Stage 2 hypospadias repair
The stage 2 hypospadias repair was scheduled for 6 months following the stage 1 repair. This would be the urethroplasty, where the new urethra would be created from the initial buccal mucosa graft from the last surgery. Just before the scheduled surgery, my older son came down with a virus so we decided to push surgery out a few months.
Stage 2 repair
The long awaited date arrived and we flew back for the stage 2 hypospadias repair. Em was given “silly juice” since he was then 15 months, about the time stranger anxiety usually kicks in. I must say that the silly juice was the lightest moment of the day. The morning of surgery is always though. Solids are cutoff at midnight and clear liquids around 3 AM the evening prior, so by the time you’re in pre-op, baby is hungry and mom is a wreck. Silly juice was explained to us as like a few margaritas for baby. Surgery was completed in a couple of hours, and following recovery, we were discharged for a couple days of recovery before flying back to Oregon.
When we got home, all was well for a couple of days. A catheter was used in new urethra which was to be removed at our local urologist in two weeks. After one week, we returned from dinner out to find the catheter had begun working its way out. I called everyone I could: surgeon, local urologist and on-call nurses. We ended up in the ER at midnight with a nearly out – and somewhat stuck catheter – partially because we didn’t know what to do and because he hadn’t urinated in 6 hours. As the ER doc arrived, Em pushed the remaining bit of the catheter out and peed all over. I cried. I laughed. It was the first time we’d see him actually pee where he was supposed to, even if it meant all over the ER room.
The next morning I called everyone I could to ensure the catheter could come out a week early. Nobody locally would put a catheter in on top of a brand new repair, so we had to hope there had been enough healing in that week.
Things were fine for a couple of days. Soon we noticed his urine stream decreasing. Ultimately it became just a drip. He strained to urinate and wasn’t draining his bladder. The next morning we jumped on a plane headed back to Texas. A new french foley catheter was placed that used a balloon inside inflated with a small amount of water to prevent it from coming out. The hope was there was some remaining inflammation that hadn’t gone down. That catheter stayed in place for 10 days and was removed by our local urologist. By the end of that day, he couldn’t pee again. We were admitted to ER at OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital the following day. He was put under anesthesia for the third time in a month and a new catheter was put in. This was just to help the urethra stay open. A suprapubic catheter (a tube inserted into the bladder through a small hole in the abdomen) was also surgically placed to provide urethral rest and drain the bladder. After a day in the hospital, we were discharged with two catheters, one existing through a port in his tummy, and a catheter bag strapped around his leg.
The next month was rough. The double catheters would produce bladder spasms that would wake him through the night. We got used to midnight walks around the neighborhood while we’d wait for the medication to kick in. Diaper changes were a two person job. We’d create our own Tegaderm-bandaid-strap contraptions to keep the supratupic tube and catheter bag attached to his leg.
Why not us?
Sometimes when we’d ask “Why us?” my husband would remind us both, “Why not us? People go through things everyday in life and with their children. We’re no different.” We’re now awaiting another surgery in two months. I’ll update as we get closer.
My husband told me that challenges in life provide character and keep us interesting.
I think when we’re all done, we’ll have lots of both.