On Saturday, August 9 Benjamin Paul Rosenberger was born.
Two days later he was scheduled for an emergency surgery. Here is what the surgeons explained to us the day before:
“It’s an operation of priorities,” Dr. Angela Kadenhe-Chiweshe said. The surgery involves two steps:
1) Disconnect the fistula. This is top priority: the longer the esophagus is connected to the windpipe, the more chance the baby has of getting stomach acid into the lungs, which can lead to many possible problems like pneumonia.
2) Reconnect the bottom of the esophagus to the top. Benjamin was already being fed nutrition through his vein and would still be fed TPN through a PICC line after surgery until he healed enough to drink milk.
Ideally both procedures are done during one surgery, but not all babies handle the procedure well. Depending on Benjamin’s response, they may have to do two separate surgeries. Since Benjamin was born at full-term they expected he would do well, but wanted us to be aware of all the possibilities. Dr. Kadenhe-Chiweshe also explained a few “side-effects” that almost all TEF babies have (e.g. acid reflux; Tracheomalacia – i.e. barking cough, high-pitched breathing).
Early Monday afternoon he went for his 4 hour + surgery. When we arrived at the NICU before his surgery, they were putting the breathing tube in. We had to wait in the family lounge. Another couple was in there also; the mother was crying over the phone. I prayed their baby was ok. Jason read a psalm and prayed with me while we waited.
As we watched them wheel him to the surgery room, I thought, this must be how Jason felt watching them take us for the c-section. Our tiny vulnerable baby – the one we were given to protect – and there’s not a thing we could do to help. It’s times like those that I’m thankful for a loving Heavenly Father and for the many who are praying for us; and certainly the skilled, compassionate doctors who do what we can’t.
I cried as we left our baby. It was hard to see him like that… and hard not to think about what if… but we couldn’t focus on that. As Jason wheeled me back to our room, I decided, if he didn’t make it – I would thank God for the time I already had with him and the precious memories we made in that first day. (Easier to say that now, I know.) Besides that, I wasn’t going to think about that possibility anymore.
After supper, the surgeons came into our room to tell us Benjamin was out of surgery! They were able to complete the entire process in one surgery, as they had hoped. Thank the LORD.