It took me a little time to write this out, but I’ve had a good excuse – recovering from surgery! This the story of my hysterectomy at age 29. (I’ll be 30 this Friday!)
Friday, September 14th: The Big Day
My surgery was scheduled for 11:45 and we didn’t have to be at the hospital until 10 am. It was weird not drinking my morning coffee – I kept reaching for it and stopping myself because of the no food/liquids after midnight rule. Technically I was allowed to drink coffee up until 6 am, but really? What was the point of that when I didn’t have to get up until 7?
My mother-in-law had flown in the day before so she could take care of the kids for us. It was such a blessing to have her. I knew my babies were in good hands.
When Nate & I arrived at the hospital, they brought me back, and handed me the lovely hospital gown. Then we had to wait. You know the saying “Hurry up and wait?” It was like that. My nerves started to get to me and I wanted to cry. Nate was there, but something about those moments are scary! Then I remembered that my sweet mom had sent me a present for the hospital. I opened it and found a soft purple hippo. It was just what I needed. She told me she had hugged it many times and to hug it whenever I needed a hug from her. It was the sweetest present. Thanks, Mom! I hugged that hippo a lot!
Then our pastor stopped by! We knew he was praying for us, but it was so comforting to have him there. It was perfect timing and exactly what I needed. When Pastor David prayed with us, I had such a peace as we were reminded that I was in the Lord’s hands. As Pastor David left, he asked me “So are you going to blog about this? (he meant the surgery)” Of course! I couldn’t not blog about it!
Then things started getting busy. They started my IV, my doctor came in to go over everything one last time, I spoke with the anesthesiologist, etc.
Once my IV was in, I asked about “happy juice.” I’d heard about it and wasn’t sure I wanted it, but at that point, I figured why not? The nurse gave it to me right away. She said “If you need more, let me know! Before long, it will be like a ship sailing in the distance. All of a sudden, things will just turn and you won’t care about anything anymore.”
I started feeling more relaxed, but still nervous, so after a few minutes, I asked for some more. After that? Everything is pretty much a blur. Apparently Versed works by not only relaxing the brain, but also by erasing short term memory of the event. (Okay by me!)
I vaguely remember being wheeled back and Nate walking with me part of the way, before he had to turn back. He says I insisted on one last kiss. After that, I think I remember operating room lights (I think they were purple, but that can’t be right) and they asked me to move over to the operating table. I don’t remember a single thing after that. No counting back as they put me “under.” I was already in la-la land from the Versed. That’s good stuff I tell you!
The next thing I knew? I was waking up.
It felt like I had been dreaming. I didn’t have any of the feeling that I was in one place and bang, I was in another. Instead, it took me a few minutes to realize where I was and what was happening. I gradually remembered that I was in the hospital and had surgery.
I became conscious of a pinching feeling in my side. I opened my eyes and saw the clock on the wall said 3 pm. (I had been wheeled back to surgery around noon. I’m not positive on how long the surgery itself took as I think I was awake before that; I just can’t remember because of the medications.) I whispered to the nurse (my voice was really hoarse from the tube down my throat) that I was hurting and she gave me something in my IV.
I remember asking the nurse if the surgery was laparoscopic and if I kept my cervix and ovaries. (Those were my main concerns, aside from of course me being okay.) She assured me that it was laparoscopic and yes I kept my cervix and ovaries. Apparently my doctor had spoken to me, but I have no recollection of that at ALL. It’s kinda weird to think about.
My post-op nurse was really sweet. Even though they weren’t supposed to, she brought Nate back because I kept asking to see him. It was so wonderful to see him. I knew then that I was really okay.
I think it was about 4:30 when they took me to my room. And I had a roommate.
I was immediately upset. (Apparently, I get a little grumpy after anesthesia.) The room was so tiny and there was hardly space to move the bed around. And the other person’s monitor kept going off and beeping constantly. Once they wheeled me in there, I sat up in bed (and was quite pleased that it didn’t hurt that much!) and announced that I was not going to stay there. There was no way I’d be able to rest there, with my roommates monitor beeping every 5 minutes. I wanted a room on the “Mom’s Place” (the maternity floor, with private rooms, where they’d said they’d put me if there was space.) When they said there was no room on the maternity floor, I tried to get out of bed. Poor Nate! He was trying to calm me down. (Sorry, hon!)
The good thing is the nurses took me seriously. The nursing supervisor came in and asked if they got me a private room on that floor, would I stay? Yes! I just wanted my own room! They were discharging someone and had to clean the room, but then it would be mine.
Finally, Some Rest
After an hour, I was brought to my own private room. There, I was finally able to relax.
I needed to take some oral pain medication, but I had to eat something first because I was already a little nauseous and that would make it worse. They brought me soup and saltine crackers, which I tried nibbling on. I think it took me 20 minutes to eat 1/2 of a saltine cracker! My mouth was so dry from the anesthesia, I could hardly swallow. That was a weird feeling.
After that, it was pretty much just me resting, sleeping, trying to sip soup when I could, and sleep some more. I did get up within 1/2 hour of being in my own room and walked over to a chair. That was nice. I was still so happy that I had very little pain. I wasn’t pain free, but compared to my c-sections? It was a breeze!
The next morning, my catheter and IV were removed and my doctor came in to see me. She assured me again that everything had gone great and she was confident I’d have a quick recovery. She surprised me by saying I could pick up Luke after a few days, just to use my own judgment and not overdue it. That was REALLY nice to hear! This is the same doctor who saw me through my last 3 pregnancies and delivered Emily, Joshua, and Luke.
I almost forgot that she gave me some photos they took during my surgery. I have a picture of my uterus, still inside of me – and one of my ovaries and also one of my appendix. Pretty cool. Nathan, who is 9, thinks those are the coolest pictures ever. I think he was a little bit in awe of me – that I have my very own pictures of my insides. Haha.
I was discharged just about 24 hours after checking in. We drove home and it was so great to see my kids and my mom-in-law. I don’t really remember much from the rest of the day, just that I slept most of the afternoon and straight through the night. I remember telling Nate that I had never felt so tired in my whole life.
The first night was tough because I got sick to my stomach. Anesthesia had put an anti-nausea patch behind my ear prior to surgery and said I could leave it on for a couple days or take it off sooner if I wanted. I took it off after I got home because it started irritating my skin – it was hurting! But within a couple hours, I was sick. Not fun.
Of course it was after all the nearby pharmacies were closed, so we wouldn’t have been able to get a prescription until morning. Luckily, I had some leftover Zofran from when I was pregnant with Luke and that helped me finally get to sleep.
I slept a lot and rested the first few days. On Monday, I realized I had thrush in my mouth because of the antibiotics they gave me during surgery (it’s standard for all abdominal surgeries to prevent infection.) Thankfully, my doctor was quick to prescribe me something and that disappeared. I’ve eaten lots of plain yogurt and probiotics to help build up my immune system too.
I was off heavy-duty pain meds within a couple of days. I probably could have gotten away without taking them at all, but I’ve learned with my c-sections that there’s no reason to be a hero. And if they let me sleep on my tummy like I’m used to and get more rest, it was worth it. By Tuesday, I was just taking Motrin and by Saturday, I was pretty much off that too.
God has been so good. I’m amazed at how quickly I’ve recovered.
It’s been a balancing act for me, because I’ve been trying to stay positive that I would recover quickly, but yet not overdo it either. I’ve read a lot about hysterectomies and everything says that this surgery takes a lot out of you and you’ll be recovering for at least a month, etc. But thinking about that long of a recovery really was hard for me to think of, so I finally quit reading and just starting listening to my body. Plus after all, a supracervical laparoscopic hysterectomy at age 29 is quite different from an open abdominal hysterectomy at age 50.
I’m 2.5 weeks post-op and I feel great. I don’t have my normal energy back yet, but that will take a little more time, especially since post-op bloodwork showed I was anemic. (I’m eating lots of spinach, red meat, even blackstrap molasses – and taking an iron supplement.) I have hardly any pain at all now and my four incisions? Healed and hardly noticeable unless you really look. It’s amazing. It’s also amazing that they can do a partial hysterectomy with just four incisions – the largest is 1″ long and the other 3 are about 1/3-1/2″ each!
I felt like I had to put things on hold for awhile because we didn’t know how long it would take for me to recover. Whether it was for accepting a new product for review here for my blog or attending an event, or simply planning a fun family weekend – we just didn’t know. Now we can pick back up again and enjoy our fall.
I am so happy to have this behind me.
I had planned on picking up my normal blogging schedule this week, but I’ve realized I need to get back to normal with my family first, so I’m going to take it easy for a little longer. I know you all understand. Besides, I still have a few more guest posters lined up!