Sunday, August 5, 2012

Epigastric Hernia

This all started at a Dr. appointment which Kayla had for a upper respiratory infection (completely non related). We saw a different pediatrician than we normally due, because she was booked. During the visit the Dr. noticed a small bump in the middle of Kayla's abdomen. He poked around at it and said something to point of I'm not really concerned with it, it disappears when you push on it. I was non the wiser and thought nothing of it.

However when Kayla went in for her routine 1 year check up I remembered it and brought it up to our pediatrician. That is when I first heard the word "hernia". Which I knew nothing about. She said she thought it was a hernia and that she would like to refer us to a pediatrics surgeon so it could be fully diagnosed. 

After the appointment I do what I usually do when I'm clueless about something, I went to the internet. I scoured the web, reading up on all things "hernia". It prepared me somewhat for the surgical appointment. 

These were taken the day before her surgery, if you look close you can see the bump a few inches above her belly button.

On June 27th we met with Dr. Buchi (as they call him) and he matter of factually told me "yep she has a epigastric hernia." He continued to explain that it is a opening in the abdominal wall that is letting things through. His guess was that her's was only allowing fat through. He explained that there are three types of hernia's. Umbilical which is very common, groin which is also fairly common and then the least common of them all is epigastric. He then told me it was their policy that all epigastric hernia's would require surgery now rather than later. With this type of hernia what happens is the fat (or intestines or organs) get strangulated when the hole in the wall begins to grow tighter. Which causes great pain and if anything but fat is poking through could cause major health concerns.

whoa! wait a minute did he say surgery? My baby is... well... a baby! 

I kept myself calm and listened as he described what they would do in surgery. He told me the anesthesiologist would put her under general anesthesia by gas and that she would have an I.V and incubate her. Then they would make a small incision over the lump and go in and shave off the fat then stitch the muscle wall together then use the glue and butterfly tape to bind up the skin. And that it would be an outpatient surgery. We would come in, in the morning and leave by the afternoon. 

My heart stopped at "incubate her". I felt numb. They were going to make my baby girl stop breathing shove a tub down her throat and make a machine breath for her??!!?!?! This brought vivid flash backs of my grandmothers death, which was fuel to my fire of fear. 

I held my self together until the nurse came back in after the Dr. had left, then... well then I lost it. I hate crying in front of people especially strangers. The nurse was compassionate and after I sucked up the last of my sniffles I finished listening to what we did from here.

We were to call in and set up the surgery, if it wasn't going to be done within the next 30 days we would need to see Kayla's pediatrician a week before for a pre-opp physical. 

I talked things over with Josh and we did a lot of praying. Josh felt confident that the doctors knew what they were saying and doing. We scheduled the surgery for July 31st. 

As I prayed I asked the Lord to show me if doing the surgery was not His will. I asked for His peace to be upon me. I asked that her health not be put in jeopardy and that this not be a new trial I was to endure. I'm not going to lie all of this was hard for me. But I did my best to keep my hope in Him alone. 
What do you think of my styling dress?

So many toys to choose from!

We arrived at the hospital at 6:45am and they took her back to surgery around 8:05am. We were told it would take about an hour for the surgery and as soon as she was out Dr. Buchi would come speak with us. Then we would have to wait for her to wake up from the anesthesia before we could go back to recovery to see her.

On the morning of the surgery the Lord answered prayers right away. I was concerned about how Kayla would do with not being able to eat until after her surgery. She is a hungry hungry hippo in the morning and I worried she would not understand what was going on and why she could not eat.

Such beautiful blue eyes!

Nope not at all! She did ask a couple times to eat but the staff at the hospital was great at showing us around the super fun pediatric area and we kept her busy playing and riding in the little car, while getting prepped and waiting. We played with the tiny gas masks they have for babies to get Kayla used to it in hopes she would not be scared when they put it on her. 

The hardest part by far was when I had to hand her over to the nurse, (which she willing went to) another prayer answered. But although she did fine with that part I did not. After she was out of my arms and down the hall is when the flood gates opened and I cried on my husbands shoulder. 

I have a horrible feeling that she did some major crying as well because she broke all the little capillary veins around her eyes, cheeks and down her neck. It rips my heart a part to think of how scared she must have been when she realized she was no longer near mommy and complete strangers were laying her down putting a mask on her face. UUGGHH! Even writing this makes me tear up. 

By 8:45am our buzzer was going off telling us they were ready to take us back to see her. Josh said he's never seen me move so fast. We were put in her recovery room where we waited until she was fully awake and brought to my waiting arms. Oh that felt so good.

She looked fine! Like nothing had happened except being woken up too early from a nap . They did warn us that they can be a bit cranky when they wake up due to not knowing what's going on and why they feel so weird from the anesthesia. Boy they were right on. That was one cranky little girl, until they let her eat! Then she was a happy camper. Juice, apple sauce and crackers saved the day!

We got home after picking up her vicodin prescription by noon I believe. 

And she hasn't acted like anything happened! Seriously you would think she went to the zoo for the day rather than the hospital! 

Praise the Lord!!!! He always takes care of us and we are so thankful.

Kayla is healing well as far as I can tell. She has a post surgery appointment on the 13th. Which at that point I hope to put all of this hernia stuff behind us. 


  1. Dear Josh and April,

    I am a Paediatric Surgery Registrar in London, UK. I am writing the chapter of a book for Paediatric Surgeons on hernias, including epigastric hernias. I am looking for a photograph of a child with an epigastric hernia to include in the book. I was wondering if you'd be kind enough to permit me to use the photograph of your daughter posted on your blog. I can assure you that it will help other children like her in the future, through helping to train future surgeons. If you would consider this then I shall email you details of the book and myself and answer any questions that you have. Thank you very much for your time and consideration. Kind regards, Dr Wright

    1. My son also has one and we have not been told to do anything about it?!?!? Is this normal?

    2. After reading this I think we should see a dr

    3. I am so sorry for not replying all this time. I just now read your comment. I imagine your book is finished and you are no longer in need of my photograph but if you have anymore questions please let me know, I'd be glad to help.

  2. Hello-how is your little daughter doing now? We face the decision for the same surgery and wonder whether hernia repeats even after a surgery. God bless. Thanks.

    1. How did the surgery go? The hernia does not repeat as the hole in the abdominal wall is surgically closed. I hope all is well with your child.

  3. My daughter just turned two and we just found out the weird bump we have been seeing on her stomach is the epigastric hernia. She's had it since she was six months and our pediatrician only said her stomach muscles never closed. She has the same bump your little one had but hers is a little further up. Its right below her diaphram. I don't know how you handled the surgery. My doctor wants to wait until she's older to do anything, but I'm terrified just knowing its a hernia and that it could get worse. I give you so much respect for going through that. Thank you for writing this it really does help a lot.

    1. Has your doctor chosen to do anything about the hernia? Like I stated in the post, most surgeons won't wait because as the muscles grow together it can strangle the parts of the body poking through. If the child is already two and the bump is still there I would defiantly get a second opinion. Good luck and God Bless.

  4. I feel horrible for not replying to everyone's comments, I just read them all for the first time! If your child has a similar bump I would encourage you to schedule an appointment with their pediatrician. Bring up the possibility of an epigastric hernia and see what they say. If they blow it off as nothing but your still concerned dont hesitate to ask for a referral to a pediatric surgeon. As some small town doctors have never seen epigastric hernias.