Surviving & Thriving After Emergency Hysterectomy
It has been four years since I was wheeled into the operating room not knowing whether I was to come out alive.
Not knowing whether I would come out with my child.
But knowing 100% that I would never bring forth life from my womb again.
At the time, I was completely at peace knowing I would never be able to have any more children. But I was terrified that I would not live through the surgery. Terrified my husband would lose his wife. Terrified I would not see my children again.
For six months we were dealing with the reality that I was in a life-threatening situation. My placenta was growing outside my uterus and attaching itself to other organs. We were told by the doctors that the surgery to remove my uterus and placenta would result in tremendous blood loss. Staying pregnant would keep the baby alive until it was time to surgically save both of our lives.
I heard story after story of women starting to hemorrhage, early on, later on, and during the birth itself. Many didn’t survive this diagnosis that I was given.
We (by that I mean my husband and mother-in-law), did endless research, endless phone calls, and found the most confident doctor who had dealt with cases like mine. He was certain we could get the baby out healthy and keep me alive but told me from the beginning that I would not have any more children. They would remove my uterus.
At 31 years old, I had two children born and one in utero. I was living in a Jewish world where bearing children is thought to be easily obtainable and two or three children is considered “a small family.”
But for me, I couldn’t be constrained by societal expectations. What I was hoping for was the chance to be alive for my children. The chance to give birth to the baby growing inside me.
At the time, people would make horrible comments.
“But what do you mean you won’t have any more children?”
Or the nurse during my first hospital stay – “Oh, you should have bled out by now.”
At the time, I was doing everything I had to do in order to keep the baby and me safe. I stopped working, I stopped taking care of my kids, I stopped cleaning, cooking, laundry. All of it. I was ordered on bedrest and I gave up control and surrendered myself completely to God.
Though terrified, I was calm knowing that we (me and my husband) were doing everything we could. I remember saying thank you to God every single morning. Thank you for putting me in this situation where I could be so close to you and feel you by my side every second with such overwhelming clarity.
My baby and I both were saved. He is a healthy toddler and I am healthy and well, too. Four years have now passed, My reality is that I cannot have more children. The gratitude is still the same, but the clarity has gotten foggy. Every month I remember that I cannot and will not bear any more children. I am now 35 and my youngest, my “baby,” my miracle is now four. I no longer walk out of the house with bottles, a stroller, diapers, and formula. I have given away all our baby clothes. I don’t save any more for “hand-me-downs.”
Because I know. I know I won’t have anymore. I know this is it.
We have three children and they are our world. When they ask for another baby, I say “Let’s thank God for the family we have,”– not “let’s ask God for more.”
With the passing of time, the void feels larger. I still have gratitude. But I keep praying for the clarity to take away the pain of mourning the loss of having the large family I imagined. I still feel a flash of pain, when I go to the park and see a new infant. When I do my best to smile at my pregnant siblings or friends.
I am grateful for the blessings of my life and I still feel moments of intense pain and sadness. What matters the most is that I can mother the children that I have been blessed with and live my life still with gratitude, joy, enjoying all the beautiful moments, while giving those painful moments space and permission.