stopped eating. His stomach quickly became distended. This happened in a matter of hours. The staff was baffled. They put him back on IV feedings and worked to figure out what was happening. We were all very scared and worried. I was on my way into the hospital when I got the call that they were considering the possibility of him having NEC. I knew NEC was bad and could be deadly so I was terrified. I raced the rest of the way there in tears. In the short time it took me to get there, Drake’s left testicle had become enlarged and bright red.
Everyone was excited because the problem revealed itself. He had a hernia! However, they were all very concerned and rushing to get the surgeon in to see him. This was also very dangerous, but they were happy they at least knew what they were dealing with. What Drake had was a strangulated hernia. His intestines had pushed through into his testicle and twisted. Since the intestine was twisted it would not allow his food to pass through. This was also very dangerous because it cuts off the blood supply to the intestines.
The surgeon assessed and confirmed the hernia and that he would need emergency surgery. As they prepared him to leave it was some of the hardest times for us as parents. I knew it was bad when we had a majority of the nurses in the row all gathered around me and some in tears themselves.
Off to surgery Drake went and I had to go pump….how fun! Did I mention this all happened on my husband’s birthday?
Anyhow, luckily Drake went through surgery fine and the intestines looked healthy still. Unfortunately, he did lose a testicle due to damage caused by the hernia.
There are several types of hernias that can happen with preemies and girls are not excluded. With their bodies not fully developed they can’t support the pressure of crying, coughing, pooping, etc. Hernia can appear in several parts of the body.
Drake also ended up with an umbilical hernia. This is a hernia that occurs in the belly button. This occurs when the umbilical ring, where the umbilical cord went through doesn’t close allowing a hernia to occur. Luckily this hernia did not get stuck and it did not require surgery. It was just weeks of a very large outie belly button and eventually it got smaller and smaller and went away. We just had to keep making sure it was able to be pushed back in, which was quite interesting let me tell you.
Drake will always have an outie belly button because of it but we’ll take it.