Hospital stay, Day 4.
There is really nothing more terrifying than having a doctor tell you that the procedure you are waiting to have done, the one that will potentially save your unborn child’s life, doesn’t always work. Or, even worse, that many problems can occur from getting an emergency cerclage (cervix stitch) – the membrane holding the baby can be pierced or bleeding can happen and cause infection, etc. Suddenly, all these thoughts begin streaming through your head…I can’t go through losing a perfectly healthy baby again…what if he pierces the membrane…what if…what if…
I believe the natural reaction of any mother-to-be, when faced with a medical situation that threatens her baby, is pure, uncontained panic. I have kept it together quite well since the beginning of this experience, but it seems even I have a threshold that can be breached. The first thing I did after hearing the negative scenarios that could happen with this procedure was to throw a five minute prayer out to the universe to keep this baby alive and thriving and to keep my body strong enough to sustain him all the way to term. I must have prayed for it eleven different ways, but it all added up to basically the same thing – save this baby and keep him safe until he’s old enough and strong enough to be delivered into the world.
The universe is always listening and I believe it will keep us both safe from any major mishaps. This belief (and a whole lot of deep breathing meditation this morning) has calmed me considerably and prevented a huge sob fest from breaking through – at this point, crying isn’t going to change the course of our journey, so why waste the energy?
Strangely enough, all day yesterday while I was anxious with waiting for results, the baby was dancing a crazy jig in my belly, making me smile at his constant reminders that he is still here with me. This morning, though, now that I’ve managed to calm myself down, the baby is quiet too. Every once in awhile, I wonder if he’s okay because he’s so quiet and every time the thought enters my brain, he gives me a little kick to reassure me that he’s all good. It’s amazing how attuned to each other we are and I am really cherishing every single second I have had with him up until this point. I know that, no matter what has happened or what happens after this, I will always have this experience to reflect on. It will make me appreciate my child when he’s having a full on temper tantrum in the grocery store a few years from now!
And, aside from that, I’m going to spend the rest of my time before surgery projecting happy, positive thoughts to lil Sesame and making sure that he is calm and ready for whatever is to come. And, just to kick start the process, I’m going to read Greg’s Manliness book just to have a good laugh!
Later that day…
Okay, sometimes our best intentions are not what we’d hoped for. Last night, I was told that my surgery would be first thing in the a.m., so I couldn’t eat anything after midnight and was only allowed clear fluid until 6 a.m.. This morning, after not being given any breakfast and not being allowed to drink anything, I was told my surgery had been bumped until noon due to a couple of emergency surgeries. The nurse tried to start an IV on me, but I have notoriously slippery veins and, after three attempts, she gave up and I laughed and told her that it is a good thing I’m not a junkie! However, despite no IV, I was still not allowed to drink anything. I was allowed to eat some ice chips just to moisten my mouth. Yay for me.
The nurse, bless her happy heart, came in to my room at 2 p.m. to let us know that she had called about my surgery and had been told “maybe around threeish”. Still no food or water for me.
Finally, at nearly six o’clock, they called me down for surgery. By then all of my best intentions to remain positive and happy were all but thrown out the safety hazard, nailed tight window next to my bed and I was a complete wreck. Starving, thirsty, worried about getting so dehydrated that I would go into premature labor and oh-so sick and tired of waiting.
Wanna know the best part of the whole day? When I finally made it to the operating room and the anesthesiologist spent ten minutes trying to find a vein for an IV, he mentioned it was a good thing that I wasn’t a junkie! Hardy Har. And, hey, there’s nothing quite like lying spread eagle on an OR table with a bunch of medical people staring at your vag and laughing that you’d make a bad junkie. Uhm, can someone please just knock me out already???
I finally made it back to my room at around 8 and the surgery went perfectly. I was exhausted after one of the longest days of my life and I was hurting from the stitch and the mild cramping they’d caused by stitching me up. My nurse gave me a T3 and a sleeping pill and that was it for me for about 12 hours.
Hospital Stay – Day 5
I like to call this day the “Get Me The Hell Out Of Here Before I Kill Someone” day! When I woke up on Friday, I was miserable, sore, starving and kept hearing one thing echo through my thoughts over and over again. Out. Get me out. Lucky me, my doc listened to my sobbing plea and, as long as I gave him my word that I would spend the majority of my time in bed and only get up for short spurts of 15 to 20 minutes at a time, he’d let me go! Yay! I was home by 11 a.m. and soundly sleeping in my own, wonderful and uber comfy bed. The baby was still kickin’ up a storm and somersaulting all over my womb and things were looking up.
I was feeling good and I was optimistic that three months of this bed rest thing wouldn’t be so bad. I can do this. I’m strong and I will do whatever I have to do to give this baby a fighting chance.
That’s when it hit me…THREE MONTHS OF THIS. OH MY. That’s a really long time. Suddenly reality set in and the tears started falling. How on earth am I going to get through three months of bed rest when I am used to constantly being on the move? I am supposed to be lying down most of the time to take all pressure off of my cervix. I can only get up for 15 to 20 minutes every three hours. I can only take short car rides (to the doctor’s office and then the hospital for regular ultrasounds). I can’t walk my dog. I can’t do any photography because my camera equipment is too heavy to cart around and I can’t stay upright long enough. I can’t sit up for more than 20 minutes at a time. I can’t cook, clean or maintain my household (well, maybe that’s not such a terrible thing!). Basically, I can’t do a whole lot of the regular things I am used to doing. WAIT! STOP THIS NEGATIVE TRAIN IN ITS TRACKS…
What about if I flip that coin over and focus on the things that I can do.
I can get lots of rest and eat lots of healthful foods to provide this baby with a healthy, happy environment to grow in. I can spend a lot of time exercising my creative mind and I can finish the kid’s book I started over two years ago. I can keep taking my vitamins and supplements, following the doctor’s orders and doing my best to resist the temptation to get up and do stuff. I can engage in one of my favorite past times – reading – in fact, I have an entire 12 book series that I can reread and catch up on. I can phone people whom I haven’t spoken to in a long while and catch up with them. I can watch as many movies as I want to and no one will accuse me of being lazy or slacking off. I can edit and post photos that I’ve been meaning to get to for months. I can brush up on some photoshop and lightroom techniques that I’ve been meaning to learn for months (but haven’t had time to get to). I can practice getting better at meditating. I can take this opportunity to enjoy hanging out, feeling my baby kick and move and live and I can do all these things with 100% presence. No dwelling on the future. No whining about the past. I will do my best to stay in the moment and focus on each task I engage in with full awareness. Otherwise, I will make myself crazy (much like I’ve felt for the past couple of days because I’d momentarily forgotten what it means to be present and to live in the now).
Even people who are really good at being present have moments when we slip up and backslide into old ways of thinking and feeling. I’ve had a rough week. I’ve been scared and I simply forgot the number one rule of living in the present – accept all things as they happen and don’t waste time fighting against them. I’m glad I’ve come back to myself and I hope that I can continue to stay focused and present for the next three months.
Wish me luck. I’m most likely going to need it!