Surgery Day (Infant Hirschsprungs)

Hershey Childrens Hospital

It’s 8:30 and we are on the road. We stopped for Starbucks even though neither one of us have an appetite. It’s comforting.  I’m clutching my cup as Nick puts on a playlist of songs he picked for this ride. He hums and I cry a little.  I’m not afraid, but the emotions are still riding so high. This is real.

Try to stop Your love, You would wage a war / God, You pursue me with passion and mercy / Unstoppable Love

Here in Your presence / I am not afraid of brokenness / I would be poured out till nothing’s left / I just wanna dwell on who You are / Beautiful, beautiful / Oh, I am lost for more to say…

We have come to Mount Zion / City of the Living God / Heavenly Jerusalem…

Call my name and I will answer / All you need, it’s here inside my arms / Just sleep and you can find your rest in Me / No one knows you better than Me… (Cecie’s Lullaby)

This life, this love was always meant to be a wild crazy adventure. Discovering, the thrill, the rush, the more of you I see, the more it leaves me wanting Your everything / I’m chasing You, I’m so in love / Captivated, I just can’t get enough…

The car fills with Him, swelling up so that I’m nearly overcome.  Every single time I stand steady, every single time I move deeper to Him in my shakiness, I nearly suffocate in His glory.  He truly is IN this. It’s on purpose, so crazy on purpose that my love for Him might burst my chest open…


So many little miracles are happening.  Tyce, who hasn’t had anything to eat since 7am and would typically have been urgently fussy, has been napping quietly most of the morning.  This was perhaps my biggest concern about pre-op; that he would be so hungry that our stress levels would be heightened just because of his crying.  But no, he even smiled for me while we undressed, sponge-bathed and changed him into the pre-surgery wear.  Over and over, I whisper Thank you, Jesus.  I’m so relieved to have these final moments be filled with simple affection and peace.

Smiles for mommy
Smiles for mommy

IMG_0681Another answered prayer: he weighed in at almost two full pounds heavier than he was a week ago.  Irrigating his bowels made way for his appetite–and we both exuberantly congratulated Tyce for packing on the pounds.In the waiting room, we met other parents.  One couple, waiting seven hours for their 18-month old daughter to finally receive her cochlear implants, after two cancelled attempts last year. Another couple, whom we overhear the surgeon ask he still has half of his liver, right? Nearby we see another Latino mother with red-rimmed eyes. I look down at our teeny little guy and am so thankful for his relative health.  Even when we do the consent paperwork and are peppered with every possible worst case scenario, nothing punctures the rest that surrounds my heart.Its an unnatural thing to send an infant into surgery. Despite the gentleness of the staff and the peace in my heart, I still cried a little as I kissed his little head, sniffed him one more time, and whispered I love you.  My voice cracked and I backed away–and they wheeled him from me.


6850, on the status board.
6850, on the status board.

They gave us a pager to wear, so we can go anywhere in the hospital and be reachable.

Dave and Laura (Nick’s brother and our sister-in-law) are here in town; they both work for Cure International. They came to share lunch with us in the Rotunda Cafe and our vision was further expanded as they reminded us about the work of caring for the sick across the globe. Yesterday I sort of bemoaned that Hershey was a full hour away, and today I am thankful I did not have to travel four days in the mere hope that someone could help my child. I know the Lord placed them in our day–vision is the critical key for sons of The King. Without it, we are easily sidetracked by inconveniences and minor fears, and we lost sight of who we are.

We feel you praying.  I’ve heard people saying that, and I always wondered what that meant.  Now I know.

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2:45 has come and gone. The 3 hour window is over and still, no word. They warned us that this might happen, and not to worry. There are a lot of variables to doing this right, so we wait. Patiently somewhat patiently…

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

The nurse called from the OR; the bad bowel has been removed and they are “coming down the home stretch.” We don’t know what this means other than “all good–but more waiting.”
Back to the Times Crossword. Anyone know the Mongolian word for “red”? (4 letters)…

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Omg, if you’re not coming through that door to update the mother of Tyce Helman, don’t come through it at all. Kthanksbye.

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The surgeon (Dr. Engbrecht) just came out; they ended up taking about what he gestured with his hands to be maybe 8-10 inches of his colon.  We originally thought it would be maybe only 10 centimeters or so, so this was noticeably more.  Once they got in there, they removed the bad section, but the area above that was so floppy or stretched out that they were concerned it would prolapse (overlap inside or come out).  He was happy with how it finished–said his belly was definitively reduced.  His words were that it was quite “remarkable.”  As we hoped, the entire procedure was done through his anus; they had prepared us for the possibility of additional entries through his belly either by scope or incision, but neither were done. A colostomy, another possibility, was also not done.

Tyce is beginning to wake up from this anesthesia and they’ll let us back when they’re ready.

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Tyce is out of recovery. When they let us back, he was fussy until he knew he was with me–then he calmed. I asked for morphine soon after–he was definitely hurting but soothed as soon as they got him treated. They moved us from recovery into a room that will be temporary until a room opens on the 3rd floor–there are quite a few kids in the ER that need rooms but for now we are fine.

Dad and Mom Eberly are here. We hope to go eat dinner soon. Now that he is out of surgery, I find I am famished.

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I am so impacted by Tyce. He is alternately hungry, confused and in pain. My heart aches that he would be able to tell which it is, that I could intercede for him. But instead he lets out little whimpers and then, a sigh and a breath. He sleeps, fretfully and for only moments at a time, indicating this could certainly be a long night–but simultaneously… I can’t describe it. He’s so important. I am so proud of him, and proud to be his mother.

A friend from high school, Christina, messaged me after I posted about Tyce being in recovery. Guys– the surgeon, the one we hoped to have from the beginning, is an elder at her church. My jaw dropped. Christina is a beautiful daughter of the Lord, and it is an entirely safe assumption that the surgeon is a passionate believer. There is no chance of coincidence here. Father, we see Your fingerprints! ….

A doctor just came in to check Tyce. Everything looks great, but they said he can’t eat for two days. This was hard to hear or even fathom. They are obviously pushing fluids and such intravenously and are well versed in these things. But I miss feeding my boy. I might just want to know I can offer that comfort again. I don’t know. I’m hoping things improve so quickly that the plan changes. In the meantime, I pump…


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