It has been two weeks, to the day, since Tyce’s surgery. Many times each day, someone asks me how he’s doing. I have been so overwhelmed by how loved we are, how intentionally people were caring for and about our family. And I’ve answered you all the same: I think he’s doing good! I really tried to give an honest answer without inviting conversations about the details, as I was spending large amounts of each day actively controlling my thoughts.
Internally, I was on full alert for every possible complication, determined to detect any possible early symptom. I examined his belly–was it hard? No, I think it’s soft… I carefully changed diapers frequently and even tried to reason as to was this stool the right color? Is that texture a little abnormal? Sometimes his belly looked a little funny to me; other times it was pristine.
Several times each day, at the very hint of a worry bunny trail, the detour that I knew would lead me away from the rest of the Lord, I chose the way of a child and walked intentionally away from the encroaching emotions of fear or worry. In those moments, over and over again, I faithfully gave myself over fully to the engulfing power of the love I have for my son, as a mother’s love so deeply mirrors Jesus. I have learned such rested power in that place.
On Tuesday, while in the office, I sat for several moments on the rug. Tyce sat before me in the bouncer seat, and as I looked at him, I felt the Lord swell within me. I know that moment was significant, as I laid my hands on him. I trembled under the weight of that time, as I laid his identity and health out in honor of the Lord. As I felt words rise in my heart, I released them. Tyce’s face cracked open in a huge smile that lasted the whole time I spoke and I laughed and cried simultaneously as the words of Jesus spilled out into the earth.
This is the first time since this whole thing began that I have been able to utter a single word aloud in prayer concerning my son. The whole time, I have carried him so deeply that every time I tried to pray, I choked in the translation. There was simply no way to bring the aching, gutteral intercession of him into my mouth. They simply sat in my belly, burning. I know the Lord heard every word my spirit cried, but as those words came into life, out into the air, I felt the weight of all I had carried spring to life, as though all my silent intercession had been seeds, and I was watching them sprout open. That’s the best I can do to describe it; I will remember that moment forever.
Today was Tyce’s follow-up. When we checked in, they let us know they were running behind about a hour. This didn’t bother us; we sat in the waiting room and I fed Tyce. We chatted with him and pulled every trick we know that makes him smile at us. I didn’t really want to rush into the appointment; I had enough questions that I knew his appointment could go either way, so this calm time together was completely a gift.
First they weighed him, which was 10lbs 8oz. For a mother who was hoping for, I don’t know what I expected, maybe 20 pounds? Haha, nah, maybe not…I just knew the number one thing I wanted to see was evidence that he was growing. So this was initially a disappointment, though we immediately began reasoning it away. He had two full days with no nutrients in the hospital? I wonder what he would have weighed at discharge? They emptied his colon almost entirely…
I asked the doctor my other questions, and immediately I began to realize this appointment was going well. She examined his bottom and exclaimed my favorite word: that looks perfect! She put my mind at ease concerning my other concerns and even ran some numbers on his weight, telling us he is now growing at the normal pace of a healthy infant. Nick said my body language entirely changed in that moment.
When the surgeon came in, he too examined the bottom and was stunned. I’m not exaggerating. They anticipate that these babies will have terrible diaper rashes post-op because of the antibiotics, frequent pooping, etc. Tyce’s skin was healthy and pink, with not a single sore spot. The surgeon actually asked me what I’ve been doing.
Then came the training on dilation. The sutures inside Tyce, around the tube very close to his sphincter, could shrink as they heal, creating a stricture which could limit him from thoroughly evacuating his bowels. (Can you tell I’ve been paying very close attention?!-Haha!) So while that area makes the transition from scar tissue to healthy bowel, they need us to keep that skin soft and pliable by keeping it stretched.
The dilators look like this:
I know, right?
So the doctor laid Tyce out and began to demonstrate, teaching us how to do this (a procedure which is really quite simple). He was also using this opportunity to determine which size that we would need to start with. He started with 7, the smallest. It went in easily. So he selected the 8. Again, no problem.
9, 10, 11, 12… (At this point, the surgeon was exclaiming his surprise, very impressed how well he’s healing.)
13. Ahh, bingo. We brought the 12 and 13 home. We’ll be doing that once per day for at least the next four weeks, as a precaution.
So Tyce is healing, and healing well. The surgeon today reiterated the great job Dr. Engbrecht did, and I remembered knowing the Lord gave us that surgeon intentionally. I am sure all of the surgeons are wonderful; we have loved everyone we met. But I knew Dr. Engbrecht was for Tyce. How beautiful to see the skills the Lord gives these incredible men and women.
So far, there is no sign of infection whatsoever. He is eating well, and has finally begun to allow me to teach him longer night-time sleeping habits. It was important not to rush that, so that he would first begin to grow. Now, at some times during the night, he has begun to stretch to 5 hours. Hallelujah!
The doctor gave us some insight on what the future could look like for Tyce. Of course, every effort has been made to ensure that he will be continent and able to live normally. There are some possibilities of different challenges we may face, including something as simple as being slower to potty-train. But Dax already made sure I’m very very patient in that area.
As we left the office, and I was breathing good deep breaths, I started lifting my heart to the Lord. He told me something I have to tell you. He said: All of them. Every time they prayed. Every time they loved. I was there. I am here. Oh, beloved, we did this together. I love you.
So, can I just get on my knees before you, here digitally on your screen, and look into your eyes, all you loving, crazy praying people, and thank you for being in Jesus with Nick and me and our family? I love what He said: We did this together.
I love you all. Father, from the tip of my toes…
So, I’m going to bed now. I feel like I’m going to sleep really really well…