Part Two — Reid’s Polydactyly Reconstruction

We drove to Seattle on Thursday morning, September 1st; Reid’s 8 month birthday. I had dreaded surgery day for weeks, but felt a big wave peace on our drive north. A lot of people were praying for us and we felt it. 

We checked into the Bellevue Surgery Center and Reid smiled sweetly for his 8 month photo. Poor guy didn’t know what was coming. We met with his surgeon, nurses, and anesthesiologist – all amazing. Like, I really really love these people. They are so good at what they do and they don’t mind a crazy mom who asks the same questions over and over and makes them promise all sorts of things.

8 months

8 months old on surgery day!

At Seattle Children’s parents get to stay with their little ones all the way up until they’re asleep. It was so hard. Like, the worst part of the whole day. I’m glad we were there, as the last faces and voices Reid saw before he fell asleep for his surgery, but man, it was hard to see him so upset and then so limp with his eyes rolling. Thankfully, they warned us what it could look like, but nothing prepares you for that. 

My mama heart can hardly take all that surgery entails.


Couldn’t do this without the greatest Daddy!


Twinkle lights for little ones to look at as they go to sleep — last minute mama snuggles — Pre-surgery meeting with Dr. Hanel

We have a private waiting/consult room and we busied ourselves with distractions for the 2 hours of his surgery. Dominic bought me a cake pop from the Starbucks downstairs, I moseyed to the bathroom, browsed Facebook, sorted my email, and held my breath. 

Fifteen minutes shy of the 2 hour mark, we met with Dr. Hanel. Surgery was a success! He had to move some ligaments around and fix a divot that was created when his outer thumb was removed, but all in all, he said things went just as planned. 

Reid was just waking up when we met him in recovery. He was loopy and upset. I tried to nurse him but he barely latched even though he hadn’t nursed since 7am. I walked and sang and soothed as best I could, but Reid was just done. Poor guy wanted to go home and sleep and snuggle. So, that’s just what we did. He sipped a tiny bit of sugar water to distract him while I got him dressed and then we were off with pain meds in hand.


My poor baby :(

The drive home was smooth sailing. Reid slept for the whole 3 hours … afternoon traffic was a bear! 

The real excitement started on Friday though. That evening, Reid’s cast fell off. Dom and I had gone out to dinner and when we got home my mom said that she thought Reid’s fingers were slipping back into his cast. I called the after hours lined and ended up speaking with the on call orthopedic resident. One thing led to another and before bed Reid’s cast completely fell off. Once it made it past his elbow there was nothing to hold it on and gravity did the rest when I picked him up. 


Who would have guessed Reid would wiggle his way out of multiple casts!


The slipping fingers :/

I was mega worried, with Reid being a thumb sucker and all. Now he had an exposed incision and no way for it to stay protected! We loaded up in the car and drove back to Seattle. This time the ER. By 11pm he had a new cast. I even got my first pumpkin spice latte of the year from the ER’s 24 hour Starbucks! #silverlining


PSL = Decent stress relief


At 24 hours post-op his incision was looking pretty good!


Daddy pumpin’ him full of bravery

Saturday was Jemma and Max’s joint birthday party. Side note — I had convinced them to have a shared friend birthday party since at this age they have many of the same friends and it went off with only one hiccup. Reid’s cast was slipping … AGAIN!

Before it was completely off, I told Dom we needed to head north again. I wore Reid in the Tula for the party to keep his arm pinned and stable. It worked and after the party we buckled him up and made it to the ER before it fell off completely. 


Skeptical with cast #3 and then DROWSY during cast #4’s application

I loved the orthopedic resident we met with the second time. He really cared about our predicament and wanted to make sure we got a cast that was going to stay put. Between him, a nurse, Dominic, and I, we got a 3rd cast on him. But, it just wasn’t at a deep enough angle. We all thought that it looked just like cast #2 and thus, would probably fall off again. So, since Reid was getting quite worked up, he got some relaxing gas, we cut that cast off and cast #4 happened. 

Reid sang “Da-da-da-da-daaaaa-da-da-daaaaa” during most of the 4th cast’s application. It was pretty funny. That gas really worked! 10x better than his angry cry for sure.

We made it home once again and cast #4 lived a good life … all the way up until our follow up appointment on Tuesday the 13th. I’ll share all about his follow up next week! We’re on the home stretch towards healing and I couldn’t be happier. Reid has been such a trooper and I can’t wait to snuggle him without being clobbered by his cast arm :)


Cast life!


Finally … a cast that Reid couldn’t beat!

Read more about Reid’s thumb and everything we’ve experienced with polydactyly.


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  1. Tina says

    I just took my little guy (13mo) in for his consultation today. He has an extra toe on each foot and an extra finger next to his pinkie. They’re removing them all at once and I’m so nervous about how he’s going to handle having both legs and an arm all bandaged and in plaster for so long.! Thank you for sharing your stories, they give me a little insight of what to expect :)

    • Gretchen says

      I’m glad it helped a bit, Tina! You’ll be in my thoughts as you prepare for your son’s surgery.

  2. Steph Frank says

    lol at “clobbered by his cast arm”. I know that feeling all too well. Glad his surgery went well and he’s in the homestretch! Go Reid! What a trooper :)

    • Gretchen says

      He is a trooper! I can’t believe how brave these little ones can be!

  3. Molly says

    Wow he is such a trooper! That had to be a lot on you, I started tearing up reading the first part of this post. I’m so glad he is doing well. He is so cute, sending me lots of healing wishes his way!

    • Gretchen says

      Thank you so much for your good thoughts! I’m so glad it’s almost done!

  4. Darlene W says

    Reid seems to be on his road to recovery , thoughts and prayers are with you

  5. Sandra Caballero says

    How is your son doing? Wanted to say yay! I love to see a Babywearing momma! I also babywear my daughter. 💗

    • Gretchen says

      So good! His incision is healing really well :) Isn’t babywearing just the best?