On September 25th, Oaklynn is having surgery to get a feeding tube. It is very common for Rett girls to have feeding tubes because of their digestive problems. A lot of them are underweight so they get feeding tubes to get adequate nutrition. Oaklynn is not under weight. In fact, the GI kept saying how well nourished she looked. She even said, "You guys must spend a lot of your time making sure she is well fed." And she is correct!!
Which leads me to my next point. Feeding a child with Rett syndrome takes a LOT of time. They have a hard time chewing (sometimes she doesn't chew, she just swallows. So we have to be careful of the kind of food we give her) and the body has a hard time digesting it. Oaklynn takes at least an hour to eat each meal and then at least 30 minutes for each bottle. Then on top of that, the time it takes me to prepare and clean up each meal. Total, I probably spend about 5 hours a day on meals for Oaklynn. That is a LOT of time if you think about it. Once we get a feeding tube, I am hoping to be able to feed her one meal a day through the tube to cut down on the time I spend feeding her (she will still be able to eat from her mouth with the tube in).
Oaklynn's surgery is Tuesday, September 25th. We check in to the hospital at 6am for a surgery time of 8am. It is a fairly quick surgery. The GI doctor intubates her. She sticks a long camera down her throat and into her tummy. The camera has a light on the end of it. She searches around her stomach for the perfect place to make the incision and shines the light against her skin from the inside of her stomach so you can see it on the outside. Once the surgeon sees the light, she makes an incision there and puts the "button" in place. Her button will look something like this...
She will be able to do all her normal activities once it has healed. The bard button will need to be changed every few months. The GI said for the first time we go see her and she can do it for us and then after that, we can do it ourselves. We may end up getting a "mickey button" within the year, she just wanted to start with a bard button for Oaklynn and go from there.
We feel good about this decision. It was one we were afraid of when we first learned about Rett syndrome and that this was a possibility but now we are excited to be able to get her the right fluid and nutrition that she needs (also to be able to give her the medications we need to without a fight from her... yay!!). Of course we are worried about the actual surgery part. She said it's a serious surgery but the good part is that it is fairly quick.