Face of hope

Face of hope
Courtesy: TIffany Kay Photography

Sunday, November 27, 2011

"Mommy gut" - 2. Hydrocephalus - 0

I always heard people talk about "mommy gut" growing up.  Just that nagging, inevitable feeling that 'something' was wrong with one's child... whether mild or serious, physical or emotional, etc.  I have definitely come to learn through Meagan that no truer words were ever spoken!

After her fussiness continuing and her fontanel not relaxing, my "mommy gut" went on high alert.  I noticed Meagan's sutures were spreading further apart.. and something just did not seem right.  Her shunt site, while normally swollen, was more swollen than ever and even had puffiness down behind the base of her ear into her neck.  She'd been a complete fuss today, and would only nurse for 5 minutes a feeding, then getting really upset, and would then start all over again.  She was even starting to wince and do a high pitched cry if we even ran our fingers gently along her suture lines where the fluid was gathering, so I decided to call the NSG.

The NSG called back within 5 minutes of me leaving a message with the answering service.  He said that with the seperation of the sutures and her mood swings, he'd really like to see her to make sure everything was ok.  I asked if it was something that "could" wait until Monday, even if she was irritable.  He said, "No," ... and at the latest he'd want to see her tomorrow morning.. but if we could come in tonight that would probably be best all around.

My parents have been visiting for Thanksgiving.. and leave in the morning, so we figured, might as well do as he advised and go in tonight because at least if we do have to be there a little while, my parents would be home with the girls.  So we packed our bag and Meagan's records and headed into Children's.

The nurses got us checked in quickly, and were extremely cautious of having Meagan wait in the waiting room because of possible sick kids sitting there.  They moved her into a room to wait, instead of being around everyone else.  I appreciated this because we definitely don't need any new germs in addition to everything else!

After the nurse got all her vitals and did the usual check in process, Meagan did have another CT Scan.  I asked about skipping it.. but.. it was really needed to see how the fluid had changed because that's how they could best make their decision to decide what was really going on with her.  I was very happy, though, that the doctor decided against the shunt series x-rays.  He said the CT would really be enough in this situation, so why expose her more with the x-rays.  I was happy about this because I know she'll have enough exposure in her life, so I appreciated the doctors cautious approach. 

Her CT scan showed what I had felt in my gut - her head was very swollen and her ventricles were enlarged.  The NSG saw the scans and decided a reprogram of her shunt was definitely necessary.  He came in with the magnets and turned her shunt up (which decreases the pressure = increases the fluid flow).  He told us that he was glad we brought her in - she did look quite uncomfortable and her head was swollen especially where the sutures were splitting.  He said considering she had recently had a shunt change, the pressure difference was MOST likely the culprit in her discomfort and ventricle enlargement.  He said if this was the case, we should see a big difference in her head, mood, eating, and overall appearance by tomorrow afternoon already. 

If nothing changes by tomorrow afternoon, then we are supposed to bring her back in because the next 'hunch' is that there is a blockage in the shunt, so they will have to go about that a different way.  I'm really hoping the shunt pressure is the culprit, because if so, they solved that issue tonight by changing her shunt setting.  This would be the best case scenerio for this latest hurdle we've jumped over. Meagan's had enough sleepiness, discomfort and pain this week... but the one "good thing" is at least I know she is great at communicating her pain level to me in her own way.  She was certainly fussing these last two days for a reason, I now know....  and was saying "Mommy, my head is hurting!"  This will help me care for her in the future... if she ever acts like this again, I will have a big clue as to what is going on and will know to call her NSG right away.

So all you mommys out there, definitely listen to that gut feeling you have! If you feel something isn't right with your child, even if you can't pinpoint the details, listen to that feeling! You are probably right! Never let any friend, family member, or doctor make you second guess that 'mommy gut' ... I think we have it for a reason. It was God's little gift to us in a lifetime of worry about our children - his built in 'warning system' so we don't always have to just wonder if something is going on.  It helps us seek the best care for our kids.
Mommy gut - 2, Hydrocephalus - 0.  I'm going for a shutout on this journey..... and Meagan, we make a good team.... we can do it! Love you baby and I hope you are back to your big happy self tomorrow afternoon!.

**** Quick Update (9:30am) - I don't want to speak too soon, but Meagan already seems so much happier this morning! She is not wimpering while she eats anymore.. she is eating her full 20 minutes nice and quietly... her fontanel is sunken and soft again ... her shunt site is still puffy, but, it's so much more squishy ... Meagan calms down easily and is resting well this morning ... and when she woke up to eat she wasn't fussing or crying.. she was just her normal alert self looking around. Fingers crossed the reprogram did the trick and got us over this shunt hurdle! Hoping to see this good mood continue through the day!


  1. Molly,
    You are a wonderful Mommy. I agree completely on the gut feelings a mom has...better than doc's sometimes! You keep moving forward strong, you are little Meagan's best advocate and you and your husband know her like no other. Many prayers for a restful night and happy baby tomorrow! :) Hugs!

  2. Good job Mom and I pray this does the trick!

  3. Good for you... listing to your heart:) I know that Meagan is sure happy to have such a SMART Mommy! Hope all is better today, Hugs and Prayers!

  4. You are doing a great job! Your mommy gut will never steer you wrong. I hope things continue to improve!