Thursday 19 December 2019

Hysterectomy at 22

Hi beautiful people.

I thought I would write a blog post about my experience with everything that has happened over the past couple of months while it's still somewhat fresh in my head and mind. Although it's hurting my heart to even think about it still, I feel like looking back at this post in years to come, it will bring some needed light on the situation that will eventually help me heal. 
I honestly never expected to get one so young, I thought maybe in the distant future it might be something I would have to consider. 

(TRIGGER WARNING: Talk about hemorraghing and hysterectomy)

So this is me right after giving birth. Everything was perfect, my body felt like a million bucks compared to what it felt like after giving birth to Lillian. Although I had some scary moments during labor with Lochlann, this felt like heaven. I was able to hold him, love him and get in all of those newborn snuggles I didn't get to experience with Lillian right after labor. 

It all started about 3 weeks postpartum. 
By this point your bleeding should basically resemble a very light period, and it was for me mostly. But there was this feeling in my stomach and I had mentally prepared myself for the worst. Except, one night I woke up and was just drenched in blood, I saw it on the sheets. I was passing blood clots and my stomach just sank. I knew when I woke up I was going to have to call my doctor and let her know, and that's what I did. Her nurse immediately got me an ultrasound for a couple hours later just to check to see what was going on. Right after I got off the phone, I prepared myself for what was going to happen. So I stopped eating incase I had to go into surgery later that day.
When I got into the imaging room, immediately I felt scared. It brought back some memories with how many I had to get after Lillian was born and I hated that feeling. 
This radiologist was young and kind but immediately when she began the ultrasound, she started asking some questions. "When did you give birth?", "How much bleeding have you been having?", "Are you feeling okay?". She wouldn't look at me, just at the screen. I asked her if she could tell me if anything was retaining and she said the doctor on site would let me know. In my heart, I knew it wasn't good. 

I just got home from the ultrasound which was around 20 minutes later and my OBGYN's office was calling me. As soon as I answered, the nurse genuinely sounded sad. She let me know that it wasn't good news and I needed to come see my OB in the hospital where she was in the outpatients clinic.

When I got there, I felt super anxious. I knew I would most likely have to get a D+C like all my previous ones with Lillian. They called me back to my room and we waited for a good 40 minutes. But once my doctor came in, she sat down beside me and explained everything. There was definitely retaining placenta like last time and in the exact same spot. 
With my last D+C in my postpartum with Lillian, they accidentally scraped part of my uterine lining (endometrium) so she assumed that my placenta grew into that part where it was weakened. 
I immediately ask her if we need to do a surgery and she was certain we did. 
This was when I was feeling nervous and paranoid. I didn't want them to scrape more of my uterus by accident. I didn't want to lose more blood like I did in all of the previous D+C's. I just didn't want to go through all of this trauma and pain like last time. 
But I knew I had to. 

My doctor put me on a E6 which meant I would have the surgery within 6 hours from that time, which was around 4:30pm. I called Preston after she left the room and let him know the news. Of course he was calm as a cucumber and tried to make me feel better, but I honestly wanted to curl up in a ball and cry. It was even harder this time around for him to just drop everything and come to the hospital. He literally just got back to work just 4 days prior and we now had 2 kids at home. But luckily his mum (best mother in law ever) came and babysat the kids so he could be there before I went into surgery. 

They got me a room upstairs in the exact same one I was in after my other hospital visits, it was very strange. They got my IV started and huge props to the trainee nurse who got it first try! I went in before the 6 hours and mentally I was prepared. This was my 4th D+C in the past year so I knew the drill and what to expect. But it was kind of sad to think about how used to these I was. I went into the operating room and just waited for them to put me to sleep. But once I woke up, I immediately knew something wasn't right. I was in recovery and literally was screaming in pain. The nurses couldn't give me pain medication quick enough and if they even grazed my stomach, I would cry.
It was kind of a blur after the surgery until the next morning and I just remember the pain I was in when they transferred me over from the stretcher to the bed. I vaguely remember my OB coming into the room when I got taken back there and explaining to Preston what happened. But all I could focus on was how much pain I was in + crying anytime someone touch my stomach accidentally while doing my vitals. I also remember Preston coming over to the bed to say goodnight and he was going home to take care of the kids so his mum could go home.

The next morning my OB comes in and lets me know what happened. 
She explained the procedure and what she did.

So in order to give a D+C, they have to dilate you. She went in with a camera first off and looked around in my placenta to see what was going on. She saw the retaining placenta and then came back out with the camera. Then she went in with a suction to try and get it out that way instead of using a scraper. (I can't remember the proper term for it) And she then took that out and went back in again with the camera to see if she got it. But once she saw that nothing had come out, she repeated this all over again and she realized it wasn't working. It wasn't until she went back in with the scraper and tried to use that to get the placenta out, was when I started to hemorrhage. She said I literally was gushing blood and lost over a litre of it within a matter of seconds. 
Now I was bleeding so heavily and my doctor had to act fast, she inserted this balloon into my uterus to stop it. This entails here filling the balloon with 500ml of saline into my uterus until it fits snugly against the wall of the uterus. The balloon will press firmly against the blood vessels that supplied the blood to the placenta and stop the bleeding. The balloon will be filled until there is no bleeding through the cervix (neck of the womb). I then had to get a catheter after surgery so they could monitor how much urine I was passing. 

Now I understood why I was in so much pain. At this point, Preston was now here and my doctor sat beside my bed. She literally laid it all out on the table and gave me two options on what to do at this point. 
1: A uterine artery embolization. (I'm sorry, a WHAT?)
2: A Hysterectomy. (I'm sorry, NOPE.)
I had no idea what a UAE was at that point but it sounded like a better solution to a hysterectomy. And I didn't want to resort to getting my uterus removed if I was given other options. 
I will attach some descriptions from the internet to give a better explanation of this procedure. 

"Uterine artery embolization is a minimally invasive treatment for uterine fibroids, noncancerous growths in the uterus. In uterine artery embolization — also called uterine fibroid embolization — a doctor uses a slender, flexible tube (catheter) to inject small particles (embolic agents) into the uterine arteries, which supply blood to your fibroids and uterus."

Now keep in mind, I wasn't getting this for fibroids. I was getting it done to block off blood flow to my uterus and the end goal was to stop my abnormal heavy bleeding. 

My OB actually called 2 radiologists already in our town (they are the ones that do the procedure) and one was in Mexico and the other was leaving the next day. So this radiologist came in on his day off just to do this for me, I felt blessed and grateful. 

We scheduled the UAE for the same day and got everything started like 2 more IV's incase of any mishaps during surgery. They tried getting the third one in THREE times but I was so anemic and was poked so many times, they couldn't find a vein. I'll show a photo of what it looked like after this all. 

All of the attemped IV's.

I had gone back to my pre-pregnancy weight very fast from hardly being able to eat.
Left: 1 Week postpartum. Right: 3 weeks postpartum

The time came for the surgery and my OB told me that she will be there by my side throughout the whole thing. I felt at ease knowing this. She wanted to be there because once the UAE was done, she would then proceed to take out my balloon catheter to make sure I didn't bleed out. 

They rolled me downstairs, the radiologist + nurses were already setting up when I got there. The radiologist was bubbly and kind + explained everything to Preston and I before he got started. 
I had this older nurse by my side as well who I will never forget. She was honestly the nicest person I've ever met. She reassured me that she would be there and wouldn't leave me and if I needed anything, I had to tell her. 
They pumped me full of sleepy medicine to relax me but this procedure would be done with me actually being awake. The whole experience was just weird. It felt odd and uncomfortable but I never felt in pain. The only feeling I really hated was when they put the dye through me, it felt like I was peeing myself.
I laid there for a good 2 and a half hours before they were done, it felt like a lifetime. 
But once they were done, they told me everything went great and now my OB would try and take the balloon catheter out. 
She started slowly and kept going until she yanked it out (which by the way, hurt more than the entire UAE) but absolutely no bleeding happened. And I felt instant relief. 

My dad came to the hospital to be with me so Preston could go home. He stayed with me for hours until I was able to go home.

Thoughts rushed through my head.
What did this mean for the future? Could we have more kids? Will I have periods?
No doctors could answer this for me so I just let it be and left it in Gods hands. 

I was discharged a day and a half later after a blood transfusion and some monitoring. I was told to look out for heavy bleeding again and if I started feeling off again, I need to call my OB. 

I felt happy to be home and be with my family. I got in all of the snuggles and rest and couldn't be more excited to sleep in my own bed. 

About a day later, I started feeling ill. My bleeding started to pick up and I immediately started crying. When would this end? It was like a medium/heavy period so I called my doctor to explain. This was on Tuesday morning and I was scheduled to see her that Wednesday during the week. But they got me in within the hour. Thank goodness for Prestons mum who was there with us so we could go to the appointment together. 

We got there and my doctor wanted to check my cervix and uterus to see the bleeding and she knew something wasn't right. She felt my uterus and it was SO painful. 
She told me to stay calm and we will do everything we can to solve this medically. 
First off she said that my uterus was more than likely infected because of the pain I felt. So she wrote me a prescription of antibiotics. 
Secondly she wanted to put me on birth control (which isn't normally prescribed until 6 week minimum after giving birth) but she wanted to try and stop the bleeding this way too. 
And then she wrote one more prescription for medication that was meant to help with heavy bleeding. (I had been prescribed this after giving birth to Lillian and it never worked) 

She sat there and told us that she will do everything in her power to keep my uterus but in this case, it was starting to look more realistic that I might be getting a hysterectomy. My OB wasn't on call at the hospital that night or the next but she told me to let the doctor know that if I ended up there, I had to tell them to call her. 

We got home and all I wanted to do was sleep. I was tired, sad and wanted a nap. But I somehow got some energy to shower. While I was in there, something felt off. I was nauseous, dizzy and felt like I was going to faint. I called out Prestons name but he couldn't hear me because the door was closed + he was taking care of the kids with his mum. I got out of the shower and called his name one more time before passing out. I kind of remembering waking up and being put on our bed and then needing to vomit. Preston put a cold washcloth over my head and tried to keep me alert. I felt horrendous. 
We didn't want to but felt like it was best to go to the emergency so that's what we did. Once again, we were off to see another professional. 

When we got put into a room, the ER doctor was kind of an asshole if I'm being honest. I kept explaining that I was still bleeding, I just passed out in my shower and my regular OB said for them to call her. But he kept saying bleeding was normal postpartum and I shouldn't be concerned. I reminded him over and over that for me, bleeding wasn't good and for him to just call my OB and he did thank goodness. About 30 minutes later, my doctor showed up and came into the room. She said she wanted to admit me and to get monitored overnight just incase. I really didn't want to have another night away from my kids but she insisted. 

They got me in the same room upstairs, by myself and all the nurses knew me by name now. I will forever be thankful for them and for how welcoming they were. 
They put me in the room and told me they would be coming in every couple of hours to monitor me and check my vitals + bleeding.
This went on all night, my bleeding was stable and moderate. They gave me my medication for the bleeding to help slow it down even more. I tried to get as much sleep as I could, I wasn't allowed to eat. It was just a lonely night by myself.

In the morning, my OB comes in, grabs a chair and sits beside me. My heart instantly sank. 
She told me she had talked to the nurses that were with me all night and they said that my bleeding hasn't really changed and that it was starting to smell. (TMI I'm sorry but this indicated an infection for sure)
In the end, my doctor said she had already spoken to her colleagues and they all agreed that a hysterectomy was necessary and mandatory. I tried ti stay calm but on the inside, I was screaming. I felt helpless. 
She told me it would happen that same day within the 8 hour mark most likely. So it was just a waiting game. 
I cried a lot that day. Preston came to be with me as his mum was off of work that day and was able to watch the kids. I was definitely grateful that he was able to be there. We discussed this before but we said if I ended up having to get surgery, he would take paternity leave for a couple months to help us. So that day, he called work and let them know that he wouldn't be returning for a while. They were so accommodating and didn't even bat an eye. So thank you to them!

I got into surgery around 6 hours later I believe and I was somewhat calm. I was just ready for it all to be over with. When I got into the OR, all of the nurses were lovely. They joked and laughed with me until my OB arrived. When she came into the room, she explained the procedure once again and kept apologizing. I told her this was in God's and always had been. 

I woke up from surgery and I wish I could forget the pain I was in. It was traumatic. I was crying, hurting. I kept begging for more pain meds just to feel numb. Once I was more aware, they rolled my back to my room where Preston was waiting for me. I cried even more when they had to transfer me to my bed. I didn't want to move. But obviously they tried to do it as fast as they could. 

I didn't ask Preston to take any photos of me but he knew I would've wanted it. It's still hard to this day to look back at this photo but it reminds me of the pain I was put through. The agony, the trauma. My doctor came in that night and told Preston the surgery went really well. He stayed with me for a little bit and then kissed me goodnight so he could go home to the kids again. 

I was in and out all night. Still asking the nurses whenever they came in to help me stop the pain. They gave me morphine whenever they could and were so wonderful.
I remember the nurse trying to get my to sit up the next morning. I literally almost passed out and tried so hard to stop myself from vomiting. The last thing I wanted was to rip open my incision. 
My doctor came in that morning and explained everything that she did during the surgery. She said she looked at my uterus before she sent it away to pathology and noticed a couple things. 
My uterus was definitely infected because of the smell she got from it. And my placenta had grown into my uterus and in this case, the only way to get rid of that, is always a hysterectomy. She told me if I wouldn't have gone ahead with it, I probably would have gone septic and died. So there's that. 

Later that day, I tried again and thankfully was able to get up and walk around. And once I was able to try, they took out my catheter so I didn't have to use that anymore. 
All I wanted at this point was to see my kids and get home so I sucked up the pain and did more + more walking. 
Preston and his parents brought the kids to visit me but anyone under the age of 16 wasn't allowed in the rooms. So I got put in a wheelchair and was taken to the waiting room outside to visit. It was amazing, I felt like I literally hadn't seen them in weeks. They only stayed for a little bit as I started to feel nauseous and the kids were grumpy anyways. I kissed and gave them cuddles and said goodbye. 

I was finally able to eat and slowly started getting some calories in. I did my laps around the floor and was feeling more positive about my recovery.
That night I was able to feel more comfortable with sleeping and got some zz's in. 

The next morning, I got the news that I was able to go home that day!! I was pumped. They gave me one last blood transfusion before I left to get my iron levels up and then I could get discharged. 
I was excited for all of the snuggles I was going to get and be able to have Preston home to help for a couple of months. 

The recovery was sort of rough, just my luck of course. My incision ended up opening and getting infected so that was definitely painful and discouraging. But once we got over that hurdle, it was all up hill from there. I started being able to walk more without feeling dizzy and sore. 

Thankfully everything is now good. Mentally and physically things were hard for a while, they still are sometimes. But I have grown a lot since June. I have learned that I don't have bad luck, this was just my story, my journey. 
That I was only ever supposed to get pregnant with two kids. 
That my story was supposed to get out there to help others.

The amount of support and messages I have gotten since I went public about all of this has been insane. I got published and went viral a few times. (I will link the stories at the end of this)
I opened up about my struggles with PPD/PPA which will be for another blog post in the future. 

I just want to thank all of you. I literally couldn't have gotten through all of this without ya'll. Especially Preston and my family + friends.

Until next time,

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