I marked the fingers with a small line to show where his knuckles are and why it’ll be important to get the surgery. When he’s an adult that webbing will still be almost up to his knuckles. As a toddler it doesn’t look too bad or affect much but just look at your own hand and imagine webbing connecting your ring and middle fingers up until almost your knuckles! Crazy, right? So he’ll definitely need that surgery when he’s bigger. Oh and they didn’t do it at the same time as his other surgery because they never do that. Any child that has syndactyly on both sides of a finger has two separate surgeries. The reason why being that if the circulation on one side of the finger gets messed up or affected the other side will still be okay and bring blood to the finger. You don’t want the arteries on both sides to risk being destroyed or damaged at once.
A bit about Everett’s scars. I don’t talk much about his syndactyly and recovery and scars anymore. I guess because it’s all about the same thing each time… or maybe because I don’t know that anyone cares?
Everett’s scars are noticeable and his skin is tight where he had surgery and he doesn’t have the best use of those fingers that were connected.
I was told to use Mederma as frequently as I possibly could and I’ve researched and read about how totally helpful it is to use Mederma or other scar creams but I’m having the most difficult time trying to do that! I feel like a wretched mother for not putting Mederma on him as often as I’d like 🙁
The thing is… he sucks his hands! How can I put that stuff on his fingers when he sucks on them?! I have talked with Allan about it often and how I have this trade off… do I put the Mederma on him and let him ingest it regularly or do I skip it but not have this wonderful scar treatment helping out his scarring?!?! Both are horrible options :/
Vitamin E oil was suggested to me by a mom I know online who has a son who had syndactyly surgery as well. Vitamin E oil is safer to consume if a baby does suck their hands and helps with scars a lot.
Another helpful thing is that winter has rolled around and that means that when I run errands Everett’s bundled under a car seat cover. It used to be that on errands and in his car seat was one of the times he sucked on his fingers the most but now he doesn’t at all! I keep the Mederma (and a bottle of vitamin E oil) in my diaper bag and massage one or the other into his scars before errands or during errands. It’s been a great, unexpected bonus to winter weather!
I took the above picture to remember the neat Mederma-on-errands trick I did this winter.
In the picture below you can see a bit of the webbing between his ring and middle finger on his left hand. He’ll need surgery to separate that in the next 3-5 years. We don’t know when, his doctor isn’t in a hurry to do that surgery since it’s so mild and doesn’t affect the use of that hand.
In the next picture you can see that the fingers on his left hand aren’t too curved and aren’t very noticeably deformed but that the fingers on his right hand are very curved. He seems to be right handed but total hand strength in his left hand seems greater.
I guess that’s it for Everett’s fingers update!
So we had quite the ordeal getting to Everett’s appointment on time. It’s a hassle getting four gets ready and then driving so far…
We did get there on time though! But when I was signing in the receptionist tells me my appointment was cancelled and that they called me the day before to let me know and left a message.
Problem was that was the week my phone was broken! I stood there having just spent an aboslutely insane morning getting four kids ready and out the door and driving all that way and I was like… um, okay? I guess I’ll go home then :/
But the receptionist said, wait what is your appointment? A follow up? That takes like five or ten minutes, we can squeeze you in! So she goes back and asks which doctor/PA is available with the easiest gap in their schedule to squeeze me in and I get this guy named Eric. I can’t remember his last name or title because everyone just called him Eric and he introduced himself as Eric! haha
Anyway, Eric was wonderful and so great with us and didn’t treat us like a squeezed in appointment at all. It really, truly was a super quick follow up, they just needed to see that Everett’s wounds were completely healed and tell me about follow up care. Mederma at least twice a day, massage the cream in as much as possible because the massage helps loosen up his scars which is just as important as the cream used to fade and flatten them. Eric also wanted to check out the curves in Everett’s fingers. We talked a bit about how they are pretty curved and right now it’s an obvious deformity and at this point there’s no way we can know exactly how curved his fingers will stay. They don’t want to do pins or anything else… it’s just wait and see at this point. So Everett might just have one pretty curved ring finger (on his right hand) or maybe even both his ring fingers will stay looking pretty curved or maybe as he grows they’ll straighten out enough to hardly tell they’re curved! I’m obviously hoping for the second option but I can’t imagine his fingers will just grow straight. His right hand ring finger especially is so curved.
Oh yeah, I also wanted to say that I really wanted to see Everett’s surgeon, Dr. Laurel Benson but she’d been in a bad car accident a few weeks after Everett had his surgery back in July and has been out of work ever since! She isn’t expected back to work this year at all! I was so worried about her when I heard that. I really love her and hope she has a full recovery. I’m still so sad for her 🙁
As the healing moves along the focus starts to fall more on the shape of his fingers rather than his scabs. I can clearly see how curved his right ring finger is. It worries me for his future… a dozen questions about what his hands will look like and work like go through my head. But all I can use for information is time… it’s a waiting game to see how those fingers will grow and develop and turn out.
Above all else I’m so happy with how quickly Everett got back his use of his fingers. Within 24 hours he was back to grabbing and picking up and playing with his baby toys. I was worried it’d be a slower process to regain the use of his hands but nope… besides the scars and curves in his fingers you’d never guess he had surgery!
I tried putting Everett in his chair for a while so I could play a bit better with the other kids a few feet from him. Luckily we were basically alone at the lake so it felt safe to have him sitting right there with a perfect view of us.
I was smart and brought a gallon jug filled with tap water and a bottle of hand soap. After changing, the kids were able to fully wash their hands and enjoy their food without lake water hands! It was such a good moment hanging out by our car snacking and hanging out after such a good time swimming.
Bath time once home. I obviously didn’t photograph the older girls during their showers. haha! But these three munchkins… I don’t bathe them all together very often, usually only when I want to rush things because we get home late. But seeing them all there in the tub together is fun 🙂 (that’s not Everett’s wiener showing in the pic, btw, it’s his hand holding his wiener! haha, boys!)
Everett’s hands are doing so well today! He got three baths and has been working on figuring out how to use those fingers again! He can already grab and play with toys and it’s starting to look like his movements before he had surgery!
Above you can see him grabbing a granola bar wrapper. Wrappers (and all paper/plastic trash) are Everett’s favorite thing to play with so I used that to entice him to try to use his fingers over and over to grab. It worked!
His fingers are still extremely swollen. I couldn’t believe how swollen his whole hands were when the casts came off! The doctor told me right away that was totally normal and I’m glad that he did because it freaked me out when I first saw them. Today they were much less swollen but still pretty giant!
So much happened this week! Wow. I feel exhausted and worn out!
Today Everett has been cranky. I’m going to talk about his medications for a minute…
So Everett hates taking medicine. Many of my babies has but he might be the worst. He arches his back, kicks his feet, yanks his head this way and that, cries, screams, gags and chokes and throws up… it’s really awful. It has taken me at least 10 minutes to give him his medicine each time he needs a dose this week. 4 doses a day means 24 doses so far and about 240 minutes of struggle! Is that right?! That can’t be right!! I mean, I know it’s felt like a huge burden and really time consuming but seeing it added up like that blows my mind! That’s 4 hours worth of struggling with an 8 month old to give him medicine he needs!
Anyway, it was even getting worse as the week went on. Everett would catch sight of the medicine dropper and start trying to escape me right away. lol
Today is one week since his surgery and with how he’s acting about pain I decided to try to go without giving him his motrin for the day. The last time he had it was at 2am last night. It’s now 12:30pm. He was super cranky this morning but I don’t know if that was a bit of pain or what. He fell asleep an hour ago and I’ll see how he’s acting once he wakes up. I’m not opposed to giving him more medicine if he seems like he’s in pain. Hopefully not, though. My life would be a bit easier if I could go without that huge struggle four times a day!
Once I got Everett to sleep today I went downstairs into our basement to sew a couple more cast covers out of shirts. I have two for him but they get dirty so fast! I need at least 6, I think. I have so much, SO MUCH freaking laundry- I need to have things enough to go for two days without having to wash. 6 cast covers should make it two full days. Hopefully! haha
I ended up going to Wal-Mart and buying a few $2.50 shirts to make the covers out of. I was using old sleepers but t-shirts are easier because the hem of the shirt can be used to thread the elastic through without needing to make a casing of my own for the elastic! That’s the hardest step (but not really hard, just extra time) so it’s nice to skip it. I think right now I have 5 cast covers made. I don’t feel like making more but I probably will.
Beyond all this stuff I just wanted to say, I’m really sick of his casts. They’re ruining so many things about our life right now. First of all he’s bored out of his mind not being able to use his hands. He’s fussy all day when not held because he’s just so bored! I try to give him things to hit or kick but he just doesn’t care… he wants to grab them and hold them and stick them in his mouth, not kick them or hit them with a cast. He’s not abnormally fussy, nothing like what I’ve dealt with with other kids of mine but he is fussy any single minute I’m not holding him or sitting right by him playing with him and it’s getting exhausting. I’m plum worn out, honestly.
The second issue with his casts is sleeping at night. We’ve always coslept and the weeks right before his surgery he’d gotten into the bad habit of wanting to nurse all night long while laying next to me. Since he didn’t keep me up too much while breastfeeding in bed it didn’t bother me much. But now he can’t nurse while laying next to me because his giant arm cast is in the way so I’m waking up dozens of times each night with him. I have to sit up in bed and nurse him and it’s killing my back! Our room has hard wood floors and our bed has wheels so if I lean against the wall while sitting in my bed the bed starts to slide away. This means I have to sit straight up with no back support! So… awoken out of sleep for the 10th time by a crying baby, I’m already so exhausted I feel like crying, and I have to hold him and his giant, awkward arm casts and sit straight up in bed and feed him! It really sucks.
The third reason his giant casts are bugging me is I have to keep them perfectly dry and it’s been sprinkling on and off all week here in Castle Rock! This means our outside time (which I’m desperate for) is shortened. The heat also keeps us indoors because I don’t want Everett to get all sweaty with his casts! He’s the most happy outdoors so this is all a big bummer.
There are many more reasons but I’ll just stop talking about them now. Those are the big ones. I’m so so looking forward to August 14th!! It’s going to be AWESOME having his arms free again!!
Well, I hear Everett crying in his bed so his nap was super short. It’s the first time he’s napped in three days though so even the half hour I got without holding him felt like a gift from God. I really wish this kid would just freaking nap again. I can’t handle holding him every second of every day. And night.