My mind is trying to grasp reality: I have an ectopic pregnancy; it could explode at any moment. The mass has grown to approximately 2 cm in diameter in my tube. With urgency in his voice my doctor asks when I last ate. I stumble over my words still trying to swallow my diagnosis, “About 10 minutes ago.” I will be undergoing laparoscopic surgery for an ectopic pregnancy.
He frowns. We need to get you into surgery as soon as possible but we’ll have to wait at least four hours since you last ate.
“Your surgery will be at 4pm. The nurse will come up to your room to prepare you and you’ll have the time until then to mentally prepare yourself.”
I turn to leave and as soon as I step outside his office, tears roll down my face. I’m going in for surgery. There is not one more ounce of hope: this pregnancy is over.
“I’m scared,” is all I can say to Richard.
He holds my hand all the way back to my room. The nurse comes in shortly after we arrive and asks Richard to leave. Everything is feeling more and more like surgery. She gives me an enema and tells me she can shave off my pubic hair or I can do myself in the shower if I prefer.
“Here are some Q-tips to clean your bellybutton too,” she says before leaving the room.
My breathing is shallow and my whole body is stiff. I’m scared. All I can do is try to concentrate on the ‘tasks’ I now have to do.
Richard comes back in and asks how I’m doing as I hold the liquid in a place where liquid is not meant to be inserted.
“I have five minutes until I can go to the bathroom,” I tell him while concentrating.
He somehow manages to make me laugh distracting me from my urge to watch the seconds go by on my watch. Finally, the five minutes are over.
Next, it’s into the shower. I look down in disbelief that I have to do this. Richard waits next to the shower at my request – my tube could theoretically explode any minute. Really though I want him there for moral support. I begin shaving away. It’s a really weird feeling going bald. There seems to be no progress as I try a myriad of different techniques and angles.
Richard is patiently waiting for me and inquires about my progress. “Almost done,” I assure him.
I come out of the shower with no more hair and a clean belly button. “Looks pretty strange, eh?” I ask knowing the answer.
“Yes, that is”, he confirms.
Laparoscopic Surgery for an Ectopic Pregnancy – Waiting!
We killed only an hour. We have three more hours until I go into the laparoscopic surgery procedure. What the hell am I going to do until then?
We talk. Richard reads me an article out of The Oprah Magazine. As time goes by I get more and more accustomed to the fact that I will be having surgery.
My fear does not subside but, I’ve accepted the fact.
Every little twinge in my side makes me paranoid. What if it explodes before surgery? I’m too concerned. I call the nurse in to tell her I’m having pain in my side. She sees the fear on my face and nods her head like she doesn’t know what to do with the information.
To be completely honest, I don’t even know if the pain is real or imagined.
Laparoscopic Surgery for an Ectopic Pregnancy
It’s a quarter to four when the nurse comes in. She is here to take me to surgery. “You need to leave your glasses here”, she says. I put my glasses on the tray next to my bed leaving me completely blind. I say goodbye to Richard as she rolls me out of the room on my bed.
We’re in the elevator and once we roll out into a hallway I realize we’re in a part of the hospital I have never been in. Everything is going by in a blur. She rolls my bed into the prep room.
A doctor is there to help me move over to the surgery bed. I hate that I can’t see his face as he talks to me and tells me where to put my arms.
At this point I wish they would just put me out. I don’t want to know what is going on as I’m being prepped. I’m just getting more and more nervous as my surroundings become more unfamiliar.
Laparoscopic Surgery Anesthesia
I’m rolled into the surgery room by the faceless man. The anesthesiologist goes over some paperwork with me and asks me if I ate anything since noon. Please will you put me out?
Somehow, I realize this is not going to happen soon, so I decide to concentrate on calming myself down. I begin to breathe deeply and say a mantra in my head. My body begins to relax. Meanwhile, the anesthesiologist is using my stomach as a table to finalize the forms.
“Sign here,” he says. I can’t even see that there is a line to sign on. I squint and make my best guess.
Back to breathing. I listen to my heart rate beep on the machine next to me and breathe in for two counts and out for four. The needle is now in my hand it must start working soon …
After Laparoscopic Surgery for an Ectopic Pregnancy
Convulsing, cold and pain. That is all I can remember from waking up in my room. Richard, however, remembers it quite vividly.
The doctor came down to my room before I was out of surgery to tell Richard that it went very well. As they were talking, the nurse rolled me in my room on my bed.
My body was convulsing and my eyes were moving independently of each other. In pain, I pleaded for someone to give me something for my pain. I heard voices assuring me they were working on it.
When my pain did not subside I asked why I heard promises but I still had pain. The pain was accompanied by an indescribable cold.
Having been winter camping for three nights in northern Wisconsin I know what cold is, but after that surgery I felt an indescribable frigidness that topped those nights in the tent. The nurse tucked another blanket around me. And the doctor affectionately brushed his hand along my check.
Richard asked half frustrated, half jokingly if he should run to the pharmacy and get me something for my pain. He then turned to the nurse and asked if this was normal. She could see that he knew the answer was no.
But the explanation as to why I had to endure this was what Richard was after. The nurse looked him in the eye and explained,
“The standard procedure is for the patient to wake up in the wake-up room where drugs are administered that wake the patient up slowly and treat their pain. For this, the patient has to be connected to a breathing machine. We only have the staff here for that during the week. This is an emergency surgery; we usually do not do surgeries here on the weekend.”
In short, they don’t have the staff here to give me a warm fuzzy wake-up.
Eventually, the doctor and nurse left my room and Richard sat next to my bed and held my hand while I moaned in pain. Impatiently waiting for the nurse to return with pain medication, Richard finally pressed the call button.
Relief at Last
Less than a minute later the nurse came into my room with an IV of pain relief. It seemed to take forever but the medication did take effect and my moans got softer.
My brain started to function normally as the evening went on. I woke up and saw Richard reading a magazine in the chair at the foot of my bed. Later, I opened my eyes to see my fertility doctor standing just inside my room. He had a concerned look on his face and didn’t seem to know what to say. I thanked him for making the decision to send me in to the hospital. He nodded and that is all I can remember.
As I became more coherent, I became scared. Thoughts crept into my head uninvited. Did everything go OK? I am going to heal completely?
Richard assured me the My laparoscopic surgery was a complete success.
The evening turned into night and I began fading in and out of sleep. Richard sat by my bed and held my hand. His voice always has the most soothing effect on me.
Tonight was no different. “Can you tell me a story?” I innocently requested.
“Of course”, came the reply I was longing to hear. “There once was a lizard walking through a meadow…” I drifted to sleep.
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