Thursday, January 1, 2009

Eye Opening

I discovered a blog a few days ago that has really shaken me out of my foggy world. Matt's journey began when his beautiful wife died from a pulmonary embolism 27 hours after the birth of her brand new baby, Madeline. It made me realize just how very lucky I am.

I guess I just found the way to start the story (finally). B and I were lucky enough to have our first round of IVF result in a pregnancy - and what a pregnancy it was! TWINS! Until that moment in my life I had never been so terrified. While I sobbed on the phone with Mum after the appointment I made her promise to be there every step of the way and help me because I didn't know how I could ever manage two babies. Looking back now, I should have been more specific because when she died after their first birthday - I was clearly not ready to be on my own. The problems started when I went into labor at 20 weeks. I had no idea I was in labor but thankfully a quick thinking doctor realized what was going on and we got to the hospital in time. Some awful drugs and emergency surgery later, I was sent home to be on bed rest. I did 16 weeks of ‘hard time’.

At 36 weeks my doctor once again sensed something was wrong and sent me to the hospital for monitoring. They decided on a c-section that night, March 15, 2006. After my first son was born, I heard a second cry (no idea if it was a boy or girl) and simply said ‘I can’t breathe’ and then I died. A pulmonary embolism had hit and I was gone. Because I was in the OR when it happened and was lucky enough to have an anesthesiologist standing by my head, he was able to immediately intubate me and breathe for me while the doctors worked on restarting my heart and breaking up the clot (I’m told it was the size of my heart). It took 5 minutes of CPR, paddles and assorted other goodies to get the old heart started again, but start it did.

It was a rough couple of days while the doctors tried to determine the extent of the damage to my heart, lungs, brain. Everything has, amazingly, checked out as fine. It was 24 hours after their birth before I was finally able to go to the NICU (I had been in the ICU) to see my 2 beautiful sons. Truly the happiest moment of my life. The boys were kept in the NICU so that they had one on one attention while I was recuperating and not allowed to get out of bed. Mum and B were with the babies around the clock while my Dad pretty much kept watch over me. As a parent now, I simply can't imagine the mix of emotions my parents were experiencing - incredible joy over the arrival of their grandsons and intense fear at the thought of losing their only daughter during childbirth.

Amazingly enough we all left the hospital 3 days later. We were SO lucky. This is where the story really intersects with Matt and Liz ( She and I both did 'hard time' on bedrest. We both had to wait 24-hours before we could see our children. We both suffered pulmonary emboli. My clot moved while in an OR with a full staff ready for anything. Liz's clot moved while she was getting in a wheelchair to go see Maddy for the first time. There was nothing they could do for her and she never got to hold her daughter. The injustice of that is overwhelming. I am so very lucky and I need to remember that on a daily basis.

My New Year's Resolution is to take the time every day to realize what I have...and what I could have lost in just a moment. I have a beautiful family and need to appreciate them more than I have been.

I need to lose 40 pounds too - but I think I'll start with the stuff I know I can do!

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