Monday, January 14, 2013

The Story: What happens next: Pelvic Reconstructive Surgery

The long winding road brought us to rest in the surgeon’s waiting room. It was time to come face to face with reality and lay it all out on the table. My uterus was damaged and surgery was our only saving grace. Whether or not Jeff and I wanted more children, I had to undergo a pelvic reconstructive surgery; I just could not go on living with an unhealed organ.

The surgery would be performed robotically from the outside looking in. Through the use of a minimally-invasive surgical procedure, I was told I would emerge with no more scars on my belly than I already had. Unfortunately, when I was laid on the table and the measurements were taken, three more incision holes had to be created to allow the proper performance of the operation. What I now boast is a bullet-hole belly reminding me daily of my previous hardships.
The operation was performed by the former Vice Chairman and Director of Urogynecology and Vaginal Reconstructive Surgery at Georgetown University Hospital. He is trained in pelvic surgery and experienced in robotics and is widely published. All these qualifications were designed to put our minds at ease that we were in “good” hands. But when you are under the “butcher’s” knife, nothing you are told can comfort you. But we had to push through with the surgery without further delays. So, after checking with the surgeon and my OB’s schedulers we were given two possible dates to choose from. Those then had to be lined up with Jeff’s schedule, my mom’s schedule and his mom’s schedule. I would be in recovery for at least four weeks and needed at-home support and assistance during that time.
On the day prior to the surgery I had some physical, and mental preparations, to undergo.  I was required to cleanse my system with the help of foul tasting drinks and pills, fast for hours before the surgery and come in high spirits. I successfully completed the first two parts of the assignment but failed miserably at the third. The integrity of my uterus was on the table and until it emerged repaired on the other side, there was no rest for me.
The surgery took longer than anticipated. When originally it was supposed to be a “routine” procedure for the surgeon, it apparently proved to be more challenging that he had anticipated. If I remember correctly, I was “under” for over two hours. Did I mention they even had a urologist in the operating room! I had a whole team of highly qualified MDs at my side while I lay unconscious to their presence. Luckily, all the urologist had to do was bill for his time in surgery; his skills were not put to the test that day.
When the surgeon’s role was over, my body’s role began. External intervention and modern medicine had done all they could to grant me future chances at child bearing, now it was up to my body to heal itself towards that end; it had 9 months to do so.

During these 9 months, little and lots happened. JR turned two, I gradually went back to yoga, Jeff got promoted and life carried on. We celebrated small victories and big milestones. We played with friends, visited with family and spent time together doing nothing.
Shortly after the surgery, we packed and left for a family Thanksgiving in MN. It was a wonderful visit and a great gathering. JR “helped” pack our bags and made sure we had all the necessities. During the dinner, she “toasted” a “new” beginning and a year ahead full of hope. She had a great time being the center of attention, and I had an even greater time not being the center of attention. I had received more than my share of being “tended” to in the last couple of years that it was refreshing being able to take a back seat and be a spectator instead of being the lead actor.
Upon our return we put our trials behind us and moved on. We headed to Virginia Beach in December and in January went back to the radiology lab for one final sonohysterogram. When the results of that showed that our journey was marked with success, we marveled at the gift and looked forward to the summer when we could start trying for another addition to our family.
Winter turned into Spring and then Summer brought a fourth pregnancy. It is this pregnancy that leads us back to The Way the Story Ends. How will the story end? We are hopeful that it will end with a healthy baby, a healthy mama, and little or no time in the NICU.  

all packed!

JR toasting a "new" beginning

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