3 years ago, something changed the way I look at life. In the grand scheme of things, some might think it isn’t spectacular, or anything to write about, but as I look back on the events, it helps me see where I’ve been the last 3 years, and take a look at where I’m going.
It started out kind of sucky. Despite giving birth to this beautiful creature just 5 days earlier, I felt horrible.
My abdomen hurt, my back hurt… I could barely stand up. I also had some other symptoms, including a rising fever. I called the OB on call (It was a Sunday) and she suggested I take a trip to the Emergency Room. I didn’t really want to go. My parents were coming as were my brother and his girlfriend, and I didn’t want to have to cancel plans just because I felt bad. I decided I’d just play it by ear, and went back to bed to nurse Madeline. Wayne, however, decided we needed to go to the ER, so we called my parents and we loaded up all 3 kids and headed to the hospital.
Once we got to the hospital, it was a bit chaotic. I sat hunched over in my seat in the waiting room while Wayne watched the kids, including 5 day old Maddie in her carseat. I ended up feeling really hot, so Wayne grabbed me some wet paper towels to blot on my head. I soon realized I needed something to vomit in, but as Wayne walked up to the counter to ask the receptionists for a bucket-thingy, I was already vomiting into my hands. I tried really hard to catch it in the paper towels, but it wasn’t going very well.
Shortly after that, they called me in for triage. My blood pressure was 50/30 and my heartrate was 120. I heard the word septic, right before they gave me a bed and I started puking again.
I’ll spare most of the details of the day. It wasn’t pleasant. They started 2 IVs right away. I know one was dopamine, but don’t remember the other. They did an ultrasound, an EEG, drew blood, and gave me a pelvic. The OB on call came in to check me over and they found an internist for me. (I don’t remember all the details of the day, but I do remember that the ER doc asked Wayne if we had an internist, and Wayne said no. Wayne asked the dr. “If this was YOUR wife, who would you call?” The dr. gave him a name, and W said, “I want him.”
A few hours later, after my parents had picked up the children, and the doctor came to check me out, I heard him say the words, “She needs to be in the ICU NOW.”
I was, apparently, in bad shape. Bad enough to be in the Intensive Care Unit (called Critical Care here, actually). The dr. said I had an infection of some kind, but didn’t know exactly what we were dealing with. Until they had the results of the blood tests back, he was starting massive doses of several antibiotics to get me through the night. I know I was on some meds to help my blood pressure, too. I was catheterized and funny “shoes” were put on my feet to keep my circulation, since I’d be bedridden during my stay in the ICU.
I was there from Sunday to Thursday evening. During my stay, they’d find out it was Strep A that somehow entered my system and started attacking my uterus and kidneys. I started having breathing problems and that had to be dealt with, and daily x-rays gotten. The kids weren’t allowed to visit, which was very difficult. Wayne spent half his time with me and half with the kids. He’d go home and my parents would come visit. I could see them all fighting back emotions those first few days, but they seemed to get more relaxed as the days went on.
The day I was transferred to the “regular” part of the hospital, all the nurses wished me well, and more than one of them told me separately that I was extremely lucky we came in when we did. Apparently, just a few more hours could have ended with a much more tragic story.
It was a tough road once I got home and was still recovering for quite awhile. Taking care of a 4 year old, a 2 year old, and a newborn had it’s challenges already. Somehow I got through that first year, although some of it is a blurr. By the time Maddie was one year, I was really struggling, and found myself very very depressed, and sought help. Within a year I was much, much better, and now, 2 years after that, I’m doing great. I’m human, I still have tough days, just like every mom, but I’m GOOD. In fact, I’m getting in better shape, taking better care of myself, and even attempting something I never ever thought I’d try… running! It’s challenging, but getting easier, and making me feel good, even when I’m panting for air and sore. Because I’m here. Because we didn’t wait. Because things didn’t turn out the other way.
I’m lucky, and I know that, and I’m going to continue to make more of an effort to really enjoy life, for me, and my entire family.