so enough of that, now i want to talk about my surgery, and recovery, and some of the differences between now, and when i had it done nearly 6 years ago with ruby.
the differences, for me, can be characterized as night and day.
and i'm really being serious.
my two experiences with the same surgery, were that different.
i was so afraid going into this because of how hard the recovery process was for me last time.
last time i was wheeled into the OR, and just moments before i was given my general anesthesia- which would put me completely under (thank goodness) - i noticed how frantically and speedily one of the nurses or OR assistants (i'm not sure of his exact title, or even who he was) was wrapping my ankles with ace bandages.
totally baffled as to why he would be wrapping my ankles, well, i just flat out asked him,
why are you wrapping my ankles?
to which he replied, so they won't slip out of those, pointing toward the ceiling to a couple of high-hanging, wide-set stirrups.
oh this is perfect, i thought, i get to hang naked, upside down, while a whole slew of people work on my...well...my you know what.
i was humiliated by the very thought, but then, like a knight in shining armor, my anesthesiologist came to the rescue with an oxygen mask in one hand, and a shot of some sweetness through my IV in the other (a great multi-tasker he was)...and i was out.
there are three different types of cerclages, my dr. had explained to me, and he would be performing the shrodkar cerclage. this procedure (i'm going to sound super smart right now, but really i'm just pulling this information off the web - healthline.com) is done by dissecting the vaginal mucosa and bladder off the cervix anteriorally, and if necessary, opening the cul-de-sac (dissecting the vaginal mucosa off the cervix) posteriorally and then placing the suture as high as possible around the cervix tunneling through the cervical stroma. The cerclage is usually begun at the 12:00 o’clock position and then placed circumferentially with as few exit points as possible until the starting point is reached and the suture is tied. The vaginal mucosa is then reapproximated to cover the cerclage.
did you catch all that?
from what else i know about this type of cerclage, it is way more invasive,
technically more difficult (requiring more time in the operating room),
with greater risk for hemorrhage and infection;
and also, that it's certainly more painful to remove.
and boy can i attest to this.
having those stitches taken out that day, really was one of the most uncomfortable, and i'll go so far as to say painful, things i've ever had to endure.
when my surgery was complete, and i started to come to,
i remember a total of about 4 things.
1) i had a horrendous headache. i'm pretty sure from all of that blood rushing to my head. hanging upside down for an hour will do that to you every time. (my ankles were bruised and swollen for a few days afterward too, hmmmm...i wonder why?...not enough ace bandage for cushion, perhaps?)
2) i honestly and truly thought that i was dying. i was convinced that that was what death felt like, and i even went so far as to ask my nurse if i was slipping away.
3) my toe ring (why was i even wearing a stinking toe ring?) was cutting off all of my circulation. i screamed for someone, anyone, to just GET IT OFF OF ME! it was constricting my entire body like a horrible monster. it was the most awful and frightening feeling.
(maybe that's why i thought i was dying. i don't know?)
4) the last thing i remember after coming out of my surgery...until i woke up in my very own bed - hours later- was throwing up, non-stop, the entire way home from the hospital...and really for days afterwards.
i'll say it the best way i know how...it was not a very pleasant day for me. in the least.
and the recovery was just as bad...if not worse.
my dr. told me that i would most likely need a week off of work to recover.
i applied for my disability leave, and everything was set.
only, when that week was up, there wasn't any possible way that i was going to be able to return to work.
i was still bleeding like crazy, cramping like mad, and couldn't even stand upright when i walked...(that is, if i even attempted to walk at all. mostly i just lived in my bed).
i mean, i was literally in bed for two weeks straight, and not because of dr's orders to be down, but because i wanted to be down, i needed to be down.
it was hell, i tell ya, pure hell.
as dark as the darkest night.
so now i'll describe the contrast to you.
it was as bright as the brightest day can be (well for a surgery day, at least).
and other than the fact that my surgery was scheduled at three in the afternoon, and i couldn't eat or drink anything all day leading up to it, it was wonderful.
really, truly, it was.
i had the sweetest nurse in the world, and even though she missed my vein a few times, and my bed ended up looking like a crime scene (it happens every time. yeah that big, juicy, plump vein that they all think is so wonderful and perfect, it's not. it has never produced, and probably never will. you'd think i'd have said something by now. next time. next time)...
i still loved her, and thought she did a fabulous job caring for me.
my anesthesiologist came in and introduced himself, and had me laughing from the get-go.
and for those of you who really know me, it takes a lot for me to laugh out loud.
i don't know why...i think so many things are funny, and hysterical, and totally laugh-worthy...
i guess you could say i'm just more of a hold it all inside, and laugh to myself kind of person.
but this guy, he was funny. he was really, really funny.
and i couldn't help but laugh out loud following every word and phrase that come out of his mouth.
they wheeled me to the OR, and sure enough, this nurse starts wrapping my ankles, only with towels this time.
oh great, here we go again, i'm thinking to myself. but when i look up toward the ceiling, there are no stirrups to be found. instead they're set up just slightly higher than my bed, and off to the sides - spread pretty far apart - but nothing i couldn't handle...even though i'm about the least flexible person on the planet.
then the part that really surprised me...they all helped me onto the gurney, sat me up, told me to scoot as far to the back as i possibly could (without going over the edge), and then the anesthesiologist told me to put my chin to my chest, relax my shoulders, curve my back (is this sounding familiar to any of you? particularily you moms who have had babies?)...wait...what in the world are they doing to me? what about my general anesthesia? i ask. aren't you putting me under for this surgery?
oh no! they all say at once, we're giving you a spinal block. don't worry, they say, you will not feel a thing from your chest to your toes.
i couldn't believe that i was going to be awake for the procedure.
at first i was slightly embarrassed, being fully exposed the way that i was.
but then they turned up the tunes,
gave me some sweet arm rests,
and all i had to do was sit back...and do nothing...and feel nothing.
i laughed a lot (i'm telling you, that anesthesiologist was a crack up),
i tapped my feet to the music...well not really, that spinal was something mighty and fierce i'm telling you.
with all the power, strength, and energy i could muster up, i still couldn't even move a toe.
my heart and soul were doing some serious dancing though.
groovin' to tunes like bon jovi's livin' on a prayer, katy perry's california gurls, cheap trick's i want you to want me, and tom petty's free fallin'.
it was the best mix i could have asked for, and perfectly epitomized the mood and feeling of the OR experience for me.
carefree (but not too carefree, the dr. still managed to stitch my cervix, and not some other vital opening...thank you, dr.), light, jovial, friendly, and fun.
it was the best experience. and this dr. chose to do a different type of cerclage, a mcdonald cerclage...which in hindsight, i am very grateful for, as it was way less strenuous on my body, and way less invasive too.
again, i'm going to sound very intelligent here, but just pulling info from the healthline.com ( i surely don't want to go to jail for plagiarism). The primary advantages of the McDonald procedure are that it can be performed quite rapidly, with minimal risk for blood loss or infection, and can be more easily removed to permit a vaginal delivery. The disadvantages are that it usually cannot be placed as high on the cervix as a Shirodkar, and many clinicians shy away from adequate placement for fear of damaging the bladder or rectum. Indeed, in my experience, the greatest reasons for failure of McDonald cerclages are threefold: they are not placed highlyenough, deeply enough, or tied tightly enough to prevent cervical change and downward displacement of the membranes.
well, sheesh, i sure hope doc placed my cerclage high enough, deep enough, and tight enough...and protected my bladder and rectum while she was at it.
i guess only time will tell. right?
the procedure lasted only 10 minutes, as opposed to an hour last time, and after about 45 minutes (only because of the set-up and prep time) from the time they wheeled me and my bed away- not only from my room, but also from my dear john, who would be waiting for me when i returned - they were wheeling me back in.
and i was completely with it this time.
no desperate pleas to remove jewelry (didn't have any on, but still).
no throwing up, no headaches, or swollen ankles...
no thoughts of death.
just smiles and laughs...yep, that guy still had me in stiches (literally);
and the only recovery i had to do there at the hospital, was to to simply
to get the feeling back in my legs.
and i thought an epidural was bad. this spinal blockage thing was one of the weirdest sensations i have ever felt. it took two hours for me to be able to even slightly move one toe,
and four hours to have barely enough feeling, (with john's help) to get up and use the restroom. my legs looked just like ariel's from the little mermaid when she tries to take her first steps with her real human legs.
john and i were laughing pretty hard.
we got to see baby on ultrasound twice, which was a huge added bonus, once before surgery, and once afterwards (just to make sure he or she made it through the whole ordeal ok).
i knew we'd both pull through with flying colors.
before i left, my dr. told me that she wasn't as strict as some of her other PPA (phoenix perinatal associates...there are about 25 in all) partners.
she said, and these are her exact words...i'll let you shower, get up to use the restroom when you need to, and move to the couch if you'd like.
good heavens, i thought, and that's not strict? what do some of the other partners allow, or restrict, i wonder?
no getting out of bed for any reason, whatsoever, sponge baths when needed, and catheters and bedpans only?
oh but wait, that's how it was for me with isaac for 9 days straight.
plus i was pretty much upside down.
if you're ever up for a fun challenge, try lying down, (but make sure your head is much lower than the rest of you body, and that your abdomen and legs are extremely elevated), then with a bedpan underneath you, and i forgot to mention you have to be totally constipated, try going #2 in the bed pan...and here's the real catch, you can't push. under any circumstances, or your baby will most likely go flying across the room.
yeah that time on bed rest in the hospital with isaac, had to be the darkest and worst of all.
so i won't complain.
at least i can actually walk to the restroom when i feel the urge, and even push if i have to - thanks to these lovely, newly-placed, cervical stitches i now have.
i can take a shower, and wash my own hair.
and i can walk straight and tall, with nice posture, and not feel any pain.
i haven't bled at all, and i have very minimal cramping - nothing an ibuprofen or two can't remedy.
i haven't thrown up once since the surgery,
and the blessings and tender mercies go on...
so although it may be boring, having to be down, i have to remind myself that it could be a lot lot- a heck of a lot- worse. because it has in the past, twice before...
and hey, at least this time i can move to the couch if i want to.
and that's a huge added bonus...wouldn't you agree?