Tuesday, September 30, 2008

And Now the Moment We've All Been Waiting For . . .

As you know (or may not) we have been holding a giveaway at this here blog.

The guesses have been made, the totals tallied and the pathology report disclosed.

Now, because I just love the thought of making you all squirm a little bit in anxious anticipation - just a couple of side notes. I was mistaken in saying the normal uterus is about 100g, etc. THAT is the typical size of the ones they REMOVE. They usually remove them for not being normal. Well, mine wasn't exactly normal - so it still kind of worked. Also, I found that they measure uterus from cervix to fundus and I had a super freaky long cervix. This I am not mistaken about. Doc said a normal (and yes, she used the term normal which did seem to imply mine was considerably not normal - and I was totally okay with that.) cervix is about 3-4 cm long. Mine came in at a most impressive 7cm. Yes, not a typo. She double checked. Almost TWICE the length of normal. For whatever that means and I don't so much care about that now. Just kind of a weird little bit of info.

So, uterus. I'm getting there - be patient. She said it was not as big as they thought - but bigger than a typical 80 gram uterus. (That would be normal, nothing wrong with it, pristine condition organ - so not what I had hitherto been in possession of). Pathology noted no unusual epithelials (which would indicate they didn't get all the bladder - which would be bad) so that was good; no evidence of anything cancerous, bad, etc - just endometriosis, which we knew. The report also noted it was misshapen and odd looking. Doc likened it to a floppy looking mushroom cap atop a very looooooonnnnnggg stem (cervix) which also happened to look like it was attempting to eat my bladder (which she said was all over the place.) Even at that - I came in above normal and pristine at (drumroll please):

95 grams, 9.5x5x3 cm

I actually felt somewhat disappointed. Certainly not the GENEROUSLY SIZED thing I was expecting from all their talking it up beforehand. But, we'll take it - or rather, we'll let them keep it. My doc did keep muttering "that was a long ol' cervix, I kept waiting to find the end of it . . . ." and shaking her head.

SO, in review of the entries - there were two who came amazingly close. So close, that I had to total and tally and recheck and ask dh for assistance in determining who was the closest. The distance between closest and second closest was a mere .2 cm and 2 grams if you can believe that.

Without further ado - I happily proclaim the winner of this somewhat bizarre giveaway to be:

Busy Momma (aka Amanda) I will be emailing you shortly.

With Honorable Mention going to:


Seriously - .2 cm and 2 grams, it made my head hurt trying to figure that out . . .

Anywho - I also need to mention Cara, who prophetically had this to say:

"Watch them be wrong and it be under 100gms...then what???"

All I have to say (other than Congratulations and thanks for playing along) is, I can pee and I haven't felt any of that old pain - so that is making me pretty darn happy! (She also said I could start driving again once I felt up to it - yippee!! Maybe next week . . .AND I have lost 22 lbs since the start of the summer, 12 since before surgery.)

Sunday, September 28, 2008

It is a Hopeless Case

I intended to rock this ICLW. I figured my body would be down - but my mind would be active. Unfortunately - that mind/body connection thing kind of tripped me up and I fell woefully short of any sort of Iron Commentator status about 12 blogs in. There is next month. I am slowly finding my feet again.

I just wanted to say thank you to all of you who have stopped by this last week. I have appreciated your comments and visits! I hope to follow in your footsteps next month and do ever so much better.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

To Tell You About Hannah

Is to tell you about the loss of innocence, mine. The innocent ideal that once pg, nine months = baby, the naivete that there is any "safe" point.

Hannah was my second loss. My first one had been so early and so unexpected, I dealt with things somewhat pragmatically. I didn't entertain the thought it would happen again - these things happen. That was what they told me - and at this point in my life, it was easy to believe them. I was told to "get pg again right away - all would be okay" and while my heart ached, I still believed them. Something so sad, so wrong, could not possibly happen again - could it?

I was elated, though hesitant at first. We did the things we had to do to conceive - the charting, the clomid, the timing and we succeeded. I held the secret close - not wishing to tempt fate, waiting to pass the "safe point". And then I was past that and I felt more secure and I divulged my secret, not thinking that I shouldn't, not thinking that all was not going as it should, or wouldn't. I believed, I hoped, I had that confidence that only comes from not knowing otherwise.

During the weeks I was pg, I felt the smallest, sweetest presence - but I never took it to be the baby I was carrying. I often felt as though someone was following me constantly, someone little, and if I turned around quickly enough - I would catch sight of whoever this little someone was. I never did.

The day I lost Hannah was like any other day - I got up, I got dressed. I dressed and fed my toddler. My college friend from out of town visited with her toddler. We enjoyed talking, some games and then we discovered a shared yen for something sweet - for French Toast. So we went to the store. As I walked out of the store back to the car, I felt a gush - an "uh oh" sort of feeling that can't be ignored. When I checked - I was bleeding. I phoned my doctor, was given vague instructions and told to "come in" in the morning. I was so completely unprepared for the night ahead.

As I put my son to bed, I prayed over his head "please no, please no, please no - hold this baby safe." I had no more bleeding from the initial gush and I took that to be a good sign. I went to bed and could not sleep.

Constant pains overtook me. Cramping - regular and hard, contractions. I thought it could not be, I was only 12 weeks, but yet, this felt very similar to the early labor I had had the year before when my son was born. I wandered back and forth from bed to bathroom - contracting, spotting, not understanding fully what was happening - while everyone else slept. During the final hour the pains increased and the pressure became overwhelming. In the bathroom - so very early in the morning, and to my complete shock - I delivered her. My water broke in a small gush of fluid and then there she was. She fit in the palm of my hand and looked like the pictures I had seen of the babies in utero, the ones around 10 weeks. For two weeks she could have been gone and I had no idea - me, who was to be her mother. For all I knew her more than anyone else, I hardly knew her at all. I sat there on the floor of my bathroom stunned, relieved, amazed. Her umbilical cord was so tiny - but it was her little lifeline. Somewhere along that line - her end, or mine, something had gone very wrong. I saved her for the doctor, I went to sleep.

I would like to say my doctor was compassionate and understanding. He was cold and factual. The information he gave me was far less than I needed. He thrust a tri-fold pamphlet on Miscarriage at me, and pointed to the pie graph on the middle page. He said "this is where you fall" and pointed to the wedge marked "Unexplained Causes". Though, I don't think there would have been enough information that would have answered my most pressing question - why? Because I only delivered the fetus, I had to have a d&c for "retained products of conception", the placenta, in this case. I was given the option of being asleep or "awake", I chose asleep. I could not bear the thought of being awake while the rest of my pregnancy was scraped from my insides. I had already been awake when my baby left my body.

The nurse tending me post procedure tried to be compassionate. It was clear, she didn't understand. She meant to be positive and encouraging. She meant well - everyone always meant well. She asked how old I was. When I answered, she replied "Oh, you're young! You could still have a dozen more babies!" I wanted to tell her I didn't want a dozen more babies - I wanted that baby.

The next morning when I woke up - the little presence I had felt for more than two months was gone and all I could do was cry.

My sweet Hannah ~i~ September 20th, 1995

Sunday, September 21, 2008

I Am Home - Brave New World

Oh. my. gosh.

Sums up most of the last week quite succinctly.

You are some of the best and most caring individuals I know - your sweet messages, prayers and wishes have moved me to tears. Me - a real life stranger, a blogging friend. Words are powerful - I have been touched and strengthened by yours. Apologies for not replying individually just yet - that will come later when I am not so bound by timed restrictions and physical constraints. Just for now - thank you, thank you all from the bottom of my heart (oh so cliche!). I have felt much peace and comfort this week and I am certain is due to all the kind words and thoughts.

Surgery went well. My guest blogger (Cindy - dear sweet funny Cindy!) updated you well. There were some surprises - not unpleasant ones. We arrived at the time we were told to be at the hospital and at 9 when I was scheduled to be in the OR, was still waiting in pre-pre-op. Of to an almost 2 hour late start. I was separated from dh and still waited - lying on a bed next to several other people lying on beds, waiting. Then, finally it was my turn and I got to sleep for all of it.

I will admit to a bit of smugness on my part - thinking that after 6 csections, two hsgs, 3 d&cs and 2 laparoscopies - I knew what to expect pain/recovery wise and this would be another walk in the park. I was mistaken - grossly mistaken! This is singularly the worst physical pain I have ever endured. Waking up after was horrific. I am certain they rendered me unconscious again as other than a few seconds of overwhelming pain and crying "it hurts! it hurts!", I have no recollections until waking up in a new room with dh at the foot of my bed reading a book. He said he had been there about an hour. I have a fairly high tolerance for pain - this was so unexpected and beyond that it was quite the shock. I am happy to say - they kept me as comfortable as possible. Two days of a morphine drip during which I was told I did and said some interesting things - most of which I have no recollection of.

Day three dawned after a miserable night and suddenly, it was if the storm had passed - I was clearer, felt more steady and I could cope with moving around better. They pulled the catheter that same morning and thirty minutes later I waddled to the bathroom and peed like nobody's business. Seems a silly thing in some regards - but I will admit to considering that the best pee ever! No problems at all - just like we had always done before, like it should be and hopefully will continue for a long time to come. When Matt arrived later, he asked how I was doing and I sat there in my hospital bed, messy hair,fuzzy teeth, goofy gown and cheshire cat grin and said "I peed!" My greatest accomplishment of the week. I suppose, in some regards - it doesn't get much better than that!

I spoke with my OB/GYN who wisely chose to speak with me when I was in a more lucid state. (Ahhhhhhh morphine - what a bizarre trip, makes you so numb you forget to breathe . . .). I got to keep both my ovaries - yes, TWO! The scarring and adhesions that have held Lefty out of position all these years were attached everywhere but the ovary itself. She said it looked great, and Righty was no slouch either. Good news - no instant menopause. Hopefully the next several years will be an easier downslide into the "change of life". Now - Ute. Well - to use her words, it looked like my uterus was trying to eat my bladder. Bladder was completely ensconced into the old scarline and the uterus was up all around the edges of it. It was at this point she called the Urologist back in and said "If someone has to tell her she is wearing a catheter for ten days - I want it to be you!" They both did their jobs well and I only had a catheter for a little over 2 days. She told me that if I had ever had another baby, they would have had to go right through the bladder first - it was "plastered" all over the front. That would have been ugly. We also had the mystery explained of why I never dilated despite having constant preterm contractions in each pg and my water eventually breaking without dilation - she said I had the "World's longest Cervix". If Guiness ever opens up that category in his book of records - you may very well see my name and picture there. She did say my uterus was "impressive" - and not so much in a good way - but not the biggest she has taken out. (You giveaway entrants will have to be patient until the 30th - she assured me she would have a weight for me then.) All in all, both doctors were very pleased with how it went - said it was a bit tricky, but not disastrously so.

I am home as of Friday night around 9ish. The trip home was a veritable minefield of potholes and bumps and jostling that was not so pleasant. But, I am home; I am in my own bed; I can pee!

My friend Cindy asked how I was doing emotionally - and so far, that has been okay. They had me on the maternity floor and being wheeled past the doors with all the announcement banners with a plant in my lap brought back some sad thoughts. I think the physical is outweighing the emotional and so all my energies are focused there for the time being. There may still be some of that yet to come.

Again, thank you for all the compassion you have offered me this week - truly I have felt it a real blessing. I've already flaunted my "sitting up" time allowed, so I must go. Each day is a little better - each day a little closer to normal.

My best . . .

PS - I will tell you about my sweet Hannah tomorrow, her day was yesterday . . .

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Surgery Update by "Guest Blogger, Cindy"

Hi Everyone,

WOW my very first blog post and it is about our truly amazing friend Julia...

I just got "the call" from Matt (her DH) and she is doing well... there were no complications and her bladder (her worst fear she confided to me, and maybe you as well, was not being able to pee after this was all said and done) is fine, no nicks or tears, although they are not sure how annoyed it is after being pushed around.  Her ovaries both looked great and so they remain (I am sure she will be pleases since she thought one was a goner) that is a relief so she won't be thrown into instant menopause (is that like instant oatmeal, hot and lumpy?)  I hope she sees the humor in this... Jules I know you love me so you can always edit this after you are back from la la land (LOL)... ok so Matt will be able to see her within the hour (which really won't mean much if you read this weeks or days or even a few hours from now, but there it is)  she has my number and I  expect her to be calling me sometime before Saturday (that will depend on the drugs, but she is so fun to talk with when doped up on narcotics) so... all is well... now she can start the road to recovery... hopefully it will be quick :) 

Thanks for reading Julia's surgery update... back to your regularly scheduled blogger shortly...


AKA Guest Blogger

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Night Before

I knew I wouldn't be able to sleep. Did I pack everything I am going to want/need? Did I leave enough detailed instructions so the house doesn't fall down around my parents' ears? And the lovely anxiety - blasted hormones! (Which reminds me - I need to toss my Well.butrin in my bag. See blogging is good for jogging your memory!)

So, after a few games of internet Scrab.ble, the last of the dinner pizza (can't eat after midnight and then it's hospital gourmet from there on out . . .) and some mindless browsing - I may try heading to bed here in a bit and trying to get some rest. Or take my pre-surgery shower. My comedy team surgeons desire me to not only to pee on a futile stick, but to scrub with antibacterial soap prior to showing up. I am stuck with the dilemma of washing my hair and/or shaving my legs - decisions, decisions. Perhaps I will just show up with hairy legs and shiny, full and bouncy hair which we will promptly shove under a poofy paper cap . . .

I'm enjoying the guesses people have been making so far for my giveaway. (And very much appreciating all the good wishes! There is something very comforting about having so many people wishing you well.) Some of you are very kind in your estimates and I appreciate that. Though - the bigger this darn thing turns out to be, the smaller the pants I'll be wearing afterward, so maybe in this case, bigger IS better! Which does bring up a thought - off to measure my girth . . .

Tomorrow I will be featuring a guest blogger - my lovely and wonderful friend whose number my dh has stashed in his wallet. His task is rather simple - phone "my people". She'll be letting you know what news there be tomorrow after all is said and done. (Guest blogger - doesn't that make me sound fancy?!)

Lastly - my very first submission to Bridges is up (see sidebar). If you haven't been there yet, you really should check it out. I did post the Bridges submission here previously. There have been some wonderful submissions from other bloggers there already. I have learned quite a bit and been even more impressed with our fellow bloggers and their wealth of experience and strength. Some very powerful and beautiful writing going on . . .

So, that's it for tonight I think.

More to come . . .

The Final HPT

There you have it folks - the very last stick I will ever pee on.

Because those comedic medical folks want to make sure I didn't do something silly like get myself in the "family way" right before my hysterectomy(oh yes, they make me laugh merrily with their sense of humor), I was instructed to take one last test.

I'm not really sure which result I was hoping for . . .

Surgery tomorrow - they moved it up one half hour, now it is scheduled for 9 am.

Now just gearing up for the looooonnnnggg sleepless night.

P.S. Don't forget the giveaway; I'll take guesses until the 30th.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Show & Tell with Mel Sunday September 14th

This week's Show & Tell is more of a giveaway.

With the upcoming hysterectomy and the extreme limitations during the recovery period - I'm going to be feeling somewhat stir crazy after a while. Reading books and watching a great deal of TV only takes you so far. I learned how to make these bookmarks at our last family reunion - they are kind of fun and easy to make. Plus - they don't flaunt any restrictions I'm going to have, which makes them an ideal activity. (Guess who's family is going to be receiving beaucoup crocheted bookmarks for Christmas this year?!)

So, here's the deal, you get to guess the size and weight of my soon to be "birthed" uterus and leave your guess in the comments section for this post. C'mon - it will be fun - you know, just like a party game! (a really lame party without food however) The person who comes closest - will be mailed the following:

Two books - one from a previous Double B Book Brigade Tour and one from the upcoming tour. The previous tour book is paperback and titled "The Empty Picture Frame" by Jenna Nadeau. The upcoming tour book is hardback and titled "The Baby Trail" by Sinead Moriarty. (You can see here for more info on past and present tours.) Both books are used, in good condition and the words all still work just fine!

One hand crocheted bookmark made especially for the reader with the best guess.

It's a win win situation - you may end up with something fun arriving in your mailbox and I will have something with which to help keep myself entertained during the restrictive recuperating.

The bookmarks in the pictures are samples of the one I will make for the winner - you may get one that looks remarkably similar to one of them, one of them, or something in a completely different color scheme altogether . . .

I am not going to leave you all to just start guessing blindly - oh no, not I! I am going to give you a couple hints to help you make your guesses.

Hint #1: The normal uterus weighs around 100 Gm. and measures about 11 X 5 X 5 Cm.

Hint #2: When I received my dx of adenomyosis, the doctor who did one of the ultrasounds said my uterus was "generously sized".

I can't make any promises on when the winner will be mailed their package. I'm going to have a driving restriction for the first 2-3 weeks, so post office visits are not likely unless I ask my mommy to drive me there (since she has already told me she is willing to tie me to the bed, I think my field trips may be rather limited initially). I should have the pertinent information at my post-surgical visit with the Doctor on the 30th of this month and hope to be able to announce the winner then.

Okay, so you know the date: September 17th, 2008 and here is the time: 9:30 am. Just need weight and length now. Gender is a moot point . . . :0)

Happy guessing!

For more Show and Tell this weekend, see here.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Home of the Brave

Remembering . . .

Those who also remember, in their own words at Bridges . . .

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

One Week

One week from today is my surgery. I thought I would compile a list of the things I will not miss, so if I start to second guess myself afterward I can just refer back and say, okay - maybe there were a few good things about this after all. I think I may also have a giveaway to "honor" the occasion - more details to be forthcoming, so stay tuned.

What I will not miss:

1. Irregular cycles that have a tendency to start and end at the worst and most inconvenient time
2. Monster pms that lasts for three weeks and has me vacillating between borderline psychotic and hysterical sobbing: Week one - disliking everyone and everything; Week two - hating everyone and everything; Week three - hating everyone and everything, wanting to run away or wanting everyone else to go away and in abject pain.
3. Killer cramps that start three weeks out and just get worse until you are ready to take the offending part out DIY
4. Hemorrhaging for 4 days so I have to rearrange my entire life around my proximity to a bathroom, and then just heavy bleeding for another 10 days. (which is only going to progressively get worse rapidly over time unchecked.)
5. Pain that hurts waist to knee from standing too long or sitting too long (since when is 10 minutes too long?)
6. The varied and massive assortment of "feminine hygiene products", none of which are sufficient (even when all used concurrently) or comfortable for that matter
7. Looking like I am 6 months pg and having everyone ask me if I know what I am having . . .
(the last person who asked this was told "a mangy uterus" I planned on naming Chuck as in "Chuck it please")
8. Being the sole person responsible for the makers of Advil & Clorox getting mega Christmas bonuses every year
9. Being constantly anemic and therefore exhausted all the time
10. Subsisting for 2 week periods of time on the pain dulling properties of diet cola and Ibuprofen spurring my liver into orchestrating an uprising.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

6x6 for September from Glow in the Woods

From the ladies at Glow in the Woods, a spiritual themed 6x6 for September. To read more and to participate, please see here.

1 | Do you feel as though a higher entity/supreme being/energy force has a presence in your life? What do you call it, and what makes you feel it exists?

Yes - I have felt this in various ways, but mostly as a warmth, a sense of peace and sense of being "held safe". It is an asking followed by a knowing with surety that **this I believe** There have been so many times in my life where I felt guided or that others were guided by some greater force to be just what was needed at just the right time. I call it "God" or Heavenly Father and that feeling the Holy Ghost telling me "This is God". I also feel a motivation to become more, to become better and consider more of this as a higher force encouraging me rather than simply a matter of biology.

2 | Describe, in a word or two, the nature of your spiritual self before and then after the loss of your baby/babies.

Just a word or two? Before - confident and untried; after - committed and reliant, tender

3 | Do you pray, even if you wouldn’t call it praying? To whom? What for?

Constant prayer - though not always in the traditional sense. There is a continuous dialog often going in my heart, my mind - looking for guidance, comfort, hope - asking God to help make up for my deficits when I fall short, to guide me when/where I can be of help to someone else, to watch over people where I cannot. When I had my miscarriages often it was a plea - a plea that I couldn't do this, but if I had to, please do not leave me to do this alone.

4 | Is there a particular line of scripture/teaching/sentiment that you find particularly helpful? Or is there one that’s commonly referred to but is unhelpful?

Matthew chapter 10 - the discussion of how a sparrow does not fall without the Father knowing and being there. How the very hairs of your head are counted. This gave me peace in knowing that even the tiniest of my babies were not considered nothing. This gives me a very empowering sense of self-worth, while also reminding me that I am not the only one whose hairs are counted to the last one; that none of us is "forgotten" or considered less by He who knows us all.

5 | Did your faith offer rites, rituals or teachings that acknowledged your baby and your healing? If not (or if you didn't seek it out in an organized fashion), what rites, rituals or mantras have you adopted as your own?

The LDS faith (more commonly known as Mormon) does not offer "saving ordinances" (ie: baptism) for children under the age of 8 as they are considered innocent. The families are provided the spiritual guidance and support they need - often in the form of blessings. They also believe in an eternal spirit - children who die before baptism are not "lost" nor are they sent to suffer eternal torment in hell. We also believe that we are held accountable for our own sins - not that of someone else. Here are my beliefs based on my religion: Losing my babies was not a punishment for some misdeed - nor did God cause it to happen; I will see my children again. Yes, I do believe in a God who performs miracles and could have prevented my losses. However, in order to continue to claim my agency to choose for myself independently - I am subject to nature and life in general. I consider it like this - I could be walking alongside my child and they trip on a rock and fall. I did not cause them to trip and fall, I did not put the rock there. However, because I am their parent and I love them - I will pick them up, brush off the wound, clean it, dress it, hold them and comfort them. I will help guide them to do what needs to be done to heal and recover from their injury. I do not believe my infertility and losses were a "message" God was giving me that I was not meant to have children. I think I simply am one of those women who is born with a body that either through environment, some childhood disease or a quirk of nature didn't work quite the way it was supposed to. I do believe that He has been there when I have called and in a sense said "Okay, this hard thing is happening to you - let's get through this together, and let's make something good happen. "

For the more practical, not as religious side - I have been well taken care of over the years and trials with meals, people from church willing to take care of the things at home that I was unable to, watch my living children, run errands for me, etc. When I spent weeks in the hospital prior to my daughter's premature birth - I was often visited, brought books, games, my 2 year old son cared for, the young women's group made cookies and brought them to me one evening (which also happened to be an evening I was feeling terribly alone), another friend came to wash and fix my hair for me. The night my daughter was born - the woman in charge of the woman's group at church was there. She stayed by my side when I began hemorrhaging and even helped the nurse wring out the cloths they were using to soak up my bleeding. She stayed as a proxy mom since mine was so very far away that night - not just to help the nurse, but to be a comfort to me. Compassion, charity and service are things that are continually taught in our church - and I have been blessed numerous times as a recipient, and also often as a giver.

6 | Some people say that in a foxhole (a desperate, life-threatening situation), there are no atheists. You’ve been in a foxhole. Discuss.

I think in most traumatic situations humans are hit with that "flight or fight" response. The human will to survive can be amazingly powerful. In my "foxhole" I first resisted, tried to avoid and deny the situation I was in. This in turn quickly became extreme upset - how can this be happening to me? I don't want this! The tears, the grief, the sadness, depression and discouragment. (flight) This soon turned to anger and then a fierce desire to survive - though not just in a physical sense, but a mental and emotional sense. There was an occasion (or two or three or more, to be honest) where I really wanted to just give up and at one point where that desire to just give up was its strongest, I realized I had a choice - to let this thing completely destroy me or fight and survive. That decision was the moment I chose to fight and survive while in the foxhole and eventually climb out of it. (fight) When I made that decision - I stopped asking why me? I came to the conclusion that I was no better or worse than anyone else. I didn't do something to deserve this - it just happened that way. I realized that no matter what happened to me, what I did after that point because of it also mattered greatly. Because these were things I wanted to do, but I was still "recovering" - I needed help and that became part of my prayers.