Friday, May 7, 2010

Cleft Lip Recovery Process

Well, it's three days post-op from Kimble's unilateral cleft lip repair.  Overall, he is doing remarkably well.   The first few days, Kimble was very quiet, almost like he was in shock.  He didn't move around unless he was tired or hungry.  He just laid there and looked pretty pathetic.  When he cried, it was a "I don't understand why I'm hurting" type of cry.  It just broke my heart.

Since coming home from the hospital, our routines have been shaken up.  Previously, Kimble nursed quite frequently during the day, and many (many many) times at night.  However, we slept well and comfortably right next to each other, and still got plenty of rest.    Now, things are much different.


I need to pump throughout the night.  I also need to get up when Kimble cries because he is uncomfortable or hungry, or just needs some love.  I need to heat up some of my breast milk (because inevitably, I pump when he's asleep, and can't keep the milk at room temperature, just waiting for him to wake up), then I need to feed him with his syringe that has a little rubber tube fitted at the end.   This takes some extra attention, and often times is struggling for me to do.  I want him to be eating enough, and feel that he isn't taking in as much milk as he should.  Sometimes I'm still trying to feed him and he falls asleep, or clamps his mouth shut and moves his head back and forth so that I can't get the syringe in his mouth.  It's often times more frustrating than not, but I think (hope) that things are getting better.

Kimble has been on Tylenol for his pain management, but after tonight, he shouldn't need it anymore.  He doesn't seem to be in pain anymore, unless his mouth gets bumped.  This morning, when he had his no-no's on, he was pumping his arms up and down quickly, and one time, when he lifted up his arm, he whacked himself in his face with his padded no-no arm.  So sad.

Mr. Kimble is very smart, and as he is pumping his arms, he works his way out of his no-no's.  There have been many times when I've strapped him in, only to see him a few minutes later with his arms free.  Clever boy.



He has sutures (stitches) all along the front of his lip, and they continue down along the inside of his lip.  These stitches are super sharp.  He tries not to move that part of his mouth.  I can tell that it is very sensitive to him.  It's still a bit swollen, and the stitches are getting darker and dryer.  They are supposed to dissolve anywhere from three days to a week or more.  We'll see how long they take.  When they are dissolved, I should be able to start nursing him again.  So for that, I really hope it's sooner rather than later.  He also has sutures in  his nose and along a little line going from nasal to mouth.  This part is covered in a "glue" substance that they use to protect the site.  It will dissolve away also, but before that happens, it will turn yellowish and start to curl around the edges.  Hmm.  That'll be pretty.

He doesn't seem to mind that he can't use his binkie right now.  His mouth is too sore and sensitive.  He doesn't want anything touching it.  He's even very wary about playing with his toys.  Before, he brought everything to his mouth.  Now, he plays with them like he's on guard.

I try to keep him free from his no-no's as much as possible.  This means I have to be extra cautious of what his hands are doing.  When he is in his carseat, or when he's sleeping at night, or when I am otherwise occupied, he has to have his no-no's on.  In truth, he doesn't complain about them at all.  He just lays there and looks at me with his big sad eyes.    But, if he doesn't want them on, as I previously mentioned, he flaps his arms up and down until they slide off his arm.



Overall, I think he is doing great.  I think it's really me that is having a hard time with the recovery.  I feel like I'm up all night between tending to him, feeding him, and pumping.  During the day, I'm extra alert and focused on him, his pain management, and making sure he doesn't accidentally damage his lip.  The lip maintenance is easy:  Don't touch, don't wipe, don't apply any ointments, don't do anything.  We have a followup appointment one week out.  He has to keep his no-no's on for three weeks.  No binkie for three weeks.  Other than that, he is fine and we just wait for everything to heal.

Today is a better day than yesterday.  I'm hoping it only gets better tomorrow.

9 comments:

Carol said...

It's hard on Moms (& Dads too) to see their children in pain or uncomfortable... Hang in there! Sending wishes for Kimble to be more comfortable and feeling better each day!

Heidi said...

Mr Kimble is so lucky to have you as his Mommy!! It probably is harder on you than on him.. that's normal.

Dan and Katie said...

I'm sure it will get better everyday. You are awesome. I hope Kimble gets better quickly. See how often I go to your blog!!

linda said...

We will be praying for a very quick recovery

Mags said...

When my oldest had stitches in his lip the first time, they didn't tell me to keep them moist with neosporin and it took forever for them to dissolve and when they did left little scar marks. The second time(yes, we have had two bouts of stitches) we were told to use neosporin or vaseline to keep the stitches moist and that worked so much better. Anyways, I don't know if it will help in Kimble's situation, but might be worth asking. I'm glad he is recovering so well form all of this.

shaina said...

maggie, no ointments of any kind are allowed!!

Jed and Kera said...

You are such a good mommy! It's great to hear how smart Kimble is! :O) just wanted to say Happy Mother's Day!

LollyChops said...

Poor little guy.... When you posted those first few pics of him he actually looked like he was in shock! I could just tell he was pretty shaken up!

Gently hugs to that little bunny boy!

jmh said...

I know this was a while ago, but some mom might stumble on this- I found if I put the arm braces on over a long sleeve shirt, rolled the sleeves up over the brace, and put a sweatshirt on over, they were a lot easier to keep on my little boy. He was 1yr old when he had cleft palatte surgery. Same reaction, but that was 2 years ago and he has no recollection of it...

Good luck with your little ones- you have some beautiful children there!