What's wrong with my baby? Archer's Hernia

What's wrong with my baby? That's what I found myself asking when Archer was around a week and a half old. We had already seemed to suffer enough- with his severe tongue tie having caused re-admission and low blood sugar, to then being re-admitted again due to severe jaundice- our little man wasn't having the easiest of starts..

To then notice that his belly button stump just wasn't healing or looking normal.. it did leave me wondering if I'd done something wrong during my pregnancy to cause it all.

Archer's cord stump fell off when he was 5 days old. For some that would be considered quite soon, but Isla's came off really early too so we were sure it was fine and it started to dry and heal. It was around a week later that I noticed it seemed quite swollen and purple. When I lightly touched it, it was very soft and just didn't seem to want to dry up. If he cried, it would enlarge and I figured that must be what kept re-opening the wound.

It got bigger and bigger every day, and started to look enlarged- up to an inch sticking out of his stomach, especially when upset. After all the trouble we'd had already, I was terrified of asking the doctor or health visitors for advice, and decided to just wait until the home visit at his 2 week check instead of calling.

When the health visitor came she confirmed to me that something was wrong with Archer and I'd been right to question it. He had an umbilical hernia.


An umbilical hernia occurs when the stomach muscles do not close up where the umbilical cord was attached- usually they close up a few days after birth. Internal organs, fluids and the intestines push their way through the opening in the stomach. It is quite common in premature babies (Archer was induced 3 weeks early) and in babies of African descent.

My mind instantly became a panic of surgery, deformity and general discomfort and worry as it was all explained to me. I was told to look out for signs of strangulation- where the hole closes fully or partially and some of his organs get stuck inside and cut off from circulation- and encouraged to push it in and out with each nappy change.

The GP confirmed it all for us at Archer's 8 week check up, and told us that surgery wouldn't be considered unless he still had it past 3 or 4 years old. We weren't given any sort of average timeline for self repair, just that anytime from 3 months to 3 years self repair could occur.

We are now 3 months out and I'm pleased to say we've noticed more and more often that Archer's belly button looks flat or slightly inverted. If I press, I can still feel the hole, and it still seems to protrude dramatically, especially when he needs to poop (kind of like an oven timer haha) and of course when he coughs or is crying it reappears.

He isn't healed, and we have no idea how long it will be this way, but thankfully as time has gone on I've stopped that crazy mummy guilt wondering if it was my fault, and accepted that he WILL get better and he isn't in pain. I'm still grossed out by the horrible noises it makes though- you can actually hear the fluids squirting in and out of the hole when he's tensing!

Have any of your little ones been diagnosed with an umbilical hernia? If they have please share your story- I'd love to hear from other mum's going through the same.

Steph xo
Hot Pink Wellingtons

6 comments:

  1. glad that things seem to be improving and hope it gets better on its own soon. #sharingthebloglove

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    1. Thank you! I've had a lot of mums coming to me and telling me their stories and it's given me hope that it might be gone faster than the "3 years" I was quoted for treatment! Thanks for commenting xx

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  2. I've never heard of this before, I would have been worried about it too. It sounds like it's improving really quickly though, I hope it improves fully without needing any surgery. Thank you for joining us at #SharingtheBlogLove

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  3. At one point they thought Holly might have this, I hadn't heard of it at the time. Thankfully it turned out she didn't. I hope that it continues to improve for you. Thank you for joining us at #SharingtheBlogLove

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  4. Oh man... I've never heard of this before. I would have freaked out, if I'm honest. But I'm really glad that it seems to be going going down... I hope that it heals as quickly as possible!

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  5. Wow, sounds like you had a tough couple of weeks at the start there. It's great that you're spreading the word so other parents can be informed. Hope your little one heals up quickly <3

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