Different Side of Life

It’s story time again. This story is at the request (well, I took it as a request) of a friend. I don’t normally talk about this part of my life. It isn’t that I’m not open about it. It’s just not a comfortable subject. I have found that bringing up tragedy without a rosy ending isn’t generally received well. And I am not at that point yet.

There are so many what ifs in life, and that’s never more apparent than after a tragedy.

Almost 3 years ago, when I woke up in the ICU, I knew. I knew that if I was alive, I was never going to have another baby. In fact, one of the first things I told my husband was that I can’t give him more children. I don’t know why I said that; maybe I wondered if he would leave me right then and there.

It was three and a half weeks after I had given birth to Chloe. My parents had just left. They came every single night after Chloe was born to give me food, and though it was partially an obligation my mom felt because she really feels women need to be taken care of exceptionally well after giving birth, I think it was also a large part to visit Chloe.

I started to bleed and I thought that I had started my period. Which is odd, being that I had a baby only three weeks ago and I was breastfeeding (which is supposed to stop that from happening so soon). It took several minutes of nonstop bleeding for me to figure out that it wasn’t my period and for me to start getting worried. I remember sitting in the bathroom discussing with my husband whether we should drive to the hospital or call 911. Looking back, that discussion almost seems silly, but I really wasn’t sure what to think – I was on the fence of being completely freaked out and wondering the big what if, what if I was blowing the situation out of proportion.

The ambulance got there and took me in, on a stretcher and everything. The only thing that I could think about was that it was almost time for me to feed Chloe. I think I told whoever was in the ambulance with me that my baby would be hungry. When I was in the emergency room I do remember trying to convince the nurse to let me breastfeed my baby – that didn’t happen.

Before my doctor got there it was bad. They couldn’t stop the bleeding (the nurses had to change the bedding 2 or 3 times because there was so much blood) and when I came in the emergency room doctor assumed that some of the placenta hadn’t come out and that’s why I was bleeding. He tried to scrap inside me to get it out. It hurt. Omygod, it hurt. I cried and cried and held on to the nurse tight.

I asked the nurse, “am I going to die?” I think she was shocked that I would ask that – minus the fact that I had nonstop bleeding and every single person in that room looked worried. She assured me that I wouldn’t die and they would try everything that they could.

My doctor came in and saved my life. After he got there it really was a whirlwind of events. He did tell us that it was a possibility that I could have to have a hysterectomy if he couldn’t stop the bleeding. I didn’t want to go through the pain of being scrapped again and was in a way relieved that I wouldn’t have to feel that again. Did I mention that it was painful? All my husband wanted was for me to be alive.

They got me ready to go into surgery. They didn’t have time to try to figure out what was wrong with me – they could only go in and pray. Before I went into surgery I tried to say good bye to my husband. It was the weirdest feeling. I told him that I love him. I started choking up. I mean, how do you tell your husband how much he means to you? I’m crying just thinking about it.

In the OR was when I felt really cold. I couldn’t get warm and couldn’t stop shaking. My body started to go into shock from all the blood loss. Before I fell asleep I told God that I want to watch Chloe grow up. My doctor looked sad. That’s what I remember before falling asleep, telling God that I wanted to watch Chloe grow up and that my doctor looked sad.

At the same time my husband was in the waiting room with his 3 week old baby. A little baby who wanted to breastfeed and refused the bottle, who wouldn’t stop crying. And while I asked that God allow me to watch Chloe grow up, my husband was demanding that God keep me alive.
I woke up in ICU. I woke up and knew that if I was alive I didn’t have a uterus anymore. I fell back asleep not long after I woke up. It felt like hours later (though I don’t know how long it really was) a nurse came to wake me up to check on me. I fell asleep again. My doctor woke me up next. He told me my body was recovering from the bloodloss and that’s why I slept so much and why he couldn’t wake me up after the surgery, he tried. He told me that I had a hysterectomy. We had a short discussion, and I don’t remember much of it. They let my husband come visit me, in between sleeping. I cried when I told him that I couldn’t have any more children.

The details of my surgery were told to me weeks after by my doctor and my husband. This is what I know from them: I got 40 units of blood; they couldn’t pump it into me faster than I was losing it. When he first saw my uterus it was surprising because from where he could see it looked completely healthy. There was no other option than to do a hysterectomy. The decision was basically, hysterectomy or death. My doctor admitted that at one point probably not one person in that operating room thought that I was going to make it.

There was a very small part of my uterus that had atrophied, and that very small part tore open. My doctor had it tested to find out what happened. It came back with no answers. No one knows why I had a small part of my uterus atrophy. They just don’t know. They don’t know why it started or when. For all they know it was just a matter of time. It’s not as open and shut as that. But I’ve stopped all my research and my wondering and my what ifs.

It’s been nearly three years. I have good days and bad days; I have more good days than bad days now – a year ago that wasn’t the case. I have days where I’ve come to terms with what happened to me and days where I can’t look at a pregnant woman or a woman with more than one child without wanting to cry. Luckily, as time goes on, the emotions become less raw.

My ordeal didn’t end with my hysterectomy. I was young and I both nearly died and at the same time lost my ability to have more children. It felt like too much for me to deal with. Time moves on. And like I said, the emotions become less raw. They’re still there, under the surface. And I rebuild. That’s where I am now. Rebuilding. Rebuidling a faith in God that was lost. Rebuilding a lot of my personal healing, emotional healing, and growing.

And that is the beginning of the journey that I am on now. The journey of being a mommy.

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9 responses to “Different Side of Life

  1. Thank you for sharing your story. I am so sorry this happened to you. And while adoption may not have been a first choice for building your family, it will be rewarding since you have so much love to give.

  2. WOW! That is an amazing story, thanks for being so open with your feelings. You are meant to be a great wife and mother, I think that’s why God wanted you to survive.

  3. That is an amazing and sad story. Have you considered having it published? I know it is so personal but I can think of a few magazines who would probably publish it in a heartbeat. It isn’t a fairy tale ending, but it is an amazingly inspirational ending.

  4. mommy magallanes

    Thank you for your thoughts. nicki, I’ve toyed with the thought of writing a book about it, but I wouldn’t start until I was 10 years or so out. I think the time will give me perspective. Other than that I never thought about getting my story out there; it would be a good thing.

  5. Rock-a-bye Baby

    I am so sorry that happened to you. Thank you for sharing your story.

  6. Solomon & Malachi

    Wow. You went through a bit, there, huh? We’re about ready to embark on our Vietnam adoption journey (we still haven’t told our family). We recently went through a loss as well, but God is faithful, and His plan for both of us is perfect.

  7. Wow, your story is similar to mine except I hemmorhaged immediately after childbirth. It was absolutley devastating to have my fertility taken away from me and to live with the memories of having “almost” died. I will never forget seeing my father weeping when he was able to see me afterwards because he was so happy to see me alive and yet hardly recognizing me since I was so swollen. My PPH happened 6 years ago and I have been able to come to terms with it. I have been lucky enough to have 2 more children through surrogacy so that has really helped me heal and move on. Good luck to you!

  8. Thank you so much for sharing. It is stories like yours that are the stuff of faith, bringing us back to truth with the reality that pain and suffering cannot be blotted out form our experience any more than grace and joy.
    Thank you.

  9. You are in my thoughts.
    We deal the same story and it happened to me 3 years ago. I have also the same feelings as you have.
    We could only get 1 child too.
    We dont know if adoption, etc… would be the solution for us…
    Thanks for writing such a beautiful blog. I will come and read it when I feel less good.
    PPH survivor Olivia

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