Nicholas had his shunt surgery today and he did fine. It started late and lasted a lot longer than we were told so it was a pretty stressful day. Everything is fine they just had a little trouble feeding the catheter through his veins. The doctor said it was because of all the IV's he's had and how sick he has been. It took a while but they got it and the surgery was a success. Nicholas was even starting to wake up while we were there. They gave him a little morphine to keep him settled down tonight. We couldn't see what it really looks like yet because he has bandages on, but it goes from the top of his head, down behind his ear, and down his neck. It is all under the skin and once his hair grows and he gains weight it won't be noticeable.
The shunt was placed because Nicholas has Hydrocephalus. There is a good description of that in the NICU glossary I have a link to on the right side of this page. His body can't drain the cerebrospinal fluid on its own so he needs a shunt to do it for him. He has a Ventriculo-Atrial shunt which means there is a catheter attached to a valve in his right ventricle in his brain. That is fed through veins to his heart where the fluid will drain to and will be released when he pees. The valve is set at a low level to release the CSF when a certain amount of pressure is built up inside his head. Nicholas will be just like a normal baby with the shunt and it is very durable so we don't have to treat him any differently than we would if he didn't have it. It will most likely have to be replaced within 6 months because he will outgrow the tubing. They will check his abdomen and might be able to use that as the drainage site if there isn't too much scar tissue still.