“Oh those are your scars? Those are tiny!” Based off of the previous quote, one would think that an abdominal surgery that leaves you with 3 “little” scars (as seen in photo) Wouldn’t leave you with too much physical healing right? After all the scars are small so that must mean the recovery afterwards would be small too. One would think….But it hasn’t been that easy.
One of the first things I remember when I woke up from surgery was the discomfort I felt when I tried to roll over, or sit up a little, cough, sneeze or pretty much do anything. (that sums up about the next 5 weeks) It wasn’t until the second day in the hospital that my bandages would be removed; so at this point I still didn’t even know what the damage was. I had internally lost 1/3 of my blood and as I ventured through the very foggy first day and a half the doctors decided a blood transfusion was necessary. I had been feeling really weak and my mom and husband described my color as pale and lifeless until after the transfusion. Now let me just say during these two months of physical recovery this process had been nothing short of vulnerable and humbling. Random strangers (nurses) in the hospital helping me use the restroom EVERY SINGLE TIME. Assistance with showering because movement was limited and I couldn’t stand up for very long on my own. You know, those lady-like aspects of your feminine care that you would prefer to keep to yourself in order to maintain your dignity? Ya …..pretty much all of those were exposed to the world around me.
It took me two days of trying in order to successfully get up out of my bed and to do a full lap around the small wing that I was a part of. Mind you all of these laps required the assistance of a nurse, my mom and my husband and strap they harnessed around me to make sure I didn’t fall. It wasn’t until the 3rd day, my day of discharge and my 3rd lap that I showered for the first time before being released to go home. I won’t go into the emotional healing just yet (that will come in a later post) but friends, NO words can express the rush of emotions I felt the first time I showered after surgery.
As I stood there completely unclothed while my mother helped me into the shower I looked down at my three scars that were now freshly exposed. Three scars that I could barely see over the immense swelling of my abdomen. So much trauma had occurred in one tiny space that my belly protruded itself to about the size of a woman who would be a few months pregnant…. That swollen belly…..such a painful reminder of the pregnant woman that I no longer was, such a painful reminder of the belly that I would never see or feel with this tiny baby inside of me. And such a painful reminder of the helplessness I felt in those moments to do anything without assistance. Which again, was a feeling that followed me for the next 6 weeks as I progressively regained full ability to function entirely on my own.
A week after my surgery I walked into the Doctors office for my follow up appointment. The moment I walked in to the room my surgeon gave me a huge hug and told me how happy she was to see me up. I smiled at her, mildly confused by her reaction. That day I learned that the surgery I was already under anesthesia for had required two surgeons. While I was already on the table the second surgeon called with another emergency that had come up. Lying there on the table I had already lost 1/3 of my blood internally due to the rupture. My surgeon was left with two options. 1. Wait for another surgeon but risk the chance of me bleeding out entirely. 2. Go in for the surgery with the assistance of the rotating nurse that was present and pray everything goes smoothly. Praise the Lord for the hands of that sweet and caring surgeon. 2 hours later my surgeon walked out to tell my family and friends that I was ok and as she turned around the realization of what had just happened and what could have gone wrong sunk in, and she cried all the way back to her office.
The reality is that the pain has faded. Those moments of discomfort from the surgery and those inabilities to move gracefully have passed. The pain has faded. But the scars still remain. I am currently 3 months post surgery and there are still a few times a day where I catch myself looking down and running my fingers across those little scars. Reminded of the process in which they made their forever appearance, but also reminded of the precious life that I carried, be it even for a short time.
Those scars are my battle wounds. They will always tell the story of our first little one that the Lord decided to take home to be with Him.
TRUTH: "She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come." Proverbs 31:25
Here are a few pictures from my time at the hospital and immediately following.