Trigger Warning: Infertility and Graphic Images of Blood
I woke up to a pinch in my upper right thigh. Flicking my hospital gown to the side, I glanced down to my leg. Bandages were fastened up to my hip bone. A nurse approached me, "You hemorrhaged during the procedure, so it took a while longer. The doctor said other than that, it went well."
Forcing a smile, I hoped this fix was all that it was cracked up to be. I grabbed my phone, remembering we were suppose to leave for my best friend's bachelorette party this morning. My throat became dry as I mulled over the thought that she's not getting married twice and there won't ever be a party like this again. What an awful bridesmaid.
From behind the curtain, Trey appeared with a coffee. The best dang thing in my life, that boy. He had the hospital essentials: laptop, charger, and clothes since the ones I arrived in were soaked in blood, stuffed in a biohazard bag somewhere. I was still bleeding some, so they suggested I stayed another night and could go home the following day.
Later on, Trey brought Trax by and he wasn't a fan of sitting on the hospital bed. He mostly stared, demanded snacks, and called out, "Mommy has owwies!" Elizabeth, my sister-in-law, came to visit too. She was headed out on a tanking trip. The last time I saw her she was letting me lay my head on her lap as we waited for the ambulance to arrive.
The next day, the bleeding had almost subsided and it was time to head home. Trey brought me to Aurora and I recovered mostly in his bed in his childhood room. I was suppose to start a new job in Omaha in a couple weeks and I wanted to rest up as much as possible.
For a few weeks, I was healing great. I no longer needed pain killers and I wasn't using that much ibuprofen. I began my new 8-5 job and loved every minute of it. My responsibilities were social media marketing, website design, and photography. My heart never felt more at home. About a month into the job, I woke up one morning from work to blood in my bed.
the bleeding came back
I carried on the next day or two, with ibuprofen. The bleeding was manageable and the doctor did say the embolization may not stop the bleeding forever. It was day three, when I started to feel dizzy and couldn't focus on simple tasks. The bleeding became heavier and I knew it was time to head to the doctor.
Thankfully, my doctor was able to see me the following day. We did another pelvic ultrasound and after, I sat across from him up on the exam table. "I do not see a cause for the bleeding. We knew the embolization wouldn't fix this for good. One option is we could try a birth control shot, which would slow the bleeding for a few months. However, you can only get this shot a few times a year, meaning there would be a period of time where you couldn't have it and the bleeding may return."
I knew the other option was taking my uterus out. Realizing there were no lasting solutions, I said, "Let's take my uterus out." There was no phone call to Trey or asking for a minute to consider my options. Him and I were ready to make this decision a month ago, when I hemorrhaged after my second surgery. I followed someone to a back room and sat in on the call to our insurance company. The hysterectomy would be in two days and we had to check if the surgery needed pre-approval.
Our insurance said we were good to go and I headed back out to the waiting room. I texted Trey and shared the news with my mom, who had patiently waited in the clinic for me. After spending hours at the doctor's office, we headed to the Panera drive thru and ordered a few salads. I knew it would eventually come to this.
humor is healing
At home, I called Trey who was still in our hometown with Trax, two hours away from my new job. He seem relieved that they could do the surgery so soon. That was one of the sweetest facts about this whole tragedy. Him and I were always on the same page. On the call he said, "I would hope you picked the hysterectomy." I laughed and said I did, thinking of how comical this story has become.
I began preparing for the day and for this next stage of life: A hysterectomy at 25. I did not feel hesitation, but more so guilt that I had not found a solution to this pelvic pain saga sooner. I prayed this hysterectomy would hopefully be a big step forward and kick this bleeding to the curb.
Surgery morning wasn't fun. It was early and I just had no idea if my third surgery this year would actually solve the problem or let my rib cage collapse to my hips for no reason at all. (This is what Google said my body would do after my uterus was removed, lol) Either way, I was doing it and had grazed over this idea 100 times by now.
My doctor removed my uterus and tubes, but left my ovaries. He mentioned this would be easier on my body, because I wouldn't need hormone replacement therapy. When I woke up after the surgery, my pain was a crazy 10. My pelvis burned violently, it felt as if someone was smoothing out a wrinkle on my hip line with a hot iron. I cried out to Trey and the nurses that I needed more meds. My primary nurse was skeptical. Apparently she had just given me some, but the scorching pain in my pelvis continued. Another nurse heard me and responded, "Maybe we should give her some more."
After they pushed more medication, I calmed down and the pain was numbed. I imagined my body was so used to pain killers at this point that a normal dose wouldn't do the trick. For the rest of my stay, I felt comforted. It seemed like I turned over a new leaf.
As I recovered the next couple of weeks, I was optimistic the surgery made a difference. However, like clockwork, I started to experience sharp cramping and burning in my ovaries. Later, there would be days where wearing shorts or pants would hurt the skin around my pelvis and everything became extremely itchy. I scheduled an appointment with my doctor and she requested I head to the lab for bloodwork.
To all my mamas struggling with pelvic pain - please fight for relief. No one else is living in your body and no one else can speak for the symptoms you're experiencing. You may have to visit five different doctors and retell your patient history countless times, but you deserve healing. You deserve days without clinging to ibuprofen bottles. You can find a doctor who believes you, even if you really really don't have the energy to do so. Part four will be out soon.
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Trigger warning: Please be advised the following narrative contains graphic content relating to blood.
"I think these symptoms line up with an issue from your c-section." I met with a doctor in Lincoln, Nebraska and after reviewing my symptom timeline, he believed my side effects was sourcing from my delivery with Trax. He listened closely, brainstormed out loud with me, and made no promises as I left his office. I loved that. Many doctors I spoke to previously believed my issue was current, which is why Endometriosis was a plausible idea at the time.
My doctor's plan was to do a saline sonogram and take a closer look at my uterus. I liked this approach. It was new, but I was also scared to death of how painful it might be. My Google search of the procedure did not ease any nerves.
a painful pelvic ultrasound
On sonogram day, I clenched the sheet and asked the technician how much it would hurt. I was nauseous as heck thinking about catheters and sharp tools. The technician started with an ultrasound and I about gagged. Every movement felt like a jagged blow to my pelvis. I gritted my teeth as the tears started to flow. The technician was surprised and now understood why I was nervous to begin with.
She called my doctor in to conduct the sonogram. As he entered the room, his eyes hit the monitor. "I don't think I need to see more. You have an abnormal pocket on your uterus and it's free flowing with fluid." Back in his office, he sketched a photo of what he saw on the screen. I attached it below. He drew stitching around the pocket he saw.
abnormal pocket on my uterus
Normally, he wouldn't suggest fixing the uterus, but because of my extreme symptoms he recommended a robotic laparoscopy. My doctor would go in, reshape my uterus, and do a biopsy. He believed they did not catch this abnormality in my previous laparscopy because they did not pass through my uterine wall. I collapsed to tears in my car. An answer. Thank you Jesus. I could not wait to be free of pain. The surgery was scheduled a few weeks later.
The surgery went well. The biopsy came back with nothing, an okay sign to me. My stomach was covered in bumpy red scars and gray sticker goop, from all the wires fastened to my belly. Overall though, I felt good. I was happy to run back to my old life as soon as possible.
My doctor mentioned he believed my c-setion scar from 2019 healed improperly and that's what created the abnormal pocket. It was a bit ironic. I was recovering from my surgery in the same hospital I delivered my baby.
abnormal uterine bleeding begins
For a handful of weeks, I felt alright. I was learning how to back off pain killers and return to my ibuprofen routine. I even made it to North Carolina for our family trip in May!
On week three of recovery, I was back in my hometown with husband and son at my in-laws. I started to bleed a bit, but it wasn't much so I carried on with my day.
The following night, I woke up at midnight to my bed soaked in blood. I didn't panic, panic. I know post delivery and post surgery there are oftentimes random bouts of bleeding. Although, when I stood up, blood was dripping fast down my legs. I took a shower, cleaned up the bed, and carpet. I called our local ER just to be safe.
Trey makes a 911 call.
Once on the phone, the bleeding had slowed. I described a few cups of blood and since I wasn't losing much anymore, I decided to go in the next day if it got worse. The following morning, I called my doctor in Lincoln. I was prescribed medication to slow the bleeding. I took it twice that day and that night, but then I began to pass blood clots.
When I woke up the next day, I walked out of our room and stood motionless. On my last step, it felt like I had just given birth to a baby and it fell to the floor. I lost my breath as I looked down and saw a clot the size of one of my organs.
Blood continued to pour down my legs. I tried to walk a few steps but the pools of blood around me started to cover my feet. I didn't want to traipse through the entire house. I waved my hand at my sister-in-law. "I can't get it to stop," as I attempted to sop up the blood with a blanket.
the blood clots grew bigger
She grabbed a couple towels and wiped up some of the blood on the floor. I tried wrapping the towel around my waist for pressure. The blood didn't stop. By this time, my husband, Trey, saw what was going on and asked if I wanted to get in the shower. I did a few steps, but my feet were stained with blood and I began passing more clots the size of golf balls.
We thought about jumping in the car to head to the ER, but I just envisioned someone's car getting wrecked with this bloody mess. Trey called for an ambulance. I took big deep breaths. I really didn't want to psych myself out. A few minutes had passed, blood was still seeping out, and I shimmied my way down to the floor to sit. Within a few seconds I was pretty nauseous and dizzy. I remember laying my head on my sister-in-law's lap and closing my eyes.
The fire station was only about two blocks from our house. I could hear the sirens blaring down the street. An EMT came inside and took a look. He said, "I know this looks like a lot of blood, but it isn't as much as it looks okay?" I was able to walk outside with their help and scoot onto a stretcher.
A blurry ambulance ride
In the ambulance, I zoned in and out. I could feel clots continuing to pass, it was next level disgusting. I was conscious most of the drive to Grand Island, but as we entered town my organs tightened and immediately felt overworked. I had always imagined people passing out to feel light, pain-free, a moment of stillness. However, when I could no longer keep my eyes open, my body went into uproar. Every inch of my skin was not mine. It tingled, burned, and demanded energy I didn't have. I heard the EMT shout to the driver, "Light it up!"
The sirens rang in my ear like a parade. Wake up Logan. I squinted my eyes and attempted to glance out the window. Billboards on Highway 281, we were almost there. I sunk deep into my body the rest of the ride. It was exhausting and sickening to keep my eyes open. As we arrived, I fixated on the rattling of the wheels on the stretcher. The tiny bumps. The grim hallways. The muffled voices.
They rolled me into a room and hooked me up to replace the blood I lost. I faintly remember seeing Trey, "How are you?" he asked. Not good. I was so mad at my body. Why is good news always followed with bad?
a stay in the intensive care unit
The nurses prepared to place a balloon, in order to control the bleed. When the doctor walked in, I knew it was time. He first placed a catheter and I screamed for several minutes. The pain was similar to a steak knife rotating clockwise, circle after circle. Placing the balloon was just as bad.
A while later, they transferred me up to the ICU. I continued to bleed, but it definitely slowed down. I spoke with a doctor, which was hard because I had to recount my health history from the last few months. He recommended an embolization, which would block my blood vessels with tiny gelatin sponges. I wasn't convinced. I'd experienced many of these 'fixes' and this new idea sounded like a science experiment. The embolization was not a permanent solution.
Trey and I were on the same page, we wanted them to take my uterus out. That seemed to have the greatest possible outcome and it was the source of most of my problems. However, we spoke with my doctor in Lincoln and he too agreed, the embolization was the best route to take. The next afternoon they reeled me into horridly cold white procedure room. I stared up at the glaring white head lamp, hoping I didn't make a stupid mistake.
Thanks for popping by y'all. I am slowly making my way through storytelling my last year and the medical events that transpired from my c-section complication. Please share this with a mama who may be going through something similar! I will be posting part three here shortly.
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