I was at the gym tonight with my husband. I was riding a bike and he was behind me on a treadmill. I was peddling, minding my own business, catching up on my google reader and pinning all sorts of cute decorating ideas. The DH calls from behind, “check out the cute nugget on tv!” I look up and there is the cutest baby on TV. I keep watching without the sound because I am totally obsessed with babies despite my efforts to reduce the pain causing exposure :). Then the scene cuts to a crying mother – ah oh, this must be a sad story. Then it cuts to someone shooting up!!!! Cut to commercial and the banner announces the show is ‘Addicted at Birth’ about crack babies. SERIOUSLY!!! Look back at the DH and see his attention has shifted back to the baseball game. He has avoided the horror of this seriously unfit mother. Lucky guy! Now I need to put the image out of my mind and accept (again) that life is never fair.
I was in a MAJOR funk Saturday. The night before, we ate dinner at a friend’s house and had lots of baby time with their four month old cutie, which at the time was so fun and enjoyable. But I always get a baby hangover the next day! It is such a strong reminder of what we are missing and brings me crashing back to harsh reality.
On Saturday, I lounged in bed and on the couch all day to compensate for overdoing it physically on Saturday. I felt like such a waste of space! My to-do list has been growing since the surgery and it feels overwhelming since I am not yet fully recovered and back to normal to attack it. Laying about also gives you way too much time to feel sorry for yourself. I realized as I aimlessly surfed Facebook that day that 75% of the time I allow it to make me feel bad. It is a virtual, emotional minefield for me.
If Facebook isn’t making me sad about not having a child of my own, it makes me frustrated every time I see another pregnancy announcement. When I see vacation pictures, it makes me feel bad that we were a little irresponsible with our spending this winter/spring and now need to postpone taking a vacation until we get back on track with saving. I wonder how other friends lives can look so gosh darn picture perfect? I feel the need to care more about my personal appearance when I see girls with cute outfits, perfect hair and makeup, and toned bodies. Or I just wonder if we are enjoying life as much as it looks like other people do? But that is just it, Facebook only shows you what everyone else’s lives look like from the surface. I certainly did not post pictures of me from surgery. There are happy smiling pictures from the lake weekend with friends, but there are no pictures of me crying myself to sleep the first night of the trip. There is a great picture of me and my husband from the wedding trip to New York, but it doesn’t show the added relationship strain we’ve had to work through because of our fertility issues.
I know this is my issue that I need to work on improving and not Facebook’s fault – although I would love to lay the blame there! After conversations with my husband and inner reflectance, I am realizing that by putting such emphasis on the “outer scorecard” through comparisions and not my “inner” scorecard, I am making the pain of not being able to get pregnant even harder on myself in addition to a host of other outside pressures.
By Saturday evening, I decided I needed a break from Facebook to really work on my own priorities without the influence and time suck it provides. I did not deactivate my account, but decided to treat it more like a cleanse. I deleted the app from both my phone and iPad. I am promising myself I will not log in on my laptop unless I receive an email notification of tagged pics or comments. So far I have been Facebook free for 36 hours!
We left the hospital at 6:30pm, and I slept most of the way home with my new favorite possession on my lap – the ice pillow! It is a long thin ice bag that is sorta soft and fuzzy on the outside. I was using it so frequently the first three days that our ice maker could not keep up!
Upon arriving home, I was still starving and had a feast of pudding cups, soup, gummy bears and lots of water. I tried to participate in the conversations between my parents and husband, but I was very much drugged up and nodding off constantly. I did manage to get out an email to all the friends who had emailed, texted and called to wish me luck or see how it went. I re-read it while not on drugs – it was more than a little disjointed!
The pain wasn’t bad if I stayed still, but I still found myself looking forward to the time I could take my first dose of pain meds at home. I had read that the shoulder pain from the surgery gases would occur the day after, but I found it the worst that night. It was just as painful as my abdomen.
At 9:30, my husband and I decided it was finally not too early to turn in for the night. During pillow talk, we both expressed how glad we were that the surgery was over. It feels like a totally fresh start to this whole trying to conceive thing! Slightly ironic that if we had gotten pregnant on our first try the next day, June 30th, would have been the due date.
I camped out on the couch all day and my memories are foggy. I can’t recall lots of the detail from the day. I felt good because of the Percocet, but man that stuff is crazy! I was totally on drugs – it was hard to hold a conversation, a thought, watch a movie or write an email. So I mainly tried to surf the web but I think I mostly aimlessly clicked. My husband I both realized I could not be responsible for my pill schedule. I could not easily recall when and what I took, just an hour after taking it. I found myself easily confused, so I sat like a happy idiot on the couch most of the day.
My husband’s mother came to visit and came bearing ice cream. We had show and tell with the surgery images. The sheets of images were a big hit with the visitors who stopped by all week. Our family and friends have invested themselves too in our journey of trying to conceive. I think seeing the images of real physical issues that were removed is hopeful to everyone.
My mom came back again and spent most of the time doing chores. I kept trying to get her to stop and just sit down with me and watch old movies, but this was probably her way of feeling like she was helping and actually doing something to help me.
Thursday, lots of flowers arrived – I received flowers from my husband’s mom, my husband’s good friend and his fiancé, and from my childhood best friend. Check out this gorgeous bouquet…
That night my husband left for an hour to go play basketball and I had a mini panic attack right before he left, because I didn’t feel right. I wasn’t sure what was going on but I started imagining the worst. I must have freaked him out because he called his mom to check in on me. Hilariously, I think I just had to toot and the pressure was a whole new sensation. Seriously! I had a mini panic attack about gas!
That night I waited 8 hours instead on 6 to take the Percocet, so that we would not have to set an alarm for me to take a pill in the middle of the night. Big mistake! Just moving from the couch to the bathroom to bed resulted in so much pain, I was crying! The drugs also seemed to be wearing down my mental state too. I could see the concerned look on my husbands face and that made me cry more, but being us he found a way to make me laugh after I was laying down, which shook my belly, which hurt, so I’d cry a bit more while laughing!
The hubby went back to work for the day. He made sure I got showered and situated on the couch before he left. I was glad to notice that the shoulder pain was practically gone.
Once he left though, I was bad and got up and made a different breakfast. I wanted to eat oatmeal because I still hadn’t pooped and wanted more fiber (in addition to the lovely stool softeners we picked up at the drug store). Taking care of myself and being alone, I could feel myself getting upset. This emotional downslide from the pain pills was starting to wear on me.
The rest of the day was pretty much the same as the day before – a drugged haze. My mom came over around noon and we watched some movies she picked up from red box. Then one my high school best friends came by with a smoothie. Life was so hectic before the surgery and we had a lot of catching up to do.
I was still taking the Percocet and wasn’t feeling any pain and I majorly over did it! I also had finally stopped spotting from surgery – yeah, to no more pads and liners!
feeling great, I picked up the house and vacuumed (I know, I know – I really should not have done that!), then a friend came with sweet treats and we ended up standing around in the kitchen talking for a while before sitting down. My husband talked my into going to the pool later, where I sat in a coverup under the awning reading a magazine (probably the most relaxing part of the day). After the pool, we took a trip to BB&B to get my bro a birthday microwave. He is learning that being an adult so exciting! After all this, I went home and got cleaned up to go over to my parents for his birthday dinner. Way too much for three days post op! I crashed when we got home at 10:30pm and did not wake up once until 10:30am the next morning.
I had decided the night before that I was going to try going cold turkey on the Percocet. So I was going to be so lazy to try and make up for over doing it the day before. I cat napped, watched movies the whole day and was basically a complete slug the whole day. The hubby kept himself occupied by making a fabulous dinner from the cookbook, Ad Hoc at Home. Everything from that cookbook is to die for! After only being up 11 hours, I crawled into bed for another 12 hour night of sleep. Even now 10 days post op, I still have to sleep on my back. Things just do not feel right inside when I lay on my side. It feels like things are falling out of place and pulling.
The fourth of July holiday was a bittersweet day as I knew I had to face the real world again the next day. I savored all the laziness, my nap on the couch, having my husband’s undivided attention and tried not to think about going back to work. That night we went to the in-laws for a BBQ with a small group of family members. Everyone was very glad that I was feeling better and it was good to be out of the house. We turned in early again and could hear the faint echo of fireworks as we were drifting off to sleep.
BACK TO WORK
Before eating breakfast on Tuesday, I weighed myself to be self torturous and I had gained 5 pounds since pre op! I am still hoping it is partially swelling and bloating weight, but I know I had been on a food binge. My appetite was never effected by the surgery and I definitely over indulged for 6 days. I had hopes of kicking off the week with a new healthy outlook, but that did not stick. There is always next week!
At work, sitting in my chair all day was not bad at all. I just needed to be conscious not to hunch over as folding my stomach irritated my belly button. I am still very bloated even today and skirts / dresses are the most comfortable choices. I tried wearing my fat pants yesterday and spent half the day with them unbuttoned. Luckily I had worn a long shirt!
I am still more tired than usual, but can feel myself getting restless as my energy starts coming back. I overdid it yesterday by lifting and moving too much. I was so sore by the end of the day! I need to remember to just keep taking it easy. I am doing a lot of lounging around today:). Dreaming of a baby of my own and getting this show on the road!
The surgery is now officially over!!! I am so glad that to be done with it and to leave behind all the anticipation and anxiety! It took me a while to write these posts, first because the pain medication had me very high and I was unable to easily compose paragraphs that were coherent. Then I was glad to have the experience behind me and didn’t feel like revisiting it – not that it was really that bad at all. I had just spent so much time thinking about it prior that I was glad to have some carefree space back in my mind again! I want to capture my experience though for other woman who are preparing for a laproscopic surgery for endometriosis. I hope reading my experience can ease their minds by helping them know what to expect. The unknown is always so much more scary than it has to be.
After work last Tuesday, I came home and began to get ready for the big day. Unfortunately, I had a throbbing headache behind my right eye from stress, eating small meals all day (in fear of the enema), and not being able to take any pain killers. I think there was one type of pain killer I could take pre-surgery, but I couldn’t remember and didn’t want to risk taking anything that would thin my blood. Because of the headache, I was very crabby towards my husband, but he was very sweet at dealing with my very grouchy self. All I wanted to do was crawl into bed and pull the covers over my head, but we had to go through the pre-surgery checklist. Wash the sheets, wash the towels, clean the bathroom, wash the clothes I’d be wearing pre and post surgery, wash myself – everything had to be very very clean to minimize infection risks. I really wish that the nurse had warned me that the special soap they sent home with me to wash pre-surgery was bright red before I poured it on my new white washcloths, but in the end the pink color washed out. I was convinced it was ruined, which only enhanced my already pissy mood.
That evening, a pregnant friend stopped by to drop off a pan of lasagna for us to eat while I was recovering. It was incredibly sweet of her, but all I could do was stare with envy at her tiny baby bump and think about how my head felt like it was splitting in half. After she left, there was no escaping the enema! I definitely built it up in my head to be a much bigger deal than it was in reality. I can almost see how people do them just to find relief from constipation – ALMOST see! Eventually all the tasks on the list were done, I curled up in bed and amazingly fell right asleep. I slept the entire night without waking up once. I was so grateful to not have to deal with anxious tossing and turning.
We had a very relaxed morning, picking up the house and packing my bag, as we had until 10am to arrive at the hospital for the noon surgery. I showered again with the red hospital soap that morning. My mom arrived at our house exactly on time and with plenty of time to spare we all arrived at the hospital early – let me assure you, that neither my mom nor I EVER get anywhere early! After checking-in, we took a seat in the waiting area. By this point, I hadn’t eaten since 8pm the night before and was starving! All I could do was talk about how I would kill for a pizza!
After waiting about 15 minutes, a nurse came to lead us back to a patient room in the outpatient surgery wing, meanwhile I was still obsessing over pizza. Once back in the patient room, I went over my basic info with the nurse, I peed in a cup for a pregnancy test (BFN – not exactly a shocker) and was handed my surgical “outfit.” There were the ever so sexy, thigh high, white compression stockings, extra large surgical gown (but with good coverage when tied), and purple slippers. My husband teased that he wanted a photo to remember how hot I looked. After getting dressed, the main nurse came back with nurse number two. She again asked me the basics – I was asked four times my name , my birthday and what procedure I would be having done. They really do not want to do the wrong operation on the wrong person!
Nurse number two had me lay in the bed and put on these leg warmer, floaty looking things which connect to a machine that compresses and decompresses them to help reduce the risk of blood clots. Then she hooked my hospital gown up to a vacuum looking tube that pumped in air controlled by a personal thermostat remote. This was probably the best part of the whole experience!
I’m not sure why but I was expecting the IV to be inserted in the crux of my elbow where they draw blood, so I was a little taken a back when the IV nurse (nurse #3) started preparing my hand. While she was inserting the IV, nurse #1 was asking me some more questions, including if I had any open wounds. I responded that I had a paper cut from the other day still flapping about. Immediately I realized the ridiculousness of my response and started laughing at the exact moment she inserting the IV. Knowing that I should not be laughing, caused me to laugh even more – vibrating my entire body. The nurse was the IV pro though, so it hardly hurt.
During all this prep, my husband was asking questions about why and how things work. He is very analytical and likes to understand things like me. The IV nurse asked him if he was an engineer, which I found humorous as I work with engineers all the time and he is sooooo not the engineering personality.
Next up to visit was the anesthesiologist, who thank goodness was not the man I had met with during my pre-op appointment. He was very handsome and a little dismissive during our conversation. So first off, I was afraid I would declare him to be handsome once under the drugs, making a fool of myself. Second, his bed side manner did not conjure up great feelings of trust regarding my life. I felt a wave of relief wash over me as his partner, a woman doctor walked in who had a very pleasant way of speaking. It is irrational, but I just instinctively trusted her to do a good job.
Then my OBGYN came in the room. I wanted to clarify before surgery what he would do if he got in there and saw that ovaries and tubes were damaged by endometriosis. My biggest fear was to wake up and be told that both ovaries or tubes had been removed. He assured me that he would not be taking anything out unless it was something extreme like cancer (which was so highly unlikely). If by chance my appendix looked bad (I have a family history of bursting appendixes), he would call in a general surgeon to remove it. After our chat, I felt confident that I knew the limits to the surgery scope. I could see the crowd of people congregating outside the door at this point and knew it was about time.
After a quick prayer, the crowd of people swooped into the little room. It felt like I was completely surrounded on all sides of the bed by people. It was a little overwhelming. The new OR nurses quickly introduced themselves, and all I could respond was, “so many people.” This was the only time where I started to tear up, because it was surreal to be the center of all this medical attention. My husband gave me a quick kiss and I said bye to him and my mom. Later, My husband told me it was really hard for him, because I looked so scared and he could only sit there and watch me roll away.
It was literally only within a minute of their descent upon my room, I was being pushed down the hall. Leading up to surgery, I thought the journey from the room to the operating room might be the hardest part emotionally. I was thankfully wrong, because before leaving the room, the anesthesiologist gave me a shot of ‘happy meds’ in my IV to relax me and begin the sedation process. By the end of the first short corridor, I felt completly drunk! When we got to the operating room, I remember moving myself from the bed to the table. It was a very small table and the nurses asked me to make sure I was centered. That was the last thing I remember…
I woke up in a large room where there were patients recovering in beds all around the perimeter. I was only half awake but asked for nausea medication the first time the nurse (yet another new person) asked me how I felt. Nurse #1 had given me a pep talk before surgery to not be shy about saying I was nauseous or in pain. I was a squeaky wheel and was given the big gun anti-nausea medicine. I told the nurse that the pain was a 5 after surgery and after some meds it was down to a 3. I was very groggy in the room and I could hear them discussing my blood pressure. I normally have very low blood pressure – sometimes as low as 90/60. It dipped even lower than that after surgery, so I spent some extra time in recovery until it raised to a pressure they liked.
Around 3:30, I was rolled back into the patient room. I was so happy to see my husband and my mom! Nurse #1 brought me a tray with a jello and a sprite. I inhaled both, so she brought me more which also quickly disappeared. She then said I could try some solid food and brought me a bag of pretzels, which never tasted so good. The last step before getting released was that I had to pee. I was very relieved when it worked (2 bags of IV fluids and 2 sprites and I didn’t feel the urge at all!). Walking back to the bed, I was hit with a rush of nausea from moving around. The nurse called my OB and got me a nausea pill prescription. She kept saying that the pills would make me very drowsy. I did not understand why she kept saying it like that was a bad thing. Sleeping and waking up when I felt better, sounded fantastic! Before surgery the nurse had stressed that most patients get sick from the anesthesia and having their insides manipulated. I am so grateful that the meds were able to protect me from that added bonus!
While I was stuffing my face, my husband and mom told me what the doctor found. He removed endometriosis from my right ovary and cervix. The unexpected finding was a golfball sized cyst on my left Fallopian tube that was drained. The fluid drained was clear and not infected, which was good. The dye test run on my tubes flowed well on both sides and everything else looked good. The overall message from the doctor was that nothing he did would be a magic bullet fix, but everything that was done would help our chances of getting pregnant. My husband seemed to think the doctor was saying that the tubular cyst would not have been effecting my fertility, but I really can’t believe that when I see the pictures! He felt the cyst was probably causing most of my pain. He feels that the MTHFR blood clotting disorder might be playing a larger role and that we’d discuss that more at my post-op appointment. Overall it felt like mildly good news. He gave us the go ahead to try this month and mentioned trying Clomid again next month. So we’ll just have to wait and see if the proof is in the pudding as they say!
Yesterday, I stopped by the pharmacy on my way home from work. I needed to pick up an Enema to use pre-surgery as instructed by the doctor. I knew what the results of taking one would be, but had no idea how it was actually administered or what it looked like. After wandering around for minutes trying to figure out what aisle (you’ll find them with the laxatives – duh!), I found them. They were on the bottom shelf, probably as to not offend the sensibilities of the general public. I took the box off the shelf and began reading the back. I began laughing out loud almost uncontrollably when I saw the illustrations of the person with their naked ass up in the air. So giving yourself an enema is sort of like child’s pose! Once I regained my composure, I took my selection up to the register. Of course, there was a huge line! I couldn’t decide which way to hold the box. Should I hold it with the label facing out that says in ENEMA in large type or should I face out the hysterical illustrations?!? I was up next and then realized that the three high school girls in front of me, who barely looked old enough to drive, were buying a pregnancy test for one of the girls in the group! Seriously! The world hates me sometimes. When I got back in the car, I pulled the box out again and once again was laughing!
Tomorrow will be surgery day! This time around it feels right. Last month, everything in the world was telling me to wait and I’m glad that I did. This month the ebb and flow of work is syncing up perfectly, which has greatly reduced my anxiety. I feel prepared mentally, emotionally and physically for the surgery, and best of all I have not been having any anxiety about it. Last month, I canceled mainly to preserve my mental sanity. The perfect storm of stress was converging and I had started waking up at 3 in the morning imagining myself lying on the operating table. My heart would be pounding out of my chest!
I’m almost looking forward to the surgery now. I’m excited that it may help us conceive naturally. It feels like a major double bonus that I may feel better physically after the recovery, as every month the discomfort in my abdimon and lower back gets a little worse. And is it also too much to hope my intense tummy bloat is caused by endometriosis and might shrink afterwards too? I am also feeling a lot of anticipation about what the doctor will see in there tomorrow – I fear waking up to find out that there has been much damage caused by endometriosis or that there isn’t any at all. But I am ready to know!
Throughout the process of getting ready emotionally for the surgery, I’ve begun using twitter to connect with more woman dealing with endometriosis and infertility in general. It has been the most therapeutic thing I have done yet! It has helped reduce the amount of pity parties I was hosting for myself when I read about how much others are going through too and how strong they can be. I’ve met people who have helped tell me first hand what to expect from the surgery and the recovery – thanks to @geripinto and @EndoJourney for all the info and tips! And I really enjoy having such a quick and easy forum to put out there how I am feeling at that very moment. Somehow interacting anonymously on this blog and twitter, has allowed me to compartmentalize the sadness I feel. By having a place where I can go and focus on all the issues surrounding trying to get pregnant, I’ve been able to stop it from completely robbing me of being able to live and enjoy my real life. I’m not as fully consumed by it all hours of the day. That isn’t to say, I don’t still have hard days, but it seems that the good ones aren’t as tempered by the bad ones anymore.
This is a completely repeat of last month with the negative pregnancy test after pregnancy test, then the light brown spotting, the achy boobs, and the bloated abdomen. But still, I am holding out the smallest amount of hope that maybe I could still be pregnant! That maybe the spotting was implantation bleeding and that the pregnancy tests were just too early. Tomorrow is 14 days past ovulation and the day I predicted on my chart for my period. Luckily I am out of pregnancy tests, but there can always be that last kick in the gut of the basal body temperature shift down in the morning. Soon I will know and will need to start fully accepting that the Clomid didn’t work and the surgery will really be happening in 9 days.