Sorry it's taken me so long to do this; I've been travelling and trying to recover and get as much rest, while moving as much as possible. I'll go day by day, and hope to break it into portions that make sense. I'll do my best to warn you if things get graphic or gory. It will.
Thursday Morning - TAC Day!
We drove in from a friends' house, who lived about an hour away in Northern Indiana. Traffic was not NEARLY as bad as we thought it was going to be, so it only took about 45 minutes. The University was on the southern end of the city, so no crazy Chicago traffic was necessary. The University of Chicago is a beautiful, beautiful place. The old, Gothic buildilngs are polar opposite of the modern, glass interiors and I wish we had had more time to look around and take some pictures. It took us awhile to find parking, but we ended up finding the parking garage (at nearly $40 for 2 days). We walked through the walkway to the DCAM building, found suite 2C where I was to check in, and waited in the Food Court until our 9:30 meeting.
At 9:30 am, we met with our Pastor's father, who happens to live in Milwaukee and also happens to be a Pastor himself. He gave us some great words of encouragement before the surgery that helped keep me calm and reassured that I was being taken care of. It was very beneficial.
At 10:00 am, we went over to Suite 2C to check in. The sweet girl who checked us in was quite the chatterbox, and it turns out we had the same last name, with different spellings, she joked that maybe we were related? She was African American, but hey, you never know! She made us feel really comfortable. She gave Keith 2 pages of paperwork to read and sign, gave him a 4 digit code to check my progress on the monitor, and told us to sit tight and she would walk us back when they were ready for us. The monitor was pretty cool. Keith had to wait in a waiting room with lots of other families, and there was a monitor that tracked where each patient was by their code. It would say, "7643 In Waiting, In Pre-Op, In OR, In Recovery," etc. Pretty cool.
Nothing could have prepared me for the cattle drive that was the University Hospital surgery center! They do it in waves with multiple people checking in at once. I was called back with 3 other women and we parted with our families, left all our belongings with them, and walked to the Pre-Op area. There I was put in a chair with a curtain and was asked a series of questions, she took medical history. Then I was asked to give a urine sample and she did a pregnancy test. Then she told me to shut the curtain, change into the gown, socks and a hair net and let her know when I was done. She gave me a garment bag to put my stuff in, labeled everything, then started the IV. It hurt like a B but it was over pretty quickly. It was the most painful thing until recovery. LOL. I got lots of arm bands, then once I was settled, she let Keith come back and wait with me until the OR was ready. which was supposed to be at noon. The Pre-Op area was packed, there was a butt in almost every chair, at least 20. The anesthesiologist came in, asked some questions. For some reason, I had it in my head that it was going to be a spinal, but she assured me it was general anesthesia, which was a relief to me. We met with a barrage of "Residents" aka Nervous-but-Trying-to-be-Confident Mini Doctors who were quite redundant to me and basically asked the same series of questions each time.
Dr. Haney was supposed to meet with us in Pre-Op before the surgery. We waited and waited, and eventually I heard one of the residents say that he was held up in the clinic, and that we should go ahead to the OR. Keep in mind, these "Residents" were about my age if not younger. At times, it felt like I was an extra on Scrubs. I said goodbye to Keith and made the walk to the operating table, hopped up, they strapped me in around my legs and arms and gave me some oxygen. Dr. Haney came in and apologized profusely. He said over and over, "THIS was NOT supposed to happen. I wanted to meet you beforehand, they got a little excited to begin." He re-explained the surgery, patted my leg a few times, and asked if I was ready.
The anesthesiologist told me to think of a vacation place and I was out in about a millisecond. Apparently Dr. Haney met with Keith for about15 minutes when I came out of surgery, and he said that everything had gone well. When I woke up in Recovery, I just felt plain weird. The room was buzzing with movement, there were tons of beds lined up in a row, and there was a nurse at the end of my bed with a rolling laptop waiting for me to wake up, I guess. There was a radio blaring. The guy next to me was talking incessantly and there was a radio blaring - I just wanted all the noise to stop so I could sleep, but I felt like no words could come out. I was too weak to talk, but my mind was moving. I kept drifting in and out of sleep, and Keith came shortly after. He said the surgery took awhile, about 1.5 hours, and that he had been waiting 2 hours since I was put in Recovery to see me. He nor I are not sure why it took so long, maybe I took awhile to wake up?
At that point we waited for a bed in Maternity, which was apparently overflowingly full. I didn't get a bed until after 8 pm. Of course, too late for food. I was starving!!! So, a very nice orderly rolled me into Maternity - I was the LAST person out of the recovery room! I met with my nurse, who was great. I had a pump of pain meds that I could push every 8 minutes. It was pretty good stuff.
Overnight - Thursday into Friday
This could almost qualify as a day unto itself. I was woken at 10, 11, 12 for vitals. I had to wear these very stylish white leg hose along with leg pumps that help with circulation. At 4 am, I was supposed to lose my catheter, stand up and sit down into a rocking chair, and lose the IV and the pain pump. They did cap the IV, I got the catheter out, and I started on oral pain meds (Percocet). However, I was so incredibly nauseous that I was not able to get up to sit in the chair. Gross alert! I threw up a ton of ginger ale, so I was restricted on the oral meds for awhile... Dr. Haney came around early in the morning and checked on me and apologized again about not meeting with us before the surgery. A couple of hours later I was able to stand up and walk to the restroom, but not without assistance. It was excruciating, I'm not going to lie. It took full minutes just to get up and out of the bed, and each step was very painful. I was finally able to order breakfast at 7:15, it came at 8:00, and I had a few bites of eggs and some toast and Jello or something of the like. Since I kept that down, I was able to take some Percocet. Immediately I felt relief and exhaustion and fell asleep for quite awhile. TIP: A guest tray for Keith would have been $15 but the person who took my order told me how much of each thing I could order, and I was able to get enough food for both of us. He also had a cot to sleep in, I forgot to mention that.
Friday - Release Day!
I felt like I was in there FOREVER, but really it was such a short time. The nurse told me that the more I moved around, the better I would feel, so I tried to get up about 2-3 times per hour, walk to the restroom or just around the room. We had lunch, and were waiting until 1:00 when we had a sono appt, then we'd be released. Well, we waited, and waited....and waited. Finally at 2:30 the nurse came back and apparently they were backed up, but a "Transporter" would be here for me soon. Finally someone showed up around 3 to wheel me to a completely different building for an internal sono to ensure the TAC was in the right place and the baby was doing well. We got a 4D photo of the baby, which was really cool. We could see the white glowing TAC band on my cervix. It was very cool! The sonogram itself was less than 5 minutes, so very quick. We were then wheeled back to the room to finish the release procedure.