It’s taken me four years to write this post. And it wasn’t until I sat in Katelyn James’ living room that it finally clicked. After bawling my eyes out sharing my story with my new workshop friends, Katelyn’s husband Michael said to me, “You can’t think this story won’t change anyones life. It changed every single one of ours in this room.” So the hardest things I endure hold the greatest potential for me to be a light in someone else life.
Four years ago I had my baby. Early. Because my water was broken in the doctors office by a pap smear stick. My daughter came into this world fighting for her life. I was sent home, and she stayed behind. She spent the next couple weeks in the NICU on oxygen, IV’s, and an OG tube.
I felt like my heart was in two places at once. Home taking care of my two other children and then back at the NICU with Emma. She was eventually able to come home, but would have lung issues for the next several years.
As we were grateful she was able to come home, I started to get sick. Passing blood clots the size of a sandwich for 30 days. I knew something was wrong shortly after my oldest daughter’s dance recital was over.
I had pain shooting down my legs and across my back and abdomen. It got to the point where I needed help walking. My mom took me into the ER and after an ultrasound I found out I had retained placenta. I was admitted that night as they waited for my obgyn to show up in the morning. At Noon, the PA came into my room and said they couldn’t get a hold of him and if he didn’t call back at 1pm I would get a D & C by another doctor. At this point, I really didn’t care who preformed it, as I was in some pretty intense pain. About a half hour later in walks my doctor. He explained he thought I was there for my period and he was out to the movies with his family. It wasn’t until he came home and looked at the ultrasound records that he realized what was going on. He reassured Mike and I that this would be a quick 15 minute procedure and we’d be back home in no time. So away I went, down to the OR.
As I woke up, Mike was there. Holding my hand. He took me home so I could sleep, and I never thought I’d have to deal with that again. Until two weeks later. The clots started again. I called the obgyn’s office and came in for a visit. My Nana came with to watch the kids, and I went back for an exam in his office. He told me I was bleeding because my hormones were off and it probably had to do with my thyroid. I remember saying, “No, there is something going on. Are you sure you got it all?” He looked at me with surprise and said, “I’ve done hundreds of thousands of D&C’s and I’ve never missed anything!”
But my gut told me he was wrong. I called the nurse line for my insurance company and bawled on my way home. She convinced me to go back to the ER. As I pulled up and walked in, I was so scared. What if it was in my head? What if I’m wrong? Then another ultrasound confirmed, I still had retained placenta. My heart sank as they tried to discharge me. I begged and pleaded, “Please, someone has to fix this!” “No one will see you in his practice because you’re his problem.” the ER doctor told me. I drove home feeling so defeated. The next day I called around to every gynecologist office I had ever been to and when I explained what was going on, time and time again, they turned me away.
I finally called my doctor’s office and explained what I was told at the ER. “Just come into the office, we’ll do a D&C in the office and then you can go home.” A D&C in the office?? Mike was completely against it. “You need to be somewhere where they can take care of you if something happens”, he said. So at 3pm Mike dropped me off at the hospital and went home to take care of the kids. I called my mom who is a flight attendant and left her a voicemail explaining what was going on. Little did I know, she was being rerouted back to Phoenix. “Mike dropped me off and Dad will come and get me. I just wanted to let you know what was going on.” I hung up the phone and walked inside. As I got to the surgery center I gave them my name and sat down. As the pre op nurse called me back I was nervous to see my doctor. You see, he had delivered my son and we had such an amazing experience with him. Mike told me over and over, while I was pregnant with Emma that he didn’t care for him and that he saw a bunch of red flags. But being the trusting person I am, I just figured everything would be fine and Mike was over reacting.
Then in walked my mom, into the pre op room. Angry, she quickly sat down. “I can’t believe this is happening.” she said. The the curtain opened and in walked my doctor. As he placed his hands on the end of my bed he said, “This really pisses me off. If you could have waited 6 more weeks I would have just given you a hysterectomy!” “A hysterectomy?” I said. “Yea. You wouldn’t be having these problems if you just got a hysterectomy.” Dumbfounded I looked to my mom. “She’s only 27! She wouldn’t be having these problems if you would have done your job right the first time!” she said. He quickly walked over to the white board hanging on the wall and starts drawing. “This is how I would do a vaginal hysterectomy.” “Well that’s great, but we’re not here for that!” My mom firmly said. Then he left the room.
As the anesthesiologist sang Alicia Keys to me while wheeling me back to the OR, I had no idea how much my life was about to change.
I slowly came out of anesthesia, I felt like someone was stabbing me. I cried out, “What happened? I’m in pain!” and then I’d fall back asleep. Again, I’d wake up crying, trying to wrap up into a ball. “Shhhh” my mom said, wiping the hair out of my face. “You had a hysterectomy.” “What!!!” and back to sleep I’d go. Every time I’d wake up I’d start to cry. The nurse would push dilaudid and out I’d go. I saw my doctor out of the corner of my eye and I called his name. He came by and told me, he’d explain in the morning. I was taken upstairs to postpartum where I was met with a dilaudid pain pump.
My mom sat down and said, “While you were under a chunk came out and you started to hemorrhage. The doctor packed your uterus and came out and told me it was life or death. Either you receive a hysterectomy or you die. You lost 500cc in under 5 minutes and it was now an emergency.” My heart sank. I couldn’t believe it. What was the chunk?
Then doctor came in and said, “Ive never seen anything like this before. It’ll be interesting to see what pathology says. I’ll come back and see you when the report is in.” I laid in my bed pushing the pain pump 315 times. This was the most excruciating pain I’d ever had. Two days went by and in walked my doctor. Tossing a paper onto my bed he said, “Here’s your pathology report.” Being on dilaudid, and not being in the medical profession I had no clue what the paper said. “What does this mean?” I asked him. He looked at me and said, “It was placenta that was still in side and my tool ruptured your uterus.” and then he walked out of the room. I’ve never seen him since. All kinds of thoughts raced my mind. “Did he do this on purpose? Did he do this to get rid of me? Was this an accident? How could it be an accident when he was so angry in the pre op room? What happens now? “
The next few days were rough. All kinds of doctors and nurses came to see me. People I had never met before said they’d never forget what happened. I tried to piece together the puzzle. Asking everyone in my family what was going on. I was horrified. I felt like a piece of my life was taken from me.
The next year was awful. I hit menopause at 27 years old. I wound up with a lump in my breast because my body couldn’t figure out if I was supposed to be nursing a baby or turning 65. I went through a horrible suicidal depression. There were nights I’d put my babies to sleep and kiss them goodnight and never know if I was going to wake up in the morning. I questioned my relationship with God. In fact, I felt like he didn’t even exist. I was so angry and I felt alone. Why? Why did this have to happen? I can remember crying on the floor in my bathroom because I knew I was never going to be able to be pregnant or give birth again. I sold all my camera equipment because I knew I wouldn’t be able to photograph newborns or maternity ever again without feeling bitter.
And then I started counseling. I started seeing my doctor and got my hormones under control. I ate better and started using running as a way to help me with my anger. Mike stayed by my side and helped me to grow in areas I didn’t even know I could grow in. I came across Katelyn James and I bought her Consistency Course. I transformed my editing and I threw myself into my work. And over the next 2 years I’d slowly start to heal.
I want you to know, no matter what you’re going through – if you keep pushing forward it will get better. Am I still scarred from this season in my life? Yes. Is it still a wound? No. As C.S. Lewis says, “Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny.” This past week, I sat in Katelyn James’ home. She asked us why we were there? And then it clicked. She came into my life when it was falling apart. She didn’t know it, but she’d be a huge light at the end of my tunnel. You never know who you’re going to affect or who’s life you may just transform. So hug your family tonight and tell them you love them. I know I’m so thankful I’m around to hug mine. <3