As a first-time mother, childbirth was highly overwhelming. After the birth of my child, I was tired and I wanted to go home. Unfortunately, we had to stay more than a week at the hospital due to complications. On my last day at the hospital, I was incredibly excited to go home and spend time with my family.
I was so happy to hear the good news that I will be going home.
However, along with the good news, came the bad news. The doctor told me and my partner that my baby was born with an “undescended testicle,” which means that a child’s testicle has not dropped down to its normal place in the scrotum.
Before birth, a baby boy’s testes will develop inside his abdomen. Closer to delivery, these organs travel through a canal in the groin. When all goes as it should, the testicles then fall into place in the scrotum. How do I know this? Lots of research as a mom.
“Undescended testicles is the most common genital abnormality found at birth. About 1-3% of full-term boys have the condition at birth,” according to Healthy Children.org.
Despite the doctor telling us not to worry, my partner and I were shocked. Considering that my new-born son Levi wasn’t in any pain, I tried not to worry too much about his undescended testicle diagnosis.
The article by Healthy Children.org states that the cause of undescended testicles remains unknown. Not a comforting notion for a new mom. It also states that premature birth plays a role, but the condition may also be genetic and that there is also a 7.5% chance that the brother of a boy with undescended testicles will have the same condition.
As a mother, I believe it is important to raise awareness of health issues that may affect your baby in his first year and that are not discussed commonly during pregnancy. You just never know what your experience as a mom will be like or what you might have to go through with your baby.
On Levi’s first doctor’s visit, his pediatrician mentioned more information on his diagnosis. She said that in most cases, the undescended testicle drops into place with time. She also said that if his testicle didn’t drop, he would have to have surgery.
Hearing that my baby boy might need surgery was extremely frightening. To be completely honest, I was freaking out. It was always a conversation that was brought up at every doctor’s appointment. The more they talked about it, the more scared I became.
At 10-months-old, his pediatrician indicated that the longer we waited, the more damage could be done. His undescended testicle never dropped into place, so we decided to go with the orchiopexy surgery.
He had it done when he was around 11 months old. We decided to get his surgery done at Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles.
We had him tested for COVID-19 a day prior to his surgery. Levi, who had been awakened from a nap, was not pleased. We were also told that he was not supposed to have anything to eat prior to surgery; his last meal was at 3:00 a.m. His surgery was scheduled for 7:00 a.m.
Due to COVID-19, only one parent was allowed in the waiting room on the urology floor. Levi’s dad had to wait in the regular waiting room, which I felt horrible about because it was making the experience even harder for us.
Levi and I got taken into this room where they checked his vitals.
Another nurse then came and handed to me the most adorable, tiniest robe along with his anesthesia medication he needed to drink. As we were waiting, he started to feel the effects of the medication and he was a very sleepy and happy baby.
Then a lot of nurses came in and were ready to take him to the operating room.
I remember them saying, “Ok mom, say your goodbyes,” and I immediately started to cry. I gave him a kiss and one last thigh hug. At that moment I felt compelled to pray, even though I’m not very religious, but it was the only thing that felt right.
Levi’s surgery took about an hour and a half, the worst hour and a half of my life. Then a nurse came and got me and took me back as he was starting to wake up. He woke up in an absolutely foul mood. He started to cry and didn’t want to drink his juice. After a while, he settled down and was his normal, happy self.
We got discharged as soon as he drank all of his juice. By the time we got to my mother-in-law’s house around 11:00 a.m., he was playing, standing up and crawling like he wasn’t in any pain.
I gave him Tylenol pretty regularly the first few days, but he never acted like he was in pain. The only real limitation we had for the first two weeks was to ensure that he did not have his incisions immersed in water.
“For at least 2 weeks after surgery, your child should avoid games, sports, rough play, bike riding, and other activities where there is a risk of an injury to the genitals,” according to Network of Care.The aftercare for surgery was to put antibacterial cream on both incisions and keep the area dry and clean at all times. It is very important not to remove the stitches because they will dissolve on their own. He still has small scars at the two incision sites, on lower right hand of his abdomen and on his right testicle, but they are fading.
Overall, the treatment was a pretty easy experience. My top recommendation is to find a hospital that will work with you and that you trust. I’m from Bakersfield and to get to the Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles, I drove two hours. It was totally worth it! Levi was in really good hands. I know it’s hard to think of your little one going under surgery, but I hope that my description is detailed enough to give you some idea of what to expect if you decide to do the orchiopexy surgery on your baby.
If there is anything I can help with, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.