Well, friends here I am. I made it through surgery. I made it through my due date. I made it through. There was laughter, there was Percocet, there were surprisingly few tears, there were neurotic panic moments, and there was an outpouring of love from family and friends. When I woke up the day after my surgery I felt the most intense sense of relief. The septum was no longer making my uterus a hostile environment, the due date was no longer looming, I was breathing.
The surgical experience felt as alien and sci-fi as I had imagined (with a fun side or post-traumatic flashes from my d&c). This time they marched myself and six other people (who all happened to be men I offhandedly observed) from the first triage area to the pre-op area. I had to unceremoniously say goodbye to Chris in the hallway. Being in a solemn line up of patients in matching gowns and grippy socks made me uneasy. There was a very lambs-being-led-to-slaughter vibe as we were herded down the comfortless hospital hallways. Upon arriving I was assigned a curtained-off pod where I sat in a chair covered in a sheet and reflexively started to cry. My fellow lambs all seemed to have a doctor immediately sit down with them but mine was nowhere to be found. I sat alone with numb tears rolling down my cheeks. An orthopedic surgeon who can only be described as looking like a classic "dude" walked by and peered into my pod on the way to his patient. "Oh don't cry", he quipped glibly, "it's not that bad". Um hey, buddy, I was actually supposed to be in here having a baby today and instead I'm having part of my body surgically removed so how bout you let me be the judge of how bad it is, kaykay? Thaaanks.
The rest proceeded as expected -- the merciful curtain of anesthetized darkness, waking up shivering uncontrollably and being packed with blankets by every nurse that passed, the coming back into your body in the surreal way that modern medicine allows. They let Chris come into the post anesthesia care unit briefly and he stroked my hair and told me that the doctor said it went well and reported that Joan Rivers had been taken to the hospital (or I may have just overheard that from a passing nurse... I was heavily sedated). When I was more awake I went to another recovery room where mom, dad, and Chris took turns coming to sit with me. A nurse brought me tea. I was given instructions & prescriptions and shakily got into a wheelchair that was ultimately rolled out to the car by Jeremy who stopped by in an old fashioned candy striper uniform (again, that part could have been the drugs) to verify with his own eyes that I was still alive.
I don't remember the car trip at all, but I got home. I laid down on the sofa and realized : It was over. And everything felt... different. In some ways I think I was waiting for this day to see if my heart could actually handle it and then when it did it was pretty unceremonious. I had to surrender the better part of this year to doctors, to the workings of my body that were out of my control, to processing the worst emotional pain I've ever felt, but here I was on the other side. And the clearest feelings I could zero in on were relief and readiness. Readiness to reclaim myself. It felt pretty euphoric to recognize that that's all I had left to do.
I took a week off from posting a blog entry last week not because I was so terribly physically laid up, but because I didn't want to reconnect with this journey quite yet. The distance that I feeling was really refreshing. Now I've dipped back in and it feels so good to talk to all of you from this new place and perspective. This blog was always about the ways we find to keep breathing and laughing and moving through the hostile environments life sends us through and this is part of that. I can't say I have any idea what ever forward means from here, but I will keep you posted as I figure it out...