I was nervous about that early morning. I usually have to eat something right away in the morning to not get sick. They said I couldn't have anything in my mouth... no gum, no mints, nothing. But God was gracious. I never gagged or threw up. We woke up at 4:30 and put our shoes on and got in the truck to make the short drive to the hospital. It was strange. I had often made that drive early in the morning. It was the same hospital where I had worked for five years on the mother/baby floor. I had come here in painful labor (had four of the boys here), or to report for work, but never like this. I checked in for surgery. The waiting room was filled with elderly patients. One older man was taking care of his wife slumped over in a wheelchair. One look at them, and you knew their life was difficult. Perspective was everywhere.
I was taken to pre-op, asked the same questions over and over again. Do I have dentures, a pacemaker, piercings, allergic to any medications, had anesthesia before, would I be willing to receive blood?
The time went fast. An IV was started. We signed all those forms. And then they gave me my "cocktail" and I was wheeled back to the OR. I remember going into the room and waking up in recovery. I was so tired. So out of it. I remember my doctor telling me everything went well. I was in and out. Right away, I felt awful, so tired, but I just thought it was the anesthesia. And some of it probably was. My anesthesiologist walked by me and said I looked very pale. They checked my hemoglobin level with a bedside machine. It was 8.4. I came in at 13. It was definitely a loss, but not totally abnormal.
I was sent to the next recovery room, the step down unit that was supposed to send me home soon. As soon as I was able to go to the bathroom and eat and drink without throwing up. They said it was time to go to the bathroom. I said, "I'm not trying to be dramatic, but I'm not sure I can make it to the bathroom." They let me use a bedside commode and I barely made it there. I had one last hemoglobin scheduled at 12:30 before I was to go home. I'd never felt this way before, like I was crashing. I couldn't turn my head from side to side without the room spinning. Every movement was labored. I knew something wrong. I nervously waited for those lab results. I couldn't rest because I was afraid to fall asleep at this point. I was checking my bleeding, noting my vital signs, and watching for anything else that could explain how I felt. The phone rang and I heard the nurse repeat the lab back to the person on the phone. 5.4. I knew that wasn't good. I knew I would need blood.
Thank you, Lord. My first unit of blood went in fine. It was strange being the recipient of blood. I'd given blood to patients lots of times before, but as it was going in my veins, I sat and wondered who it came from. I thought about all the people who had died before they knew about giving blood. I was grateful.
I was admitted to the gynecology floor and given my second unit of blood there. By that time it was midnight. I felt a little better. The feeling that I was crashing was gone. I was unimaginably tired. It was then that I first realized that I wasn't nauseated anymore. Amazing. They take the baby out and all those hormones. Gone. I stayed up all night watching movies that are on late at night in hospitals. I was too uncomfortable to sleep. I had SCD's on, a catheter, IV, and oximeter. I couldn't get comfortable. Chris slept beside me on the couch. I chewed on gum that a friend had brought to me and ate some graham crackers. I was feeling better but was too scared to eat. I wanted to get that lab value back before I started eating. What if I was internally bleeding somewhere, and they needed to do another surgery. I didn't want a full stomach. See, that's what being a nurse does to you. Crazy things.
My lab came back as 8 point something. Such a relief. A huge improvement. If I could walk to the bathroom, eat, and keep down the food, I could go home after my 5 PM hemoglobin. I waited around that day in the hospital. A couple friends came to visit. When I went to take a nap after lunch, I felt my heart racing. Like really racing. I looked at my oximeter and my pulse was in the 150's. What in the world? The nurse came in. She called the doctor. Long story short, I had some testing done, and it didn't turn out to be anything, except tachycardia. I really think it was a panic attack. I'm not sure if I've ever been that emotionally spent. A combination of all the events of the last couple months, feeling sick, Asher's broken arm, losing the baby, and now having this procedure be somewhat scary. I'm generally a laid back person, but it was all too much. And I think it was my body's way of reacting, in those hours, to all that had gone on. I'm definitely not proud that I reacted this way, that my heart was full of anxiety. This pregnancy and time in the hospital was an indicator for me of where I was really at with God. I may write more on that later.
My 5:00 hemoglobin came back close to 9. We were in the clear to go home. I needed sleep, to be off the monitors. They called for transport. I'd only left this hospital with a baby in my arms. I was keenly aware that on the other side of the floor were all the moms and newborns. I felt empty. I had had a baby too. But not in my arms when we left. It was a cold night. They wheeled me to the car. We went home and I went straight to our room and had Chris get rid of all the pregnancy things on my nightstand... crackers, little bowls of dry cereal, mints... and I took a 2 minute shower, all I could muster at the time, and crawled in bed and went right to sleep. I didn't wake up 4 times in the middle of the night to use the bathroom. I wasn't pregnant anymore. It was over. This pregnancy was over.