Friday, February 28, 2014

It's Over--We're done!

This will be the last post of this blog.  With social media serving the purpose this blog used to serve, we haven't exactly been good at updating.  However, we have been made aware that our blog is being used by doctors and nurses to show parents what they're in for, so we'll give it some closure.  Literally.  Karsie has just had her closure surgery and is completely done barring any unforeseen complications.

Since our last blog, Karsie has been getting tissue expansion.  She had two small ones put in, but the balloon on her right side somehow slipped under the third layer of muscle tissue and dropped into her abdominal cavity, causing her pain every now and then.  So, we had to take her back to get the one balloon replaced.  The good news with that was that the doctors were able to advance the tissue by putting in a larger balloon and expanding it to look like this:
This is what Karsie's belly looked like the day before her closure surgery.

The plastic surgeon told us at the second expansion surgery (to repair the shifted balloon) that she was close to being ready for closure.  Michelle took Karsie (and our new little boy, Reuben) to San Diego every couple weeks during the fall to expand her balloons until sometime in December.  Then, we were told she was ready for closure.  There was talk that she was not quite ready to close because the surgeons weren't sure she would have enough muscle tissue and skin to cover, but when they took us in the back to tell us how the surgery went, they said they had enough to close and that she did great.  This is what she looked like just after surgery in the ICU next to her old belly:

On our last post, we talked about how frustrating it was that Karsie was in so much longer than we expected.  Turns out, it was a blessing in disguise because by going through that, we knew how her body was going to respond.  We knew we needed to put in a central line.  We knew we needed to keep the NG tube in so she wouldn't develop an ileus.  We knew she needed to have an epidural to keep the narcotic level down, which slows down motility.  So when the big surgery came, she had literally NO complications.  She was only in the hospital for 11 day, and for her, that's "extraordinary" as the doctors said.  The fact that she was bouncing around the day we took her home was amazing, albeit a stress for her parents to keep her resting.

And this is how she looks now, her skin being continually rubbed with ointment (which is why it's so shiny):
The brown at the top is extra skin healing, which the plastic surgeon left in case later on she wants a belly button.  They can apparently just take it from there.

So...this journey started almost exactly 5 years ago to this day, and is finally done.  We're not really sure how to feel yet.  So much of our life and energy has been spent either dealing directly with or in anticipation of this surgical process, and now that it's done, it feels somewhere between relieve and disbelief.  But we appreciate all the prayers and support.  We'll close out with a picture taken on Valentine's Day of our kiddos.  We hope this blog will continue to help out any of you who will go through this process in the future.  It's emotionally draining, but worth every second.  God bless and good luck.


  1. Just wanted to let you all know I am so happy for you and Karsie. I have followed your blog almost since the beginning. It just so happens I was pg with a little boy who also had an omphalocele, at the same time you were all expecting Karsie! He was born in August 2009, and is also completely closed and a perfectly normal, onery, very energetic almost 5 yo! Thank you guys for sharing your story! It was so helpful for me to have this blog to refer to as we were going through many of the same things!

  2. I have followed Karsie's journey since shortly after she was born. It has been such an honor & privilege to pray for her and watch her grow and change over these last few years...and now to see her journey (with this tiny piece of her life!) come to a close.

    I would LOVE to stay in touch & continue hearing/seeing updates on Karsie in the future if possible. I am on Facebook. How do I find you there? What name are you listed as? Please email & let me know.

    God bless!

  3. I followed your blog almost from the beginning up to a couple of years ago when it seemed to be cut off to the public for a while. I was just thinking of your family and decided to look you up and see how Karsie's journey ended up. I have been praying for you all along. I am so happy her story has such an amazing happy ending and congratulations on your second little one!