I didn’t mean to be cryptic when I alluded to my recent hospital stay, but it is just such a looooooong story without many pictures. I didn’t want to bore you with the details until the time was right. And I suppose now will suffice. I also decided to break this into a few parts, because I am quite ramble-y. My apologies.
[I’ll start with a spoiler: I doing very well and recovering incredibly. There were some scary moments in the past six weeks, but I am okay. Praise the Lord.]
As I’ve mentioned before, Ryan and I are experiencing secondary infertility; there is a high likelihood we will not be able to have any more natural children. There has been a lot of heartache over the past year-and-a-half, but I can honestly say we are moving to a place of peace with the struggle. I plan to write a lot more about it in the future; however, as many of you know, we truly think God is using this cross to lead us into the world of fostering and, God-willing, adoption some day. Ryan wrote beautifully about this journey, and I encourage you to read his words…not just because he says lots of kind things about me. ;) [Incidentally, he wrote that post while I was in the hospital.]
That said, even though we thought God was using our infertility to make us open to life in other ways, namely fostering and adoption, we still weren’t ready to close the door to natural children. So, in June we had a couple weeks of appointments with Dr. Hilgers at the Pope Paul VI Institute in Omaha. I had an investigative laparoscopic surgery at that time. The surgery revealed extremely extensive endometriosis all over my reproductive organs, appendix, bladder, and most notably my small intestine. It was recommended that I return in a few months for a more extensive surgery to remove the endometriosis, which would most likely involve a bowel resection.
I will admit that Ryan and I agonized over this decision. Quite frankly, I don’t have a lot of the outward symptoms of endometriosis, so it’s not as if I was living with pain on a daily basis. Furthermore, the surgery is pretty expensive, and there was no guarantee (obviously) of being able to get pregnant afterwards. However, through a lot of discussions and prayer we came to the conclusion that we would do it simply for my health, and if by some miracle I’d be able to get pregnant again, then that would be an extra blessing. I say “my health,” in that there are women in my family who have had to have hysterectomies at young ages, so our hope was that this surgery would prevent the same for me. Also, the endometriosis was so insidious on my small intestine that there was a high probability of future problems. And we both agreed that if I was going to have a surgery like this, we might as well do it with one of the most experienced endometriosis-removal doctors in the nation, even if it mean the inconvenience of being five hours from Wichita.
[Before any naysayers show up here and tell me things like, “endometriosis can be fixed by diet and hormone therapy alone. Surgery is unnecessary.” Maybe you are right. However, I spent well over a year making major adjustments to how I was eating and taking ridiculous amounts of supplements. I went to regular doctors, a naturopath, and NaPro doctors. We really felt like we did everything we could have. So there’s that.]
The major surgery was scheduled for September 9, with a second (smaller) surgery on September 19 to removed some protective coating they placed in the first one. My mom and Philomena stayed with my aunt and uncle who lived in the area, and Ryan took a week off of work and class to be in the hospital with me. In terms of the actual procedure, Dr. Hilgers was going to focus on the removal of endometriosis on my reproductive organs; another general surgeon was going to focus on my small intestine and the removal of my appendix. No one was exactly sure as to how long I would be in the hospital, but they said something along the lines of “maximum five days.”
See what happens next in Part Two.