The bad news (if it could be considered bad) is that Benjamin definitely needs this surgery. We met the surgeon this morning, and she is a RIOT! Loved her.
What he has is classified as duodenal atresia. According to Wikipedia, here's the definition: Duodenal atresia is the congenital absence or complete closure of a portion of the lumen of the duodenum.
Also: Approximately 20-40% of all infants with duodenal atresia have Down syndrome.. Approximately 8% all infants with Down syndrome have duodenal atresia.
With Benjamin's particular case, he only had a pinhole opening in his duodenum at birth (or even prenatally), so when he was just eating (drinking) breastmilk, it didn't pose as much of a problem. But over months of pressure being put on the hole, the intestines stretched out and created a windsock in the duodenum just past the pinhole opening, thus narrowing the passageway. And once he started solids (shortly after recovering from his heart surgery), it was just too much for the little guy to take. The surgeon said she is going to do it "the old-fashioned way" b/c she'll be able to get more of the webbing out that way that is causing the obstruction. I told her no biggie; he already has scars on his chest and abdomen. One more isn't going to be a big deal; this way we can hopefully get rid of this problem for good.
Now the good news: I asked her the question that was burning in my mind and Matthew's mind...do we have to do the surgery this week? Could it wait until, say, next Tuesday, when Matthew will be back?? She said sure! YAY!!!!!!!!!!! I just have to hold off giving him any solids (exceptional, since that's such a pain anyway) and we'll expect a phone call on Monday to tell us when to come in on Tuesday. She has two small procedures to do before his surgery, and then he'll be at about 10 or 11 in the morning.
Another kind of bad thing is that Benjamin may have to be in the hospital for awhile, depending on how he recovers. It's not the pain or discomfort from the recovery; it's when he can eat and poop normally. She said that if this were the jejunum or the ileum (the other two parts of the small intestine, with the duodenum being the other), then he might be home in three to five days (emphasis on the three days). However, the duodenum is generally the *last* part of the body to "wake up" after surgery. So it could be a week or more, but we'll pray that it's not.
So Matthew gets home late Monday night, and we'll go to the hospital on Tuesday morning. Andrew will stay with my parents, which they will all love. The great thing is that the hospital is downtown, very close to Matthew's work, so he should be able to go to and from work as he needs to. I am just so relieved not to have to go it alone, even though I was prepared to.
Thanks for everything, and we'll keep you posted!!! More cute pictures to come later. :)