Heartbroken…

Wow. The past few weeks have been the most extremely difficult times that my husband Joshua and I have ever encountered in our entire lives.  The short story is our brand new little baby Milan had to have surgery. 🙁   



We were changing her diaper one day and Joshua saw a tiny little bump in her abdominal area.   Honestly, I would have never noticed it.  He pointed it out to me and we had hoped that it wasn’t what we thought it was but unfortunately it turned out to be an inguinal hernia.  

For those of you who aren’t familiar with what this is just like I wasn’t, it’s when part of an organ or tissue in the body pushes through a small opening or weak spot in a muscle wall, it can protrude into a space where it doesn’t belong. This protrusion is a hernia, which may look like a small bulge or lump. Some babies are born with this and some can develop them over time. It’s very common in adults and in Milan’s case, she was just born with it.  She also had an umbilical (belly button) hernia which is much more common among babies and usually goes away on it’s own over a few years and usually doesn’t require surgery.  However, the inguinal hernia does need immediate surgery as waiting can increase the risk of strangulation of the intestine or sometimes even an ovary and then would require emergency surgery.    To be hit with two hernias on my baby girl within the first month of her life?!  I couldn’t even begin to process it.
Hernia surgeries are usually very straight forward, simple procedures, but on a newborn? We were advised by her surgeon that since he was going in to fix the inguinal hernia, we might as well fix the belly button hernia to avoid having two surgeries if that one doesn’t go away on its own.  It was all very shocking, time sensitive and stressful beyond words.

If you had a chance to read THIS POST HERE, you would have known my pregnancy journey had been a difficult one and Milan has been my saving grace.  To think that this precious angel of mine who I cherish with every cell in my body already had to have surgery at such a young age was gut wrenching. I didn’t know how to process the news.  I was so scared…and all kinds of thoughts came rushing into my mind. What if this…what if that…the idea of her having to have anesthesia and going under scared me to death.  She’s just a baby…my precious baby!  I went through so much to have her…why, oh why is this happening?!

Becoming a new mom is not only difficult, exhausting, overwhelming yet so rewarding, but throw in surgery on your newborn and it’s a whole new level of so many emotions. 

We scheduled the surgery for the following week and I prayed and prayed and cried every second of each day that everything would go well.  Nothing prepares you for something like this.  Nothing.  

The morning of the surgery, I was a wreck. I cried the entire week leading up to the day. My husband and I prayed and prayed and prayed some more. I tried to stay positive but how could I?  My new baby girl was having surgery…what if something went wrong? What if I lost her? I couldn’t even begin to fathom what I would do.  
We arrived at the hospital at 6 a.m. and had to wait over an hour for the surgeon to arrive and begin.  I could hardly look in my baby’s eyes as she was so happy and had no idea where she was heading off to.  Just when you think you’ve felt pain, there’s nothing like watching your baby that’s only six weeks old get taken away from your arms to head into surgery. My heart shattered into a million pieces that morning and my tears flowed from a well of sadness that I never knew existed. The hour and a half she was in surgery felt like eternity. We paced back and forth in the waiting room hallway. My knees felt like buckling. Here I am, with zero control over what happens while my precious child is in an operating room under the surgeons watch.  I can’t protect her in there, I can’t comfort her in there, I can’t do anything except sit with escalating anxiety and wait.  Finally, the surgeon came out and said everything went fine and she is in recovery. I broke down. I almost passed out because I was so relieved. When would I be able to see her, kiss her and hold her in my arms?! The waiting game continued. 
I walked into the recovery room and my heart instantly crumbled into a million pieces again when I saw Milan hooked up to all the tubes and wires.  I rushed over to her and held her hand and began sobbing. She was still so drowsy while waking up from the anesthesia. The feelings when I saw her laying there all helpless in her tiny hospital gown are simply indescribable. I just wanted to pick her up and hold her in my arms and never ever let her go! 

I thanked God for keeping her safe and bringing her back to me. I was overjoyed when she woke up. All I wanted to do was take her home and give her all the love and affection in the world.
A few days later, we took her back for her post op check up only to find out that her belly button incision was infected. How did this happen?  The surgeon said “it’s extremely rare, it’s nobody’s fault, and it’s just bad luck”.  BAD LUCK?!! What the hell kind of answer was this?!  I was livid. We were then instructed to give her antibiotics which we were so upset about. Giving a newborn antibiotics is a whole other topic which I won’t get into right now.  It doesn’t sound like a big deal but it is because there are so many reasons why we wanted to avoid having to give our newborn antibiotics in the first place and were originally ecstatic when we heard her surgery wouldn’t require them.

“We can do this, we got this”…is what we told ourselves. We made it through surgery and she’s alive. We just have to get through this infection. Another week passes, and we bring her back again. The surgeon says the infection is still there and we have two options.   Option One:  baby Milan has to go under anesthesia again so he can install a drain in her belly button to drain out the infection  -OR-   Option Two:  he could stick a needle in the site right then and there to extract it that way.

Neither options were good ones but there was no way I was going to have her put under anesthesia again so we chose option two.  Before proceeding, the surgeon warned me that she may cry and that mothers have passed out when watching this procedure performed .  My husband and I told him to start and I had to turn my back because I couldn’t stomach watching her in pain anymore.  As the procedure began, I heard Milan cry out so loudly and each second that went by, I wanted to die. I wanted to take her place and take away her pain so badly.  My husband held Milan’s tiny little hands as the surgeon injected a huge needle into my baby’s belly button and all she did was stare into daddy’s eyes while her face turned red and tears dripped out of her eyes. It wasn’t a normal baby cry, it was the saddest, most painful cry I had ever heard. She had never cried with tears before that day, but during the procedure, there were so many tears, they had pooled up inside both of her ears. I was crying so hard I could barely breathe. My stomach was in knots and I thought I was going to throw up.  
You would think this was the end of it right? Wrong.  While the surgeon was attempting the extraction, he busted her stitches wide open! We had NO IDEA this could happen nor were we forewarned that it even COULD happen!!  We were then told that because the stitches were gone, she now had an open surgical wound and we would have to pack the wound ourselves everyday until the wound healed itself from the inside out or visit urgent care daily to have them do it! Oh My GOD!!!  We were not familiar with what wound packing entailed and if you ever Google or YouTube it, you will be sick to your stomach.  What this meant was that we would pretty much have to perform surgery on our baby girl every day by ourselves by inserting a strip of gauze material into the wound with a q-tip or tweezer tip!  How can they expect parents to know how to do this? They expect us to stick a sharp object and push a special type of gauze into the open wound of our six week old baby? Are they serious?!   The surgeon stated we may need to continue the packing for up to three weeks depending on how long it took to heal.  This cannot be happening!
I started second guessing our decision to have her umbilical hernia fixed. I started to blame myself and wonder if we made the right decision. Had we just had the inguinal hernia repaired, we could have avoided all of this. I hated myself for it. If we hadn’t opted to repair it, would it have gone away on it’s own or would she had to have another surgery at some point in the future?  The second guessing and questioning of our decisions was enough to drive us mad.  We knew the decisions we made were always in Milan’s best interests but never could have imagined the nightmare this turned into. 

Not only did our baby girl have to go under for surgery, she had to go on antibiotics and now has an open wound which we would have to pack everyday. Just the word “wound” associated with my little angel made me nauseous. It was all just too much and was simply unbearable. I was supposed to be enjoying this precious time with my newborn child but instead I spent the next couple of weeks crying and watching her endure pain as we had to hold her down to pack her wound while hoping and praying that we weren’t doing it incorrectly.  As a new mother and father, we  were already sleep deprived and now we had to add additional time consuming steps to our already time limited daily schedule.

I wish this experience upon nobody however I know there are others out there who have gone through or currently are going through much tougher battles.   Joshua and I are typically very strong believers that everything in life happens for a reason, but what was the reason for all of this?   Perhaps a reminder that as much as we think we are in control of our lives, we truly aren’t?  Maybe an exercise in learning to have more faith? Or is it to remind us that every day should be treasured and every minute spent soaking in the love of your family?  Take every second you can right now to write, call, text, drive, show up in person, do whatever you can to be with your loved ones and communicate how much they mean to you.  We have appreciated that tomorrow is never promised to any of us and we have an opportunity at this very moment to feel, share and enjoy love.  To every mother reading this, hug your child, gaze into their beautiful eyes, kiss your kids, tell them how much you love them and enjoy every second of their health and happiness!  If just one of you does that after reading this, please let me know what it meant to you so that I can share it with Milan to let her know her story touched one life.  As painful as this experience was, it has shown me that a mothers love for her child runs deeper than anyone could ever know.  It resonates and strikes chords within the bones, gut, heart, mind and soul of a mother.  I know personally from my miscarriage that we are all extremely fortunate and blessed to have our children in our lives no matter how difficult the challenges we face may seem.  

We had to dig deep within ourselves to choose whether to let this situation depress and devastate us, or whether to let it somehow empower us. I will use this journey to strengthen myself and my love for Milan and tell her everyday how much I love and appreciate her and will NEVER take even one second for granted!  To all of you moms out there, you are powerful, you are strong and you are loved!  Life is short, live it to its fullest, laugh, love and live!
If you’ve read this far, I just want to thank you for allowing me to share my innermost thoughts and feelings with you.  It’s only by sharing our journeys that we can learn and grow from one another.   You are appreciated! XO




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XO, Annie
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  1. You are empowered and you all made it through. Thank you for sharing with us. God bless you, your husband and little Milan. God is great and all is well!

  2. Wow, I’m so sorry you had to go through this. You story brought back so many memories for me…our daughter had to have open heart surgery less than 2 years ago…as a fellow Momma, I understand every emotion you experienced and will continue to experience. God bless you and your precious baby girl! Prayers !

    Brooke | http://www.kbstyled.com

  3. I cried reading this. Our middle has a condition that no doctor can explain to us. She had to have surgery 3 times before the age of 6. Your post reminded me of how I felt and my heart goes out to you and joshua. Stay strong mama. Xoxo

  4. I was reading your story with my 4 month old son and I squeezed him and kissed him 1000 times. Your story is so heartbreaking. My prayers are with you!

  5. OH MY… I’m so sorry to read what you’ve gone thru. And you found time to respond to my emails =( . I will definitely be praying for you and your beautiful girl. May God’s strength be with you all during this hard time.

  6. Thank you for the reminder of how precious life is. My baby girl is about 6 weeks younger than Milan. I ordered the age blocks from Etsy like Milan’s because of your posts. It is sad that Milan and your family had to endure this painful experience. It shows how strong all of you are. Praying for her recovery.

    Melissapo

  7. Wishing your baby girl a speedy recovery and you both the strength to continue to so bravely power through this. Brighter days are ahead. Thank you for reminding us that life is fragile and we should cherish every moment. Oh, and welcome to the best sisterhood ever – motherhood. We are here for you Annie.

  8. OMG I cried reading this and seeing the pics of baby M. You are all so strong to have gone through this. I have a baby who is about to turn 5 months… so it was all the more heart wrenching since I could only imagine what you were going through. God bless all of you and wishing you the best health and all the happiness.

  9. I’m so sorry you’re going through all of this! My baby boy is 3 months old, and we had to spend a few days in the NICU not long after he was born. They told us he may have to have a blood transfusion, though we were lucky enough to avoid it. It was all so incredibly heartbreaking for me. I can’t say that I know how you’re feeling but I completely relate to feeling helpless. I wish Milan a happy, healthy life and hope she recovers quickly! You are in my thoughts & prayers!

  10. aww..your sweet baby girl is such a precious little cutie!! Thank you Annie for sharing.. as a mom of two boys, 13 and 10…they are my absolute greatest accomplishment and as a business owner and mom who works a lot..we do sometimes take things for granted. Thanks for reminded us that nothing should ever be unsaid .. everyday is a gift!! xoxo Laurie, Founder/Owner Whimsy Cookie Co.

  11. This had so many mixed emotions. When this is all said and done your baby girl will grow and be strong and you will be her hero! Mothers are angels and the will we have for our children is amazing. Thank you for sharing. She is adorable!

  12. Wow! I’m so sorry for baby Milan’s tough journey, I can just imagine your pain as a mother. I have four kids and reading your blog made me feel every single emotion you wrote. It was so detailed, thank you for your transparency! Even though it’s been tough, hearing about your faith and how God is showing up is truly amazing. Struggles will either draw us closer or further from God, and I love how you have surrendered what is out of your control and allowed Jesus to carry you all through. God bless your sweet family and I pray health and blessings over baby Milan. By the way, she is sooooooo pretty! Omg, she is adorable! I have three boys and a little girl (17 months) and I just love dressing her. It’s so much fun. Milan is beautiful and she already has an assigned guardian angel that will watch over her. God bless!

  13. My own little one had to have surgery at a very young age… and even without any complications it was the most difficult time for me. I hope that your beautiful little girl recovers soon.

  14. you & joshua must have very broad shoulders because God would have never entrusted you both with such an important and life changing event. and now look at how much stronger you are – even the courage & compassion with which you wrote. with faith & family anything is possible. Milan is a beauty. And with your story you will help so many others from a place of empathy. Happy Easter to you.

  15. I know how you feel. My first son was premature and need inguinal hernia surgery as well. Premies tend to be more at risk for hernia formation. Remember she will heal and she will not remember this surgery. Keep strong you are doing a great job.

  16. Thank you for sharing your story. Thankful that Milan is recovering and my thoughts are with you and your family. Sending much love <3

  17. I’ve been following your Instagram account for fashion and had no idea about your pregnancy, etc. I had a long road of infertility and I’m always amazed by the layers that make us who we are. I hope Milan recovers quickly! Xoxo

  18. My prayers are with you and your husband for strength and for your little ones quick recovery. My little one had to have 2 surgeries and 1 procedure within the first 11 months of her life, I understand all of the fear, pain and frustration and no words can describe the waiting during the surgery and the relief of seeing your little one when they get out of surgery. Again, thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

  19. I am heartbroken for you and your husband! I cannot begin to imagine the pain of watching you precious baby girl go through this pain and suffering.

    Your words about saying I love you and giving a hug really spoke to me. I don’t have children but I am teacher. And too many of my students, don’t hear and feel that at home. For this reason, I have tried to take advantage of any opportunity I get to tell them I love them.

    Manh prayers to you and your family!

    Janelle

  20. Annie, I am sorry for what you are going through, but this experience will make you and your family stronger. Continue to have faith, expect good things, and stay positive. Thank you for having the courage to share your journey with us. Please know that you ARE helping others out there. I will keep you and your family in my prayers.

  21. Wow! What a difficult time your family had been through. This made me tear up! I appreciate you sharing this, sometimes we need a reminder that life is precious. Your baby is beautiful and I wish her all the best <3 stay strong!!

  22. Omg Annie! Thanks for sharing – your post brought tears to my eyes! You are such a strong momma and your little angel is truly beautiful. As a mother of a 5-month old little girl, I can’t imagine how painful that journey must be for you and your family…but I’m glad everyone is doing ok at the end!

  23. Wow Annie, I can’t even imagine what you went through. I want to give you a big hug and make it all better, but I know I can’t. I’m sorry you, the baby, and your hubby are going throught this. I pray that Milan makes a fast and full recovery and you can soon put this behind you. If you need to vent or talk, I’m here for you. Big hugs! ????

  24. Milan is such a little angel! My heart goes out to you and your husband as I read this. I hope Milan’s wound is closing up and that God continues to watch over your precious family. You’ll be in my thoughts and prayers. *hugs*

  25. I am so, so sorry you went through this! I was horrified reading your story…I kept thinking we would hit the happy ending soon and couldn’t believe it kept getting worse! 🙁 I hope Milan is well on her way to a full recovery. She is just beautiful. I’ll keep all three of you in my thoughts and prayers.
    Thank you also for the reminder to cherish all the moments we have with our little ones! I will admit that I had a poor attitude this week. My 5 yr old was on spring break but sick and my 7 week old has been up 4-5 hrs at a time in the middle of the night. I’ve been grumpy and not exactly grateful…but I will be giving them extra hugs and kisses now…
    Take care, Annie, and thank you for sharing.

  26. What a terrible thing to have to go through, but you are strong and loving parents and your little girl will grow up strong and beautiful like her Mom. Blessings to you all. X

  27. Prayers are with you and your family. Question, have you considered discussing this with counsel? If not, I recommend you reach out. This was not right what your family had to go through. Love &light

  28. I admire your strength, your love and your pain will make you a stronger person and I wish you the very very best for you and your lovely family. As time will pass the shock will hopefully lower and you will be enjoying the joys with your family again. Much strength and love sent from Europe.

  29. Oh, I am so sorry you had to go through this with your precious one. I hope her recovery is on the right track now.

  30. Prayers for you and your precious family. I have said many times that I did not know what “worry” means until my babies were born. My children are now grown, and I still worry that they are safe and healthy..the love a mother has for her child(ren) is like no other. God bless.

  31. Thank you for sharing with us, Annie. Wishing Milan a speedy recovery and you and your husband strength to power through this. Milan is such a cutie pie!

  32. Wish her a speedy recovery and all the best to you and family. Stay strong!
    Stella
    Stella

  33. Oh my word… that was rough. You made me cry reading this and I don’t normally cry. I felt so bad for Milan, mommy, and daddy! Hang in there and thanks for sharing this. Poor baby.

  34. I’m so so so sorry. Even watching my beloved niece in the hospital at the age of 2 with an IV in her arm, terrified and sick, broke my heart beyond imagination, so I can’t imagine the pain you must be going through. I’ll say a prayer for you and your husband and your precious Milan.

  35. As I do not have my own children, I will not pretend to really understand your side. However, as a physician, I would like to offer the other. You say you are “heartbroken” — heartbroken? That you have a beautiful, healthy little girl? She is perfect. That things did not go as you planned? They never will, in healthcare or otherwise. That you have at hand right now a whole team of physicians who are trained to provide exactly the care that your baby needs? Please, trust me. I promise you, this will be a minuscule bump in the longterm road. Rest assured, and be relieved, that there are other people out there who care for your baby too, who want to help, and who offer you their very best.

  36. I have a new born myself and i couldnt read through tillthe end … My heart breaks for you and milan. I really pray that she is always healthy and happy. God bless you two!

  37. I had an umbilical hernia when I was a baby. It disappeared on its own but reappeared when I was in high school, and I’ve been avoiding getting it fixed ever since. I wish I had had surgery on it when I was little and wouldn’t remember it, rather than now in my 20s. I know it’s difficult watching your child in pain, but she will thank you later in life for nipping that problem in the bud.

  38. Annie, do you have a P.O. box where followers can send you mail? I’d like to send you/Milan a little something. Sending lots ‘n lots of love virtually in the meantime.

  39. You are in my thoughts and prayers Annie. Precious Milan will come through this and you will too. Try to remember this is just a season, it’s proven to be a very painful one. Stay strong, this too oh Lord shall pass.

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