During Pregnancy, Dr. Haney Patients: April

Advice for TAC surgery in Chicago with Dr. Arthur Haney WHILE PREGNANT! This surgery was in 2012, so you may notice difference in the buildings/arrival locations compared to Veronica’s and Kathryn’s experiences.

This advice comes courtesy of April.  You can email her with any questions at aprilcstarkey@gmail.com.

Travel

Before Surgery

  • If you plan on flying in, see Kathryn’s post on pre-pregnancy TAC advice because she flew in and gives tips on that!
  • If you plan to drive like we did, plan to drive in the day before. This will give you time to maybe even go out to eat in downtown Chicago the night before and get settled in.
  • The drive there will be much easier than the drive back but being pregnant, you still need to make sure to stop every hour or so to pee and walk to help prevent blood clots since you are pregnant. Wear comfy clothes and bring a pillow and blanket to relax in the car with! Bring any snacks that will help with morning sickness too!

Day of Surgery

  • If you stay at the Ronald Mcdonald House, which I highly recommend and will give you details about further down. They provide a free shuttle from the house to the DCAM building where your surgery will be. However, it’s only a 10-15 minute walk and a 3 minute drive if you want to do it yourself.

After Surgery

  • Be prepared for transporters at the hospital to take a LONG time to get a wheelchair and come get you to take you down to the car. We waited a whole hour for the transporter to come wheel me down to the car. SUV is more comfy after surgery than a car because it’s higher up BUT if you have a car, which is what we brought due to gas mileage, have your husband raise the car seat up as high as it goes.
  • Use your husband as leverage and just hold on to him as he lets you gently down into the car. Don’t strain, just let your husband help you as much as possible!
  • Remind your hubby to drive slowly back to the Ronald Mcdonald house or your hotel and make sure to have a pillow to put over your stomach. If you are in a shuttle, kindly tell the driver you just had surgery and if he could watch for potholes etc.

Returning Home

  • We stayed one more night at the Ronald McDonald House after being released from the hospital and I needed it. I was still in too much pain the day of release from the hospital to drive home then. Remember being pregnant with surgery, makes recovery a bit harder, longer and more painful for us!
  • Plan your meds around your departure time. I knew the meds took around an hour to really work well for me so I took them about an hour before we left. I then took a benedryl 1-2 hours into the trip to help with itching (itching from narcotics) and to help me relax/sleep in car ride).
  • A must for car ride home is COMFY stretchy clothes, pillow or two, and blanket! Stop and walk/pee at least every hour of driving because not only does it help prevent blood clots and helps you relieve your bladder but you get really sore the longer you sit with your incision and the more you walk, the more it becomes easier to do so and is good for recovery.
  • Be prepared for gas pains from the surgery to hit you on the drive home. I got pains so badly I had to breathe through them. All part of surgery and healing. Make sure to take the prescribe pericolace that Dr. Haney gives you and drink lots and lots of water!

Accommodations

  • If you want to stay in a hotel, Bonita will send you a file that has a lot of hotels under contract with the university for patient discounts.  Call them and see what deals you can get!
  • However, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND if you are pregnant, staying at the Ronald McDonald House on Drexel Avenue. It was built in 2007, it’s so beautiful and new. It’s a Victorian style and has around 20 rooms. The people there are absolutely amazing, super friendly and helpful. They provide dinner almost every night with volunteers who come in and help. They also have plenty of drinks and snacks and breakfast every morning. They only ask for a $10 donation each day that you stay there and if you can’t do that, they understand. If you can give more, they appreciate it.
  • Pre-pregnancy TAC ladies cannot stay here because this building is for pediatric families but when you are pregnant, you are allowed to stay because of the baby in your womb! They were so excited to have us!
  • All you have to do is call Dr. Haney’s office and ask to have their social worker set up for you to stay there. Their social worker will call you to ask details and then call the Ronald McDonald House to check on availability and then call you back. They can never give you a FOR SURE guarantee on your stay until the day before but they can give you a guesstimate on whether they think they will have room or not. They told us they pretty much knew they would have plenty of room for us but we had to call the day before we came to make for sure. So we booked a hotel just incase and then on Saturday when I called and got the ok, I cancelled our hotel room.
  • When you get there, plan to have 30 minutes for them to walk you around the house and show you all the rooms etc! If you have children they have ONE AMAZING toy room that our son absolutely loved and never wanted to leave! Their rooms are so nice, two queen beds and the mattresses are those really nice memory foam type mattresses. Everything about this place is so nice, it truly felt like home away from home! My mom came with us along with our 2 year old, so the night Jim and I stayed in the hospital, they stayed at the house and had a blast!

Supplies to take and purchase

  • Insurance cards!  Drivers’ Licenses!
  • Your regular daily meds!
  • Paper/pen for post-op consult with Dr. Haney
  • Try to go light on the packing/suitcase because your husband will be the one lugging everything around! He will appreciate it!
  • Do not worry about bringing lots of clothes. I brought a pair of comfy pajama’s and one stretchy maternity pants and top and that’s it! Bring socks but the hospital will provide some too!
  • Have slippers or flip flops with you for when you get up to pee or walk around the hospital!
  • Take some granny panties.  I cannot stress this enough. I didn’t realize this until reading it on Kathryn’s list and boy was she right. You are so SWOLLEN and sore at your incision site and with us being pregnant too, you are even bigger. I actually recommend getting high cut or granny panties in a size bigger than usual so they are not tight on your tummy!
  • PILLOW! PILLOW! PILLOW! A small and big one are great to have! You never know what position will make you comfy in the car ride home or in bed so come prepared!
  • Maxi-pads are great to bring especially if you are on progesterone like me because of drainage. Just something to think about, if not the hospital will provide them for you!
  • Razor –See note below in body prep section on this!
  • Chapstick – Your mouth will feel like cotton is in it after surgery. Chapstick is GREAT to have after surgery!
  • Be prepared to have snacks for you and your husband if you don’t want to have him keep leaving to go to the cafeteria to get food.
  • More for your husband than you, because you will sleep a lot and be in pain or on meds to where you won’t feel like it but for your husband have him bring laptop, magazines, books or whatever will keep him busy because he will get bored easily. I had brought magazines to look at but was in pain most of the time or too drugged up haha to feel like looking at them.
  • Dr. Haney should give you your take home prescription form before your surgery. Easiest thing to do is have your husband go and fill your prescriptions while your in surgery! That is what Jim did and it worked out perfect! That way you don’t have to worry about hurrying and doing it right as your heading out of the hospital!

Body Prep

  • Don’t forget to shave your legs. You’ll want to shave your legs before surgery. IMPORTANT NOTE: If Bonita sends you the surgical cloths that disinfect your skin to help prevent infection. PLEASE do not shave right before doing the clothes. I had shaved just a few hours before doing the cloths and the stuff in the cloths reacted with my open pores from me shaving and it resulted in a burning/itching all over my legs. So severe, I went crazy and wanted to scream. I ended up having to wash my legs and put lotion on them which you are not suppose to do. So lesson is IF YOU HAVE surgical cloths to put on your skin night before and morning of surgery….make sure to shave the day before or at least the morning before you do the cloths so you don’t have what happened to me, happen to you! ;0)
  • Of course, you won’t wear make-up, lotions, or deodorant when you go for your surgery.
  • Start taking over the counter Colace a few days before surgery and then when Dr. Haney gives you a prescription for Pericolace, take that twice a day after surgery.
  • Drink LOTS of water the days before your surgery.  Make sure you are well-hydrated and your bowels are moving, moving, moving.

Arriving for Surgery – What to expect

  • When the shuttle or your husband drops you off, you’ll go to the surgery check in in Ambulatory Care.  They will give your family a card with a number code on it for when they want to check on your status. They will call you back for pre-op and at this time, hubby and family will stay in the waiting area.  After I changed and they got IV in me, which took them 7 tries because I am a hard poke, they brought back my husband, mom and son!
  • They will put you in a little curtained area – lots of other patients are in there, too.  Not just gynecological patients, either.  Everybody is in there for all sorts of things.  The nurse will then ask you lots and lots of questions.
  • You will get changed into a gown and they will have a bag for you to put your own clothing in. You get to take the bag and nice hanger home with you!
  • Many people will talk to you – nurses, nurse practitioners, the anesthesiologist, anesthesiologist residents, surgical residents, gynecological residents, etc.  If you are prone to nausea from anesthesia, speak up now!  Say it to everybody!  If you are nervous at all about surgery, now is the time to tell them. I told the anesthesiologist and he was so nice and told me he was going to give me a great experience and talked me through everything he would do and he truly did help me feel better!
  • Finally, Dr. Haney will talk to you.  He is wonderful. He immediately makes you feel at ease.  He takes his time and explains again what he’s going to do.  He’ll use your husband’s wedding band as an example and make lots of hand illustrations. They didn’t even discuss types of anesthesia with me, probably because when you are pregnant, they need you to be completely out so your muscles are completely relaxed.
  • Dr. Haney was amazing with our son. As he was talking about my veins, he had Isaac hold his hand out and showed him how his veins were even better than mommies and Isaac put his other hand out and said “more”. It was so cute and Dr. Haney was patient and did his other hand. When Dr. Haney was showing us all the illustrations with the TAC surgery using my husband’s hands, Isaac my son held his hands up because he wanted him to use his hands too, and again Dr. Haney was so patient and kind and talked with Isaac and used his hands too! It was so cute!
  • Right before I was called back, they gave me my surgical cap and asked Isaac if he wanted one too and brought Isaac and Isaac’s little glove balloon person a cap too, which was so sweet. We all walked out and as I headed to the left, they headed to the right and we kissed goodbye and we all just said to Isaac how mommy was going to go take a nap and Isaac said “nigh nigh”! ;0)
  • The nurse and a couple of residents will walk you down to the operating room.  You climb on the “table” and put your arms out yourself. At this point, I started to get nervous and then Dr. Haney came in and started talking to me and helped me. They start putting stuff in your IV without you realizing it and as I was talking my eyes started to blink more. We talked for around maybe 5 minutes because my IV had a kink in it they had to work out and they told me when they put the big stuff in and I said, oh so is this the stuff that will knock me out and they said yes. I just remember continuing to talk and laugh with them and then the next thing I knew, I woke up in recovery! They handled everything so well!

Post-Surgery (In Hospital)

  • After surgery, Dr. Haney will go talk to your husband in the waiting area.  He will spend as much time there as your husband wants him to.
  • When you wake up, you will be in recovery.  I think I was in recovery for 1-1.5 hours or so. I woke up with a very dry mouth so she got me some ice chips. The oxygen tubing in your nose is VERY annoying when you wake up and I wanted it out so bad but they told me to keep it in until I went to my room.
  • I remember waking up and realizing I was in pain but the nurse was great and got my Diladid pump started right away and boy did that help!
  • When you leave recovery, an attendant will wheel you to your room.  It is a long, long ride.  Seriously, it was at least 15 minutes.
  • When I got to my room, they made me physically change beds.  That was the worst.  Seriously…it was pain like WOWOWOW but you get through it and get in bed and give yourself another pump of Diladid and you will be fine!
  • Get settled!  Start drinking water!  Sleep as you can!
  • Try and order food even if you don’t feel like it. They have a menu 24/7, it’s just a little less of a menu during night hours. If what you first order looks gross when it gets there, as mine did, just wait a few hours and order something different!
  • They will give you a plastic breathing tube. Do this as often as possible. When your awake do it 10 times every hour. Helps prevent pneumonia and other stuff!
  • You will have a catheter in you, but at 4 am, it’s a new show.  The nurse will come in and take out your catheter.  Then, she’ll have you sit on the edge of the bed.  That’s pretty challenging.  Then you will stand…it will be hard…especially being pregnant after surgery but you can do it.  Breathe through it.  After you have stood up, she will ask you if you want to walk around the room for a bit or sit in the chair. It hurt but I made myself walk for around 5-10 minutes and sit in the chair for a bit. It hurt again to get back up from the chair but just remember the more you move, the more you walk, the easier it will get and faster you will heal!
  • We started getting resident doctor’s in as early as 6am and Dr. Haney came in around 9am.
  • Dr.  Haney will come in and talk with you.  He’ll stay as long as you need and answer whatever questions you have.    At this time, he will give you specific instructions for your future c-sections.  Certainly, he will share that info with your OB/MFM, but he wants you to know it, too, in case of an emergency.  You or your husband write this info down!
  • After Dr. Haney visits you, all you have left to do is your ultrasound and then you will be discharged. The ultrasound is awesome, not only do you get toyou’re your little baby but they show you different angles of the TAC and print you off pictures to take home! However, we didn’t get our ultrasound until 2pm and we didn’t get discharged until around 7pm and transportation didn’t come to wheel me down until around 8pm. Remember hospital time is VERY slow sometimes! ;0)

Post-Surgery (At Hotel)

  • When you get to the Ronald McDonald House or hotel room, get comfy.
  • Have your husband go and get food right away.  You’ll be ok.
  • The rest of the day you will probably doze – and so will your husband.
  • So glad we had one more night at the Ronald McDonald House before we went home. I really don’t think I could have handled the car ride at that point.
  • Be sure to get up and walk every hour for about 15 minutes (when you’re awake – don’t wake up just to walk).
  • Keep doing that breathing thingy, too.
  • Try to walk from car/shuttle to your room, instead of wheelchair. It will hurt but it helps you by walking! Of course take elevator though!

Post-Surgery (At Home)

  • Plan on nothing for a week after your surgery.
  • If you have little ones, plan to have help with them!
  • Keep walking.
  • Use your breathing thingy.
  • Watch the incision for signs of infection.  Take a picture and email it to Dr. Haney if you think there is a problem.
  • No driving for at least a week after surgery.  The night before I was going to drive to work, we went to an empty parking lot and made sure I could drive.  It was no problem.
  • A week and a half or so after surgery, you’ll notice the little steri strips starting to peel off and getting icky.  Just peel them off in the shower at that point.
  • You don’t need to do a follow up with anybody unless you want to.
  • Take the PERICOLACE!
  • Your bladder may act funny – some spasms, having a hard time urinating, etc.  This is normal!  Your bladder was handled during surgery and she’s not happy!  Stay on the lookout for a possible UTI, though I didn’t have one.  This cleared up for me by the end of week 2.  The first day or two, I peed sporadically, it was weird but it didn’t hurt!

RONALD MCDONALD HOUSE INFO:

http://rmhccni.org/rmh-near-university-of-chicago-comer-childrens-hospital/

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