Tuesday, July 10, 2012

June 19, 2012

Today marks three weeks since Claire’s birth, and I finally feel like I have enough energy to type down some of the events from that day.

June 19, 2012 we woke up early to make it to the University of Utah hospital at 9:30am for an 11:30am cut time. Just as we were getting things together Dr. Draper called to see if we could be there to start the csection two hours earlier. We grabbed the essentials (video camera and phones) dropped Drew off and headed to the hospital. I didn’t even pack extra clothes. Suddenly our scheduled csection felt like real (unplanned) labor as we scrambled to get to the hospital. 
 Doctors, residents, anesthesiologists and nurses filed in and out of the room as I was prepped for delivery. Something I really like about the University of Utah is that it is a learning hospital. All the medical students were intrigued with the idea of an abdominal cerclage and enjoyed the actual thickness and history of my medical chart.

When the time came Spencer and I split ways and I waddled down the hall wearing a hospital gown holding a bag of IV fluid. I moved my (nearly 200lb) body onto the cold operating table and dangled my legs over the edge ready to receive the spinal anesthetic. Following the spinal the surgtechs rubbed  Betadine all over my bulbous stomach and all of the sudden I looked like someone from Jersey Shore. Just then the wonderful Dr. Draper walked into the operating room to have me answer questions he already knew the answer to. Yes I would like to leave the abdominal cerclage in and yes we want to have more kids. Sometime during the conversation I grabbed his hand to which he smiled and told a surgical tech “I’m going to need a new gown and gloves…” --- I can’t believe I touched the sterile doctor, how embarrassing. 20 minutes had passed and I could still feel every little prick from the little toothpick test. I ended up having to have the blue drape removed, sitting up, getting another spinal block, and being reBetadined. 

Finally it was go time. 

Spencer walked in a little later with the smell of cauterized blood filling the air and said something like “It smells like burnt popcorn…”  to which the anesthesiologist sitting by my head replied “What kind of popcorn do you eat?”
Just as the last few cuts were made they told us it was just about time for Claire to make her debut. At 11:41am she came out crying (and peeing). When Drew was born he never made a peep and was whisked off to the NICU for Oxygen, and CPAP. Hearing Claire cry was such a relief. Dr. Draper brought her around the blue curtain before they wiped her up to bring her to us. As Spencer watched her get cleaned up and have her vitals taken the room grew quiet. Claire’s cry was silenced as the doctors on the other side of the blue curtain whispered. Phrases like “Doesn’t look normal” “Can’t be safe” and “Grab a camera” were just a few of the things I heard. 
 Dr. Draper came around the curtain again, this time covered in blood, and asked Spencer to join my strapped-in self by my head. Dr. Draper explained that he could see his gloves through the paper-thin uterine wall and that it was covered in huge vessels. The pictures I was emailed came from one of the resident doctors iPhones (thank goodness for technology)

My first thought was, “How could it have changed so much in the two years since Drew was born…”
But that thought was cut off when Dr. Draper said, “It’s not safe for us to remove the placenta without you bleeding out in a few minutes. We’re going to have to remove your uterus…”


A little general anesthesia and over 3 hours later, I emerged from surgery. After a time in recovery I was finally able to meet beautiful little Claire. 

For the next few days and over the last few weeks I have had a lot of different thoughts. 

Do I still invest in the Double City-Mini stroller I wanted if I only have 2 kids?
Am I going to grow a mustache?
What do I do with all the maternity clothes I finally bought for this pregnancy?
What about the need for hormone replacements? What about weight gain?
How could I get the go ahead for future pregnancies then need a hysterectomy?
Should I have done more bedrest?
I left New York with a uterus and will go back without one.
June 19th will not only be Claire’s birthday but the day I lost my womanhood.
Will the lack of a uterus make my stomach appear ultra-flat and thin?

Then I had more thoughts of gratitude…

How did I get so blessed to have two living children
Blessed to have one boy and one girl (and one daughter in the bank)
What a blessing to be at such a great medical facility.
What a tender mercy that the doctor that started this process and knew my medical history was also there to operate and make the decision to end my journey with pregnancies.
How lucky I am that my uterus didn’t rupture any time before delivery, and that I am here to raise my children.
At my two week postop appointment the pathology report stated that there was no cervical tissue found and that the abdominal cerclage had indeed grown through the uterine wall. One ovary has been described as a “streak of tissue” and the other one radiated with appearance “similar to a raisin." With all these pieces of information it reiterates what I already believed: What a miracle all three pregnancies have been.

We have been blessed with three children we were told we would never have.
And we are so grateful to have Drew and Claire in our lives.
I know we have been so blessed in our 4 short years of marriage.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

(Not so) Happy 4th of July

We have yet to get a picture of our family where Drew isn't losing it.