Flashback Friday is a weekly series that takes you back to earlier moments in our story as a married couple dealing with infertility. We’ll give you glances of what we’ve been through, what steps we’ve taken to get us here, and what we’ve learned along the way.
To pick up from my last post, I had the hysterosalpingogram in November of 2011, and thought my tubes were blocked and we would not be able to biologically have children. After talking to our doctor about the results it was recommended to have laproscopic surgery in February of 2012. I had talked to friends that had gone through IVF so I wasn’t surprised and knew this would be a possibility, but it’s never easy hearing you need surgery.
Dan and I of course took the doctor’s advice and agreed to have the surgery. First, we had an appointment that explained exactly what the surgery would entail and the instructions for the night before and surgery day. At another appointment I had to watch a video that explained all the risks involved in this type of surgery. I’ll be honest after that video I wasn’t sure I wanted to have the surgery. I was definitely nervous and wondering if this was worth the risk. But I found my courage and signed all the consent papers.
The laparoscopic surgery was needed to officially determine if my tubes were in fact blocked. The doctor would be making two incisions, one in my belly button and one below my waist, both only about .25 to .5 inches. They would inflate my lower abdomen with carbon dioxide gas to be able to see my tubes and ovaries better. Then a laparoscope (fiber-optic tube with a light and camera) and specific surgical instruments would be put in my abdomen to take a look around. The doctor would observe my ovaries and determine if cysts were present, as well as any blockage in my tubes. Another doctor look in my uterus to make sure everything was in proper order.
Like many surgeries I couldn’t eat or drink anything past midnight the night before, and I was instructed to take some lovely medicine to clean out my intestines. I chose a grape flavor liquid from Walgreens and took the whole bottle the night before. Unfortunately I was up all night going to the bathroom and it was a very unpleasant evening/morning. After that uncomfortable ordeal I got dressed (jeans and sweats) and we went to the Baylis Center. The surgery would take place in the same building as our fertility office so we knew right where to go. I checked in and had to wait a short time before going back to the pre-surgical room. I was not feeling well; I was extremely nausea and very nervous. I had never had surgery before, unless you count getting my wisdom teeth removed.
Finally, they called me back. I dressed in my gowns and they prepped me. I knew I would be knocked out with general anesthesia, so embarrassingly enough I was most nervous for the IV. Have I ever mentioned I hate needles? Shots are one thing, even blood draws are doable, but an IV was the top dog of my fear. Ironically, the nurse told me I would feel better and less nauseous if I had fluids which could be only given to me through an IV. So it was time to meet my fear head on. I was happy to learn the nurse had a small shot to numb my hand before the IV went in. This made a huge difference. I felt pressure with the IV, but it wasn’t nearly as painful as I expected or as it could have been. She started the fluids and within 15 minutes I was feeling better. It felt good to have something in my system and I wasn’t nausea anymore.
We waited in the pre-surgery room for around an hour. The nurses were very kind and took good care of me. Finally it was time. Without my glasses I walked back to the surgical room with the aid of the nurse and felt pretty calm. I was a little nervous when I walked into the surgical room. I laid on a table and they put an oxygen mask over me and switched my IV to the anesthesia. I think they said I’ll start to relax and get sleepy. They had me count back from 100 and I think I made it to 97 before I was out, yeah I react really well to drugs. 🙂
Before I knew it I was waking up in a different room on a hospital bed. I remember being a little out of it and very thirsty, probably from the oxygen. The nurse took care of me and gave me a Sprite and some crackers, which I saw itemized on my surgical bill later. I talked to her a lot and even invited her to church. Oddly I found the courage to talk about church and God while recovering, I wish I always had that courage. Eventually, I dressed back into my clothes and the nurse wheeled me to the car that Dan pulled up to the building door.
I don’t remember the doctor talking to me about how the surgery went, but Dan filled me in. Surprisingly everything looked normal. The doctor didn’t see any blockage, my ovaries were healthy, as well as my uterus. I got a complete clean bill of health. This was almost shocking to me. I thought my tubes would be blocked or that I had endometriosis, but neither was true.
Again through this journey I was happy and relieved, but almost disappointed. Because if it wasn’t my tubes or ovaries and Dan checked out, what was our issue? Why couldn’t we conceive a child? What was wrong? These are still questions we have. After the surgery the doctor diagnosed us with unexplained infertility. This is very frustrating, but a blessing too. It’s heartbreaking not understanding the WHY, but at the same time it’s a relief for neither of us to feel the blame. Throughout this journey we try not to focus on the why and instead focus on the what can we do?