Thursday, April 11, 2013

Surgery Update

It has been four days since I had my surgery and I am finally feeling good enough to update everyone on my surgery and how I have been holding up. If you have texted me in the past couple of days and I have been really short or haven't texted back I am sorry, to say the least, I was not feeling well at all. Dante and Noah flew back out here on Saturday afternoon and it was so much fun to see them! I loved having my sweet husband here with me and I could not get enough of Noah. I missed that little boy so much. We went swimming and went to the aquarium and spent the weekend having fun together as a family. Noah cracked me up the entire time he was here. Like I said before, he has been my little ray of sunshine throughout all of this. Being with my family was such a great way to relax before going in for surgery. It was the best medicine that anyone could have given me!
   Monday morning we woke up at 5 am and got ready to leave for the hospital. I thought I was going to be a wreck, but I felt very calm and just enjoyed snuggling with my baby in bed before we had to leave. The missionaries had come over the night before and helped Dante give me a blessing, and it only helped me continue to feel that peace and comfort I have felt this entire time. Once we got to the hospital it got pretty crazy. Our cab was late, thus making us late (that's a whole different story) so we were a little rushed getting ready for surgery. I threw on my surgical gown and they asked me a million questions,  got hooked up to a ton of different IV's,  my epidural was put in, and before I knew it I was kissing Dante and Noah good bye and we were off to the OR. 
   All of the doctors in the OR were super nice and were great to let me know everything that they were doing. I totally felt like a patient on Greys' Anatomy.... minus the smoking hot surgical doctors that star on the show, of course. Right away they gave my the sleeping gas, I remembered trying to fight it, just to see if I could, next thing I knew I was waking up from surgery. The neurosurgeon came and gave Dante and update while I was still asleep and told him that it was a very boring and routine procedure. He said that it went as well as the could've expected it too, and that our baby had a rather small malformation and he did great throughout all of it! Waking up was not a pleasant experience. I felt like I couldn't breath. I was hooked up to so many wires and tubes and all I wanted to do was roll on my side and take in deep breaths. Once I woke up a little bit more the most hellish feeling hit me. They had me on Magnesium Sulfate to help relax all of the muscles in my body so that I didn't start to have any contractions. If any of you have been on this terrible drug, you know how awful the side effects can be. It causes every muscle in your entire body to be super relaxed, so I felt like I could hardly open my eyes, and when they were opened I couldn't focus. I also had a really hard time speaking. I spoke very slowly and slurred everything so I had to keep repeating myself, which was so frustrating because I knew what I wanted to say, I just couldn't say it. It also made me the most nauseated I have ever felt in my life. Sick to my stomach, curled in a ball nauseous. I could hardly move and felt like barfing any time I was awake. I was also so incredibly thirsty. They had to intubate me for the surgery, and I felt like I had the worst cottonmouth in the world and like my throat was sticking together. Eventually they let me chew on a couple of ice chips at a time, which helped, but definitely didn't satisfy me. In the end I ended up throwing up all of the ice chips anyways, or at least I tried too. I mostly just dry heaved, which did not feel good on my incision to say the least. Basically Monday was a huge blur, and then that first night was the hardest. People were in and out of my room all night and I had to worst time trying to relax and sleep. I felt so awful for Dante, Noah, and my mom, who were all sleeping in the same room with me. I am sure they didn't sleep very well either. 
   On Tuesday morning Dante and Noah had a 6:30am flight to catch and were up and out of the hospital nice and early. I got to say good bye to Dante, but then started to throw up and didn't get to say good bye to my sweet boy, which broke my heart. I was still on the magnesium sulfate and still felt like I had been hit by a truck. However, later that morning Dante and Noah came strolling back into my room, they had missed their flight! Although I know Dante wanted to get back to work, I was happy they got to come spend a little more time with me. Around 9 am they finally took me off of the magnesium sulfate and almost immediately I started to perk up and felt much better. I got to enjoy a little more time with my boys, not feeling like a complete zombie, and since I still had my epidural in I was mostly pain free. Noah came and sat with me in bed for awhile and then tried to wheel my IV cart around the room and kept us all laughing. All of the doctors and nurses just thought he was the cutest thing, well lets be honest, he pretty much is, and I loved having him here with me for a bit after the surgery, he was such a good boy. I do have to give a shout out to Dante as well. He does not do well sitting around in hospitals or with anything going on with needles or throw up or gross bodily functions. He was so sensitive and positive and even held my bowl while I threw up once. I cannot express how grateful I am that he changed his flight and was there with me when I woke up from surgery. I love that man so much.
 They left later that afternoon to go home, and although I was really sad to see them go, it has given me a chance to really focus on healing and helping our other son. Since the magnesium sulfate was still in my system they didn't want me to eat any real food, so I drank some chicken broth and jello. That held me over for about two seconds, I hadn't eaten any real food since Sunday night and I felt completely empty, almost to the point of feeling sick to my stomach because I was so empty. My nurses were so awesome and were able to talk to my doctor who allowed me to eat some solid food finally! It was a dream come true. I felt so much better after that, it was like the person I was that morning, throwing up and having trouble speaking, was a completely different girl. I slept much better that night and was excited to get my epidural out the next day. 
  Wednesday morning they took me off of the epidural right away and started me on my pain killers. At first I didn't feel very bad because the epidural hadn't worn off completely at that point, but as the day wore on my pain got a lot worse. They allowed me to get up and take a shower and walk around a little bit, and that felt amazing. I showered and dressed myself on my own and felt like a new woman. Around that point my epidural had worn off mostly and I was feeling it. The incision was sore, but the worst pain was the build up gas I had. Whenever I tell people that they kind of laugh, but it was no joke. I had to be on super doses of anesthesia for the surgery and one of the worst side effects of that is horrible gas build up. I felt like it was putting a ton of pressure on my incision and my mom said that I looked like I was about 8 months pregnant. It was awful. I didn't want to eat anything or move, I just wanted to curl up in a ball and lay there. Any time I moved I felt like my whole body was going to burst open. The nurse got me up and walking a little bit and I also started to rock in the rocking chair in my room and that helped a ton. Who knew being super bloated could be that painfully consuming? By the end of the day I felt a little better, but I was nervous to stop rocking my chair and get back in bed because I knew when I woke up I was going to be in pain. 
  When I woke up today at 4:30 to take some meds I didn't feel too bad, but when I woke up for the day at 8 it was a different story. I didn't have as much gas pain, but now felt a ton of pain from my incision. Our little man is sitting really low and I can almost always feel when he starts moving around down by the cut. After a couple doses of pain killers, some lunch, and a 3 hour nap I am feeling much better. They did a doppler to hear the baby's heartbeat and while we were doing that he kept kicking the device on my stomach, which was very reassuring. I loved hearing his little heart today. It reminded me of the reason why I am out here and why I am going through all of this. He is worth every minute spent here and every minute of pain felt. The nurse said she was very surprised at how quickly we were in and out of surgery and that the neurosurgeon told her that our baby really didn't have a huge malformation and should heal beautifully.
   I am so grateful for modern medicine and the help it has given our son. I am also grateful for the movement I have felt from him and how hopeful the doctors have been with both of our recoveries. I am hoping that we will stay on this path of healing and will be able to return home to Utah soon. It has been great having my mom out here with me, but we are both anxious to get to Utah to be around our family and friends. Tomorrow I get discharged from the hospital and will hopefully be staying in the Ronald McDonald house down the street from here. My brother Cody and his wife Cheryl are also coming up from North Carolina to visit this weekend, so that should be really fun to see them and a great way to help pass some of the time out here. Thank you for your continued prayers and positive thoughts in our behalf. We love all of you and are so grateful for all of your support!


  1. I can't believe I haven't been following your blog. I think I'm all caught up now and I added you to my list. I am glad the surgery went well and I hope everything continues smoothly. We are thinking of your little family and sending well wishes your way! You and Dante were great friends to Josh and I. We hope you all the best!!

  2. Wow, modern medicine is such a blessing isn't it. Just think, 20 years ago, most of this wouldn't be possible. How lucky you all are. Hugs to all of you!

  3. What an ordeal. We are all pulling for you over here. Prayers will continue, that goes without saying.

  4. You (and your family!) are a rockstar. That is all. Go Team Valenzuela!

  5. So glad to hear that the surgery went well. Take care of your self and get lots of rest. We love you guys and you are in our prayers!