I Skipped My First Baby Shower…And I Don’t Feel Guilty

In the infertility world, we talk a lot about doing what’s best for you to make it through this crazy journey. This was the first time I truly did what was best for me no matter how anyone else felt about it.

I skipped a friend’s baby shower. I never thought I would be one of those. But I am. I was, and I don’t feel bad about it.

March was our first IVF. The ultimate result was a fail. Our embryos didn’t make it to blastocyst (stopped growing on day five), and I was caught of guard and a little depressed. OK, a lot depressed, but that’s a story for another post.

Up until this point, I would say I was pretty positive

Insert our friends and their pregnancy.

This is a couple we have done a lot of things with: Date nights,Birthday Parties, Game Nights, Cookouts, Weddings, Critiquing other friends’ girlfriends/boyfriends. We even got engaged within a few weeks of each other, and married in the same year.

We did a lot together…except get pregnant. Of course they have no idea about our struggle. When I first heard the news about the pregnancy, I had that mixed feeling many of us know all too well of happiness and despair. Excitement and panic. Joy and pain. (no sunshine or rain)

Once we got the announcement around the holidays, I started stressing about the shower. I knew it was coming because we saw one of the grandmas-to-be at another event, and she told me the date they had in mind for the shower.

I went back and forth in my mind about going, months before it even happened. Eventually, the invite came and it got real. It was a co-ed shower, so both hubby and I were invited. He was an emphatic “Yes”. I was still undecided.  I felt bad, but I had to pop his bubble a bit and ask him if he was prepared for questions about us having a baby. We had just found out about or failed IVF cycle a few weeks before and were still processing. I know men handle this differently, but they do have feelings. I didn’t want him to be caught off guard when someone asked and he was triggered. I had to remind him its a little different now, and that he may feel some time of way when someone says “You two are next!” I’ve become an expert. He’s still a rookie in these type of interactions.

He said he’d be fine. The real question was if I was going to go.

“Put me down as ‘yes’ for now, but I’m not sure.”

The weeks passed, and finally we’re at the week of the shower. I was still on the fence. We needed a gift, so of course I volunteered to stop at Target after work to pick up some items off the registry.

I always like to give books as part of a baby’s gift. I like books, and I want to create little readers. Plus, reading is great bonding time with parents and kids. I went into the book section, looking for some of my favorites; The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Green Eggs and Ham, but I’m always looking for new books.

That’s when I found Wish. I vaguely remembered someone on Instagram mentioning the book. I opened it and started to read…and started to cry in the Target. In the children’s book aisle.

The plot:

As an elephant couple embark on a life together, thoughts of children are far away-at first. But as the desire for a child grows, so do unexpected challenges. And it’s only after thwarted plans and bitter disappointment that their deepest wish miraculously comes true.

So there I am, reading this sweet book, and tears running down my face. That decided it: I. Wasn’t. Ready. Cute onesies, bibs and blankets are one thing, but an amazing children’s book about how Mommy and Daddy had to suffer and fight to have you: Waterworks.

I knew If I couldn’t read that book and keep it together in a Target, the chances of me making it through a shower were slim.

I went home, wrapped the gifts, and told my husband I wasn’t going.

“What do you want me to say?”

I didn’t have to think long because I did have an out. I had a meeting, then a little fellowship afterwards.  They didn’t know that I could leave or skip it all together if I wanted. Perfect! “I have chapter meeting, and it’s an important one.  I won’t be done in time to  ride down with you.” (They live about a two hours away)

Hubby went, and by all reports and pictures posted to Facebook, the shower was great.

As for me, I did what I wanted that day, and I felt not one drop of guilt. I’d rather have people slightly disappointed that I wasn’t there, than for me to be uncomfortable, on edge, wrestling my emotions, and recycling one of my canned responses to when we’ll have kids or why I ‘m not pregnant.

At some point, you have to choose you. Sometimes that looks like selfishness, being disengaged, or a party pooper to others.

But if they only knew the real story…….

 

 

If you’re interested in purchasing Wish by Matthew Cordell, for you or a friend, you can do so  here.

 

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So a Woman Thinketh, So is She

 

It is Mother’s Day. Again. Last year for Mother’s Day, I unplugged, and I was able to lift my spirits and cross off a major bucket list item by going to see Prince in concert. Alone. It was one of best days EVER!

This year, Prince has passed away, I am still sad about it, and I skipped going with my Husband to brunch with my Mother In Love (Law) because I just wasn’t in the mood. She doesn’t yet know about our struggle, and I just didn’t feel like pretending I was in a good place. I sent my card with my husband.

Instead, I’m home with the cat, listening to Prince, and blogging, which is perfect.

Of course, this week, I’ve been thinking about and dreading Mother’s Day, like many of us Maybe Mamas do. The past month or so, a lot of things have happened on the road to possible motherhood. In April, I had a final hysteroscopy to check out my uterine cavity, to see if the balloon used in the November procedure helped in minimizing/preventing scar tissue. A few days before I went in, my husband and I had a conversation where I questioned if I even wanted to have kids at all. I went on about how our time would not be our own, how all the moms I know (with kids under 5) are so boring now. They’ve completely lost their sense of self. All the money we’d now have to spend on the child’s needs, how uncomfortable and unpleasant pregnancy seems….
But in the next breath, I answered my own question: “But I guess, if I didn’t want to have a baby, I wouldn’t spend all this time and money making sure I could”

“True”, hubby responded.

Let's be real for a second, this ish does not look fun.
Let’s be real for a second, this ish does not look fun.

So I really started thinking: What do we tell ourselves to make this all hurt less? I’ve come to realize my main coping mechanism has been a denial of sorts. I’ve tried to convinced myself that I don’t really want to be a mom. I see all the negatives in parenting: The screaming toddler in Target, the sleeplessness, the projectile vomiting, constant worry if you’re doing right by your child.  Never having a life. These things are real, and a part of motherhood, but that’s not all that it is.

I truly have come to terms with the fact that I may never be a biological mother, or a mother at all. I think that is part of the infertility journey. Keep hope alive, but acknowledge all possible outcomes. What I have done over time is beyond that.

I’ve tried to shield myself from disappointment and hurt by trying to convince myself it doesn’t matter. Motherhood is not something I really want.

Its like Cinderella when when she realized she wasn’t going to the ball, despite doing everything her step mother said she had to do. She did her best (for all of 5 seconds) to convince herself that that Ball was going to suck, and she wasn’t missing anything.

"Oh, well, what's a royal ball? After all, I suppose it would be frightfully dull, and boring, and completely... completely wonderful."
“Oh, well, what’s a royal ball? After all, I suppose it would be frightfully dull, and boring, and completely… completely wonderful.” ~Cindy

But the reality is, I do want to be a mother, and its painful to think that I may never be. Some days, its too much to think about, so I don’t. The best I can do is try to convince myself that like the Royal Ball, Motherhood sucks. Except, much like Cinderella, I’m not doing such a great job of fooling myself.

 

I chose the title of this post based form Proverbs 23:7, which most people interrupt as a verse cautioning us to be mindful of our thoughts, as they become who we are. Reading the whole verse, and the verses before and after, and other translations, that’s not what is meant at all.

The verse is referring to a person who says one thing out of their mouth, but doesn’t mean it. They invite you to come over, eat and enjoy, but inside, they’re hoping you don’t. The full scripture:

Do not eat the bread of a miser,[a]
Nor desire his delicacies;
For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.
“Eat and drink!” he says to you,
But his heart is not with you.

Now, I’m no “miser”, but I am being insincere with my words when I say I don’t really want to have a baby. I say I’d much rather just O and I be the “cool auntie and uncle”, that way we have our time, money (and my body) to ourselves. The ultimate proof that its all bs is not the myomectomy, or the three procedures I’ve undergone to remove scarring (and recently endometriosis), and the months of hormones I took to try to restore my uterine lining. Its not the research I’ve done on adoption. Its the consult we had this past week with a fertility doctor, and the tests we’re about to take, and the IVF journey we are about to start. Someone who doesn’t want it would not bother with any of this.

So on this Mother’s Day, I give myself the gift of acceptance, and permission to feel and experience all of the emotions that come with this journey. Some days are hopeful. Some days are depressing, and that’s OK.

Its OK to want something that seems just out of reach, and its OK to feel the creep of that green-eyed monster when it seems everyone else but me is enjoying that which is illusive: Motherhood.

I want to give this gift to you too. My sisters in this battle. Give yourself permission to feel how you feel, today and everyday.

 What have you been telling yourself?

There’s No Place Like Home (And Endless Questions) for the Hoilidays

This week kicks off the American Holiday season: Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, New Year’s Eve.

Plenty of food, parties, shopping sprees, drinks, and time with family and friends. Time with family and friends usually means people want a life update: How’s School? How’s Work? Did you get the job you interviewed for? When are you going to get married? When are you going to have kids?

 

When the family asks you about babies
When the family asks you about babies (or getting a husband…or BOTH)

Its those last two that have always just irked the hell out of me. When you’re single, or even if you’re in a relationship, you get tired of people asking the same damn question (that frankly isn’t any of their business).  “Don’t worry about when I’m getting married. You’ll know when you get the invite” is what you want to say , but usually don’t. Shout out to all the women who do say that to their families. You’re my shero. I know I’m married now, but the memory of that annoying question and feeling of being put on the spot is all too real. After all, I didn’t get married until October of 2015 at 36. There were many a holiday where I was asked about a boyfriend/marriage every five minutes.

Its the same with children. It doesn’t matter if your’re single, dating or married, you get tired of people asking about your plan for procreation. “When you get the baby shower invite, you’ll know”

It becomes even more painful when people don’t even know what they’re asking. They have no idea that by asking you about having babies they are picking at a wound you are trying desperately to let heal, because you can’t have babies. Or you can’t have them without a lot of assistance from medical technology and a lot of cash. So you smile awkwardly, or change the subject, or  quickly stuff some more sweet potato pie in your mouth so you don’t have to answer.

 

It can be rough, but here’s a great piece from the Huffington Post by K.K. Goldberg about her experince and making it though. As always, you’re not alone.

The Silent Hell of Infertility During Holidays

 

Keep you head up this Thanksgiving, and keep your glass of wine handy.

 

 

 

Just like a Felon

I know I’m late, but the new thing I love is podcasts. I’m addicted.  Serial. The Read. Freakanomics. I even sub to a wedding planning pod cast. They’re entertaining, informative, and they help me get through my long commute home,  so I’m always looking for a new show to subscribe to.
I recently started listening to Death. Sex. Money. , which describes itself as  “A podcast about the big questions and hard choices that are often left out of polite conversation.”  Since I newly discovered this series,  I’ve been catching up on past episodes. So far, an excellent pod cast and quickly becoming a favorite.

Today’s catch up episode was from April 25, 2015. An interesting interview until the subject uttered this sentence: “I think people without children should not be allowed to vote”

 Insert record scratch.

There are so many great side eye GIFs out there, selecting one was difficult. But the Dowager wins today.
There are so many great side eye GIFs out there, selecting one was difficult.
But the Dowager wins today. Me when I heard his “joke”

The person speaking was W. Kamau Bell. Comedian, blogger, and former talk show host. Now to be clear, I know that it was said in jest, because, he is a comedian. However, I still found it not funny and incredibly insensitive.  I was offended, and actually a little shocked. I don’t think he was trying to be an asshole, but that’s definitely how he came off in that moment.

I admit, I don’t know a whole lot about Bell, and I wasn’t very familiar with him before his talk show, Totally Biased. I know he’s a comedian. I’ve liked most of what I have seen from him, which is why I picked that episode to listen to. I  wanted to learn more about him. From what I have heard  from him in the past, and even in that particular interview up to that point, he is an intelligent and aware individual.

So why then, even as a joke, would he say something like that?

What he was trying to say, in a horrible,  inconsiderate way, is that parents see the world differently than they did prior to becoming parents, and make most, if not all decisions considering the lives of their children, knowing even the smallest decision affects their lives. I get it, but the premise is still a little off.

Now, it’s really not my thing to be the comedy police. As they say “everything ain’t for everybody”, so if I don’t find a comedian (or comedienne) funny,  I just don’t listen to their comedy or watch their shows (I’m looking at you, Kathy Griffin and Martin Lawrence. Black Card revoked for Martin,  I know). However,  some things, to me, are universally not funny: racist jokes, violence against women centered jokes, sexual abuse jokes, etc. I say all this to say that I’m not bashing Bell as a comedian,  or even as a person. I am simply saying that he is representative of what the world thinks of us child free women, and men: We are some sort of selfish, not-fully-formed, adult-type person.

Yes. Being a parent changes you. I don’t think anyone would argue that point.  And yes, I’m sure as a parent,  your decision making shifts. But the implication here, is that somehow, by not being a parent,  you are incapable of making quality,  well thought out,  long range decisions.  Which then implies that by not being a parent,  you are some how less of an adult.
I haven’t even gotten to the sheer insensitivity this shows towards the 1 in 8 couples who literally can’t have children.

So even as a joke, he’s essentially saying that because someone consciously chooses not to, or is unable to procreate, They should be denied a civil right? Cut out of a crucial function society. No better than a felon to him I guess. (BTW, I am not someone in favor of felons losing their right to vote once they have served their time)

So the soldier who cannot have children because of the injuries he sustained in Afghanistan, and his wife shouldn’t have a say in choosing the person who shapes the foreign policy of this country? You know, because he has no ideas or insights about such things because he’s not a father.

The couple that has spent thousands upon thousands of dollars just to become parents doesn’t have a stake in the healthcare system here in this country? I mean, they only have been navigating through it for years. What could they possibly know since they don’t yet have any children?

“Its just jokes.”  “Why are you going so deep with it?”  “Calm down.”  You might be saying.

I get it, he’s a comedian,  and a new dad, so its just for fun, and he’s experiencing the world in a new way right now.  Cool. But I should hope those two things don’t instantly render you insensitive or arrogant.
For so many people,  that was just a flippant,  funny thing to say. But for the couple who just suffered a second miscarriage, or is on the fourth round if IVF, its painful.
To the women and men who have made the choice not to become a parents, it’s down right insulting.

To Kamau I say:

Come on, bruh.

In the words of one of my podcast faves, Crissle, Words mean things. Even as a joke, words can be painful. You as a Black man should know this.  Choose your words wisely.

Being child free, rather by choice or circumstance, does not invalidate ones humanity or adultness. For those who are childless by circumstance, that type of statement can be painful.

If you have an issue with my child free status, take that up with God.

Update: Per Kamau’s twitter I stumbled upon this conversion. Looks like he stands by his “joke”, which is unfortunate.

Listen to the full podcast episode here.

Its Mother’s Day….Again

Its here, the day that many of us love and hate….Mother’s Day.

Most of us have awesome moms, aunts, grandmas, friends and mother figures that deserve all the brunches, flowers, pampering and accolades they will get today. But while we’re doing all of that, on the inside, we might be dying a little.We can’t become biological moms (or not without plopping down thousands of dollars), some of us have lost a pregnancy, or a child, or even lost a mother or grandmother. Some had crappy moms or grew up without a mom at all. Because I don’t live in the same cities as my family, I’m not forced to go out to do anything, which is good, because honestly, this year, I really am not in the mood to pretend. Not only am I working through my infertility feelings, I lost my Nana a few months ago. I loved talking to her, and she was my favorite call to make on Mother’s Day.

 

This pretty much sums it up for today. Sorry Folks
This pretty much sums it up for today.

So what can you do? How can you handle this day that celebrates everything that seems just beyond your reach if you’re having a hard time?

Here’s what I’ve got:

UNPLUG. Seriously. Looking at Facebook and Instagram all day is not going to do anything to uplift you if you’re already feeling down.

Do something for Yourself. Whatever that means to you. Get a mani/pedi. Go shopping. Do yoga. Binge watch whatever you want. Do what makes you feel good about yourself today especially.

This is not something I would usually say, but….Skip church today.

Now, hear me out: In a lot of churches, especially Black churches, Mother’s day is a big thing. There are luncheons, and special sermons about mothers and mother hood. My old church used to give out single roses. They’d start with Moms, then Grandmas and Aunts,…..then trickle down to all those that “desire to be mothers”. This was always extremely hard for me, even before I had (or knew I had) fertility issues. I was here without my mom, no family around actually, I was painfully single at the time, so I just felt very isolated that day. Get your spiritual connection on your own today by praying, reading and spending time with God alone.

In the end, its up to you.

You know where you are, and what you can handle today, and if this is a time that is difficult for you. Don’t be afraid to say “No” or limit your time out if you’re invited to celebrate.

Celebrate the great relationships you do have today. Enjoy some of the benefits of not having children. (There are several!) Don’t let this 24 hours damage your spirit too much.

What am I doing today? Blogging (obviously), Staying off of Facebook, my calls to my Mom, Aunts, and friends,Cooking, Cleaning my Bathroom…

Oh, and going to see PRINCE!

Here are some more thoughts from around the web:

About that church thing: An Open Letter to Pastors on Mother’s Day

When it seems like its just you: Surviving Mother’s Day As a Non-Mom (Not By Choice)

When you’re child free by choice and people use Mother’s Day to guilt you (or an unnecessary parental apologist):  Sorry about Mother’s Day, my childfree girlfriends: Moms aren’t any more special (or unselfish) than you

 

No matter your status, ENJOY your day!

 

You Are Not Alone-Step Up and Speak Out: National Infertility Awareness Week

wpid-screenshot_2015-04-19-19-19-16-1.png

It’s that time of year again: National Infertility Awareness Week!  The theme this year: You Are Not Alone. ( Cue the Michael Jackson music)

To know me and this blog is to know this is my mantra.  Infertility can be very isolating. When you look around and everyone has a kids, or is pregnant, or asking you about getting pregnant, you begin to feel this sense of separation. I’ve said here a few times that there is a feeling that you’re not a complete woman. Your body is betraying you every. single. day. How do  you explain your situation or answer people’s questions without drawing pity, which you definitely don’t want, or those awkward “just relax” or “keep trying” responses? So, you decide it’s better to keep it to yourself. Who needs that extra drama?

You want to talk to your best friend, or your mom about it, but how can you really? They don’t truly understand. They mean well and love you, and  they want to support you, but its a hard thing to relate to. My best friend has 5, yes 5 children! (who are awesome by the way) I keep my fertility struggle conversations with her to a minimum. Not because she doesn’t care. Not because she is uninterested (she asks for updates all the time), but because how can she understand? Trouble getting pregnant is a foreign concept to her. She is the exact opposite of infertility.

I was watching Teen Mom (the new episodes with original girls) the other day, and one of them went in for a wellness exam. The doctor was listening to the baby’s heartbeat, and asked if she could feel the baby moving. I started crying. Why? Because that is an experience I may never have. When you have those types of moments, who can understand that rush of emotion other than someone else who is or has been where you are?

But think about it: 1 in 8 couples are facing infertility. So, you are not alone. The next time you’re at church (mosque, synagogue), at a family reunion, dinner party, on the train, at the mall, in the hair salon, running a 5K, know that at least one more woman (or man) in the crowd is struggling with fertility.

I know it can be emotionally draining.  I know it makes you vulnerable. I know sometimes you just don’t want to be bothered. But….

Share your story. There are women that need to hear from you. They need the support and assurance that they are not alone. It doesn’t have to be a big thing. You don’t have to tell the world, just be there for one person. That can make all the difference.

Start a support group at your church or community group.

Be there for someone who is struggling with infertility

Post an Infertility article on your social media platforms

Even better:

Post about NIAW on social media. Share a link to NIAW  and Resolve.

 

I will be honest, what has helped me a lot is having someone to talk to, really two people.

I have a co-worked that had a myomectomy about 4 weeks before I had mine. We started talking about our fibroid battles, and found out we have similar fertility issues. We share articles, random facts, advice from doctors, and sometimes, just our frustrations.

I also have a friend who is about 10 years older than me, but she had infertility issues and had two wonderful sons via IVF. This was in the 90s when it was still a weird and strange thing, especially in the Black community. Her support and advice has meant a lot.

Then of course, I have this blog. I know my presence isn’t big, and its not the flashiest or most consistent blog out there, but to know that people visit or follow my blog, and I am doing my part to help someone make it through; providing information, telling my story, and maybe providing a laugh or distraction, makes me happy.

So Maybe Mamas, You Are Not Alone!

Share your story this week and beyond.

 

Writer’s Block: Blogger Kryptonite

Bloggers writiers block
I interrupt my on topic blog writing to announce an extreme case of writers block: Yup it’s that bad that I just want to write about the writer’s block that is preventing me from writing. (But if I can write this little vent session, do I really have writers block?)

I have been on vacation all week and have come up with at least three great blog post ideas. They are all in some state of “draft” and unpublished here on WordPress.

This is extremely frustrating and I’ll just chock it up to both work and wedding stress that I can’t finesse an idea or get the sentences just right to make a great (hell, I’ll settle for decent) blog entry.

 

Stay tuned! I don’t plan to be in the grips of this block for long…I hope

 

Asking the Serious Questions

I been thinkin, I been thinkin...
I been thinkin, I been thinkin…

 

From the “Let’s be honest with ourselves” files, I want to talk a little bit about questioning the process. Sometimes, I think about all that is in front of me to get pregnant and become a mother, and I ask myself:

Do I really want to do this?

The sacrifice of time, sleep, body, money, and sometimes, relationships, for at least the next 18 years?

Do I want to to torture my body with numerous injections and pills? Do I want to be poked, prodded, and explored on a regular basis more than I already have?

Do I want to watch my bank account slowly drain as I pay for meds, doctor visits, scans, and tests? Adding extra stress of incurring (more) debt, working extra jobs or extra hours. I jokingly say by the time we get pregnant, we won’t have any money to actually raise the child.

What about the emotional stress? There is no guarantee that a cycle of IVF or IUI will work. How many times will I be able to take a “No”. How many times could I take that heart break?

The actual pregnancy and labor? (Or c-section)

Maybe some of these questions come from fear. Maybe I’m trying to talk myself out of wanting something to avoid disappointment if it doesn’t happen. Who knows.

I do feel guilty for asking these questions, like women aren’t supposed to question motherhood. You’re a woman, you’re supposed to be a mother. Period. No questions asked. Society puts a little guilt trip on you when you don’t have children (which is why it can be so hard for people to constantly ask why you don’t have children, when its not really your choice), and even more so if you actively choose not to have children. You’re branded as selfish. Is it really selfish though? Will you be bound to be seen as an outsider of womanhood by not giving birth?

What are the answers? I don’t know. I don’t have a definitive answer for any of these questions. My thoughts and feelings today may be different next week. Next month. Next year. Hell, in the next 20 minutes.

I think its important to ask yourself (an your partner) these questions, especially with all of the extra effort and financial investment us Maybe Mamas face. I think those of us in the fertility struggle have the advantage of really having the time to ask these questions before pregnancy happens.

The only things I know for sure are: What will happen will happen, and its OK to ask questions. About everything.

 

No that I’ve ruined your Saturday with deep thinking, I’m off to enjoy a Cinnabon.

Some Days are just Bad Days

I try to keep everything pretty positive around here. I generally have a positive but realistic attitude about life in general.

I haven’t yet began to dive I to my fertility issues here, but today, I’m going to jump ahead a little.

Two weeks ago, I went in to speak with my RE (Reproductive Endocrinologist, a doctor who specialize in fertility) about her analysis of my current situation after some tests and information form my surgeon. She gave her thoughts (details to come) but the basics were that we should start the process sooner rather than later, and IVF would be the best bet. She ordered a blood test (AMH test) to check my ovarian reserves, (eggs I have left).

 

It took this chick 3 sticks to actually draw blood...
It took this chick 3 sticks to actually draw blood…

Well, today I got my results, and they weren’t that great. My level is at a .6, which is below average for my age.

 

I am extremely disappointed and sad. I allowed myself to cry for the first time in a long time about my infertility, because it all got a little more real today.

The journey is not over, and I know I will bounce back and keep pushing, but today is just a bad day. It was not the result I was hoping top hear.  However, I wouldn’t be true to the purpose of this blog if I didn’t share this experience.

 

Please visit the following links for a full explanation of AMH testing and how it relates to fertility

10 Facts about Anti-Mullerian Hormone Levels (AMH)

Anti-Müllerian Hormone (Including Graph)

 

The Surgery-Part Three: Surgery

 inovaFO

Continuing my series to help those approaching their Myomectomy. Today’s post is about the big day!

**Soo…I meant for this post to be published on the anniversary of my surgery, June 7. But life happened and I didn’t get a chance to post. It’s here now! Please Enjoy.**

 

I got up early in the morning to get ready for the day of reckoning.  My nerves did start to kick in a bit, and show up in the form of being overbearing, but I was still ready to move forward. That morning (and the day before) I had to wash with an antimicrobial soap called Hibiclens, but no lotion, oils, or creams, so my skin was free of microbes… but tight and dry!

We got the hospital early. Not on purpose, but around DC, you never know what traffic will be like so we left about an hour and a half before I had to be there. The hospital is a 35 minute ride without traffic.  On that day, traffic was light so we got there 30, 45 minutes before my  scheduled time. My procedure was outpatient, so I didn’t have to pack a bag.

If I could say there was a great part of waiting, it was that one of my best friends, who had surgery to remove fibroids and endometrosis a few years before, called to pray with me. That meant so much and calmed my spirit.

Checking in meant going over all of my personal information, insurance information, and who to contact in case of an emergency. You get asked that all the time, but this time it really sunk in, probably for the first time that something could go wrong. While the chances were slim, it was entirely possible for something to go wrong: A cut too deep, the wrong combination of sedatives, emergency hysterectomy…..anything. DON’T panic or worry over those things. You will think about it, and the closer you get to lying on the table, the more real the possibility becomes, but you’ll be fine!

Finally,I was called to the pre op area, but I could only take my mom back with me. The nurses I had were awesome! They were so friendly, efficient and knowledgeable. Another great part of this prep team: the woman who put in my IV.  Every time I go to a doctor for blood work, or had an IV put in, it’s an ordeal. Every. Single. Time. Bruised arms and multiple sticks are the norm. When I had my wisdom teeth pulled several years ago, they just put the IV through my hand because those veins were easy to see/get to. Every once in a while, I will someone great at their job. She was one of them. She came in, introduced herself, I gave her the “they always have a hard time” speech, and she said “oh, don’t worry”. She found a spot, put the line in, and I was good to go!

While my nurses were getting me prepped, Dr. M popped in and looked puzzled as to why I was still sitting around talking. (Really, he looked annoyed)  My surgery time was 9:00am, but he was ready to go about 20 minutes early, so they sped up the process of getting me prepped.  He answered any last-minute questions and gave my mom the prescriptions I would need.

A word of advice: Ask any last-minute questions of your doctor the day of OR have a list for your family if the doctor visits while you’re in recovery.

The anesthesiologist came in and put in the juice. I went from slightly on edge to fits of giggles in about 10 seconds. My family (who were all allowed back at that time to see me before I went in) thought this was hilarious and captured the whole thing. Yay smart phones….

 

The sedative kicked in.  Ish got real.
The sedative kicked in.
Ish got real.

The next thing I knew,  I was looking at ceiling go by. The sedative was starting to do its job, and I was fading in and out. I remember going into the operating room, and thinking “Wow, there’s a lot of stuff in here!” I remember being lifted on to the actual operating table. I remember the mask being put on my face. He didn’t ask me to count down, just to think about a vacation or being on the beach……..

The next sensation I can remember experiencing: pain.  Awful, horrible pain. And nausea. I will say, that if you’ve had a baby, the post op cramping might not be as bad for you. I  remember saying (I felt like I was yelling, but it was probably a whisper) “I’ve gotta throw up”. Then I did (Reaction to the anesthesia). They gave me something in my IV to help with the pain and the nausea, and I was in and out of sleep for about an hour. I mostly remember being in a sort of limbo state. I could hear people around me, and I was slightly aware that I was moaning from time to time, but I was  woozy and not quite able to move or be 100% present. I remember a  nurse saying she couldn’t give me any more pain meds or it would slow down my breathing, and thinking to myself:  “And?…” Yeah, I was in that much pain.

Finally, I was semi lucid, enough for saltines (maybe they were graham crackers?…) and ginger ale. I was still very woozy, but more aware of my surroundings and better able to communicate.  I couldn’t speak loudly because I was intubated (breathing tube) during the surgery. If you will be put under, you will most likely have a breathing tube inserted as well after you are sleep. When it’s out, it leaves your throat very scratchy for a few days.  After I was “up” (and I use that term loosely), they moved me to phase 2 of post op.

Phase 2 is where they let you rest a bit more in one of those hospital reclining chairs. By then, I was un hooked from all of the heart monitors, but I think I still had an IV. I still had a bit of nausea, but they said I was OK to go home.   In the hospital, they give you these  polyester/mesh hospital panties with a pad. They’re not  sexy, but they were surprisingly comfortable! They’re like high-waisted boy shorts, perfect to not rub your incision and/or laprascope port areas. You will have some bleeding that day, and you probably won’t be lucid enough to put in your own pad, so just rock the hospital panties home. Trust me. In fact, I wish I had asked to take a few pair home.  Because I was still feeling nauseous,  the nurse gave me a few of those blue “barf bags” and alcohol pads. He said taking a whiff of the alcohol pad can sometimes calm the nausea.

I will say my only critique of my surgical process and the hospital was I felt like they were rushing me out. I really think I could have stayed another hour resting OR actually stayed overnight.

In my wheelchair, nodding off, they were finally ready to discharge me. The nurse gave  my mom after care instructions, signed something, and they took me down to the lobby. O and my dad were there with the truck and helped me in. I tried to put my own seat back and went back to far….bad choice. With no abdominal control, that sudden flop of the car seat was a pain I’ll never forget.  Don’t try to do anything for yourself the first 72 hours at least.

 

Day Of take Aways:

  • Have an emergency plan, make sure your family knows your wishes (the hospital will ask you about those things)
  • Have a final list of questions for your doctor. Ask your nurses and anesthesiologist questions too
  • Be kind to your nurses!
  • There will be pain post op
  • Take home the hospital panties. (Thank me later)
  • Don’t try to boss your family around and insist you can do things your self 2 hours after surgery with anesthesia still in your system.