Follow me on the crazy, hopeful, discouraging, funny, and ultimately successful (one way or another) path to parenthood while facing infertility.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Goodbye, Functional Uterus

Well, I made it through what I started calling "The Melonballer" procedure. I am on the other side, sore and crampy but all in all not feeling too bad.

I'll tell you what WAS bad. The seaweed laminaria experience.

Tuesday afternoon I went in with Bryce to be sedated for the laminaria insertion. They showed it to me in its package, and while I didn't get a picture I found this one at this link from the Museum of Contraception and Abortion in Vienna. Well, who knew there was such history to this "little" stick! When image searching one, I came across all sorts of medical illustrations I could do without seeing.

About the size of one of those fireplace matchsticks.

They used it to dilate my cervix so that they could more easily pass the instruments through that would essentially peel my lining from my uterus.

It was, no lie, the most painful part of the procedure. So that I felt better about the size of my laminaria, which was bigger (longer) than I'd envisioned, they showed me a "size 8" one that was no joke the circumference of a pen. NO THANK YOU. They got the IV in on the first try on Tuesday, which was a freaking miracle. I was sedated for the insertion (thank goodness), and let me tell you that sedation works FAST -- one minute I was commenting on the wavy ceiling, the next I was gone. They even gave me a much smaller amount than they would Wednesday.

I woke up to cramping, in part because there was something in my cervix but also because it protruded quite a bit into my uterus. My uterus doesn't like invaders of any kind, but especially not this stick of evilness. I was given prescriptions for antibiotics, and anti-nausea stuff for the next day's sedation, and thankfully narcotic painkillers. The nurse wisely advised me, "Be sure you STAY AHEAD OF THE PAIN. Don't think you'll be okay without the vicod.in. You won't, and it will steadily get worse, and you won't be able to catch up with the pain pills. Take it as soon as you can."

Even with taking them as soon as possible, the pain welled and welled and just got steadily worse until I couldn't stay on the couch to watch Interst.ellar, a movie that is greatly enhanced by pain medication; ha, ha. I had to curl up on the floor with a pillow and a heating pad. It was horrible. It was what I imagine early labor to be like, as I felt it clear in my back and it came in waves that got steadily more awful. But unlike labor, I didn't get a baby and there wasn't any pressure from above to add to the pain. The pain medication probably covered about 70-80%, and then blissfully I was able to sleep around midnight and when I woke up it was much, much better.

As soon as I started moving around the cramping got worse, but nothing like the night before. I took one pain pill to get me to the next sedation round. I ate breakfast (since it's conscious sedation the deadline for food and water is 4 hours before, which is much more humane than other anesthesia) and lots of water. I hoped skipping coffee would lower my blood pressure, which for every check related to this procedure was ridiculously high. I have always prided myself on my blood pressure, but it's been creeping over the past 5 years. In this medical office it was WAY WAY higher than ever, like concerningly high. Interestingly, after the last sedation and the procedure was over and I was conscious again, it dropped back to my rockstar levels. Something to keep an eye on, but definitely related to all the anxiety related to my procedure.

It took three tries to get my IV in for the procedure. My veins are crappy, and yesterday confirmed that. In fact, when I said, "man, they're still tired from IVF," the nurse practitioner said, "And not from previous drug use, right?" UM NO. NO, I am NOT a previous heroin addict THANKYOUVERYMUCH. I just have crappy veins. I then joked that I would make the WORST heroin addict ever, because if they can't get an IV in what would be the chances I would ever get in there? Ha HA ha ha. I was a little offended but not much because, you know, opiate epidemic.

By the time it went into my hand they were ready to sedate me, probably because my ramping anxiety levels were evident and also because I kept mentioning how much the surgical instruments looked like clay sculpting instruments, and that they look like when my dad sculpts things in clay first, which opened interesting conversations about prosthetic makeup and how no, he doesn't live here, he lives in L.A. (which makes a lot more sense), but then I kept saying that they were "The Peelers" and I think my sense of humor was a bit...uncomfortable for the people about to do the peeling. Ha.

No joke, like slightly smaller versions of these.
Source: www.thesculpturehouse.com
I woke up all sorts of disoriented, and Bryce's job was to keep me talking so that I wouldn't slip back into sedation. I was in far less pain than the night before. I apparently told the IV story and the clay sculpting tool story about a zillion times. I don't think I swore as much as I used to when getting twilight sedation for egg retrievals, which I guess is a good thing. 

It's weird not to get a detailed update right then and there -- they are going to discuss findings at my followup two weeks from yesterday. They did find a polyp. No clue how big or small, although the nurse who called today said it was "average size" whatever that means, probably bigger than the little alien colony who last waved at me after a hysteroscopy. They did send all my endometrial tissue to the pathology lab, and they'll call if there's anything abnormal, which they don't anticipate. 

Major thanks to Bryce, who has kept me comfortable and supported and loved even when I didn't remember it. He ran out to get me more pads, as I clearly was going to need more than my supply, and set me up in a cozy nest on the couch with my book and water and the bottle of painkillers nearby, and I didn't wake up until 5 but really just felt so cared for. That Bryce. Such a good egg. He even found it funny and not irritating that I told the same lame stories and jokes over and over all day yesterday. 

And so there it is -- I did take one pain pill today when the cramping got cantankerous, but otherwise I just feel tired. I don't feel that much different than before, even though 5% of my uterus is gone and I can quit taking the Depo Provera and my lining will never function ever again. I am bleeding, and can expect to for a few weeks. I'm hoping it ends before the Vermont trip, but if it doesn't at least I know that it will end and hopefully end for good after that's over. It might be too much to ask for, but man it would be nice to be back to my normal self by the time we take our romantic holiday vacation. 

I thought I'd be sadder because my lining is gone, but I'm not. It's over. Hopefully this works and I don't need a hysterectomy down the line. Even though I've known my reproductive life was over in January 2015 when our last cycle was cancelled, December 7th 2016 marks the date it really and truly became no longer possible...at all. It was a fraction of a percent before, and now it's zeroed out. There's a certain relief there. A sadness, sure, a compilation of complicated feelings from how our journey ended, my-body-wise, but a finality that went from depressing to hopeful. Maybe now my reproductive system will stop torturing me. Maybe now I can live a life free of the reminders that my body was supposed to be able to procreate, but can't. It's freeing, actually. 

Unless that's just the vic.odin talking. 

I don't think so, though. My uterus is healing up and I do believe that as it heals, so will my emotional feelings about how it never did what it was supposed to do, the rejection I felt, and the hurts sustained by a body that just plain refused to cooperate on this front. These feelings won't ever completely go away, but I do believe that I can make peace with them now. 

24 comments:

  1. I'm so glad to hear from you! And that all went well, especially Bryce and your post-op storytelling :-)

    I have teensy veins, too. I tend to get more freaked out about the IV insertion than anything else.

    Sending ongoing healing thoughts...

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    1. Thank you! Glad to be on the other side of it all. I HATE the IV insertion. Worst part, because after that you get knocked out and then it's over. :) Thanks for your healing thoughts!

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  2. I am thinking of you. I'm with you on the crappy vein front, and I too get the "did you ever do IV drugs" line of hints/questions. (I've had so much bloodwork during the course of my lifetime that I have never even remotely been tempted to take an injection-drug for recreational purposes.) Heal well...

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  3. Glad to hear from you after your surgery! Hope your recovery continues to go smoothly, and that your follow-up appointment goes well. Happy you feel supported and loved by Bryce, and that he has been taking care of you. You sound well and good to hear you feel relief and peace.

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    1. So far, so good...I am crampy and tired but I do think every day is better. I'm easing back into being on my feet a lot, so tomorrow is probably going to hurt. Lots of advil in my purse for tomorrow... Thank you for your thoughts!

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  4. I literally fell off the couch laughing asbyou recounted the medical team feeling an urgency to sedate you due to your story about your dad. I'm glad they took good care of you, but lady you definitely made sure you gave as good as you got. Good for you!

    I am glad that you are on the other side of this and healing, physically, mentally and emotionally. Your body, mind, heart and soul have really been beaten up. It is a testament to you and Bryce how you've weathered all of this. How you are still weathering it. May you continue to find peace, physically, mentally and emotionally.

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    1. HA! I'm glad there was a chuckle in there... I am doing okay, feeling mostly the at-peace feeling. I'll be happy to be healed and off the hormonal tampering and see how my body rights itself after all the years of meddling. I'm hoping for all good things. Thanks for your thoughts!

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  5. Love you, Jess. Sending hugs and love your way.

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    1. Thank you! Hugs and love are always, always appreciated. :)

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  6. I want to send a huge but gentle hug. A hug to you, your poor torn conflicted emotions and battered heart, and your poor, torn up body, that has tried hard but never managed to do what you wanted it to do, and what it was meant to.

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    1. Oh, thank you. It is really hard to think on all the things that should have been, had my body been even a little cooperative on this front. But it is a sense of peace to know that that door is officially slammed shut and maybe now my body can heal and I can put that function behind me. It is definitely a conflicted, battered feeling, but I'm healing. Thank you for your thoughts!

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  7. Fingers crossed that you will have a quick recovery from a physically and mentally draining procedure. I hope the bleeding stops before your vacation so that you can fully enjoy it!

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    1. Thank you! Definitely hopeful on that front. Fingers and toes crossed that something cooperates...if wicked too late. So far recovery is pretty good, so grateful to have taken the full three days off and to have planned a pretty low key week this week at school. Thanks for your thoughts!

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  8. Oh, yes, I got a taste of those laminaria when, well, when my non-viable baby needed to come out of me (to put it delicately) by means more complicated than D&C. I did not get sedation, though, and I had two rounds of shoving sticks in my cervix, waiting for them to swell, taking said sticks out, and inserting bigger ones. This was by far the most painful reproductive procedure I have ever had in this long process, so (in my book) you deserve some kind of military-style badge for surviving those blasted seaweed rods. I am happy to read that your procedure went mostly well. I hope you fall in the uncomplicated 90% and start to feel better, xo

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    1. Oh, NO. I'm so sorry, that is horrific. It is plain inhumane to not offer any kind of sedation or pain medication for the process you went through. What would it have hurt? I don't understand it. I was grateful for the pain meds even if they didn't knock it out completely (so I can only imagine how awful without any dulling). Recovery is going pretty well so far, and I am SO hoping that for once I fall into "uncomplicated." That would sure be nice. XOXO to you!

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  9. Oh, I'm so glad this went well -- and that you had good drugs. :) Fingers crossed that the bleeding subsides soon and you can begin to enjoy your life without pain. (((hugs!)))

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    1. Thank you! I hope it went well. I hope it's the end of the nonsense, for good. (Although how the hell will I know when I start going through menopause? HMMM, didn't think of that one before...) Thank you for the hugs!

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  10. I always read your posts, have done for years but Im not one to comment. Sounds like a right grim old procedure, had to cross my legs whilst reading some of it!
    I'm glad the op is over for you now and your recovering well. Look after yourself x

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    1. Thank you for your thoughts and comment! Oh yes, crossing legs makes total sense. That was not fun, but thank goodness for drugs. I am recovering well, a little worried about all the on-the-feet-ness of tomorrow's school day, but I think it will be okay. That's what ibuprofen is for! :)

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  11. Glad to hear that things went well and sending thoughts for recovery quickly. Hopefully the follow-up also goes well and fingers crossed that this does what it is supposed to do for you.

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    1. Thank you! I hope recovery continues on. I am doing so much better, but still sore and occasionally the cramps take my breath away, but it's fewer and farther between. Oh, my fingers are crossed too...I so hope I fall in the good percent with this one. So sick of being in the "huh, that's unusual" camp. Thank you for your thoughts!

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  12. That is horrific, but I'm glad it's over and it's already providing you with closure.

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  13. That sounds horrific, and I'm glad you got the good drugs out of it, and didn't have to be awake for any of it. I hope that by now you are feeling like yourself again, minus the bleeding and all.

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