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Appendix Removal Update (Fiona)

May 2, 2011

Original entry here.

I had my appendix removed when I was fairly far on in pregnancy, and it was a fairly traumatic experience. I have enclosed some photos of how my scar is looking now, and also a little update on me.

Some negatives which have come from my experience -

1. Only one big problem, my own mental state. At the time of this appendix operation, I was offered counselling, and I refused, and now I regret it. Its a huge operation, in terms of both medical terms and also emotional terms, and as I mentioned in my original post I was awake at the time, and still to this day (almost 3 years later) I have nightmares about what happened (although I must stress that the hospital staff were absolutely fantastic). The surgical stuff scared me a lot, I didn’t understand, and I was in a country where my
native language was not spoken. I felt so helpless, and obviously the operation was very, very bloody and messy, and it freaks me out. I remember seeing my daughters hands in the sack when they had my stomach pulled open (She was almost definitely drawn to the light), and I freaked out. I have nightmares about that
too. THATS what I have nightmares about. I think it comes from the own fear I felt about my own, and my unborn childs, life. I would urge anyone who goes through this operation during pregnancy to take whatever support is offered to you, and seek more, even if you feel fine. The emotional costs will probably come out later, rather than sooner. You will almost definitely find that you feel fantastic, so happy and grateful to be alive and still have your baby after the operation, but someday, one day, its probable that these strains will come back to haunt you.

One of the things I remember from my 1 week ICU stay is the doctor (who luckily spoke English) coming to me, and showing me a chart about the risks of pre-term delivery for my child depending on the weeks. I remember my pregnancy being at the “high risk of death or brain damage” scale, and thats what sticks in my
mind.

2 – I still have minor cramping and discomfort around the scar a few years later. My doctor puts this down to the muscles re-bonding. Also due to the scar it is highly unlikely I will ever have a flat tummy. But in the grand scheme of things … who cares really?

Some positives which have come from my experience –

1 – My child is healthy. VERY healthy! No words can describe how wonderful this feels.

2 – I have such renewed faith in the medical system of the country where I live (Japan, FYI.) Its amazing to go to a hospital, during pregnancy, and be treated seriously and not like I am some over-anxious other-to-be suffering from round ligament pain or braxton hicks. I worried at the time I was being too cautious,
but now I realize that doctors are doctors because they study hard, they learn a lot, and they are GOOD at what they do. Luckily my husband was the one who dragged me to the hospital, because If I had been home alone that night, I probably would not have gone. I think its important that if you do have similar pains in your stomach which do not fit the braxton hicks or round ligament pain description (NOT necessarily in
your regular “appendix pain” area) to just seek medical help. If In doubt, just go to the hospital.
The doctor is probably not going to care if you come to the hospital and it turns out to be nothing. But if it turns out to be something … you will definitely regret not going.

3 – The experience has given me the motivation to start to seriously learn the language of the country which I live.

4 and did I mention my child is fine! I am fine too!

Its been a while since my operation now, but I encourage anyone with any questions to contact me, at this email address. It can be really lonely going through something like this by yourself. Even with a loving partner, they dont understand how hard it can be.

Many thanks, Fiona

I am now 25, my child is 2 years, 4 months.

Also – in the photos the scar is on the wrong side, but its because I use mac photo booth to take the photos. It automatically flips them and as a result It appears the wrong way round.

I enclosed 2 photos of the scar, and also one of my daughter and me now.

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6 Responses to “Appendix Removal Update (Fiona)”

  1. Maya Says:
    May 2nd, 2011 at 12:21 pm

    You are an amazing Mom. I went through an operation called a cerclage to have my cervix stitched shut during pregnancy. It’s one of the hardest experiences I’ve been through. I think my body is still scared because sometimes I start shaking just talking about what I went through on the operating table. It helped me to forgive myself where my body failed in pregnancy and just to recognize my two sons are here because I was brave.

    Look at you learning Japanese! That’s a hard one. I’m learning German right now.

  2. Kim Says:
    May 2nd, 2011 at 1:56 pm

    Thank you for sharing your story.

    And I like your scar. It definitely has personality!

    Oh, and you can flip the photobooth pictures if you click on them and then hit ‘edit’. Flip photo is one of the options.

  3. Sarah P. Says:
    May 3rd, 2011 at 3:41 pm

    I’m glad you shared your story. I hope it helps another lady out there. Your daughter is gorgeous and I love that picture of you two together. Your scar healed quite nicely. :)

  4. Valerie Says:
    September 12th, 2011 at 8:29 pm

    What an interesting story! God bless you two.

  5. An abdominal scar and pregnancy « Stories from the Survivors of early Surgery Says:
    February 17th, 2013 at 6:47 pm

    [...] thankfully it didn’t rupture or cause major after-griefs. ¬†And here is a link to Fiona’s update. This woman had PS surgery as a baby, and a gallbladder removal as well as several children in her [...]

  6. Raquel Says:
    November 28th, 2013 at 1:23 pm

    I am so inspired and to some point feeling a sense of relief after reading your story. Thanks………..after all I now know that there is hope.

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