My story can entail several categories - love, personal change and faith. As far as
Posted On Thursday, June 20, 2002 by Amanda
My story can entail several categories - love, personal change and faith. As far as love goes, I learned how very much my husband, family and friends love me and saw what lengths they all went to to help me pull through my illness. After what happened to me, I learned that life is too short to let the little things get to me like they had in the past. I don't get as angry and uptight as I used to and I try (although I'm still working on it) to stay calmer and more relaxed about things. As for faith, it has grown stronger every day and I have let God back into my life (after my grandmother's death I had a hard time dealing with God). I learned that there is a lot more to "faith" than just saying "I believe" - what happened to my family has taught me that God is always there for you no matter what.
I was 27 weeks pregnant and started having abdominal pains and shortness of breath the evening of January 31. The pain in my abdomen was so great it's indescribable. I felt as if I would blow up. After being unable to contact the doctor, my husband, Randy rushed me to the nearest hospital. Upon arriving, my blood pressure was 230/180 and I couldn't stop vomiting. They ran several tests and couldn't understand what was happening to me. After conferring with other doctors, they determined they couldn't handle my situation and I was airlifted to Presbyterian/St. Luke's Hospital (P/SL), which specializes in high-risk pregnancies.
Minutes after arriving at P/SL, a team of doctors and nurses determined I had HELLP (Hemolysis, Elevated Liver enzymes, Low Platelets) Syndrome and they needed to perform an emergency c-section to save my life. HELLP is a rare condition following preeclampsia and sometimes isn't detected until it almost kills the mother, which, in my case, is what happened. My condition was worsening by the minute. My blood was disintegrating before they could test it (hemolysis). Due to my high blood pressure, my body thought my liver was damaged and rushed my platelets there to fix it. Hence, my liver clogged causing severe swelling and elevated liver enzymes. The emergency c-section was risky because I had very few platelets to stop the bleeding.
I was so swollen from fluids they couldn't give me an epidural. They had to intubate me. My daughter, Caitlin Nicole, was born February 1, 2000 at 4:31 a.m. They gave Randy a "thumbs up" meaning Caitlin was OK and took her to the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit). After extubating me, they realized my lungs had filled with fluid. They continued using suction to pull fluid out. After being taken to my room, they realized they weren't getting my lungs clear and failed to reintubate me. Moments later, I went into respiratory arrest and they performed an emergency tracheotomy and rushed me to ICU (Intensive Care Unit). I had gotten so ill that most of my major organs were failing - liver, kidneys, lungs.
For the next few hours, it was touch and go. They told Randy I might not make it and due to my lung condition I wouldn't be eligible for a transplant. They asked if we wanted to meet with a pastor. They introduced my family to Pastor John Simon. He had already been apprised of my situation. John stayed with them, encouraging and praying with them. When the information line was slow he ran to ICU and got updates on my condition. Most importantly, though shortly after he met the family, he asked them if I'd seen my baby and if I knew she was OK. They told him they didn't know. He then asked if he could take pictures of Caitlin to me. Though at the time I didn't know, when I needed John most, he was there showing me the Polaroid shots of Caitlin telling me I have a daughter and she needs me. Shortly thereafter, my condition began to stabilize.
The doctors will tell you they are good at what they do, and good doctors have great success. But when they told my family they had done everything they could and it wasn't not in their hands any more, they knew and my family knew God spared me that day and He sent John to us that morning as His messenger. I know deep in my heart if it hadn't been for John, I wouldn't be here today.
Ethan will be turning 3 at the end of this month (October). The month of October always brings up some scary memories and emotions for me... I never thought I would have a difficult pregnancy or labor. After all...