Saturday, April 19, 2008

Pediatric surgery

This past week I circulated pediatric cases in the OR. For some reason, it surprised me how much surgery is done on children as the result of premature birth. Preemies are very tiny, and very fragile. It made me nervous. I think it makes everyone in the OR a little nervous. When a baby goes down, it can happen quickly, and without a lot of warning. Not a good feeling. Some things are done differently with premature babies and infants, to help them get through the surgery. The room has to be kept warm because babies lose heat very quickly. And everything is tiny. Instruments need to be scaled down to fit the baby’s anatomy.

I feel a lot more comfortable working with adults. Even the really sick patients. Give me a nice bloody abdominal case, an adult laparoscopic case, or an eye case, and I am fine. No problems. I love those cases. For me, those are sort of fun. But put me in a room where they are operating on a baby, and I get grumpy. I just do not want to deal with it. I know I will have to, at least sometimes. I will eventually take call, and our hospital gets pediatric cases and even pediatric traumas. I know I will have to work on those cases if I am assigned to them. When I am in those cases, I want do the best I can to make the case go smoothly, and hopefully have a good outcome.

Do not get me wrong. I like children. At one time, I even considered going into peds nursing. But children in the OR are a whole different ball game. For me, it is a lot easier to see a sick child on the floor, than it is to see a child in the OR. I want to see them whine and complain and cry because they feel miserable. Most of the time in the OR we work with the child while they are asleep. When we take them to PACU, they are usually still asleep. We may need to call the parents to let them know what is happening in the OR, if the case is really long. Parents are usually worried about their children, and not at their best.

Maybe I am just jealous. I felt surrounded by babies and mothers this week. It felt like everyone I worked with on these peds cases had children, or they were pregnant. I felt out of place, like I was imposing. I do not have children, and there feels like no possibility of children or babies, at least in the near future. It felt awkward handling babies this past week. I have not had a lot of experience holding children, and we would usually carry the babies into the OR. My infertility was very apparent to me during those moments. I want a baby of my own, but I am unable to have one. I found that caring for other people’s children does not give me a lot of comfort, and only makes my childlessness more apparent, at least to me.

Next week I do not have to deal with children. I am off on different adventure in OR land. I start my ortho rotation. I get to learn about operating on bones and joints. I am trying to keep an open mind, but it can be difficult. My previous experiences with ortho were not good. I also like my pathophysiology. I think you see more of that in the general cases. Ortho seems to be mostly repairing structure, using a lot of tools. We will see what happens.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Losing It...

I had a breakdown on Friday. I think there is no other word for it. I came home from work and all I could do was cry. I tried to do a blog entry on what I was feeling, but I was incoherent. I could barely put two words together, or even see the computer screen through my tears.

I do not know what set me off. Maybe it was the fact I had my period that day. Maybe it was seeing the crowd around the baby set me off. Maybe it is the fact I turn 34 in a couple of weeks, and I feel my biological clock ticking. Maybe it was fatigue. I do not know. All I know is that I had to come home and cry because I felt the lack of a child so keenly.

I just feel empty and hopeless right now. I feel like I may never get the experience of holding my own child. I may never experience childbirth. I may never get to raise a child of my own. I may never get to be a parent at all. All of that seemed to hit me on Friday.

I know that Hubby and I cannot get pregnant without medical help. I understand this. I know that we need $20,000 just to have a shot at getting pregnant with his DNA, and that is not possible at this point. We do not have the money or the resources. From where I am sitting right now, I feel like we may never get the money to have our chance at getting pregnant with our child. It may take us about a decade to get to a point where we feel comfortable gambling with that much money. I will be in my 40s at that point. Seems a little late, but who knows? Not sure how I feel about trying for a child at that age. Not something that was even on my radar screen. (Not that infertility was in my life plan, either. I think I got screwed.)

I think I realized on Friday that we are not going to do IVF. At least not right now, and probably never. That means that we may not ever have a child with Hubby’s DNA. That upsets me. When you love someone enough to marry them, I feel like having a child with them is an extension of that love. I know we will love any child who becomes a part of our family, no matter the source. But right now I am mourning the loss of a child from the two of us.

Hubby has a hard time talking about infertility stuff because he feels most of the problem right now is the male factor. I think he is just starting to work through how it feels to be infertile, and he does not want to talk about it because it makes him feel bad. Men seem to like avoiding unpleasant subjects. I have had a little longer to deal with being infertile, but I still get upset about it. We did discuss infertility for a little bit on Friday. It sometimes feels like it is the elephant in the room with us. We both know it is there, but no one wants to acknowledge it. We talked about how we could not afford IVF, and how it means that we would hot have a child with his genetic legacy. He is still working through how he feels about donor sperm. I think he feels better about donor sperm than adoption. He said with donor sperm, at least the child would be mine. We both agreed that now is not the time to pursue it. Maybe in the fall, when we are a bit more settled, we can look into it. Until then, we can mourn the loss of conceiving our child.