Saying good-bye to a part of me

These last few weeks have been a bit challenging in my life to say the least.  This explains why I’ve taken a break from blogging.  But, I’ve started composing blog posts in my head which tells me I am ready to write again.  However, I’ve also been back and forth about how much to share with you and how honest I want to be about what I’ve been through.  I’ve shared many things in my blog from some of my odd fears to my struggles as a mom to my proudest moments to my most embarrassing ones.  It is in that nature that I continue to be honest with you.  I also share in case it could help someone else.

Six weeks ago today I had a hysterectomy and some other internal repairs.  This isn’t necessarily an embarrassment, but it’s also not necessarily something I’ve been eager to discuss.  It’s been a journey to get here.  It’s been a journey toward this surgery.  It’s one I’ve resisted, but my body prevailed in its plan to expel my uterus.  The first time I heard that I would need a hysterectomy was in between the birth of my two children.  It was at an appointment when I was ready to discuss preparing to have a second baby.  My heart fell into my stomach.  I shared the news with my husband.  I couldn’t talk about it with anyone else.  It was too raw.

A couple of months later, after numerous appointments and trying different things, the doctor determined that my uterus was staying put for the time being and could in fact play host to another baby. I knew it was an answer to prayer.  And I knew more than ever that I really did want to expand our family by one more.  The last trimester of my pregnancy with my baby boy was a tough one with lots of pain that left me on modified bedrest.  My fallen uterus was hanging out right on my bladder.  As I’ve mentioned before, I have my fair share of bladder problems thanks to having had interstitial cystitis since I was 3.  It was difficult.

I had some relief after my son was born at the end of January, but the problems were still there and came to a head by the end of summer. I scheduled the surgery.  And I went through a slew of emotions.  I knew our family was complete with two children, but knowing that I was forever shutting the door to carrying babies left me feeling somewhat sad and empty.  It doesn’t make sense in a logical way, yet the feelings were there nonetheless.  I had all sorts of thoughts about my surgery.  I felt sad my uterus would be discarded.  It was the first home my babies ever knew.  It was where they grew.  It had spent 18 months being a warm, safe, comforting environment to grow my beautiful children.  Now it was being tossed aside.  It made me sad.

Of everything, though, I was most concerned about my children.  I was concerned about nursing my baby boy.  I was concerned about missing out on events in my daughter’s life.  I scheduled the surgery after her first day of preschool and before her 4th birthday.  I worried about how we’d handle the six weeks post-op when I wouldn’t be able to lift my baby boy. I worried about putting extra stress on my husband of taking care of us, getting up at night with the baby and continuing to work full time.  I felt bad for all the help we were asking for from my parents and in-laws.  And always in the back of my head I worried about something going wrong with the surgery and me not making it.  I envisioned my children growing up without a mother.  I thought of how my daughter might react.  I thought of how my son would have no memories of me.  It was so palpable and terrifying to me.  Yet, I couldn’t speak of it.  I finally shared my worries with my husband in hopes that they would get smaller in my head by getting them out in the open.  It did help.  I asked him to pray for me as I was praying as well.  I needed God to alleviate my fears.  I needed God’s strength to keep going and remember that no matter what He is in control.

I spent the days leading up to my surgery making lists, making plans and trying to have things as organized and done up as possible.  I got everything we’d need for my daughter’s birthday party.  I cleaned as much as I could.  I made some food and froze it.  I made and checked off lists left and right.  I debated writing letters to my family just in case I didn’t survive.  I couldn’t bring myself to do so.  I made a couple of short videos just talking to my kids as I recorded them.  That would have to do.  My doctor assured me I had as much chance of dying during this surgery as I did of winning the lottery.  I figured that sounded awesome since I have never played the lottery and have literally zero chance of winning.

The day before my surgery, I checked off all our packing lists.  I got the kids packed to spend a few days with my parents.  I had frozen breast milk ready for the baby.  I had diapers and wipes stocked.  I had clean clothes ready for both of them.  I had a bag packed for the hospital to sustain both my husband and me for the short stay I’d have. I rode along and dropped off my daughter at preschool.  I hugged her tight.  I told her I’d see her soon and I prayed that was true.  I loaded all their stuff into my car.  My parents made sure we had everything we needed.  When we were ready, they loaded the baby in the car.  We hugged tightly and then they pulled away to drive the five minutes to their house with my baby boy.  They picked up the kiddo from preschool.  I don’t think I made it all the way back into my house before the tears fell.

I spent the next couple of hours just sort of sitting.  I painted my toenails.  I watched a bit of television.  I tried to prepare myself emotionally as I did the physical pre-surgical prep work.  It wasn’t easy.  When surgery time finally dawned the next afternoon, I was as ready as I could be.  I’d checked in on the kids and learned they were fine.  I talked more with my husband.  He was encouraging, funny and supportive just when I needed him to be the most (he is such a good man).

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As you might have already deduced since I’m blogging, I survived the surgery.  It was quite an undertaking.  I had a minor complication during surgery with excessive bleeding, but I did OK.  I came through just fine.  I have spent the last six weeks recovering.  There have been many ups and downs.  The surgery and blood loss messed with my milk supply, which is something I will write about in another post.  It also flared my IC bladder an incredible amount — one of the worst flares I’ve ever experienced and I’ve been through a lot with my bladder.  In fact, after the first two or three weeks post-op my biggest issue was my bladder.  I’m now on my way back to having my bladder under control having restarted medicine for my bladder this week.

My recovery is mostly complete.  I’ve learned a few lessons, as usual, along the way.  I might even compile them into a list soon.  I lost a piece of my body.  A couple of years ago, I had an ovarian cyst and ended up having an ovary removed.  That was alarming.  This time, though, I lost a bigger piece of me.  In the end, I know I will be grateful to feel better and to have this behind me.  I know that my family is perfect as is.  I know there are many benefits to a hysterectomy, including no more monthly visits and all that stuff women know about.  I remember when my uterus first came on my radar when I was a girl.  I remember how it felt having two babies hanging out in there three years apart and poking around.  And I know how I feel to say good-bye to it.  It’s a bittersweet good-bye. But it’s OK.  I will move forward.  I will continue to feel better and be able to do more things with my children.  I will be OK.  Good-bye, uterus.  You served me well.

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