Childcare after hysterectomy (or lack of it)

Hi all, hope everyone is well. I am hoping for advice/experience of coping with a baby and children whilst recovering from hysterectomy. I can't ship them off anywhere, nor would I want to. Baby is 1. extreme anxiety is killing me.

Hi I know how you feel , I'm due a hysterectomy at the end of  march for recurrent CIN3 . My children are both school age but the walk to school after the op is Worrying me . They understand that I won't be able to do alot following surgery  but they are still very little and need my help with most things  i will have  to be organised . I am quite scared with the thought of it all xx

aww sorry to hear that :( have you friends that can do school runs for you? my little bods are 4 and 7 but baby is 1, my main worry, hubby works shifts so I am 'it'....I want someone to say, you will manage changing nappies and lifting in to cots and picking him up if he falls, putting him in his highchair, wrestling at night when he's fighting sleep and doesn't know what he wants....it's very scary> xxxx

This was a big worry for me before my radical hysterectomy. Once I managed to summon the courage to ask my friends to help me, I found that actually, they were falling over themselves to help. The people who love you will be feeling helpless, and will want to do something to help. Giving them something practical (such as putting them on a timetable for school runs, or asking them to bring a meal round every now and again) will make them feel like they are doing something to help - and they will be. Please don't be afraid to ask for help - I am rubbish at asking for help and am one of those people who always thinks I should be doing everything myself but, once I'd done it, I could see how pleased people were to be of some use at such a difficult time and it was a weight off my mind. 

3Stars - can your husband get any kind of compassionate leave? If he talks to his employer and tells them what's going on, they might be understanding? If not, perhaps he could take holiday for a couple of weeks once you're out of hospital? 

If none of what I've suggested is possible for either of you, I would suggest you either ring your specialist gynae nurse if you've been given one, or go and see your GP and explain your concerns - there may be some help that can be provided for you. 

Any help that is offered to you - take it!!

Good luck!

Annabel. 

annabel, thanks for reply, hope your ok post op. How was it\? My hubby has had all his time off as Ive had 2 ops since november, and he took time off for them....I'm pertrified ....just the fact my baby is totally dependant too....thanks again though. I'd love to hear about yourrecovery x

 

 

Just wanted to Say hi, I am also in the same boat :( My hysterectomy is booked for the 1st of march, for high grade CGIN & I am absolutely petrified about going for the op. I am also 33, 3stars with 3 kids. my youngest is nearly 2. My consultant said I will find it hard work with a toddler. Luckily my mum is not far away to do the school run & my sister-inlaw is going to help me out with my youngest, as hubby can only have a few days off with me. Its such a worrying time, not just having the op, but recovering post op. with little ones. Send my love to both of you. xxx

Hi ray, so sorry to hear that. Almost the same scenario then? Its so scary isn’t it. Baby is teething and tonight has fought sleep and sobbed, bless him he’s in my arms now. How would tonight pan out post op? My heads buzzing. Has your consultant said you can’t lift baby at all? How do we not lift them? I’$ thinking high chairs pushchairs nappies? ??? How are you? Have you also had several lletz? My last one was 3 weeks ago! 3 general anaesthetics in as many months! Xx

Hi 3stars, have found it hard to come to terms with, just getting my head round it all. I only had one lletz. Could have gone for the cone, but consultant strongly advised hysterectomy as next step as he took biopsy from 3 areas & all 3 came back as high grade CGIN. Said if 1 cell is left behind after the cone it would turn to cancer in time. So would eventually end up having a hysterectomy. As I havn't had a biopsy further up, am worried what the results will come back after my hysterectomy. But from what I have read on the site, they do a hysterectomy for early stage cancer. Are you having keyhole? Spoke to a specialist nurse on Mon, she said recovery would be pretty quick. she said you will be surprised how well you feel after a couple of days. She said the trapped gases will probably be more of a problem. No lifting little one, but not sure for how long. Have to get down to their level to give them a cuddle. But like you said, high chairs & in & out the cot is going to be a problem. No driving for at least 2 weeks, until you feel comfortable wearing a seatbelt & doing the emergency stop. But won't be able to lift children into the car to put into carseat. No using Hoover, pushing a pushchair or trolley, hanging out washing. But don't know how long any if these are for. Go for my pre-op next Mon, so will be able to let you know more then. Then there is the emotional side of it afterwards. On count down now, less then 3 weeks away. Don't know what I'm going to be like the week before, let alone the night before. Hope its helped a bit & not worried you more. Take care. Love Ray. xxxxx

hi ray, thanks for getting back. Sorry your going through this, sounds like you need this op honey, risk leaving any of this evil stuff behind! d lpve to hear what your next appointments like. seen no-one heard nothing. ops just over 3 weeks away. hoping for keyhole also. main worry is husbands shifts and baby being a heavy one year old that like to sleep.... take care keep in touch xx

Hi Ladies, 

Ok, so, I had my radical hysterectomy on 1st November. I was in hospital for five days and I shuffled, rather than walked, out of there!! There are two things that you need to bear in mind that will make a difference and make my recovery slightly slower than yours (which puts you in a good position in terms of your recovery and anxieties about childcare etc...) First of all, I had cancer and had been symptomatic for some time, so was very run down anyway. Also, I had a radical hysterectomy, which is more extreme surgery than a total or simple hysterectomy.

However, a total/simple hysterectomy is still major pelvic surgery and it's important that you understand how important it is that you don't do any heavy lifting, don't overdo it generally and don't drive for at least 6 weeks. Everyone recovers at different rates but, even bearing this in mind, you still need to be aware that there are lots of things that you won't be able to do, and that to try and do them anyway could just end up with the consequence of you having a much longer and more complicated recovery. Also, if you don't get the rest and recovery you need then you are very susceptible to infection and trust me, a pelvic infection is painful and wearing. It's not unusual to get a urinary tract infection (because of the cathetar) - I got a urinary tract infection, a pelvic infection and anaemia from the surgery. This doesn't mean that you will, and actually you're unlikely to get all three, but my point is that on their own, these things are not rare, so you can't assume that you definitely won't. You will also get very tired and when that happens, you need to rest. It's very important. I was shuffling - rather than walking - for at least the first fortnight. 

It's taken me a while to reply to your posts because the last thing I want to do is frighten you or make you panic, but there's also no point in lying to you and giving you the impression that recovery from a hysterectomy is a walk in the park - it's only going to be more of a shock and more of a problem at the time for you if I do that, and I want to do what I can to help you. I'm honestly not trying to alarm you - there is no need to be alarmed - but it's also important to be realistic about your recovery and the amount of help you'll need.

If you're usually fit and healthy, then there is no reason why you shouldn't physically recover in a matter of weeks rather than months, but be under no illusions - you will not be back to normal within a few days and you WILL need help. You need to organise secure help for the post-op time, before you actually have the operation. Rally your friends, explain exactly what's happening and that you will need help. I ended up making a timetable of people and giving a copy to everyone!! That's sounds really over the top but actually, it worked incredibly well. Once I'd done it, it was a weight off my mind and it meant that everyone knew in advance exactly what they were doing and when, which is better than just the abstract concept of 'let me know if I can do anything' that never really gets acted upon. With quite a few people helping, it meant that no one person was over-burdened but that everyone still felt like they were being of some use. If it helps your friends to understand how important it is that you receive help, then show them this post. 

Please don't hesitate to ask if there is anything else you want to know about the op and recovery.

Take care and good luck!

Annabel. x

Hi Annabel, how were you emotionally after your op? Was very upset when I found out my next stage was going to be a hysterectomy. Cried at the consultant when he told me. I know I'm very lucky to have my beautiful 3 girls, but found it hard that I don't have the choice to have any more children & in my head I hadn't ruled out the idea of having another baby before I was 35. Feel ok, about it at the moment, as am so worried about the op. Can only focus on one thing at a time, if that makes sense? Just worried how I will feel after the op. My consultant said they don't do counselling for pre-cancerous cells, only cancer. Have kept alot of baby things, as my youngest daughter is nearly 2. Haven't got the heart to get rid of any of it yet, but at the same time, don't want it to be too upsetting after op. Any advice would be much appreciated. Thanx Ray. xx

Hi Ray, 

First of all, I'm really sorry it's taken me quite a few days to reply - it's been a manic few days and I really wanted to sit down and properly reply. 

I felt similarly to you in that I absolutely did not want to have the op. On the day of diagnosis, my consultant told me what they wanted to do (a radical hysterectomy). I drew my gynaecology on a piece of paper and asked him to put a red line around everything he wanted to remove. I sat and looked at it for a minute and then looked at him. I knew in my heart there was no other way and I asked him if there was, just to check, and he said, "No, I'm really sorry, but this is what we have to do in order to make sure we've got everything and to protect your future." I nodded and just felt very quiet. My consultant is really lovely - I'm very lucky - he leaned forward and took my hand and said, "You're 38 years old. You have a 9 year old daughter. I want to do everything I can to protect your future Annabel." I knew there was no other way, so I said, "We'd better get on with it then. When can you do it?" 

Between then and the op I was in real emotional turmoil and I found it difficult to cope. I knew in a very profound way that I did not want to have this operation. I did not want to lose all of the things I was going to lose, especially my uterus. I did not want to lose my fertility and when I realised that I had experienced the last period I was ever going to have, I really broke down. On the other hand, of course, I desperately wanted to rid my body of the tumour and would have gone to any lengths to do that. It really was an impossible situation emotionally in that it was unresolvable - I did not want to have the operation, but I had to have the operation so that I did not die of cancer. I also found it impossible to predict how I was going to feel after the operation and like you say, just had to focus on one thing at a time. That phrase, 'protect my future' has helped me a lot as that's what it comes down to really and that's all that matters. In dark moments, that phrase quite often comes into my head and it does help in some way. I can't have any more children, but they have helped me have a better chance of being around for the little girl I do have, and obviously that's a huge thing to have done for me.

As I say, I didn't know how I would feel after the op, but I knew that I would be grieving, because it had already started when I knew I was going to have the operation. I found that the only people who understood were people who had been in my situation. I assumed most other women would understand, but they didn't. They assumed I would be relieved that I would no longer be having periods and thought that as I had my daughter, the loss of my uterus didn't matter. I even had one woman say to me that I should think myself lucky I hadn't got breast cancer because having a mastectomy would be a lot worse because it would change my appearance when I look at myself in the mirror. My uterus, she said, was no loss unless I was planning on getting pregnant. Some male doctors also said to me, "You don't need your uterus anymore anyway." This idea of the womb as a redundant organ unless it's carrying a child is just ridiculous, in my opinion. No part of your body is redundant - it's all part of you and has emotional significance - and I don't believe that loss is any less substantial because it happens to be on the inside; it's a superficial and psychotic belief, in my opinion. Loss is loss, that's it.

After my operation I think I was in shock. I was relieved that it had been done, but that was purely because of the cancer and I couldn't have coped with waiting any longer. I had a major cry on day 3 (not unusual, apparently) but it wasn't until I got home (five days after the op) that everything really hit me. While I was in hospital, I was focusing so much on how I felt physically because of the op, and what I could do to get out of hospital a.s.a.p., that I didn't think about what had happened in much detail. I was also drugged up to the eyeballs on tramadol and morphine, which probably helped!! Before the op, I gave my surgeon my phone and he took photos of everything that they took out. Now, this isn't for everyone and if reading that made you wince, then I would suggest it's not the thing for you to be doing - everyone is different - but I know it really helped me to see what they had taken out and it has helped me in the grieving process to be able to see where my daughter had been before she was born, to be able to see what had to be taken out in order to keep me safe, and to be able to see that it wasn't in my body anymore; this helped me accept it and continues to help me say goodbye to a part of my body that I dearly did not want to lose. 

If you're on the position where you need to have a hysterectomy but you don't really want to (and it sounds like you are), then it's perfectly natural that you'll go through a grieving process. For a lot of the reasons I've talked about here, some people won't understand that. They may also assume that you'll just be happy it's all 'over and done with'. But that's ok, it doesn't matter. What's important that you allow yourself to feel however you feel. Nothing you feel is wrong or silly and actually, it's really important that you do let yourself go through it so that after a while, you can come out of the other side and move on, rather than carrying the upset around with you for years. If you're anything like me, you'll regard your children as the most important thing you ever did, as well as your greatest achievement - your body is intimately connected to their very existance and that is an amazing thing, so why wouldn't you be upset about what's about to happen. Your body deserves huge amounts of love, respect, kindness and gentleness at this time. 

In terms of keeping stuff or throwing it away, here's what I did. I disposed of all sanitary products before I went into hospital as I knew it would distress me to see them when I came home. Having said this, I also knew that the grief for my periods was not hugely connected to the presence or not of sanitary products, so there was also just an element of getting rid of them because I wouldn't need them anymore. You must do what you feel is right for you, but I must admit, I would counsel caution when it comes to getting rid of baby things. I completely understand what you say about not wanting to be upset by seeing them, but there is also the possibility that you could regret getting rid of such emotive items and that could make you feel worse in the long run. You could pack them in boxes and put the boxes somewhere (such as the loft or under the bed) so that you won't see them on a day to day basis when you come out of hospital, but you can still access them if you want to. It's quite possible that a time will come when you actually really want to see and touch them - I know that's probably hard to imagine now, but I have recently started revisiting my daughter's babyhood in a way that I could not have done a few months ago, and I am glad that I am able to do that because it's helping me through my grief in a different kind of way. It sounds to me that you don't really want to get rid of the baby things. If that's the case, then don't. It's perfectly ok to be upset about what you're going through - it's an upsetting thing. For some people, keeping a journal can help - it's a way of getting your feelings out in some way without worrying what someone's going to think of you - you can just write anything you want without censoring it, which can be really helpful! 

This has turned out to be a really long message (I do tend to do that!) and I do hope it's been helpful rather than rambling. Please be assured that I do understand how you're feeling and am completely happy to help you through this emotional time. 

Take very special care, 

Annabel. x

Hi Annabel, thanks so much for your lovely reply. Have been for my pre-op today, feeling rather emotional. All seems so real now :( Met my consultant who will be performing the operation. She was lovely & very sympathetic. Asked what I was worried about, said all of it! Went through everything. Have to be prepared, it could be very early stage cancer. They may have to remove my ovaries, but I suppose they have to tell you all this, so its not too much of a shock. Feel like, its constantly on my mind. Reading your message nearly made me cry, not in a bad way, but how you understand. Sometimes feel so alone. Like I should be so grateful of my hysterectomy, I don't want it done. My periods don't bother me, people keep saying at least you won't have any more periods. Felt sad when I had my last one. Look at my girls now, how lucky to have them. How beautiful & special they are. They are my life, and know they will help me get through it. Hubby has been so supportive. Just feel so out of control. As its getting closer, feel like running away from it, but it will still be with me. I know I have to have it done, but feel so scared. Its part of me, don't want to say goodbye, but don't think I will ever be ready. If that makes sense? Think I will start putting baby stuff in the loft before op, have been ok, for a couple of weeks just focusing on op. But today feel like I'm grieving again. Think I will have to take each day as it comes, & expect to be emotional some days. Love Ray. xxxx

Hi Ray, 

I think taking each day as it comes and accepting however you're feeling is very wise. I remember that pre-op made me very emotional as well - you're shoved about from one thing to the next and you know the next time you'll be in hospital it will be for your op; like you say, it makes it more real. I found it very difficult as well, how 'normal' it all was for everyone in the pre-op department - so 'everyday' for them, and yet one of the biggest things that will ever happen in my life. It made me feel confused.

I'm so glad your surgeon is understanding. In terms of the possibility of early stage cancer and possible further surgery, I assume they're going to send everything that they remove to the lab? I had the possibility of a second operation and my fear about the histology results was as much about not wanting to have another operation as it was about cancer!! However, I don't think the fact that I had cancer had properly sunk in by then, so I focused on my fear of the surgery instead.

It was a strange thing, when I was waiting for my op - on the one hand, the waiting was very difficult to cope with, but on the other hand, everything felt like it was going too fast. I wanted to scream, "Stop!!!! I need more time!!" It did feel a bit like I was a on a runaway train and I wanted to jump off and just be by myself and breathe for a bit! Something I learned though was that the more you resist what's happening, the harder it can be, and that sometimes it's a good idea to try and let things pass you by in a blur. I know that's not always possible though. I completely understand what you say about feeling like you'd never be ready, and looking back, I think that even though I felt like I was on that runaway train, even if I had been able to get off for a while, it wouldn't have made any difference. I could never have reconciled myself to it, regardless of how long I had to get used to the idea. It is very much a feeling of being out of control, and that's a frightening thing. I remember completely losing the plot with my husband because a dish was in the wrong cupboard - I was dealing with the feeling of loss of control by trying to control absolutely everything I could - including crockery!! Luckily he's very understanding! You will start to feel more in control of things again after the op. 

What you say makes total sense to me Ray - I do understand, and I know you're scared. It's such an emotional thing you're going through and it's completely understandable that you feel as you do. You can message me privately if you want to or post on here any time you like about any aspect of what you're going through and I will reply when I can. 

Just want you to know that I'm thinking of you. 

Love, Annabel. Xx

annabel your replies are amazing, just amazing. really been thru the mill so to take the time to offer such support if - could hug you - would. Ray, our identical circumstances and ops a week apart have made it 'easier' sadder and haPpier all at once if that makes sense. -ive had 2 weeks to get used to this, and its half term so am busy with the kids, which makes me yet more freaked out about managing with tiny people post op! baby fighting sleep and teething so its gonna be fun, but you know what, we will manage! won't we ray. and keep thinking about my friends also 33 who stared their families yet. also 33!!!! Its no age. xxx take care xxx

Hi,

I'm really glad my replies have been helpful, 3stars. Sending a hug to you, too! 

From a practical point of view, I signed up to online supermarket shopping before I went into hospital - if you sign up for a month or more you get a discount on the delivery cost with some supermarkets, and it means you don't have to think about how you're going to get the shopping or rely on other people for it. It made a real difference. 

You both may have seen my post elsewhere about tips for hospital, but tops tips include comfy big knickers, anti-bacterial hand gel (use it on your hands before every time you eat in hospital!) facial wipes to give your face a freshen up when you want to, and to take a brand of toiletries that you don't normally use and won't mind never using again - I bought a cheap range from Boots that smelt very different from my usual stuff, then I binned the lot when I got back from hospital. I even used a different toothpaste. Smell is very evocative, so I didn't want my moisturiser or face wash to remind me of being in hospital. Also, if you end up having a laparoscopy (rather than a vaginal hysterectomy), it's a good idea to take peppermint oil with you - a couple of drops in a small glass of water helps to disperse the wind that can build up in your back and shoulders that can give you a little bit of pain. I'd also recommend really comfy pyjamas and snacks! My ipod was useful, not only for listening to music, but if you're not in a chatty mood or don't like your ward neighbour, no one speaks to you if you've got earphones in your ears! ;-) 

Annabel. x

brill advice, I'm trying to be pro-active....Ive got my grcoery list planned for asda online....trying to think of ways to get baby into and out of his buggy....a step stool or something....i'm buying bed rails so he can just sleep in my bed because I wont be able to get him in or out of his cot. My pre op is the same day as Rays op so my thoughts that day will be with her xxx

Trying to get organised too. Had mine & the girls haircut today, getting my legs waxed on Fri. Going to do a big food shop next week & tidy the house from top to bottom. Feeling very scared tonight. Don't know how I'm going to get through next week! Want to say a BIG thank you 3stars & Annabel for all your support. So pleased I found this site. Lots of love Ray. xxxxx

Hi 3Stars and Ray, 

Being pro-active and trying to be organised can be a great help. Equally, don't worry about what doesn't get done before you go into hospital - if the oven doesn't get cleaned or all the washing doesn't get done, it honestly doesn't matter in the scheme of things. All that matters is that you're ok. 

Bed rails are a great idea 3Stars! I remember you saying that your baby is a one year old. I don't know without seeing what kind of buggy you've got so forgive me if this is completely unrealistic but, is there any way you could teach him to climb into his buggy himself? Like you say, perhaps if you put a stool next to it (like the ones you can get to put in front of the toilet) perhaps he'd be able to climb in just by holding your hand? 

Ray, I know the waiting and the build-up is awful and very difficult. I completely understand your fear. One of the ways you can get through the time between now and the op is by coming here. You can do that anytime and either of you can message me privately if you wish. I know sometimes it can be difficult to know what to say and it can sometimes feel like you're repeating yourself, but that's ok. If you just want to come on here and say "I'm feeling scared" then that's absolutely fine. I am here, and I understand. As you've pointed out, you're both in a very similar situation to one another as well, so I am sure you can continue to support each other and that it will make a big difference to both of you. 

Remember that I am thinking about you and will continue to think about you. 

Love, Annabel. x

Hi ladies, any single moms here? I have a 9 months old and no family around. Are there any services to use for helping after hysterectomy or trachelectomy? Any advice on limitation on weight lifting and having a baby?

Melanie