You’ve most likely never heard of the word. 

We did not hear of malrotation until our first-born son was in kindergarten. 

Looking back, he was not often sick as a baby.  He had his bouts with ear infections.  He spit up a lot.  He was “colicky” at times.  There were a nights I doubted my mothering skills when he would scream unconsolably, but the doctor reassured me it was just “night terrors.”

Half way through his kindergarten year, he started complaining often that his tummy hurt.  It didn’t seem to interfere with any activity, but as the frequency of these “tummy” aches increased, I became concerned. 

I took him to his pediatrician who did a physical exam, but did not find anything wrong.  The complaints persisted.  I took him to my doctor.  Nothing.  I took him to another doctor in town who said if the pain continued he would order an x-ray.  The pain continued.  He had threw up a few times, but it was flu season.  I took him back to get the x-ray order, but another doctor was filling in that particular day.  She said kids get tummy aches because of stress and not to worry.  The complaints continued.


I did not know what to do next.  I believed my son’s complaints were real.  I believe that God put an aching on my heart to keep on searching.  I am a pretty “obedient” patient; I do not challenge doctors.  But I felt they were wrong.  I figured there must be some sort of stomach specialist, but I was so naïve I had to “Google-it” to figure out that my son needed to see a “gastroenterologist.” 

We saw a very kind doctor who ordered a few tests.  My son had to have an Upper GI with lower bowel follow through.  I did not know what that meant except for the fact he needed to not eat breakfast that morning.  My strong willed five year old who often challenges his momma, drank chocolate flavored barium like a champ and had X-rays of his stomach and intestines. 

The x-ray showed intestinal malrotation. We then saw a pediatric gastroenterologist. It was hard to believe we finally had a diagnosis. My mind had not even processed what we would do if we found out something was wrong.  All of a sudden we learn he needs surgery…and fast. 

Within a few weeks we were at UCLA Medical Center.  Our son had a three hour laparoscopic LADD’s procedure to untwist and straighten out his intestines and an appendectomy. As soon as he recovered from surgery, his appetite increased and the tummy aches were a thing of the past!

Malrotation in a birth defect in the way the intestines rotate (the pattern they make during the 10th week of pregnancy). Malrotation cases are often caught because of severe pain, weight loss, blockages, vomiting bile, etc.  My son had consistent, mild pain. It is really a blessing that he was diagnosed.  I thank God for allowing me to be persistent and not stop until I had answers.  He is our Protector. 

Important facts to know:

If your child vomits bright green/yellow bile, take them to the ER immediately.

Trust your God given instincts.

For more information:

The Journey Continues.

For six months after my son had his Ladd’s procedure to correct his intestinal malrotation, he ate well and had no complaints. 

I am overly sensitive when it comes to the health of my children.  Even prior to learning of his malrotation issues, I used to joke that I am that mom who would take my child to the doctor for a paper cut (just kidding, kind of).  Six months after surgery my 1st grade son came to me complaining that his “heart hurt.”  Immediately he was seen by our family doctor who suggested the possibility of acid reflux. 

Acid reflux? Really? He’s only six! 

His gastroenterologist ordered a 24 hour ph probe test, endoscopy and biopsy.  All 3 tests confirmed he had acid reflux.  It was serious enough that he needed surgery to prevent it (not just medication).  Prolonged exposure to acid in one’s esophagus can lead to cancer.  We scheduled the surgery for the summer between 1st and 2nd grade. 

He had a Nissen fundoplication to wrap the upper portion of the stomach (fundus) around the esophagus.  This procedure tightens the lower portion of the esophagus to eliminate the stomach acids coming up into the esophagus.  Thankfully, the doctor was able to use the same five incision sites as his first surgery.  He healed quickly and no longer suffers from acid in his throat.


I’m happy to report that my son sleeps through the night now…most of the time.  He has never slept well his entire life.  I read the books, followed “rules,” broke “rules,” felt like a “bad” parent because my child didn’t sleep through the night.  I believe it was a combination of twisted intestines and acid reflux.  He suffered with both conditions his entire life.  

Colic? Night terrors?  I think not.  

My baby had to learn how to communicate with “words” in order for his conditions to be diagnosed.  Be observant.  Be your child’s advocate.    

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