Saturday, April 20, 2013


It all started the morning of July 2nd. It was 4:00 am on Monday morning. It was normal for me to be semi-awake at this point in my pregnancy. My bladder was all but too small and Rorie was always a mover and a shaker in the wee hours of the morning. So when I woke up to light cramping at the bottom of my tummy I thought... "hmmm... maybe this is the start of something." And of course, I was right. It just wasn't quite what I thought it was going to be.

When I reflect on that night/morning I should have realized that something fishy was about to happen. Before going to bed I got an amazing burst of energy. I felt so wonderful... just like my old self! Like I wasn't even 37 weeks pregnant, nothing ached or hurt, and everything was funny. I was such a goof that Aaron couldn't even take it! Sign #1? Then in the middle of the night, before the pain started, I woke up to both cats laying by me- awake and looking at me. This never happens... because I hate when they lay by my legs and feet at night, so I always kick them away. So they've learned to sleep by Aaron's feet because he doesn't mind. And they both looked at me when I woke up- weird. Sign #2? Most likely.

I managed to stay in bed for a majority of the morning. I tried to eat and keep myself hydrated, but ended up throwing up everything. It was scary. Throwing up while 9 months pregnant royally sucks and hurts really bad. And to top it all off it was the beginning of the 100 degree weather. We were all dripping. I stayed most of the day in my bedroom (the only place with an AC unit- which was working it's tail off and still not really working).

As the day progressed, the pain was constant and then was centralized to my lower right abdomen. I knew that contractions would come in waves, so I started getting worried- thinking that something wasn't right. For some reason, the thought came to my head that maybe it could be my appendix. I had almost every symptom- except for a fever. At dinner time, we called the OB office and talked to Dr. Shaw. I told him everything that had been going on that day and asked him if he thought it could be my appendix. He was certain that there was no way it could be and that it was probably just the heat. We finished the conversation with him telling me to drink water and take a Tylenol and call back if anything changes. I felt horrible- because I had been doing that all day. So we waited an hour and checked my temperature again... and I had a fever. We called back and he told us to go to Labor & Delivery to get an evaluation. Right as my Mom came home with dinner we hopped into the car and drove to the hospital. No dinner for us.

I remember having the most difficult time in the car. Every bump hurt my side horribly. We parked and slowly walked to L&D... it was a LONG walk. I walk slow in general, but this was a whole new level of slow. I clung to Aaron with every step because the pain was so horrible. We finally made it to the front desk and Rorie started moving like crazy which just added to my pain. I had to sign my name on a few papers and must have looked completely ridiculous because I was shaking from the pain. To top it all off... all the rooms were full, so I had to wait in the hallway, clinging to the walls for support, for a bed in the triage unit to be cleaned. Rorie would not stop moving and my side was throbbing.

I finally got into the bed and they hooked me up and started an IV of fluids (which stayed hooked up to me for the next 5 days). I was very dehydrated and Rorie's heart rate was elevated. It was lucky that I went in when I did! They still weren't convinced that it could be my appendix. I talked to OB residents, general surgery, and the anesthesiologist- who told me that I wouldn't be seeing him again... ha! Little did he know.

At 12:00 am I was set to get a CT scan to get a few pictures of my abdomen to see if it could be my appendix. I'm lucky that Aaron could come into the room with me- even if I couldn't see him. I was excited at the beginning because I had learned about all the different kinds of scans at NP, while studying Psychology, but had never gotten one! It was not the experience I thought it would be. My pain was amplified by that point and Rorie continued to move around like a crazy girl. I had to lay on my back for almost an hour on an extremely hard surface while in the machine. Note: You are not supposed to lay on your back when you're pregnant and I had no choice but to. Not only was I in pain from being on my back, but Rorie was moving, AND my appendix was throbbing...AND I had to hold my breath for each scan and I couldn't hold my breath for that long. 30+ seconds... while you're pregnant, on your back, in pain, in a huge, loud, claustrophobic scanner.

Luckily, it turned out that the scan gave the doctors everything they needed to conclude that it was 100% my appendix. I was right. Which I knew from the beginning. I was wheeled back to my room. It was nearing 2:00 am. I hadn't eaten or slept in almost a day.

By then, I became the talk of the hospital. People on different floor heard about the 37 week pregnant girl with appendicitis. It was mildly amusing in my painful situation. We were put in a room to wait until surgery at 5:00 am. I tried to sleep, but it just wasn't happening. Nurses kept coming in to take vitals or switch my fluids, so sleep really didn't occur.

Around 5:00 am they came in to take me into surgery. I had to maneuver my bulging, painful belly from my bed to a transfer bed. Just what I wanted to do. It was weird to me that no one thought that this might be hard for me to do. But I did it. And it wasn't pretty.

Aaron came with me as far as he could and we didn't even get to say a real goodbye or anything. The first surgery of my life at age 24. I was so scared. I left my husband in the hallway and was wheeled into what I'm assuming was where you wait pre-operation. No one let me know what was going on and I was still in a lot of pain. My appendix was screaming and my back hurt from trying to support myself on an uncomfortable transfer bed, my neck wasn't supported, and I couldn't even maneuver my large painful belly up a couple of inches to readjust the pillows behind me. So I sat there grimacing for 30 minutes while a small man behind a desk tapped at a computer. He came over to check me once, but I was no longer in "mommyland" where every staff member has super strength and knows how to move a pregnant chick into a comfortable position. This poor guy looked at me like, "I'm here to help you, but I'm in way over my head-plus a 4 lb weight leaves me sore after a good workout". So I continued to lay there in pain because that guy was no help.

The doctor finally arrived and they wheeled me into a distinctly cold operating room. In Grey's Anatomy, it never looks like the operating rooms are freezing cold- but they are. And then they asked me to move from my transfer bed onto a skinny little operating table. Again... I'm not sure why everyone in the hospital thought I could just hop from bed to bed, but I did it again, and it was not pretty. Again.

It got scary again here because people were just in their own groove setting up for the surgery of the morning and I was left lying on the table, arms spread out, wearing nothing but a gown, wondering what was going to happen next, my heart pounding in my chest, an appendix pounding, equally as hard, and a baby squirming next to it. I had told them that I wanted to be put to sleep during the operation. I knew that it could affect the baby and make her sleepy too, but I already felt traumatized and didn't think I could handle being awake for it. I'm not sure if they told me to count backwards or anything like that, but they then proceeded to take out that nasty appendix. I hadn't eaten or slept in a day and a half.

The next thing I remember is waking up on my left side with a very sore stomach and unable to keep my eyes open. Aaron was able to come see me and I could only see his feet- which now had athletic shoes on them. We came to the hospital in 100 degree weather and he was wearing flip-flops, so  I said groggily, "you have shoes on." And that's all I remember from that. Aaron always laughs about it.

The few hours after that encounter with Aaron are filled with grogginess. I know my sister and Mom came in to see me, but I could not keep my eyes open. The nurses gave me pain medication and I am so thankful for it. I was in and out of "sleep" for most of the morning and early afternoon. When the medications wore off they wore off with a vengeance. It literally felt like a big slice through my pregnant belly- and it was. Nice and fresh. My abdominal muscles screamed at me and the incision site would pull if I tried to move. I felt so helpless and frustrated.

In the afternoon, I was moved up to the floor where the new mommies go after they have given birth. Obviously, I had yet to enter that category, but there I was. Hooked up to an IV machine making me need to pee way too often. Getting up out of bed, shuffling into the bathroom, sitting on the toilet, standing from the toilet, shuffling back to my bed, getting into bed. That became my routine for the rest of the day. It didn't really get easier. It stayed a very painful routine.

My larger than life moving belly had a 3 inch incision on the right side of it. I bet you're wondering why they didn't do a c-section. Everybody wonders that, so don't feel dumb. Even other doctors wondered why Dr. Shaw didn't just take Rorie out during the appendectomy. Here's his reasoning: an appendectomy is a very clean surgery. They make a nice clean incision, take specific steps to remove the appendix, and then they close. A c-section is not a clean surgery. They make a quick incision, work quickly, fluid erupts and the baby is pulled out, doctors never know what might happen. It's not "clean", as Dr. Shaw described. It is also another abdominal surgery. Having two abdominal incisions would be much harder to recover from. And the infection rate of mixing a very clean surgery with a messy one  is high. So, that's why the appendix came out and the baby stayed in.

I had a few friends visit after work ended around 5:00 pm. July 3rd was a crazy day. It was nice to see my friends and finally be able to talk to my Mom and sister. The day was starting to wind down. Maybe I could sleep? Maybe we could eat some food? Dinner even? Maybe we can go home, recover, and wait for this baby to actually come.

And then 7:30 pm rolled around... and I felt like I peed my bed.

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