This has been an exhausting week. On Tuesday we met with the surgeon for the first time. Jon was allowed to accompany me to the appointment which helped tremendously. There was nothing “new” presented in our meeting with her. She gave a very in-depth discussion of what the percreta was and why they perform certain processes and procedures to treat it. She told me- point blank- this was very serious and I could die under the wrong circumstances. Thankfully, I will be under a lot of care and that is not an outcome they perceive to happen whatsoever. In fact, the teams that will be caring for me will have so much control of the bleeding situation, that they are hoping to get me through surgery without a single transfusion. That may not be possible; but that is a goal. If I start bleeding prior to January 6th, or at any point before delivery, the situation is an emergency and I have to get to the OR immediately. So immediately, I was told today that I need to have a bag packed and ready to go.
I asked Dr. Nick, the surgeon, a lot about the risk to my bladder. The percreta, according to the images we have, is pretty invasive to the bladder wall. In the 15 years she has done this type of surgery, she has never had to remove the patient’s whole bladder though there is still a risk. That my friends, is promising news. If bladder reconstruction is needed, Dr. Nick will perform the reconstructive surgery along with the removal of the percreta as well as the uterus. I do get to keep my ovaries, thank goodness, so the hormone load won’t be quite as hard on me after surgery.
I will have a lot of meetings, imaging and blood drawn during my hospital stay prior to delivery. I will meet with pretty much every person that will “touch” me throughout the process, as well as those who will be caring for Banks. I will not be awake for the birth, which we knew, and I will not be awake for a few days following from my understanding. If a transfusion or close monitoring is needed, I will be put in the ICU post-op. In this case, they will leave me on breathing tubes, etc as I recover. I am not sure at what point I will meet Banks, or at what point I will see (and know he’s there) Jon.
Dr. Nick told me that essentially this wasn’t a “birth” process like any I had experienced or that the majority of people do; this is major surgery. I will be having three highly invasive procedures at once and will have an extensive recovery. Though everyone on my “team” is concerned about the best outcome for both Banks and I, the situation surrounding my delivery is very serious and takes a lot of moving parts all working in sync.
Today I had a long appointment with Maternal Fetal. I met the third surgeon who will be a part of my team. Again, I didn’t receive much new information. But I did find out a heartbreaking reality. Banks has a few complications as mentioned before. One in particular requires surgery pretty immediately following birth. St. Thomas Mid Town is the most equipped in a percreta sense for my surgery and my care. When it comes down to it, in an emergency situation, there is a highly specialized staff there that essentially could be the difference in life or death for me. Though surrounding hospitals are very equipped in a “planned” OR environment, my particular team has had the most success overall with Midtown. However, there are no NICU pediatric surgeons at Midtown, meaning Banks will have to be transferred to another hospital via ambulance. Additionally, because he has to have surgery, he will not be transferred back to the NICU at Midtown but will complete his stay at the hospital that performs his surgery. Therefore, I will be separated from Banks after birth until I am discharged. I will not see him (in person) or meet him until I am out of the hospital.
Of this whole process, nothing has broken my heart more than that thought. I would say “I don’t care about me; I want to be with my baby at all costs” …and I do. But I also want to be around to meet him. And my best shot at that-as well as recovering well so that I can be with him-is at a separate place than where he will receive his best care; which, is most important.
With that reality, comes a whole lot of “collateral damage” I am having to deal with that I wasn’t prepared for:
- First of all, as I have mentioned before, there is Covid protocol. No visitors outside of Jon. No access to my children through the duration of all of this. No leaving my room.
- I never got to make a choice in any of this. This isn’t something I got to say “yeah it’s fine if you sacrifice my uterus and ability to have children”. That wasn’t an option. It’s take out the uterus, or bleed to death. So as encouraging as people have tried to be over the hysterectomy, please understand that under normal circumstances, it never would be an option for me. I (thankfully) never struggled with any fertility issues that required medication. I never struggled with PCOS. Other than the migraines, my periods sucked no more than anyone else’s. This isn’t bringing any element of relief for me. This is a necessity to keep me alive.
- I don’t get to see the birth of my baby. I don’t even get to see my baby-for possibly weeks-following birth. And it’s my last baby. Not even because I planned it that way but again, because that’s reality and I don’t have a choice. Additionally, my baby has complications of his own, and I don’t get to be present for him during his own surgical procedures.
- I will have a vertical incision in addition to my already present horizontal incision from my c-section with the twins. I don’t know how high it will be or how gory-if at all-but I do know that aside from the physical pain that will accompany it, it’s already really bothering me psychologically. I know-if you are older and reading this-these types of incisions were how things used to be. I get it. But it’s not what I expected at all. And I need you to realize I am only 26. I haven’t even been out of high school for 10 years yet. I’ve only been married for 5 years. I still wear slightly too revealing swimsuits when I go on vacation with my husband. I still want to “impress” him to an extent. And the idea that I will be so scarred up, with a cath, just really doesn’t make a girl feel her best.
- My recovery is going to be really long. And very hard. Very, very hard.
And in spite of it all, I’m not crying my eyes out over it. Maybe, I’m just too tired. It’s been a long day. Full of infusions and ultrasounds and consults and side effects and phone calls and the whole nine yards. I kind of imagine myself laying myself in Jesus’ lap with no tears and no prayers, just resting. Because I know I am going to be okay. I trust him and I trust science and I trust the doctors he has placed in my path. But my mama heart is weary tonight.
I don’t want to do any of this. I don’t want to go through it one bit. I didn’t sign up for it. I’ve done “all the things” I am supposed to do . But I don’t necessarily feel like it’s “unfair”. It’s life. And it’s just the cards that have been dealt. I don’t feel punished. I don’t feel “woe is me”. I feel tired. I feel sad. But I also feel lucky. And excited for Christmas. And happy to have such sweet people surrounding me. And overwhelmingly in love with my newest little boy. And…peaceful too. I’m afraid of certain “parts” of all of this, but I am not anxious. I’m going to be okay. And if you know me intimately, you know that statement has never been a statement before but always a question. However, there’s a certain confidence that comes with faith and “peace beyond understanding”. And I’m just really thankful that I have that peace within me and being prayed over me-constantly- tonight.