The Lion has a pretty big belly button. Actually, it’s a belly button hernia (the technical term is umbilical hernia). Unfortunately, hubby and I are directly to blame for this because we had them at birth as well. As it turns out, these hernias are more prevalent in blacks as well. Gadget had one, too, but his closed up before he turned two. The Lion’s did not close up, and it appears to be getting bigger. It is so big that when he is watching his brother pee in the bathroom, he holds his belly button as if to go pee with it. Hubby took him to a pediatric surgeon for consultation, and we learned that he has a second hernia even higher up in his abdominal walls. We could see a little bulge, but this hernia poses a higher risk than the umbilical hernia since food could become trapped inside it. According to the Mayo Clinic:
An umbilical hernia occurs when part of the intestine protrudes through an opening in the abdominal muscles. Umbilical hernias are most common in infants, but they can affect adults as well. In an infant, an umbilical hernia may be especially evident when the infant cries, causing the baby’s bellybutton protrude. This is a classic sign of an umbilical hernia.
Most umbilical hernias close on their own by age 1, though some take longer to heal. To prevent complications, umbilical hernias that don’t disappear by age 4 or those that appear during adulthood may need surgical repair.
Umbilical hernia is a common and typically harmless condition.
During pregnancy, the umbilical cord passes through a small opening in the baby’s abdominal muscles. The opening normally closes just before birth. If the muscles don’t join together completely in the midline of the abdomen, this weakness in the abdominal wall may cause an umbilical hernia at birth or later in life.
Well, the Lion’s hernia gets very big when he cries, but it’s big all the time for the most part. So, on Tuesday, the Lion is having two outpatient surgical procedures. As his mom, I have been praying non-stop this weekend for wisdom, patience and God-guided hands for the surgeon, anesthesiologist, nurses and anyone who touches my baby. I pray that the procedure will be complication-free and that his recovery will be swift and painless. I especially feel this way because even though the surgeon felt as though this was a functionally necessary procedure, part of me feels like this is cosmetic surgery, which I believe to be totally unnecessary for the Lion. On the other hand, the hernia is so big that we intentionally cover it up. Other children always focus on it, and we don’t want him to grow up being self-conscious about being shirtless and wondering why we never did anything when he was a baby. Men go bare back all the time in sports, especially swimming and basketball, and I don’t want him to feel awkward because of cruel jokes from insensitive kids.
I took all of these thoughts and feelings to church this morning and gave it to God. I was carrying a spirit of fear, but I prayed this scripture, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind,” and now the surgery is in His hands.