The Fellow I had been with that day, knocked on the OR door, the nurse came out, and they confirmed all my information. She told me she would see me once we got inside. The nurse brought me in, told me to stand on a stool and take off my pants. At the same time the Anesthesiology Resident started talking to me. I was so confused, did not feel well, and was completely overwhelmed. He looked at the nurse, told her, “can you please wait a minute. She and I need to meet and get to know each other for a minute.” I was so grateful to him for forcing everyone to pause and wait a minute, stop rushing me, and let me be a little more comfortable.
They laid me down on the table. All of a sudden I felt my legs get strapped down. The nurse had strapped one of my arms to the table, and the Anesthesiologist was messing with my IV on the other arm. A few seconds after that an Oxygen mask was tied to my face, and the reality of the situation hit me. I am lying here at 28 years old, having my tiny little embryo ripped from my body. The realization of what was happening put me into a state of total shock. I started screaming hysterically, trying to break free of the restraints. I couldn’t move my body, but all I wanted was to rip off that mask and run out of the room. How could I go through with this? This is what I had been working so hard to accomplish and suddenly I am having it removed.
The surgeon appeared in front of me, took my hand and told me he was there with me, he said, “its just you and me Avigayil, we are going to get through this and you are going to be ok. I promise we will get you your baby.” He kept reassuring me as I felt the Anesthesia team rushing around behind my head. Someone said, hurry up we need her under now, and the next thing I knew I was waking up. The Fellow was there and said, “you did great, it went perfectly.” It seemed like such a weird thing to say in the moment. But I understood what she was trying to say.
Akiva showed up at my side suddenly and told me he had just talked to the surgeon. He got to see all the photos from the surgery. The doctor told him that it was good we got into surgery as quickly as we did because my tube had already ruptured and I was bleeding into my abdomen. The pain I was feeling for all those days was my stomach physically reacting to the presence of blood in my abdomen. This terrified me, but also made me so grateful for my medical team. Thank goodness my doctor knows when to push the less conservative option and knows when action needs to be taken.
We got home that night and our close friends upstairs who had just had a baby the week before, dropped off dinner that night. They told us they would be bringing Friday night dinner and we should come over for Shabbat lunch. I felt so bad to be imposing on them when they were completely overtired. My friend told me to stop being ridiculous and that they were there with us for whatever we needed.
Shabbos day my husband made the blessing of Gomel* in shul for me. People kept coming up to us asking what was going on. I told some of them. Later that day a few friends stopped by to see how I was doing. They told me they put together a meal wheel for the next week so I would not have to worry about making dinner.
Having these amazing people to lean on in a time like this was the only thing that helped us from completely falling apart. Even when I tried to resist the helping hand and say, no we’ll be fine, we can handle it, they said no, you relax, we got this. So many people who have thank G-d never had to go through things like this don’t realize how something so small as a hug and the words, I am here for whatever you need, mean to someone. It really can make such a difference to just know that people are there, that they care, and that while life feels absolutely terrible, it really is going to be ok eventually.
*The blessing of Gomel is made after one survives a dangerous or life threatening experience.