I can't remember exactly when, it was either pre-Zoe heart-related diagnostic imaging or during her pregnancy with Zoe, that it became apparent that Sarah had gall stones.
Apparently it's not uncommon for women to develop them after pregnancy, and it turns out that Sarah is slightly more genetically predisposed to getting them to boot. So it wasn't terribly surprising when she started having some pain recently. She had another ultrasound to confirm it, and went off to see a surgeon.
Apparently they care more about the symptoms than the number of stones in the gallbladder, and they don't bother removing the stones and keeping the gallbladder, so she was booked in for a cholecystectomy last Thursday.
It was a pretty straightforward procedure, she was out of the operating room in just under an hour, and awake a bit over an hour after that.
I've had a few friends need to have a cholecystectomy, and the photos on Wikipedia have always fascinated me, particularly this one. It seems so freaky to have a gallbladder full of that much gravel. It can't be comfortable. We're going to be able to pick up Sarah's stones on Monday, so it'll be interesting to see what they look like.
Sarah's recovering now. It's one of the few surgeries she's had under general anaesthesia where she hasn't been sick afterwards, so that was a good start. The procedure was done laparoscopically, using four incisions, and to give themselves room to work, they inflate the body with carbon dioxide gas, which then has to work its way out of her body over the following days. So she's dealing with some bloating, bruising and swelling at the moment, but not doing too badly. Apparently if you're vertical for too long, the gas can work its way up to your diaphragm, which causes some shoulder pain, so the trick has been to walk around a bit, then lie down for a bit, and then rinse and repeat.
She's not allowed to lift Zoe for 3-4 weeks, which presents a few challenges for us, but nothing insurmountable (hopefully). We converted Zoe's crib to a toddler bed a week before the surgery, and Zoe thought that was just the best thing ever, and has taken to it really well. I'm around at home for breakfast and dinner, so I can take care of the lifting into and out of the high chair for those meals, and Zoe can eat lunch at her little table. Zoe's also pretty good about getting into and out of the car by herself (not that Sarah can drive until she's off the painkillers) and she's normally in daycare two days a week. She's in daycare again on Monday, so Sarah won't have to deal with Zoe on her own until Tuesday, and we have backup daycare arrangements we can fall back on if need be. Zoe's been very good about Sarah not being able to pick her up, and been very gentle. It helped with the explanation that Sarah could show her all of her "owwies".
The surgeon was saying that only 1 in 400 people need to alter their diet after removing their gallbladder, so we're hopeful that Sarah will do just fine without it. She'll certainly be more comfortable in the long run.