24 October 2009

Surgery Update and "Learning How To Replace an Ostomy"

Background information:
At some point in the womb (the doctors think less than 4 weeks before his birth), Bennett's colon perforated. We now know that Cystic Fibrosis caused Bennett's meconium (the name for a baby's first poop) to be thicker than normal. The meconium was so thick that it actually ruptured Bennett's intestines causing meconium to fill his abdomen.   In fact, it was so thick that even during surgery, the surgeons were unable to fully extract the meconium from Bennett's colon, specifically his ileus. 

Therefore, the surgeons decided to conclude Bennett's surgery by connecting his colon to the outside of his body in order to allow the surgeons access to irrigate his intestines and, in time, to hopefully get all of the meconium out of Bennett's system. 

Today, Bennett no longer has any meconium in his system and has shown that his gastrointestinal system is working correctly. However, as of today, Bennett's colon is still connected to the outside of his body. The surgeons plan to reconnect Bennett's colon sometime in the near future. 

Due to scar tissue, they cannot go back into fix Bennett until at least 6-8 weeks after surgery (which also happens to be his birthdate). So, we are not really sure when Bennett will have surgery but we hope certainly by the time he is 3 months old. In the meantime, Bennett has an ostomy to catch his waste. And, because the ostomy is connected to his ileus (a part of his colon), it's called an ileostomy bag. 

As we are preparing to go home, the medical staff have requested that we learn how to take care of/change his ileostomy bag. 

Here are thesupplies needed, baby included.

Here is what Bennett's ileus looks like. Since the colon is not naturally sterile, it can be exposed to the air. The surgeons apparently pulled out Bennett's colon, rolled it down it down from inside out (like you're rolling down your sock) and sewed it to his skin with sutures. Weird, huh?

A closer look. Brian was surprised how smooth the inside of one's colon looks.  Bennett's little battle scar/surgery wound is beneath his ileus. To the right of that is his "G-tube" or gastric tube. This tube goes directly into his tummy. It will stay there for some time in case Bennett needs to be tube fed in the future (the doctors anticipate that this may happen as CF babies often have "failure to thrive" issues and struggle getting enough calories from eating regularly).

Preparing the area

Placing the "wafer" around his ileus. This plastic round piece sticks to Bennett's skin but keeps the poop from going everywhere outside of the bag that will be placed on top of it.

Placing the bag over the plastic piece.

Here's Bennett showing everyone his bag in action.  Isn't that so kind of him? (By the way, when little Bennett passes gas, the entire bag inflates. He looks like he has a little balloon attached to him until you open it up and let the air out. Pretty crazy, really.)

Bennett will wear his bag until surgery in about 6 weeks or so. Breck is nervous to have to worry about putting it under clothes and keeping it from spilling out. But the nurses reassure her that it isn't that bad. We shall see.


  1. I know it is alot, but I'm sure you guys will be pros soon! Hoping these next few days are encouraging as you prepare to bring Bennett home.

  2. Hang in there! I know this must not be easy, but I know that you can handle it (with God's help). Like Cynthia said, try to think of the pros - he's pooping normally, he's coming home soon! These are all signs of progress. While you might not like all of the things that go with these steps, these are necessary things to help your son get better. I pray for your continued strength!


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