Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Facing Surgery

At 45 I have only had two surgeries and been under general anesthesia four times. The prospect of the "little death" is actually more scary than the surgery itself.

The first time was when my third child, David Israel, was born. He was posterior. My midwife had transported me to the hospital due to the fact I was having so much pain between contractions and my babies were so large. She also could not determine what part of the baby was presenting. Fear of a transverse presentation  (I did experience this with a later delivery) and a possibly rupturing uterus, we called for an ambulance.

This was not a good birthing experience for me. The doctor refused to allow me to have any support person what so ever in the labor room with me after giving me pain meds-actually giving me "Twilight Sleep". Had I known this before, I would have refused. Had it known it was "Twilight Sleep", I would have refused. In the delivery room, I was given ether, tied down by my wrists and ankles, "delivered of the child by use of 'high' forceps" and woke up later in a 3rd bed in a recovery room (3rd room), asking for my baby. I was told it was a male and nothing else could be told me to until my mother-in-law arrived. They refused to let my husband any where near me, with good reason for their safety. The child was born "coal tar black", not breathing, and suffered a seizure a few days later that caused enlargement of the ventricles in his brain which also results in shrinkage of the brain itself. This resulted in a diagnosis of Severe Spastic Cerebral Palsy.

You can only imagine how this affected my view of hospital births, (my previous 2 had been born at home), and anesthesia during birth. Please note, this happened in 1990.

The next time I went under general anesthesia was in 1994 when my fifth child was born. Sabrina Eden had been breech. My doctor attempted an External Cephalic Version. This child got transverse with her head right under my heart and very literally started shaking her head, "NO!" We could see it on the ultra-sound and my belly! She is still the child will dig her heels in!

Needless to say, her refusal to even go back to a breech position, resulted in a C-Section two weeks later when labor started spontaneously, four weeks early. (She weighed in at 9lbs. 3 oz. & was 21 inches long). This was a different doctor. Different hospital. Different county. Not the home-birth I had so wanted again, but a much better hospital experience than before.

My next general anesthesia experience was four years later in 1998, had my gall bladder removed after they saw "gravel" in it when doing an ultra sound of my kidneys. I came out of surgery with elevated blood pressure. I remember waking up to the recovery nurse telling me to open my mouth, she wanted me to take a sub-lingual dose of Corgard.  I had warned the doctors and nurses, before surgery, that this medication had been used on me before and it always bottomed out my blood pressure., a potentially life-threatening condition, especially as it dropped to something over 63. (Note-I was at the hospital I gave birth to David Israel in.)

The last time was in 2010. I had a LEEP procedure performed. I woke up once, no drifting in and out, no recovery of senses but no eyes open, just suddenly my eyes were open. The nurse came in a few minutes later, took my vitals, told me to go get something to eat, went over after-care instructions and sent me home. I puked my guts out as I stepped out of the car at the house.

As you see, I have mixed experiences  with "going under". I have some serious reservations about loosing body parts. (Have always regretted letting the gall bladder be removed.) But I have lots of things to consider here.

In seven short days I go talk to the GYN Surgeon to see if she will take my case or refer me to someone else. As a self-pay patient, making less than $20,000 a year, I am also considered a "charity" case. If she will take my case, I will need to already know what I want to do so that I can make pre-payment arrangements with her and the hospital.

The GYN agreed to administer an injection of Progesterone to buy me some symptom relief for 3 months. I asked for this. Those that have known me any length of time, will know that would not be a normal choice for me. However, I am sick of vaginal bleeding every day, menstrual cycles that have been diagnosed as "hemorrhaging", all degrees of uterine cramping, severe anemia and all of its symptoms.

I have been one of the lucky ones, to be very in touch with my body since a young age-in my teens. I always know when I ovulate. I know when something is wrong or right. I was very blessed to actually know the very moment of conception of each of my ten children and therefore to have truly known them and communicated with them from that very moment. I have always been at peace with my body and being a woman and having a uterus-bleeding on a regular basis. It was a a blessing of God. But in recent years, the past 3 or so, the spells of actually hating my body have become increasingly longer & more frequent.

I have 6 days to consider all the options and the pros & cons of each. My inner student is doing lots of research. 

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