If you cringed when you read 'maxi pads', #sorrynotsorry.
Before we dive in, if you're not caught up on the latest twist in our journey, I highly recommend you go back and read this post about Pixie the Polyp.
Here's a quick recap: Late afternoon on Monday, June 14, we unexpectedly found out I have a polyp on my uterus. The doctor wanted to remove it (surgically) Friday, June 18. Basically 72 hours after finding out it's there. Very sudden. 🤪
As you can imagine, last week was full of anxiety, nerves, and questions. I'm not a math person by any means (hello, writing), but I wrote an equation to help spell it out for you.
(Unexpected Polyp News) + Unexpected Surgery In 3 Days + Unexpected Shift in My Regularly Scheduled Programming = One anxiety-ridden, wannabe mom!
I just have to say, the human body is pretty amazing. I have learned SO much about all the things our bodies can do while on this nightmare-of-a-journey to parenthood, and last week, my body decided to show me a new trick in how it copes with stress and anxiety.
Now, I'm no stranger to the physical effects of anxiety and stress (have you read this whole blog about what we've been through these last 2+ years?!). I've experienced it all: heart racing, sweaty, tummy probs, dry mouth, shortness of breath, restlessness, tense muscles and even panic attacks. But hives? That was a new one for me.
The nerd in me finds it kind of fascinating that my body responded in this way rather than in one of my tried and true ways. I think it was telling me it HAS HAD ENOUGH!!!
Most often, hives are the result of an allergic reaction to something in your environment. Stress/anxiety can trigger a response in the sympathetic nervous system, which leads to the release of histamine (the compound produced by the body in response to injury and allergies––I'm sure you take an ANTI-histamine if you deal with allergies!).
So, basically you guys, I am allergic to stress! (haha! 😆)
Anyway, my superhero of a hubby ran to our nearest Walgreens to pick me up some medicine and chocolate (chocolate is always a must). I woke up the next morning and many of the bumps were gone and the welts had gone down.
But after I kept thinking about the surgery and questioning every single aspect of the last 4 cycles, I developed them in other areas on my body the rest of the week (c'mon guys, I don't do anything half-assed around here)😉.
The biggest questions whirling in my mind was how long has Pixie the Polyp been there and is she the reason for all these failed IUIs?
The more I thought about it, the more I came to the realization that the sonohysterogram was not a preliminary test that was done at the beginning of this journey. Sure, the polyp COULD have shown on the HSG (it didn't).
Uterine polyps can be caused by hormones (and we all know I've been pumping my body full of those January–May). But I was also taking birth control for YEARS and those are hormones, too.....
If I had a chance to do it over again and know what questions to ask? You bet your butt I would ask for a sonohysterogram in a heartbeat.
If you remember nothing else from this blog post, remember this:
Be an advocate for yourself.
In the doctor's office, at work, at home, in relationships. During a fertility journey. Ask all the questions. Even if you feel dumb. Call the office 14 times in one day if you need to. No regerts (@hubby––how proud are you that I am quoting a movie?).
I've just had to come to terms with the fact that we will never know how long Pixie was there and if I keep questioning it, I'm going to drive myself (and Brian) crazy. Onward and upward!
So Long, Pixie
My sweet mother-in-law drove 2 hours to bring me coffee, cake and flowers Thursday morning. She even had them write "So Long Pixie" on the cake!
Then I had to go get my COVID test (negative!) and got a text that I would need to be at the hospital at 8:15 the next morning.
You know the gist: no food, no water, no sleep after midnight😜.
We got all checked in at the hospital and into the pre-op room. I couldn't help but laugh at what happened next.
I had to pee in a cup so they could make sure I'm not pregnant.
Oh, the irony.
Then I put on my pretty lavender robe....ummmm can we talk about these robes for a second? They actually tie at the side to make sure the booty is covered AND it's a warming robe! There's a hose they connect to the robe that blows air INTO the robe (in my case, I needed cool air––you know, anxiety).
I'm rockin' the IV, face mask, robe full of air, and hairnet. Brian made sure to grab all sorts of flattering photos I could share with you.
Our doctor came in to discuss the surgery, and shortly after the anesthesiologist came to get me. He and my doctor have been working together for 22+ years!
As I walked into the operating room, the anesthesiologist was asking me questions about my job and trying to calm my nerves. The bright lights above the table were blinding, the stirrups at the end of the table were terrifying and the sticky things they put on my skin were cold.
The next thing I knew, I was waking up in the recovery room.
I was so embarrassed when I woke up–I thought I had peed the bed during surgery!
I whispered to the nurse, and she took a peek and said, "Nope, that's just a lot of blood!"
EEK! That is not something anyone wants to hear right after surgery! I remember asking her to please clean me up so my husband does not have to see me like this. She was so kind and even gave me some disposable undies.
I was nauseous, sore, crampy and out of it, but boy was I ready to get home. They finally took me to recovery room #2 where they brought Brian in to sit with me.
Surgery went well. The polyp was bigger than originally thought. Brian is pretty sure the doctor told him it was taking up 25% of the surface of the uterine lining. (He doesn't take notes like me LOL).
It is HIGHLY likely that Pixie the Polyp was acting as a contraceptive.
Recovery, Support & Maxi Pads
Recovery has been pretty ok. I slept most of the weekend and experienced cramping, bloating and bleeding, which is to be expected. I don't have any incisions or anything since everything was internal, so that is a plus.
I'm always humbled by the love and support we continue to receive during this journey. Our parents made sure we have a fridge full of food––like, packed to the brim. And my brother and sister-in-law even brought us supper for tonight!
My mom came and sat with me on Saturday so Brian could go mow, my father-in-law and me-mommy-in-law stopped by for a visit, and a co-worker-turned-one-of-my-greatest-friends, Katie, came over to keep me company and brought a bag of goodies.
An old friend I went to school with owns a cookie/bakery business and surprised me with a drop-off of the cutest uterus/Pixie cookies (see photo above!!). Shameless plug for her business––check out Delish! Creations on Facebook. Not only is she extremely talented but her cookies taste GREAT too!
Brian had flowers delivered and the hospital staff sent a nice thank you card home with my discharge paperwork.
Plus, the dozens of kind messages, texts and phone calls (my boss even texted me over the weekend to check in!) truly means so much to us!
It's the little things. ☺️
I would be remiss if I closed out this post without telling you about the BIG things.
I'm fairly certain my husband found the largest maxi pad known to mankind.
I asked Brian to get me some pads because the doctor recommended them for recovery. I don't know what it is about men and buying feminine hygiene products, but thank GOD for Shipt delivery.
Target pulled through for the win with Brian's order of the largest maxi pads I've ever seen in my life.
I have nothing against maxi pads but I couldn't help but giggle when I saw these. They are literally 2-3 inches longer than my FOREARM!!! 🤣😂
Thanks for hanging with me through this long post! We will have a follow up with the doctor in a couple weeks and get the results of the biopsy. I also got the results of my blood test last week, but that will be another subject for another post.
We were given the green light to proceed during my next cycle with another IUI. Stay tuned to find out where we go from here!