Thursday, November 7, 2013

You could be my luck, even if the sky is falling down, I know that we'll be safe and sound.

Part 1

Ok, so it's been a little bit since my last post, but I think I'm finally a point where I can play catch up. I really want to post about Brennan's surgery, and do it over a few posts. When I started researching, I really just wanted to read other peoples stories. I didn't want to ask doctors a bunch of questions (which I did do, of course) but I just wanted to be prepared for the reality of the situation. What the hospital stay would be like, what to expect from recovery. As long as I know what to expect (I do not like to be surprised in those kinds of situations), I am usually pretty calm. That being said, I had a hard time finding people who blogged about their situation, and I felt like I should blog about Brennan's journey. The few stories I did find were so helpful, but none of them had the minimally invasive procedure done, which is what Brennan had. But I will get to that in a minute!

From the moment Brennan was born, we got comments about his head shape. The nurse that cleaned him up said his head shape was a little off, but that it would go away soon. One or two other doctors all commented on it as well, but since he was so little, they weren't very concerned. When we went to his first pediatricians appointment (the day after we were released from the hospital) our doctor, Dr. Hassel, immediately noticed that his head shape was off and felt a ridge on his skull. I could tell she was a little concerned but she was so great about being calm and telling us what the potential issue could be, craniosynostosis. This was something I didn't know a ton about, but we had some friends whose son had it a year or two before, so it wasn't completely foreign to us. She said she would check it again at his one month appointment, and then we would go from there.

This was his head shape when he was born. A little cone shaped and little pinched.
Jacob and I both had a gut feeling that little man was going to have to have the surgery, and as he continued to grow over the next month or so, you could tell. Brennan is pretty big for his age, and he has grown quickly!! At his two month appointment he was already 15 pounds. He was getting bigger but the top of his head wasn't really growing much. It was definitely pinched, and if you looked down on his head, it had a kind of football shape to it in the back, it wasn't rounded.

At his two month appointment, Dr. Hassel noted that his ridge had not made any change at all, and that she was going to refer us to a pediatric neurologist. She was very calm and honest about the situation, and I was really grateful for that.

I have to interject here - I have loved Dr. Hassel since the day I first met her. She was the first pediatrician at Northside to look at Savannah when she was born, and when she came in to talk to me I remember thinking that I needed to find out her name because I wanted her to be our doctor! Of course I totally forgot. Being a new mom made me a total space cadet. Well, as luck would have it, our first appointment once we were released from the hospital was with this Dr. Hassel and when she walked in the room, I was so happy it was the same doctor I had so badly wanted to see! She has been one of the best doctors I've ever been to. I honestly can't say enough positive things about her, and this experience has made me even more grateful that she's the one I trust with my children's care. She truly loves her job and her patients. She even came to see us while we were in the PICU. Anyways, I am rambling here, but I think you get the point. Dr. Hassel is amazing :) 

We got referred to Dr. Andrew Reisner and had an appointment set up to meet with him immediately. Up until this point, I was very calm about everything, but the urgency in getting him checked out so quickly kind of freaked me out. I was really nervous about the appointment. While we were in the waiting room, I was still anxious, but the minute I met Dr. Reisner, I was calm and had a really peaceful feeling. He pretty much took one look at little man's skull and was pretty certain he was going to need surgery. He had us come back in a week for a CT scan just to make sure and see what the situation was, but he was also very honest and reassuring about the reality of the situation. I really appreciate that approach!

It turns out that Brennan has sagittal synostosis, meaning the plates that run from his forehead to the back of his head were prematurely fused. The plates aren't supposed to fuse until the child is 2 years old. The only option for this is surgery. If you don't fix the problem, there are a whole lot of issues that can arise: blindness, seizures, brain damage, permanent head deformity, and problems with speech & language development.

The surgery was scheduled for September 24th, and at this point there was nothing for us to do but prepare ourselves for what Brennan was going to go through, and just wait for the surgery date to get here.

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