Tuesday, July 28, 2009

My Kid- The Valedictorian

Valedictorian? True enough, I am not even pregnant, but the latest round of this fertility hell has led me to one conclusion- my child will be the smartest, sweetest, and most accomplished child that every was - to make up for all I have been through.

Up until today, I merely had images of shaking my jarred fibroid at a saucy-mouthed teenager (note that I did not leave the hospital with my fibroid jar intact). But on this great day, everything changed. Last night, I noticed some fresh bleeding from my fibroid incision site. I called the pager service and the on call doctor told me to come in first thing in the morning.

Turns out that the steri-strip aggravated my skin, so in addition to the large incision, I have two open wounds in the same region. Is that Nobel prize-winning child worth? I dare say no. But what happens next is valedictorian, non-sassing, Nobel prize-winning, doctor/lawyer, next-door-neighbor-for-life worthy. I came down with an internal AND external lady parts infection. At present time, I am instructed to use 3 topical ointments to deal with the whole region.

So for those bad at math, here is how I broke down the equation. 2 miscarriages+ 1 MRI+2 HSGs (doc said I needed another one so I am lumping that one in for good measure)+ 1 surgery+1 fever leading to an extra day of hospitalization + 2 steri-strip wounds + 2 lady part infections = the promise of one near perfect (but not in an annoying way)child.

I also want to add that I feel deserving of getting pregnant (and sticking, leading to a healthy baby) my first month trying, no throwing up, and a 3-push delivery.

I am having one of those entitlement days.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Surgery Makes the Private Public

Now that the whole world knows about the surgery, people feel really comfortable asking when are we are allowed to try again. Originally the doctor said 3-6 months depending on surgery, but she revised her opinion a couple weeks ago and then again in the hospital.

While alone in the prep room my doctor asked what could she share with my waiting family, more than just "you are fine". I told her, tell them anything except for how long until we can try. She agreed.

The first morning my doc stopped by, my mom blatantly asked her when I could start boinking my husband. Having been prepped, my doctor said, "it is hard to tell at this point, it is really determined on a case by case basis, so we can't tell yet".

At 4am the day of my release, my doctor came in because she had delivered a baby. I said, "Did I tell you my mom would ask?" and she laughed. She said, since they didn't have to open my uterus it might be sooner, but the fertility doctor who would do rounds the next day would tell me.

When she came in I asked my mom to leave and she looked stunned and didn't budge. The first thing out of this doctor's mouth was my conception timing. I was so irritated. I felt like this is so private. So then my mom carried on a conversation with the woman about my baby dancing.

I told my mom yesterday I don't want her telling anyone, it is too much pressure. Hopefully she hasn't already sent a group forward to everyone in her address book.

Abdominal Myomectomy: What to expect when having a fibroid removed

It's official, I am mutant fibroid free. Sadly my doctor said they found a small fibroid that they left in because it would have required many more incisions and they didn't think it would affect pregnancy.

Since I am a craver of information, I will walk you through the surgery, from the patient point of view and any tips I can offer.

I was told to arrive at 8 am. They asked me to fill out paperwork, pretty much about what would happen if I die or go brain dead. Once completed, they walked me back to a prep room. My husband had a huge meeting that couldn't get moved so my mom went with me and my mother in law was to meet her later. I had wanted to go to the prep room alone, but my mom had a conniption and clearly what I wanted didn't matter. Although later when I asked her to leave and she refused the nurse made her. I am just modest and didn't want my mom and mother-in-law seeing the goods as the prepped me.

They had me change into a gown and give a urine sample. Once that was complete I got in a bed, the one I would later be wheeled to surgery in. A nurse came by and took vitals. Then about 10 different people came by to introduce themselves. I was at Northwestern's Prentice Women's hospital. It is a teaching hospital, so there were a lot of people of all levels coming in.

The Anesthesiologist came in. I told him I get nauseous from anesthesia. They gave me something to combat that. He asked if I get motion sickness and since I do, they put a sea sick patch behind my ear. This was the best thing I could have done, because there is nothing worse then coming out of surgery and feeling sick from the anesthesia. Even if you don't know if you get nauseous, tell them you get motion sick.

They couldn't fine a vein to put the IV, this took them about 25 minutes and 2 people. I kicked my mom out and my mother-in-law, who had somehow found her way to the surgery prep room.

My doctor came in and someone marked my abdomen with a marker to note where the incisions would go.

Once the IV was in, they gave me something to take the edge off. Surgery was set to start at 9:30 am and was to last 2 hours. I would then be in recovery for 1-2 hours before being take to my room. I vaguely remember being wheeled in the hallway to the operating room to have the fibroid eradicated forever.

I started to come to in a hospital room with glass doors. I heard noise and people say, "Dana, Dana, we need you to lift up so we can slide this board underneath you and take some x-rays!" It was such a bizarre feeling. I couldn't stay awake and they kept saying my name. I remember trying to lift and it hurting a lot. I did what they asked and then feel back asleep. I did remember seeing a clock and it was after 1pm. I heard people talking in the hall and finally they came in to move me to my room.

I remember having an oxygen tube in my nose which remained for about 5 more hours. I got up to my room and they asked me to transfer to the other bed. They put the two beds side by side and I remember saying, "I can't" and then apologizing for my failed attempts.

My moms say I was really out of it and looked quite pale. The nurses were fantastic. They said my goal for the night was to sit up and dangle my feet in the bed. I had heard from my parents doctor friends that the quicker you walk the better you do. At night when they had me dangle my feet, I asked if I could walk. This was great, because the night nurse loved me for this. I think she is used to big babies who have to be goaded. After this, she treated me like gold.

Big tip- ask for a second gown. I didn't want to bare all. The nice nurse gave me the second gown and was able to put it on like a cape and snap it on (can't put it on normally because of the IV). This kept me amply covered until I put on real clothes on day two.

Walking wasn't so bad. I got light headed when I stood and definitely walked very slowly. The first night I went down the hall and back and was spent.

I have to say I slept horribly that night. They come in a lot to check on you, which is good. The next morning they took out my catheter. This wasn't painful at all. It felt similar to when the OB/gyn takes out the speculum in an exam. They weird thing was after, going to the bathroom felt odd, like I couldn't feel when I was done. The first time I went to the bathroom it was bloody. They weren't worried.

Speaking of such personal matters, I heard you bleed a lot after the surgery. I didn't find it was bad. It was never worse then the lightest day of your period. I had this spotting until 5 days post op and nothing since. They give you pads there which are the biggest things you have ever seen.

After I got the catheter taken out, I asked to put on my clothes. I brought comfy, stretchy, black sleep pants. They were perfect. They gave me underwear which I heard was essential. It is essentially boy short cut. Once I got home, I was able to wear my own stuff.

The second day was the worst day in terms of pain, but honestly not horrible. After that, getting out of bed got easier and easier. I ended up spending 4 days in the hospital (three nights) because I got a 101.5 fever one night. This is common with this surgery. They didn't find any infection. They said I was doing well for where I was in the recovery process.

On the third day, I showered myself and washed my hair. I didn't have restrictions, just don't rub the incision.

My own doctor stopped by each morning and the residents stopped by throughout the day (usually 2 times). Nurses were in at least every 4 hours. By the time I left, I was walking faster and even walked myself to the car.

Now, a week post surgery I am doing really well. My mom is staying with us for 5 more days. She has been cooking and cleaning. I have been going on 2-3 good walks a day. The pain is completely bearable, it doesn't hurt much to get out of bed, which had been the worst of it. The biggest change is I am so tired. I slept 10 hours last night and felt like I could sleep more.

One weird thing is how much my stomach has swelled. Since I have been on this fitness kick, I have been measuring my waist. When I got home I was 4 inches bigger than when I went into the hospital. I am now down to three. I feel a bit buddah-bellyish. Another interesting fact was that my fibroid was making my uterus the size of a 14-week pregnant uterus.

If you have questions, shoot me a comment.

Friday, July 17, 2009

T minus 3 Days to Fibroid Surgery

Monday is the big day- the day the mutant fibroid is stripped from my loins and I for one, cannot wait. I could of course wait on the pain and discomfort, but the doc didn't give me that option.

I spoke to my doctor yesterday and she confirmed that the reason she asked the Fertility Doctor to assist was because the fibroid is pushing down on my fallopian tube and she said she wanted to make sure she could save it.

This horrified me. But then I spoke to my best friend and she made a good point, that my tube hasn't been functional anyway because of the fibroid and I managed to get pregnant twice.

The doctor did say that there was a very very slim chance of needing a hysterectomy. She said that only in the event that I was hemorrhaging (and the only way to save my life was a hysterectomy) would she need to do it.

While it is scary, I don't have an option, because the fertility doctor said I wouldn't be able to carry a full term baby with my fibroid.

In terms of recovery, she didn't have much to offer at this point. I had heard that people get horrible gas because they inflate you abdomen for surgery. It hurts not only your stomach but your shoulder. I heard taking Gas-X helps. She said it only affects about 20% of the people so she would monitor me. I of course, already bought the Gas-X. Which BTW, is $12, doesn't that seem high? I thought it would be $4. But I digress.

She also said I shouldn't be taking certain supplements. She said my pre-natal and the B6 vitamin I take are okay to continue but not my Fish Oil (omega 3,6,9).

I haven't been told yet how long till I can drive or exercise. It is a shame about the exercise. I go through exercise phases and when I am into one, I am really in it. I have been consistently working out 5+ days a week for 4 months and now that will stop. It kind of freaks me out because it will be so hard to start, plus I will be weak.

My mom is coming up to stay with us for 12 days and take care of me.

And that is my story. I will post when I come home from the hospital before I forget details. I should be home on Thursday, although I am going to will my body to heal quicker so I can be released Wednesday.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Game On

Hot off the presses, I finally have a surgery date. It will be a week from Monday! I am fully aware it is weird that I am excited for surgery. Truth be told I am pretty nervous but happy to get on with my life. I am having an abdominal myomectomy, it is like a c-section, to get out the fibroid.

I was hoping it would weigh 40 pounds, like those people on Oprah who had now idea why they put on so much weight, but alas, I think it will be about 2 pounds of pure aggravation. I will be in the hospital for 2-3 nights depending on how I am doing. Then recovery is 6 weeks.

I found out that the fertility doc that my OB has been consulting with will be in the operating room, which makes me feel more assured my fertility will be intact when it is over with, but it also makes me feel a little nervous that it is more complicated than my doctor feels comfortable doing herself. I am glad though that she asked him to be in the room in case something comes up and he can give his advice on the spot.

My mom will be coming in and staying with us for about 2 weeks to help me get back on my feet.

And even better news, I should be all healed in time for our trip to Italy (the trip we planned to make me feel better about not being able to try for 6 months).

So this is definitely one of those good news/bad news situations, but I am focusing on the good news.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

The Power of Information

Yesterday, I wanted to see what I could find out about the DaVinci surgery. You might know what it is if you watch Grey's Anatomy. In the 2009 season finale, the Chief bought one of these robotic surgery machines and it was a huge deal.

Now, I am not in the habit of researching the latest medical trends, but lately when I have been on hold for my doctor, I kept hearing one of their ads that 2 doctors in her practice now perform the DaVinci surgery. I then found that it can be used to remove big fibroids.

In fact, recovery is 4 weeks for the Da Vinci surgery versus 6 weeks for the open, c-section surgery. I asked my doctor about it. She and the fertility doctor that she has been consulting with are determining if it would work for me. That's why I needed an MRI.

Knowing that it could be an option, I did a search for fibroids and DaVinci surgery. I found a great website with hundreds of testimonials. I found it so incredibly helpful. You can also YouTube a video and watch a surgery being performed. Don't know why you would want to, but if you wanted to, you could.

This really got me thinking about how much my fertility process has been influenced with the Internet.

I started reading online months before TTC what I needed to do. When I started trying, I googled pregnancy symptoms, I joined babycenter.com and learned more than I ever thought existed about pregnancy, until I was fluent in the language (DH, DD, TTC, TWW, BFN, BFP). I learned about the Clearblue Easy Fertility Monitor and read tons of reviews before I bought it. I then learned how to decipher it with a chat group. I charted my fertility with fertilityfriend.com. I researched people who had bleeding during miscarriages, miscarriages, trying to conceive after a miscarriage.

What I learned was many people, including myself, were just looking for hope. Someone who had their symptoms and turned out to be pregnant or someone who lost a baby but went on to have 3 healthy kids. Now I am looking for success stories of people who had their fibroids out after having miscarriages and went on to uneventful pregnancies.

It is funny how we learn to trust strangers in similar circumstances more than we sometimes trust our friends and doctors. I also wonder if I would even know how to get pregnant without the Internet. I have to be honest, I didn't remember much from Human Growth and Development in fifth grade and I think they were trying to teach us how to avoid, rather than achieve pregnancy.

I feel like this information I have garnered on the Internet has given me the power to make better decisions.