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Brittany Lynch, RN, BScN, CSC Presents: Stepqueen by The Whole Stepfamily

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Emergency Surgery While Pregnant: Why I’m grateful for one of the hardest months of my life

October 27, 2021

I’m baaaack.

If you’re a regular podcast listener, or you are a dedicated follower, then you’ve probably noticed that I’ve been on a bit of a hiatus. 

In today’s episode, I’m going to be getting a little more personal than I have in a while. We’re talking where I’ve been, why I got rushed in for emergency surgery, what an operation like that meant for my pregnancy, and most importantly of all, the lessons I learned throughout this really, really difficult time.

Here we go.

What is up everybody, Brittany Lynch here, back in the saddle after almost a whole month off.

Now I wish I could say that I’ve been laid up on a beach somewhere, or nestled in the mountains in a little cabin that has no cell service, or backpacking through South America for the last four weeks, or meditating in sky-high cloud covered temples with Buddhist monks, but alas — I’ve been doing none of those things.

I’m finally just slowly beginning to come back around after what’s felt one of the hardest months of my life.

And when I say hard, I mean hard in every aspect of my 3D experience. Mentally, emotionally, spiritually, energetically, and physically.

Something I’ve learned over the years is that, when something like this happens that challenges all of my paradigms about the world, it’s because I’m being delivered a gift. Do they feel like gifts in the moment, hell no. But afterward, in retrospect, I can always see how my life becomes exponentially better after a period of intense pain and suffering.

And knowing what sort of relationship most stepmoms have with pain and suffering, and knowing that sometimes people need reminding that pain is necessary for transformation, and knowing that sometimes when we’re in the midst of pain and suffering it can be easy to lose sight of the fact that life doesn’t happen TO you, life happens FOR you, ALWAYS, I hope that by sharing this with you, you’re able to draw some parallels in your own life, and hopefully when this episode wraps up, you’ll realize very quickly just how important pain is for growth.

So, at the end of August, I got rushed in for emergency surgery. Long story short, I had appendicitis, and I had to have an emergency operation to have my appendix removed.

Now this in itself, had it happened at any other time, probably would have been a little bit worrisome because surgery is a little creepy to me, and it probably would have been a little uncomfortable, but had i had my appendix removed at any other time, it wouldn’t have been that big of a deal.

But it was a particularly big deal to me this time, because, I just happened to be ten weeks pregnant at the time.

Now I have a rule that I live by, where I don’t share about things that I am still healing from. I don’t talk about anything on social media that the intention is to get sympathy or pity from people. I don’t look to social media or to anyone who is a part of my audience to soothe my ego. 

And unfortunately I see a lot of people who use the internet as a tool to make themselves feel better. So many people use the internet and social media as a dumping ground for their problems, looking for someone to feel sorry for them. And I get it, right, like, so many people do it. But if this is you, like if your sole intention behind social media use is to find ways to air out your dirty laundry and look for people to make you feel better and look for people to disagree with in order to make yourself feel better, then you are playing a dangerous game my friend. 

That isn’t coming from a place of judgment, who am I to judge you, I’m nobody, I’m just an average person. The point I’m getting at is that I’m not sharing about this hard time because I want to make myself feel better. i am here for YOU. I don’t share anything on social or on the podcast or on YouTube that doesn’t have the pure intention of service to you, the pure intention of helping you.

And part of that, a big huge piece of that, is that I don’t share anything that I am still in the process of working through, or healing, or untangling. Because, if I haven’t worked through it yet, if I am still tangled up in the mess of it, then who am I to offer any kind of support on the matter?

So, one of the things I haven’t spoken about publicly is the fact that my husband and I had a miscarriage in February, on valentines day weekend. Needless to say, it was really heartbreaking for me.  I’d had some other sort of challenging circumstances around my fertility, plus for a long time Seamus and I couldn’t see eye to eye on growing our family any more, so when I finally found out in July that we were pregnant with this baby, I was ecstatic. It had been a long, hard, painful road to get that little pink line.

So, when I ended up having to be rushed in for an operation in my first trimester, I wasn’t worried about the operation, I was worried that I’d lose the baby. The way the surgeon put it though was that, if I didn’t have the surgery, my appendix would rupture and the baby would 100% die. If I did have the surgery, they could likely get my appendix out before it ruptured, and there was a chance that the medication they use to put me to sleep so I could have the surgery would cause my body to miscarry the baby. But, there was also a chance that the baby would be okay.

So there I was, at ten weeks pregnant, with my little rainbow baby who I’d waited so long to carry, and I was being whisked into an operating room as fast as possible.

The first thing I asked when I woke up was, is my baby okay.

The nurse of course told me everything was fine and lulled me back off to sleep with some pain medication. But once I was a bit more coherent I asked if anyone had checked the baby after surgery.

Now, I’m not a doctor, but I had it in my mind that after you put a pregnant mother under a general anesthetic, you’d make sure that both mother and baby were okay when it was all over. I had it in my mind that they would have done an ultrasound or something, to make sure the baby made it through. 

Well, they didn’t. They didn’t check. And the doctor who was in charge of my hospital stay would not order an ultrasound for me. His exact words were that, at 10 weeks there’s nothing that can be done to save the baby anyway, so there was no point checking. He said you’ll just have to wait and see if you miscarry or not.

So that was pretty uncomfortable, not having the peace of mind that everything was okay. And, because I was still assumed to be pregnant, I couldn’t really take any kind of pain medication. 

So here I am in the hospital, I’m in physical pain and I’m letting my thoughts run wild, which inevitably leads me into emotional suffering. I’m also stressing out because not even a week before that, we just welcomed in a new group of stepmom story members, and I’m like well this looks really great.

At the time, it really felt like the walls were closing in around me. And I got into all my stories, and all my head garbage, and all my poor-me-poor-me victim mentality. My post-op instructions include the fact that I’m not allowed to lift anything more than 10 pounds for 6 weeks after surgery. So that means, no kickboxing, no yoga, I can’t even pick Rory up. 

Now, in retrospect, I can see how I was being challenged to become more conscious of my attachments. At the time I was up to my neck in much. But in retrospect, the evolution is becoming clear.

And I want to share with you one of my favourite questions of all time, a question I’ve contemplated and journaled on so many times, and when I say it is one of the most profound questions you’ll ever be asked in your life, I am not exaggerating. This question, and how you choose to answer it, how you choose to let yourself interpret it, literally holds the keys to your happiness. So make sure you have a journal handy if you’re not driving and I’m going to share it in just a second.

For all the spiritual and psychological and emotional healing work I’ve done over the years, for all the times I’ve reflected on my own attachments, for all the times I’ve invited other people to take a look at their attachments, I still get caught up in mine.

I believe that the human condition is just so wired for clinging, that desire is so engrained in our social customs, that I’m truly convinced that both you and I will be students of non-attachment for as long as we are living.

So, what am I talking about? What the heck is an attachment, right because obviously I’m not talking about childhood attachments to caregivers, also another important conversation just not the one we’re having today. More importantly, what does this have to do with you? And how can it help you?

So, for the sake of brevity, attachments  are basically people, places, things, opinions, beliefs or desires that people cling to as a perceived source of happiness. 

People, places, things, opinions, beliefs or desires that people cling to as a perceived source of happiness.

So, in other words, anything that you believe gives your life value, meaning, importance, pleasure, etcetera, you more than likely have an attachment to that thing.

There is a 99% that you are listening to this podcast, or that you are a Stepqueen client, because you have experienced some sort of suffering in your life that has then been amplified by the people in your stepfamily, or circumstances of your life, or dreams of yours that have not yet been realized.

The problem, though, with attachments is that, you… and I… we are very literally placing our inner peace, our happiness, our well-being, our joy, our solitude, into the hands of other people, or into material items that can catch fire and disintegrate, or into job titles that can be taken away, or businesses that can go bankrupt.

You’ve probably heard this cliche before, but the only constant in life is change. And when you and I go placing our proverbial happiness eggs into baskets that can die and be destroyed and can be taken from us and can change their minds, then we are playing a game of life that we can never, and will never win.

In fact, there was a point just after I had come home from the hospital, and my body hurt so badly I could barely move, and I couldn’t show up for my clients, and I couldn’t record a podcast episode, and I couldn’t be a wife, or a mother, at least not in the way I’ve created the role expectations for myself, and i was worried I had just lost the second baby in 6 months, and when I tell you that I was absolutely overwhelmed with sadness, I was. I was so sad. And I would just lay in bed and cry, while I had thoughts bouncing through my head about how worthless I was. And when Seamus saw me and how upset I was, and asked me what was wrong, I just said to him I feel like my life has no meaning.

And that, my friend, is the power of attachments.

I had gotten so wrapped up in my ego self, so wrapped up in my own identity, in my own separateness, in the titles and quirks and traits that set me apart from other people, in the longing for another baby. I had gotten so caught up in my business, in my obligations, in my visions for the future, in my perceived importance of it all, that I had allowed the value of my life to be reduced to something very dangerous, something that could all go up in smoke in an instant.

And I wonder as you are listening to this, I wonder if you have anything coming to mind about the people, places and things in your life that your happiness depends on. I wonder if you are beginning to consider just how much meaning you have assigned to your relationships, how important you have made your relationships, how important you have made your next career milestone, how needed you have made yourself become in the lives of others. I wonder if maybe you are beginning to consider, where in life would I be absolutely devastated if I were to have a person place or thing be removed from my realm? Answer these questions honestly, and you will have identified many of the roots of your own suffering in life.

Think of it this way. If you live somewhere with four seasons, there is spring, where the trees start to wake up and send out delicate little green buds. Then, there is summer, where the trees show off their big healthy green leaves. Next, comes autumn, and for a great many people, autumn is their favourite season. The leaves that were full of life only a short time ago turn yellow, and red, and they begin to fall from the trees. But we admire the autumn colours, yes? We have autumn photos done, and drink pumpkin spice, and embrace the changing landscape, because it is beautiful. We don’t say, i cannot go on living because these leaves have died and fallen off. We don’t say, I have failed at life because I couldn’t save the leaves from dying. We observe the trees as they move through their seasons, and we appreciate their life cycle, but that life cycle for most people anyway, will have absolutely no bearing on the way you feel every day.

Why? Because you are not attached to the tree. You can respect it, and admire it, and find beauty in it, and appreciate it, and find joy from it, and you can do that all while your inner monologue and your sense of well-being stays basically unchanged.

In the grand scheme of things, my husband and my children and my own physical body and my business are no different than the trees. The only difference is the way in which I relate, the way in which I have attached, to each.

And that question I mentioned a bit earlier? The most powerful question you’ll ever be asked in your entire life? Got your journal? If you aren’t driving of course. So, ready? Here it is.

First of all, part one of the question, describe who you are. Who are you? If I’m a stranger and I’m just meeting you for the first time, how would you introduce yourself to me? Journal on that for as long as it takes before you have nothing left to write. Pause this episode until you’re done that.

Ok, did you pause it? Did you do it? I hope so. This question can change your life if you let it. The second part to this question… if I asked you to tell me who you were, but you couldn’t describe yourself based on your relationship to other people, places, or things how would you introduce yourself? How would you describe yourself? If you couldn’t say, I am a wife, I am a fiancée, I am a girlfriend, I am a stepmom, I am a mom, I am a dog mom, if you couldn’t say where you lived, or who your friends were, or what you did for work, or where you went to college, who would you tell me that you were?

Really, please, really really let yourself answer this question. Let yourself sink into it, and give it the time and space and contemplation that it deserves.

And if you’re still wondering?

Yes. The baby is just fine.

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