What Happened??? My Hysterectomy Story

It's so odd to retype this over 4 years later... but since the point of this blog is to heal and recover from what has been a defining moment of my (and my family's) life I guess the details should be shared.

I gave birth to a healthy baby boy on June 25, 2006. I had a textbook pregnancy, didn't drink or smoke, ate healthy, and joined an exercise group. My husband and I conceived VERY easily.

I had a pretty normal labor until the very end. After an epidural and pushing for 2 1/2 hours, my ob said she was concerned with the amount of blood that she was seeing. I had a c-section. They took quite a while with the closing b/c there were internal tears. After closing up, they began infusions. My son was born at 8:39 pm, after being in the recovery room, I was taken up to a mother-child suite. We were told that it was common to have a few blood transfusions after birth. They encouraged my mom and little sister to go home. The nurse actually tried to get my husband to go home. He said no. My mom and sister left around 11ish.

At midnight, the OB came back and realized that I was still losing blood. I remember them "massaging my uterus", basically rubbing on my abdomen - YEOOUCH! Having your abdomen massaged after a c-section is just about as painful as a contraction. They saw how much blood was being lost and I was taken to the ICU. I never really realized how serious things were. The ironic blessing of my situation was the blood loss made me oblivious. I knew I was receiving blood, but didn't realize how much. I was worried about my husband b/c he looked so scared. My husband didn’t call anyone until just before I went into the OR. I remember him standing there looking like a lost boy as they wheeled me by, I told him not to worry – everything would be fine. I had no clue!

If you have seen the series finale of ER and you remember the scene w/ the woman hemorrhaging after giving birth - that's what my hubby said it was like.

Around 3:30 am I was rushed back into the OR where they operated for 3 hours or so. They tried to save my uterus, but said it basically disintegrated and they had to perform a hysterectomy. They took my uterus, I was still hemorrhaging afterwards, so they also took my cervix. I had 17 – 20 transfusions plus frozen plasma. I learned later they had to reconstruct portions of my insides so that things wouldn’t slide out – I know that sounds vague, but that’s about all I understand of the reconstruction.

**i feel it is important to mention - i do NOT blame my doctors or feel that this was a mismanagement of my birth - just that my body was not built for labor and God had another plan**
I vaguely remember waking up, don't remember anyone telling me about the hysterectomy, just knowing it was done. I vaguely remember talking about life not being fair. Asking WHY??? WHY??? Why would God allow for irresponsible people to have several children that they can't or don't care for, and I could "only have" 1???? That's the last time I have asked WHY. I know God has a plan... I know that it is now part of HIS plan for us to do foster-adoption, but at that moment - it hurt so much (it still hurts, but understanding has helped).

After being in the recovery, I vaguely also remember my mom helping the nurses give me a sponge bath (MORTIFYING). I was then taken to the ICU. The ICU I was taken to had JUST been reopened that morning (so it was differnent than the night before). This ended up being instrumental in the fact that they were able to bring B down to see me. I had seen and held him once before (but didn't - and don't - remember it). I wasn't really able to hold him that well (no strength in my arms, etc). It was good to see him, but so confusing. We spoke with the breast feeding consultant (I will post my breast feeding journey in another post) and I cried when I heard B had had a bottle. My sweet hubby then became actively involved in an alternate feeding process until (and for a few weeks after) I was out of ICU. He was only able to be there for a little while. They didn't want him picking up germs and taking them back to the nursery. He was the only "healthy" baby in there. Usually the nursery is for babies that are sick (we don't have a NICU at our hospital - serious cases go down to West Palm).

I then spent a day and night in ICU, my family and pastor visited. I was only alone after I had fallen asleep. Unfortunately I woke up in the middle of the night. I paged the nurse and asked her to get my sis-in-law (she was to help me pump). The nurse didn't get her. I was awake for several hours.Alone. It was the worst and longest night of my life. I was in so much pain and grieving so much the loss of my ability to carry a child. I could barely move (couldn't even lift my arm to pick up the book on the side table). I couldn't cry. I started to cry at one point and the pain in my abdomen quickly stopped me. My heart screamed and grieved. Romans 8:26 came to my mind - Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. Actually what came to my mind was that it was ok that I didn't know what to pray - but the groaning of my heart would be understood. And oh did my heart groan.

The next morning, a slightly clueless nursing aide came to take my vitals and casually asked if I was planning on having any more children... I just looked at her with disbelief and stated that I was in ICU because of an emergency hysterectomy. Thankfully I never saw her again. I was monitored for the rest of the day, and given a lung scan to check for blood clots before I was able to stand.

Late the next afternoon I was able to be transported up to a mother-child suite so that I could be with B. At that point I was able to see much more of my friends and family who were so shellshocked. I didn't understand why. The oddest part was having doctors and nurses walk in and say "We are so glad to see you!", people I had never met, it confused me at first. It took a good year to realize they meant "We are so glad you didn't die!"

4 days later we were finally able to go home. My mother in law stayed with us for a week so that I could continue my recovery. My parents live in town and my mom spent quite a bit of time with us throughout the summer.

I was 28 years old. My husband and I had planned on conceiving and giving birth to multiple children. It was my first pregnancy. It's odd, the nearly dying part didn't phase me at first. Over the years that has solidified a bit more how I have been given a chance to realize what a gift it is to be here to raise my son.