Thanks for all the warm thoughts and prayers. I appreciate the FB and text messages. While it's all fresh in my mind, I'll relay the last few days, although I'm sure recovery info will be included as the days progress.
Sarah and I flew into Chicago Sunday afternoon. What a great public transportation system (as compared to Philly). We got out of Midway, went straightaway to a waiting METRO car, and were at the stop for our hotel on the Loop in less than a half hour. Our hotel, the Congress Plaza, makes you feel like you've stepped back into the days of Elliot Ness and Al Capone (which was one of the reasons I chose it- that and a SWEET deal). We checked in and, although we intended to use the "24 Hour Fitness Center", the only bummer of the hotel was the fact that it was a terrifying room (that smelled bad) in the basement. I wouldnt go there alone (and it didnt feel safe with us together!), so we trashed the idea of hitting the treadmills (and I'm glad I ran in the morning). There's no free internet at the hotel, which sucks too (and wasn't clear when making reservations or checking in... Bummer... May hit up a local coffee shop tomorrow to log in...)
We met up with Sarah's sister, Maureen, at the Signature Lounge in the Hancock Bldg for overpriced drinks but a priceless view. Well worth it. Then, we went downstairs for dinner (at Cheesecake Factory). While I'm normally a eat local kind of girl, I needed to pack in some serious food for the next day, since I knew eating would be pretty much out of the question. And I wanted a slice of cheesecake. So it all worked out.
Bright and early Monday morning, we took a cab to UIC and checked in. I went into pre-op relatively quickly and then the joys of finding a vein kicked in. God has made it clear to me in two main ways that I would never be able to be an IV drug user. My veins are pains to find and get, and I get extremely pukey with narcotics. Fun times. So, the poor nurse tried twice before calling an anesthesiologist, who, on her third try was able to get a vein- in my wrist. Like where you slice your wrist area. If you've never had an IV there, I can tell you it's not the most comfortable place in the world... But, hey, it was in. They hoped that once I was out, they'd get another one elsewhere. (The tried 2 more sticks when I was unconscious... But, that didnt work either. I tell you- crappy veins.)
So, Ani... One of the initial reasons I felt okay about the TAC was that Dr. Haney told me I could have a spinal if I was uncomfortable with general. I've had 2 spinals, but never had 'gone under' and wasnt looking forward to being asleep for surgery. Both he and the anesthesiologist were fine with whatever I chose, but because of the possible scaring of Bobby and Maya's c/section and not knowing how long I'd need to be under (since the spinal has a more finite period than general), not to mention the fact that I didn't sleep at all on Sunday night (nerves and missing the fam), I decided to take a sleep. As Sarah joked with me (they let her back with me after I was initially gowned up in pre-op until I was being led to the OR, which was unexpected and really nice), it's great when we make the grown up decisions last minute and under duress!
I got on the table and laid down, was given "oxygen", and the next thing I remember, I was waking up in the recovery ICU and several hours had passed. A strange sensation to say the least. They explained that my IV was hooked up to a morphine drip that I could use on-demand, and that I had a catheter in, so there was no need to get out of bed. While I can tell you that I was uncomfortable and crampy, I was no where near where I would consider using an Advil, let alone morphine that would cause me to hurl. The nurses were all surprised this morning, when my IV was pulled, that I hadn't used any of the drip; the pain wasn't that much. But I'm skipping ahead...
What I've learned post TVC and C/S is that I cant eat after anesthesia or surgery. No drugs, no food. Water and ginger ale are hard enough to hold down, even with anti-nausea meds (like Zophran). Dr. Haney told Sarah to expect me to be completely out of it for the day and to not even know she was there, probably because he presumed I'd be doped up. But, other than being tired and taking catnaps throughout the day, I was fine. Sore, crampy (because, of course, my monthly was due and came right on schedule!), but fine. I ordered dinner, but didnt have more than a few sips of soup and bites of bread before I felt like I'd be sick. I kept it and tried two rounds, spread out by an hour, but ultimately, I felt bad that it had barely been touched. Sarah was a great nurse! She made sure there was always water and ice and gingerale ready. Whenever I was woken in the middle of the night, she was right by my side, just being there or rubbing my head until I fell back to sleep. She had the option of staying with her sister, but instead, slept on a rollaway (where she's actually dozing now, poor thing). Because my resting heartrate is lower (45-55: thanks running!), I had my vitals checked every 3 hours, which meant lights on every three hours. Add to it the changing of nursing staff, changing of my IV bag, emptying of the cath, and a middle of the night blood count check, and there werent a lot of solid hours of sleep. She was a trooper! My night nurse was awesome and gave me a middle-of-the-night room service menu, and around midnight, I ate half a PB&J sandwich, some applesauce, a PB cookie, and split a Choc Chip Cookie Sarah had gotten from the AuBonPain downstairs. It may not sound great, but it was the Four Seasons for me because I actually wanted to eat it. Before heading off to bed, I had some liquid Motrin and Zophran put through my IV to try and allow me some uninterupted sleep. Honestly, though, pain management hasn't been a problem.
This morning, around 4:45am local time, my nurse came in to remove my catheter and IV. So now, I'm officially off-the-hook. :) Sarah helped me get out of bed for a very brief walkaround and I'm sitting up in bed now. I'm sore. There's no denying that. But I can't say that I'm in pain. Some of the cramps are menstrual, some of the pain is gas pain (which is common post general ani, anyway), and some of it, no doubt, is from the surgery itself. It's almost 6am here and I'm hoping to get a shower after I see Dr. Haney on his rounds and get info about the incision, dressing, etc. He wrote a script for Percocet, which is acetaminophen tripped out with oxycodone), for home use, but I plan on asking for a high-dose ibuprophen instead. We'll see what he says and his suggestion.
I talked to the kids on the phone last night. It was great; I missed them a lot. Today, is St. Nicholas's Day, so last night Peter told them the stories and they left out a shoe. This morning, they will find a dollar coin and some tasty treats! I'm really sad to miss this...
They are doing fine. I had no doubts about Peter's ability to do it; I was more concerned about how they would handle not seeing me for a few days. While they've had some moments, he tells me that they are doing fine for the most part. He took them to the Mall on Sunday afternoon, they went to the playground yesterday, and I'm sure he'll find something fun for them today and tomorrow as well! I'll get home around dinner time tomorrow, so I'm not expecting to really do anything out-of-the-house with them.
I've had a lot of folks ask if we are pregnant or if the TAC is a precursor to becoming pregnant. First off, I'm not pregnant. As to getting pregnant, Dr. Haney assures me that I could now carry a pregnancy with no concern, and I don't doubt that. His exact words yesterday were "You don't go buy a gown and not go to the dance." But, we aren't planning another pregnancy. We don't believe in birth control, so is another pregnancy possible? Yes. Would we be grateful and excited? You bet! Terrified (even with the TAC)? Completely. We're not planning on trying to chart out cycles, time intercourse, take fertiity meds, etc. If our family is complete as is, then so be it. If another soul chooses us to be his or her parents, then we are delighted. But it's not as simple as 1-2-3 for us. We chose the TAC as a preventative measure. I didnt expect to get pregnant again; last year, I was shocked. Although Grace's pregnancy ended in an early miscarriage, it did bring sight to the fact that a pregnancy would be possible and we knew then that we needed to figure out what to do. Hence the TAC.
A TAC won't prevent a miscarriage and, in the event I had a miscarriage in the first trimester, I would either have a natural loss or a D&C like the average mother. A second trimester miscarriage or stillbirth at term would, like a live birth, be handled as a cesarean delivery. The trade off for having a full term pregnancy via the TAC is required c/s. (for more information on Transabdominal Cerclages, click here and here) In my case, however, of being able to carry a healthy pregnancy into the second trimester, Dr. Haney feels that we could have success with multiple, full term pregnancies, including twins if we were so blessed again. But whether or not there are more babies at casa Haytko, via adoption or birth, is something we're leaving to the Universe.
Thanks again for all the get-well wishes and warm thoughts. I'll post more in the future, once I'm out and about. Sarah and I are (fingers crossed) going to grab some deep dish for dinner!!