"I'm a former English teacher turned stay-at-home mom to my two miracles - 4 1/2 year old Naomi (my two pound preemie) and 3 year old Charlie (through the gift of adoption). My husband has been my rock through it all, constantly loving and encouraging me in sickness and health, in good times and in bad."
I don't remember many physical symptoms. I only remember bits and pieces and random images from the days after my daughter was born – images of my sweet husband crying, images of an emergency code being called on the hospital intercom and doctors flooding the room, images of family members hugging and crying, images of being rushed to surgery, and a vivid image of being in the OR and a nurse on the IV team saying “I need more time” as she stuck me over and over again trying to get the IV in my vein. I was so swollen that it made her task nearly impossible. One of the clearest memories from that time was that I didn’t even care what was going on. I knew she was poking me with no end in sight, but I honestly didn’t feel a thing. The pain in my chest was unbearable, and all I asked was that they would sit me up to help alleviate the pressure. I think I finally just passed out, because I don’t remember anything more until a few days later – and those memories also remain fuzzy. The doctor told me that when a person is facing that much trauma in such a short amount of time, their body goes into survival mode. Certain body parts literally shut down – and I’m sure that my brain began shutting down as my body fought to stay alive. I was later told a summary of what happened to me."
They performed a uterine artery embolization, which is essentially where they permanently burn the arteries leading to the uterus with the hope that if you stop the blood flow to the uterus, the uterus would stop bleeding out. While I was in surgery, they performed another surgery where they inserted an IVC filter into my Inferior Vena Cava (the main vein that brings all of the blood from your lower extremities to your heart, lungs, and brain). I had multiple blood clots in my lungs (Pulmonary Embolus) – something not normally associated with HELLP syndrome but an equally grave condition. My liver also began shutting down.
I spent three days in the ICU fighting for my life. After two surgeries, lots of meds to repair the hematoma around my liver, 4 blood transfusions, and various tubes inserted into my lungs, (all of which were successful, Thank you God!) the rest of the time was spent being monitored and working towards recovery. All of my strength was literally gone – I could barely stay awake for a short conversation with the doctors.
But by day four, I no longer needed to be in the ICU so the doctor released me to the telemetry (heart) unit where I spent the next 10 days. I was put on the telemetry floor because they felt as though my heart had suffered so much trauma that they needed to monitor it 24/7."
I cannot even begin to describe the feelings that overcame me the moment I saw her. She was still too small to be held, so I could only admire her by looking through her isolette. They allowed me to stick my hand through the holes, and I rubbed her soft skin. I couldn’t help but notice that she was a very muscular little girl, as she literally had not an ounce of fat on her body. Her whole body was perfectly defined. They assured me that she was doing great – just about ready to come off of CPAP (breathing devices) to see if her lungs would be able to hold their own pressure. This was basically an informative visit and I was caught up to speed on her condition - and this was now the best medicine for me. And I was not worried about her – I knew she would be just fine. I would get to visit her for one hour each day for the next ten days and those moments were pure joy.
I was released from the hospital after two weeks, and I would come visit her each morning and every evening with sweet husband. We brought our baby home 38 days after she was born at 4 pounds 5 ounces. Every day has been a gift since then. 19 months later, we welcomed home a baby brother through the amazing gift of adoption. I cannot have any more biological children, but looking back I am so thankful for my experience - for the doctors and nurses who cared so diligently for us, for the many people who prayed, for God who answered those prayers - for this second chance at life, and for the privilege I have of being a momma to my two amazing and beautiful children."