Don’t forget to check your baby: inguinal hernias, what are they and are they serious?
I’m a first time mama and I know I have a lot to learn, even now, 6 months on. What I didn’t know was that a newborn baby could have a hernia. I’ve heard of hernias, mostly in men and mostly ones who play footie etc. What I had never heard of was an inguinal hernia. Well, until Baby A had one, that is.
Finding out she had an inguinal hernia:
So, the girls were 6 weeks old and Baby B was vomiting every couple of feeds. We had been told by our pediatrician that this was normal but as a mother I couldn’t rest until I had a second opinion. So, I took both babies back to see another doctor. When the doctor checked Baby B, he concluded that all was well and that it was normal and she seemed fine, no fever, no redness, no limpness etc. When he checked Baby A she also appeared fine, active etc. I had told him when she passed stools she cried and went completely red in the face. The other doctor had put it down to gas, or possibly her not digesting her milk (both babies were combination fed).
When he opened her nappy she started to cry. As she cried a bulge appeared just under her abdomen, along the line of groin. The bulge went away so he pressed a little harder, this time the bulge appeared even bigger. He took us back to his office and told us we needed an ultrasound. The ultrasound confirmed Baby A had an inguinal hernia. He asked me, “you didn’t even notice the lump? “. Honestly, as horrible as this will make me sound, I didn’t. I didn’t know babies needed to be checked for hernias and I had no idea they could be born with them.
What is an inguinal hernia:
As soon as we had the diagnosis I got myself onto Google. I had no idea what I was dealing with and how serious it was but the words “surgery” and “pediatric surgeon” scared the living daylights out of me. At this point Baby A weighed around 7lbs. She was tiny. How in the world would she manage surgery?
Here are some facts I found out about inguinal hernias:
1. They are more common in premature babies
2. Boys are more likely to get them than girls
3. Some babies don’t need surgery right away
4. They can be easy to deal with, but if complications occur they can be life threatening
5. They can appear on both sides, or in our case, one side
6. They can develop on the other side later on
7. They can cause fertility issues later in life
There are probably millions more facts available online. These were the ones I remember being told by our doctor. The surgery: For us, this was the scary part. Our baby girl was just 7 weeks old and born prematurely at just 35 weeks. The doctors told us very frankly that they were slightly worried about her weight being so low. Unfortunately, they didn’t want to leave it because the doctor could now feel her ovary and that could be very bad news.
There are 4 pediatric surgeons in Kuwait, we saw all 4 of them. Some gave us very strange advice, like “we are better off doing surgery on both sides as it’s best to ensure the other side won’t get one”. Others only cared about money giving us quotations of prices and offering us a “discount”… hmmmm, that didn’t feel right.
In the end we went with the surgeon we felt most comfortable with and who gave us the same advice as a surgeon in the UK. So, we went ahead and did the surgery. It was one of the most emotional, exhausting and overwhelming times in my life. However, the surgery went well and Baby A is now doing good. She’s been checked often since her surgery and fingers crossed she seems to be doing just fine. She has a mini C section looking scar but it really isn’t noticeable unless I point it out. She was a little unsettled a few days after we got home from the hospital and she needed extra cuddles (but so did I) but other than that she was fine. I learned something major during this ordeal which I would like to share with you.
If you ever think something could be wrong with your baby, get it checked out. Don’t always go with the immediate opinion, go for a second and third opinion if you can. Trust your motherly instincts and do what the doctor advises. Hugs from a tired twin mama!