And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.Romans 8:28
Ever had one of those experiences when you pray for something, you believe with your whole heart God can do it, but then He goes and does something opposite of what you prayed for? Yeah, this part of the story is just like that. I knew that the doctor had exposed us to all the possible outcomes, but I was praying for the least of those outcomes of the surgery. I feel like God often forewarns me of certain things because He knows how my anxiety is set up lol. He knows how I am and I think he exposes me to certain things ahead of time, before they happen, to sort of prepare my heart and mind. So it’s like even though I don’t know for sure that that thing is going to happen, I’ve already been exposed to that possibility and my mind has begun to process it. I said all that to say I knew deep down inside my prayer would be answered differently than I expected, but I was clinging to the hope that it wouldn’t.
July 19, 2019
I had to go into Huntsville Hospital’s medical mall for my pre-admission appointment. This is where they take all your info, insurance, etc., get any last minute blood work done and co-pays. This allows the convenience of walking in on surgery day and having to do nothing! I like organization and order, so this process was wonderful for me. Except for when the nurse decided to do more blood work ? I feel like I’ve given all the blood. But anyway, she confirmed and went through all of my medical history, current and past medications, vitamins, etc., went over the procedures that I would be having (laparoscopy and hysteroscopy), gave me instructions on where to go on surgery day, and then sent me on my way!
The week of the surgery I was not nervous or anxious, I was actually eager to get the surgery as it served as one step closer to motherhood. Even though I never had surgery before, didn’t/don’t like hospitals or anything medical related, I was happy that there would finally be an understanding of what’s going on with me, no more speculations or assumptions and then there would be a plan. That’s what put me at ease about the whole thing and what kept me from being ridden with anxiety. ALSO, not going to lie, I was looking forward to being taken care of by my husband lol. I was looking forward to not having to cook and eating whatever, laying in bed, binging on Netflix and being waited on by Joe, just saying ?
July 25, 2019
Before the surgery
Joe and I spent the evening before surgery cleaning our home, doing laundry, and putting fresh linen on the bed. Per my instructions from the nurse during the pre-admissions appointment, my pajamas and bed linen had to be freshly laundered, I had to shower with this antibacterial soap and our sweet Cairo could not be in our room for 24 hours and that would have been a challenge because he loves being near us (he ended up spending the next few nights with his godfather – yes, he has godparents lol).
Surgery morning was interesting. I was told via email that my surgery time was 2:00 pm and to be at the hospital at 12:00 pm, but my surgery was actually at 12:00 pm. Luckily my aunt who works at the hospital informed me that I was scheduled for 12:00 pm so we left home early to be on the safe side. Turns out I was accidentally given the wrong time, but we ended up getting there at the time I should have been there! It all worked out.
As soon as I got there I got checked in and Joe and I were led to the “prep” room. I got the standard hospital gown, threw on some socks, they stuck a needle in my arm for the IV, I met the anesthesiologist, and then Dr. D came in to discuss the procedure once more. I had to sign off on the procedures, including possible removal of my tubes in the event they were damaged. Dr. D seemed sure that he was going to have to remove one if not both tubes, but again I prayed for that to not happen even though I knew that would most likely happen. Joe took my stuff and was led to the waiting room as I was led to the operating room. I remember the anesthesia coming and then I was out!
After the surgery
I woke up in a recovery room in pain. I remember yelling for the nurse and he came running over and asked what was wrong. I told him I had “really really bad cramps”, it was so painful and that says a lot coming from me. He then upped whatever pain meds were in my IV and then I soon after dozed back to sleep. I think it was about 4:30 pm and I remember waking up in either that same room or another room (it looked different to me) and seeing Joe sitting beside me. This time when I woke up I was super nauseous and a different nurse, an older woman, came in with this cool nausea relief trick – one of those small alcohol pads. She told me to sniff it and it would relieve the nausea – it worked! We were amazed! As I continued to wake up I was given water, ginger ale and graham crackers. The next step was to get me to pee. I sat there drinking water, attempted to respond to a text from my parents but was still a little foggy, and then the nurse wanted to try to get me to walk to the bathroom. She helped me out of the bed, I was really sore, and I remember walking so slowly to the bathroom. I had to pee but I sat there for about 20 minutes and nothing happened. Even with drinking water and having the water running, no luck with attempt #1. So she assisted me back to the bed and assured me that this was normal. The sucky part about this was that I could not leave until I peed. Didn’t sound so bad until I realized it was almost 6:00 and I still had no luck after attempt #2.
It was around 6:30 pm or so when I heard one of the nurses saying that if I didn’t pee within the next hour they would call Dr. D and then have to send me home with a catheter – oh heck no! I was like, “I’ll try again! I’m not going home with a catheter!” My nurse asked me if I wanted to try again but go to a different bathroom, I was down! I went into that bathroom for attempt #3 and literally spoke to my bladder. I said, “you will pee in the name of Jesus!” I repeated that three times and then the pee started flowing! I screamed to the nurses and Joe, “I’m peeing!!!!” ?
The nurse helped me back to my room and into the bed. They were preparing to discharge me as I drank the rest of my ginger ale. By this time it was about 7:00 pm. Just before I put my clothes on I remember lying there in the bed as the nurse gathered some papers and put them in this Huntsville Hospital folder. She was saying something and next thing I heard her say was, “well they got your tubes…” and some other stuff that I don’t remember. I was like, “wait. What tubes?” It got so quiet and I felt like Joe gave her the death stare. She said, “you didn’t know they were taking your tubes?” My chest began to tighten up and tears welled up in my eyes. I said, “I knew there was a possibility, but I hadn’t heard yet what ended up happening.” The next thing I heard her say was, “well you can adopt.” And I lost it. I remember Joe grabbing me closer to him, helping me get dressed and he was just quiet. The nurse apologized like three times, but it was just dead silence. The other nurse came in with the wheel chair, I sat down and I slid on my Birkenstock’s with tears streaming down my face. The other nurse began to wheel me out while the nurse who was responsible for my tears (lol) apologized to Joe. I don’t remember hearing him say anything in response, but he later told me that he told her he was planning to tell me when we got home. Dang lady!
The ride home
Once I got wheeled to the car Joe helped me in and we were on our way. He broke the silence by telling me what Dr. D told him. The procedure ended up being a bit more extensive as I had one damaged tube that resulted in a lot of scarring. I indeed had Hydrosalpinx as he suspected. Scarring was on/near my ovaries, scarring was near the other tube, there was a lot of inflammation and all of this resulted in a Salpingectomy, which is the removal of both tubes. There was so much scarring that leaving the unaffected tube could have contributed to problems later, like an ectopic pregnancy. It was safer to remove them both. The good news was he was able to remove all of the scarred tissue. Hearing all of this was a hard pill to swallow. I remember crying again at this point and saying, “this isn’t what I prayed for.” Joe let me have my moment. Then I remember him saying, “even though this isn’t the outcome from the surgery you wanted, we ultimately prayed for God to reveal what’s going on and for your healing.” He was right. That is what we had been praying for, I just didn’t want this to be the route. Without my fallopian tubes this now meant IVF would be our only option for having children – I didn’t want IVF.
Joe stopped and got me some food and we headed home. I told him it would be awesome if we had a TV in our room (because we don’t), so he brought the TV from his man cave into our room so I could spend my recovery binging on Netflix, just as I had planned. I talked to and cried with my parents on the phone. I was a mess. I hadn’t really processed everything that happened and at that time I wasn’t ready to. I turned my phone on silent and I drowned myself in a Chick-fil-a milkshake and a little ratchet TV until I was too tired to keep my eyes open.
July 26, 2019
The day after the surgery
The morning after is when it all hit me. The physical pain was my reminder – I was experiencing all the symptoms the doc said I would experience (pain in my shoulder from the oxygen they had to put into my stomach for the laparoscopy, soreness at the incision sites – there were four, and slight nausea). I texted my friends and some of my family to let them know the result of the surgery. I talked to my mom who told me she was coming in town that day to be with me, that made my day. I talked to my dad who also said he was hopping on a plane and flying down and then I talked to my younger sister who ended up encouraging me. I appreciated everyone being so concerned, I feel like that made this situation so much better. All the calls, texts and DMs of concern I received was overwhelmingly comforting. At the same time I was overwhelmed with other emotions which included sadness, anger and fear. I don’t think I had ever been angry with God, but that morning I was.
Why would He allow this to happen? Why didn’t I know about this sooner so I could prevent my tubes from being removed? What did I do to cause this? Is God punishing me?
I went through so many emotions, so many questions ran through my mind. I just couldn’t wrap my mind around any of this. The very thing that I didn’t want to happen became my reality. Why? What’s the point in all of this?
A couple hours after waking up, my room was soon filled with my girls who didn’t hesitate to hop in the bed with me and just be in the moment with me. They brought chai, donuts, lots of laughs and love and a few tears. They were just what I needed and I was reminded of all of us being in that same space two years ago for our sister who had just found out she was pregnant after miscarriage and IVF and how we rallied around her in support and celebration. It’s funny how that thing came full circle and literally two years later to date there they were with me. Even though I was mad at Him lol, I still acknowledged that God is good and intentional.
About an hour or so after my friends were there, my mom came through the door like a mother coming to the aid of her child. She hugged me and it felt like home, we both were bawling and then I think everyone in the room was crying at this point ? My mother and father-in-law came by and sat with me, my aunt came by, it was wonderful to receive all the comfort. All I needed was comfort because that’s all I could handle at the moment. I didn’t need to know what was going to happen next, how or when it was going to happen, or even if I would be able to handle it. My emotions and feelings wouldn’t allow me to process anything other than comfort ?
After everyone left I started to feel a little better. My mom assured me that I was going to be okay, deep down I believed that. Later that night my dad came in town and having both my parents there truly felt like home. It was the encouragement and comfort that I needed. My spirits were lifted and I started to feel like I was going to be okay.
Where I am now…
From that point until today, it has not been easy. Each day has had it’s own set of challenges. I’ve had days where I was okay and days where I was not. Not only was I dealing with emotional pain but I was also dealing with physical pain. I thought my recovery time would be short and sweet, but it literally was 3 weeks before I started to feel 100% better. There were days I was waking up in pain and thinking something is wrong, what is going on?! My doctor explained that my body was still healing, it was an extensive surgery and would take time to recover. Because of all the scarring there was a possibility scarring would come back, but I had to take meds to help reduce inflammation and also reduce inflammation-causing foods. I was able to work a full week on the 3rd week after the surgery. In regards to my mental health, sometimes I still find myself processing and working through feelings and emotions. Whoever said infertility is a roller coaster of emotions was not lying. It’s probably the toughest thing I’ve ever had to deal with in my life because it’s almost like it’s never-ending. When you get over one dip, there’s another one up ahead. You mentally prepare yourself for each one and while it should get easier sometimes it feels like it gets harder. The road up ahead will have more challenges, but what has helped me thus far is literally God (I’m not mad at him anymore lol). I HAVE to have my time with Him everyday. I’ve started a journal where I write down my feelings, my thoughts and my prayers. I listen to worship music daily and always try to find something encouraging to listen to and/or read and I try to have something funny to listen to/watch like a podcast, YouTube video or movie. That’s literally what’s keeping me going – that and my supportive village ?
To anyone reading this who may be dealing with infertility, listen.. I get it. I consider myself a newbie in the TTC (trying to conceive)/infertility community, but because I’ve been suffering in silence for so long I feel like I’ve been right here with you all along. As I encourage myself, I want to encourage you to not give up. Keep fighting for what God has promised you. This road is hard, it sucks and it’s probably the most difficult thing you’ve ever been through, but I believe that it will get better and there will be a miracle waiting on the other side of this mountain. I’ve seen God work miracles in so many couples’ lives and I know it will happen for me and Joe and any other couple reading this and fighting for their miracle.
To anyone who is just dealing with a mountain period, I want to encourage you to keep going, keep climbing. Allow yourself to have your moments when needed, but don’t give up. Just because God doesn’t answer your prayer in the way you wanted Him to doesn’t mean He’s not working, it doesn’t mean He’s punishing you and it certainly doesn’t mean it’s not going to work out. Don’t let the enemy make you feel like God has forgotten about you or that He doesn’t care because it’s all a lie. Everything you’re facing is working together for your good, even though it may not seem like it. Hold onto what He has promised you, write it down if you have to and cling to it like your life or someone else’s life depends on it – because it does.
I’ll be sharing more of our journey soon. Until next time…