Warning: If you don’t really know me that well then this will be TMI. If you are pregnant or squeamish then this really isn’t the thing for you either…
How did we get to where we are? It’s a long story and one that those close to me know quite well (in fact I told it in my old blog years ago). That being said, so many people wonder why we chose the adoption route. Every month I have acquaintances and vendors who say “So when are you having another kid? You are such a great mom.” What is meant to be small talk and niceties actually stings right to the core. Even some people that used to work with me only know that I had Camryn and was back to work within 6 weeks, but they don’t know our whole story or how it changed our life more than just adding our baby girl to our life.
On March 28th, 2012, I was scheduled for a c section for the birth of my new baby girl. I had all of the normal anxieties of course: will the baby be healthy, will the spinal work, how hard will recovery be yada yada yada. Obsessing over those things pretty much consumed my mind for the week leading up to the surgery so by the time it was 5:30 AM and ready for me to check into the hospital I just wanted it over with. The staff did a great job trying to get me to calm down as I checked into my room. The nurses put in my IV’s and assured me that would be the worst pain I would feel that day (I hate needles). The anesthesiologist came and assured me I’d have no pain after the local for my spinal and I’d be ok….just relax and trust in them. Then the doctor as well eventually came in at 7:15 right before surgery to assure me, “We do this everyday…just try to relax and it will all be over soon. Within 2 hrs you’ll be back in your room with your baby and it will just be a memory.” Sounded like a plan.
Through their words and my husband trying to reassure me as much as possible I was wheeled down the hall to start the surgery and was a ball of mixed up energy ….part excitement, part nervousness, part get this the hell over with please! The spinal ended up not being bad at all and the numbness from my chest down during the surgery was a wonderful relief. As weird as it is to only be able feel your arms (which are strapped down) and your neck/head, it was a very welcoming feeling as I laid there in a sterile room with about 8-10 people surrounding me and not feeling anything but a little tugging and pulling. Within 10 minutes, at 7:59 AM a beautiful baby girl was born and began screaming (and I of course began crying of happiness). It was finally done!! All that needed done was to be closed up, hang out in the recovery room for an hour and well before lunchtime I’d be back in my room with everyone and ready to hold my little girl. Right?
Once I was sewn up they began the pushing on my abdomen to get the “junk” pushed out of me (yep, that’s a thing). The doctor was called back in because I was bleeding more than normal and had some larger clots. “No worries”, he said, “You’ll be fine” and he left and went back to office. He seemed calm enough so I relaxed and was wheeled to the recovery area. There I met Roxy, my nurse for the next 4 hrs. Every 20 minutes she would push on my abdomen and every 20 minutes I could feel cups of blood and clots leaking from my body. After this happened 2 or 3 times another doctor from the practice was brought in to look at me and he too assured me I’d be fine, this happens all the time. I began to freak out a bit as they changed my bloody sheets for the 3rd time…at that point the doctor told the nurse to get me some blood to help “stay ahead of the 8 ball” as he put it. Having any kind of blood transfusion freaked me out, but rather safe than sorry so I said ok, go ahead and do it. While I was waiting, they allowed Will to bring Camryn back to see me since it could be a while till I was in my room. Just how long that would be I had no idea.
They were able to stay for a few minutes before the nurses noticed I began to get a little anxious about my situation and had them leave. About 10 minutes later, I began calling out to the nurses telling them I didn’t feel “right”. Anyone who knows me knows that I do not like to ask for help, so something was up. At this point, my already numb body began to feel a little tingly and light if that makes any sense. I felt as though I could not quite catch my breath and could feel my heart race rapidly. As I stared into space, darkness began to creep into my eyes with bright white dots in the middle making the “chaos” I soon saw very unclear. Suddenly the nurses who had been reassuring me that this was normal and to relax began to freak out and hit alarms, call doctors, run around in circles and come over to my heart rate machine that was now beeping out of control. I remember thinking to myself that this was such a helpless and horrible feeling, to not be able to control my body and heartrate no matter what I did. At that point I also wondered if this is what other people felt like as they were dying? Not that I was dying of course…this must just be a fluke and they will take care of everything and I would be fine. After the fact, I now realize that I should have been freaking out because I was indeed “crashing” as they call it, and was not doing as well as I thought.
Once I was stabilized the doctor came over and told the nurse I needed the blood he had ordered right away and while they were at it to get 4 more bags as backup. When the nurse asked him at what rate to put the blood in and his response was “now, fast, whoosh, just get it in”. I started to assume this was not normal as the last time I checked, that was not technical medical speak. Every time they put a bag of blood in me and pushed on my abdomen it would just rush out. I now had 4 IVs in to get the blood and necessary fluid in ASAP. As they injected me with 3 different medicines to try to stop the bleeding, the then present doctors told me my options in case they didn’t work: 1) be flown to Baltimore to get cauterized and to save me and my uterus or 2) have a hysterectomy there in order to hopefully stop the bleeding. It was a no brainer…Baltimore please. I had always wanted a big family with at least 4 kids and I was only halfway there. I was only 30 years old too, only old people have hysterectomies. It wasn’t even an option.
Over the next hour, they let my mom and husband come and me again. Anyone who had been in a recovery room like that knows that nobody comes in there. They continued to push on me and I continued to hemorrhage. Finally, Will came back to see me for the last time. Apparently, the doctors had already talked to him and told him what he needed to convince me was my decision. The bleeding was not stopping and it was now too late to go to Baltimore, I probably would not even make the helicopter ride there. I had to have a hysterectomy there and right now in order to save my life. Yes, to save my life. All of a sudden, I could not pretend that it would all be ok. I could not pretend that I could trust in my doctors and that medicine always makes the bleeding stop. It was really lose my uterus and lose my unborn children of the future in order to save my life. Of course, I did not have a choice at that time. As three nurses, two doctors, Will and an anesthesiologist stood staring at me and waiting, I agreed through heavy tears. In an instant, everyone began rushing around as I signed the consent forms and was wheeled off.
At some point I was put to sleep, or passed out, not sure which one. I awoke in the recovery room feeling as though it had all been a dream and was then wheeled to my room looking slightly similar to the state puff marshmallow man due to all the trauma. By this point, I think it was around 2 in the afternoon. I was ok, my baby was ok and my family was there waiting for me, but oh were the next 5 days in the hospital so painful. In the end, I received 14 units of blood, so much fluid that I left the hospital weighing more than I had when I went in and a HUGE complex about what had just happened. Most doctors and nurses that came to see me made me feel like a freak show. They could not believe I was alive they would say, I can’t believe you are able to feed your baby, you are so lucky, we’ll pray for you. Even nurses that were not assigned to me stopped by just to see this “miraculous girl” lol. After 5 days of being in a drugged up haze I was finally able to leave. This was of course not before they finally acknowledged my arm that was doubled in size (no really) was a lovely blood clot of DVT I would now have to deal with. Of course I couldn’t just go home and relax, heal and focus on the baby, I had to continue to worry about the clot traveling through my system and causing me harm (or even death) and get 2 shots a day till it was gone and lots of medicine and blood thinners.
Why did it happen? They still could never give me an answer, and a relative that poured over the 100+ pages of my medical records couldn’t help identify it either. No ruptured artery, no placenta previa, no clues or hints as to what happened. What I can tell you is that the doctor who did the c-section and treated me never saw me at my follow up appointments, and a few weeks later sent a note out to his patients that he had decided practicing medicine was not for him anymore and that he would be going to be a professor. Odd timing. What I can tell you is that I almost left my 2 kids motherless and will always feel a little different than other women. On a positive note, however, zero change of uterin cancer (yay me!) lol
So why did we choose adoption? It is not the normal story of traditional infertility or being led by our church, or multiple miscarriages (although we have had 2). There will be more regarding this in another blog, but the main takeaway is this. You don’t know what other people have gone through or why they are in the place they are they are in. Although innocent enough, asking someone who literally through all acts of God could not bear a child hurts. Someone dealing with fertility issues and miscarriages hurts. Most people do not just wake up one day and decide to spend the amount to buy a nice car on building their family. So respect those who are going through this process and to the ones that you think “ should have kids by now”. You don’t know their story and what trauma and pain might be behind it. In the end, ours ended up as it should, but on the journey there, you never know that.