What Is It?
Gastroschisis (gas-tro-ski-sis) happens when a baby is still in the womb and has a gap in their abdominal wall. Most gastroschisis babies will have their intestines hanging out of this hole. This means no harm to them in utero because they are protected by the amniotic fluid. However, this does mean surgery shortly after birth is necessary.
What Does It Look Like?
The newborns intestines are sticking out through the hole in their belly. This is what a baby with gastroschisis looks like. This is detectable during pregnancy via ultrasound or scan. So the mother/parents can take necessary precautions during the remainder of the pregnancy.
How Do Doctors Fix It?
ielieve that there are 2 more common ways to fix it.
1) And this is the way it happened with my daughter luckily. Immediately after birth, the newborn has their intestines covered with saline cloths to protect them on the way to surgery. If the situation isn't too severe, the surgeon with put the intestines back into the abdominal cavity by pushing them back in. Then, they will stitch up the whole and try to blend it into the belly button.
2)This method is what is called a Solo for the newborns intestines. They are cleaned and wrapped in plastic. This allows gravity to let them fall naturally into the newborns abdominal cavity. This takes a bit longer and means surgery is postponed.
When Are These Babies Born?
In my daughter's case, she was born at 37 weeks (as are many Gastroschisis babies). With my specialist (a specific doctor for these types of babies), he wanted me to have her as soon as possible to avoid labor and labor complications. As soon as the mother is 9 months and development is finished for the newborn, that is the best time for the birth. Labor can cause complications for both babies and their mothers. Doctors and specialist like to choose this time to deliver a gastro baby.
What Is It Like To Find Out?
I cannot speak for every gastro parent. I can, however, speak for myself and my husband. We found out about our daughter's Gastroschisis when I went in at 19 weeks to find out her gender. Many parents find out much sooner, though. For my husband and I, we didn't have insurance, unfortunately, until I was almost 19 weeks. At that appointment, I was referred to the specialist who told me more about the defect. That was one of the scariest days in my life.
What Was Pregnancy Like?
The rest of my pregnancy was normal in terms of felling kicks and fluttering and such. Although, I had to go to growth and development appointments every 2 weeks after I found out. It began when I was about 23 weeks or so. She was measuring smaller than normal (as do most if not all gastro babies). She was most certainly as active as a normal baby.
How Was Your Birth?
Personally, my birth was just as amazing as a normal c section. I gave birth to my beautiful gastro baby on February 7, 2017 at 3 in the afternoon. I was able to choose that day because it was my mother's birthday. My wonderful Kaitlyn Ariana Bradley was 4 pounds 6 ounces when she was born and had surgery as soon as she was born. I was visited by the pediatric surgeon while I was in recovery to talk about the possible solutions for Kaitlyn. The surgeon came into my room shortly after I had been moved to an actual room to tell my husband and I that they were able to get her intestines back in and sewed up. The most wonderful news.
What Happened After?
After the surgery, my daughter had to spend 2 and a half months in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). With Gastroschisis, the doctors and nurses have to wait until the newborn poops on their own (a sign that the intestines are working), as well as keeping down food, then gaining weight. It was a long 2 months for my husband and I.
© 2017 Carissa Kumiko Bradley