Tuesday, March 11, 2014

A stitch in time

I first met with my consultant 4 weeks ago and she's lovely.  A woman who, as I walked into the room, looked up from my hospital notes and said, 'Hello Georgie, I was saying that we're about to meet someone who isn't just a fighter, but a survivor.'  I nervously looked to my toes and thanked her before pulling out a wad of tissues to stem my cold.  I felt nothing like the fighter or survivor she spoke of, but she instilled in me a confidence for this pregnancy that I had carefully put on hold.

Laura (a senior nurse) who was also in the consulting room recognised me instantly.  I couldn't place her though and she was kind enough to say nothing more.  As is often the way it wasn't until we were discussing my pregnancy history and recounting the details of the various procedures I've had that I realised where I knew her from.  She was in the delivery room with Chris and I on the night we lost Ella, over five and a half years ago. 

That was the ice breaker, we shed tears for the memory of what had been and from that moment I knew I had been lined up with the right women - women who are exceptionally professional but with a grace and humility that touched a delicate chord.  They spoke about how they would help me put together a 'gorgeous pregnancy plan' and that I was to consider them as part of my team.  It sounds a bit floaty when I type it, but it wasn't.

I realised the words were carefully chosen so as not to frighten or worry me.  In the medical world no one usually says 'help' or 'team' unless there are some serious decisions to be made.  I had thought (providing I got off the pregnancy starting blocks in one piece) that this pregnancy would follow in the exact same mould as Leo's.  Cervical suture at 20 weeks and elective C-section at 38 weeks.  I absolutely didn't anticipate the bit about 'helping me put together a plan'.  I didn't have a plan, I thought it would be all mapped out like before.

But having looked at my notes and medical details my consultant gave me two options to make a plan for; Cervical Suture V's No Cervical Suture and Natural birth V's Elective C-section. 

This was when my brain imploded.  There were a hundred questions I asked and with every answer there were more questions found.  I needed time; I needed to speak with Chris and I needed to think everything through.  Secretly I held on to the firm belief that the mould which carried Leo was the exact same one I wanted again, BUT when you're suddenly given unexpected choices it shakes the cracks in the pavement upon which you're standing.  I stopped and got myself a Double Whopper and fries on the way home in the hope that it might help......

I returned for another visit last Thursday.  I was 15 weeks and 3 days.  My cervix was scanned and everything was normal, no shortening, just right.  I needed to make a decision about the suture so we discussed again the advantages and disadvantages and also what the other consultant's opinions had been, but I had one recurring question, 'I had a stitch during my pregnancy with Leo and carried him to 38 weeks.  We'll never know if that made the difference but if I don't have one will I be able to relax??  Unlikely and if something terrible happens there will always be the what if to deal with.'

When I asked them what they both thought Laura gave me her honest answer, 'You're in turmoil, it's a big decision, but I think it would be for the best if you had the suture.'  She was right, it was the only answer I believed in. 


I went into hospital yesterday morning and had the cervical suture put in.  I was presented with yet another choice; a spinal and general anaesthetic, or just a spinal.  I took the spinal option and asked for a relaxant that would enable me to dissolve into the table during the 7 minute procedure.  The anaesthetist must have given me a shot of something as I remember nothing and for that I'm relieved - there was no way I wanted to remain awake as my lower half, nicely numb, was fiddled with and stitched up. 

It was a day of heaviness too. 

It is what it is, but the maternity block is a stark reminder of both Ella and Leo.  In theatre I became emotional as the spinal scratched into my back and then kept my hands firmly on the small rise in my stomach as I came out of recovery.   Hoping for good news I was told the procedure was successful, everything was alright.  Having not eaten for hours I dozily rifled in my bag next to the bed and sucked on a lollipop meant for Leo and thought of how much I missed him. 

The other bit of heaviness was that no one explained to me that the majority of my lower half would take over 6 hours to regain feeling.  Movement in my lower legs happened quickly enough but my bum was like one enormous saggy bean bag with zero feeling.  There's something heart stopping about having a billowing arse full of pins and needles and not being able to clench your butt cheeks, tighten your pelvic floor or scratch an imaginary itch without knowing when to stop.

By dusk I could walk again and the catheter and cannula were removed.  Having drunk over 2 litres of water and presented the evidence in a cardboard toilet-seat thingy I was able to go home.  It was my sister Abby who came to collect me.  She dropped me off at home - Leo was having a sleep over at her house - and made sure I was OK.  Moments later I crawled into bed, baby and me safe, the only outcome anyone after surgery (minor or major) is interested in feeling, safe and well.  Thank heavens for great surgeons and sharp needles.

1 comment:

anymommy said...

Breathe in, breathe out, one day at a time. They all sound SO cliche. I'm so happy for you, Chris, Leo and the little one, I could burst.