Cori Lou has come through surgery with a new flat belly and a new, specially made belly button. The omphalocele ended up being a portion of her liver (the size of a tangerine was mentioned), but not any intestines. The liver was slightly torqued, but the surgeon was able to slowly and gently manipulate it into her tummy. The liver may never be what is considered a normal shape, but as far as anyone can tell it did not suffer any damage or bleeding during the process of removing the strange membrane and being repositioned. All the while, the anesthesiologist was checking on Cori Lou’s breathing to see how she was handling it. At first, the surgeon was concerned they would have to use an artificial graft to bring the two sides of Cori’s abdominal muscle together, but as things proceeded, the muscle gradually accommodated to the pressure in a way that made attachment using purely Cori’s body possible.
The ventilator tube is in place, but she is doing well with just room air for now. It may be that she needs some oxygen to be supplemented in the next couple of days for a short while, but this would be considered a normal part of the recovery process. As it is, just being on room air percentages right now is a good sign. This type of ventilator has sensors that let the staff know when Cori Lou is attempting to take breaths on her own, thereby signaling them to begin the process of turning down the ventilator.
Because of the ventilator needing to stay in place, plus the stitches in tissue that is being pulled beyond what it is used to, Cori Lou will be somewhat sedated, but not unconscious, to facilitate an uneventful time of healing. The surgeon will come in once a day to change the abdominal dressing; more if there is any leakage.
Cori Lou may have some swelling of the lower half of her body as everything adjusts to having been moved (there are some major vessels attached to the liver) and dealing with the healing process. She will continue to be repositioned regularly to help combat any positional swelling or collection of fluids in her lungs. This swelling is expected to be fairly well resolved in 3-4 days.
Heidi and Rich are still being told to expect it to be at least 2-3 weeks until Cori can go home, if all goes according to plan. With Heidi being discharged today, that will mean lots of trips to the hospital. Combined with the need to pump milk on a schedule that approximates a newborn’s nursing habits, Heidi will be busy ’round the clock.
A sedated baby does not do a lot, but the parents have smiling faces in this extra short video: