Early days with a connected bowel

It’s a week tomorrow that Clara had her stoma reversal surgery. Just a week, and Clara is back to her usual self.

Within three days post operation, we had removed her pain relief, her catheter, the canula in her wrist, and she was dressed in day clothes again.

Her scar is healing beautifully, a long horizontal scar across her tummy, neatly formed by her surgeon. The previously raw skin that was suffering around the stoma has now dried over and is beautiful. No longer is any intestine visible.

The only evidence of the operation is the missing stoma bag, the regular dirty nappies, and the NG tube.

The NG tube remains as Clara’s gut is still waking up. When we’ve aspirated (ie used a syringe on the NG tube to pull up fluid from her tummy) there’s been varying amounts. Sometimes nothing, sometimes a lot. Often a lot of air. This can cause Clara to gag, or, as we have now seen twice, throw up.

Last night Clara had a small vomit and it scared me – was this a sign things weren’t working as well as expected? The irrational part of my brain brought forward memories of Clara vomiting in the night in December, the sign we didn’t know back then that meant everything was about dramatically change. The rational part of my brain, however, knew this very small amount of sick was absolutely nothing like December, nor did it even look the same. In fact, from research, I knew short gut kids are prone to vomiting and therefore, deep down, I knew it wasn’t really anything to be too concerned about. But tiredness and flashbacks are never a good combination – I’d simply lost my sense.

We’ve had dirty nappies almost hourly since the connection operation, a great sign that the operation was a success. And without telling too many takes about Lady Clara, she’s certainly passing wind!

The oral feeds haven’t yet resumed as Clara’s aspirates have been too high in volume, and the vomit knocked us back. But the plan is to resume feeding tomorrow at 2ml an hour, and see what happens.

In the meantime, Clara continues to enjoy every day. She’s growing at an incredible rate – these pink dungarees (below) were ankle length only a month ago!

And the smiles just get bigger and bigger!

The next step is to get Clara feeding regularly again, get Dean and I trained on her parental nutrition fluids (another post another time) – we are on the journey to home.

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