How is it possible that my little Jaid is 9 months old today?!?!
We’re so close to her one year birthday I can almost feel the tears coming. That’s right I’ve turned into one of those super sappy emotional mamas. Proud of it too! Seriously though it is hard to believe our baby is growing up so fast. It feels like just yesterday she was a newborn and I was thankful to not be pregnant anymore. To say I had a “hard” pregnancy would be a huge understatement. I haven’t wanted to think let alone talk about my experiences last year until now. I’ve seen multiple facebook post about being thankful and today I am thankful for my health and my sweet baby turning 9 months old because there was a time I didn’t think I was going to live to see her be born.
It was the day before Christmas Eve and I woke up in so much pain I was unable to sit down. HUGE red flag for me but this was my first pregnancy so I thought it was probably normal. I should have gone straight to the hospital but instead went to work, ran errands and got things ready for the Christmas Eve gathering at newlife. It wasn’t until I literally was in so much pain that I decided to drive my stubborn self to the hospital. I called my husband on the way and asked him to meet me there. I was stuck at a red light on Silverdale Way when it hit. The pain hit me like a wall, it was so overwhelming that I bursted into tears and was afraid I wouldn’t make the few more miles I had to go to the hospital. Thank God for Richie! He met me there in no time and we waited as the nurses ran test on me hoping it was nothing to serious or that the baby was in danger.
They kept me overnight and even though we didn’t know it at the time it was a miracle that they did. The next morning was the scariest day of my life. My fever shot up to 105 degrees which is pretty bad but even worse when you’re 8 months pregnant. The nurses came in one after another putting trash bags full of ice on my skin and giant baby belly. Every time they put a new bag on they apologized knowing that it was painful. I again took another bad turn when I barley got the words out “I can’t breath.” My lungs were filling with fluid and I was drowning laying in my hospital bed. Immediately I had tanks of air strapped to my face, IV’s in my arms and fear stuck deep with in me. This is it… I’m going to die.
I reached down and put my hand on my baby bump. I had a long conversation with God asking him to please save this little baby in me. The next thing I saw was Richie holding my hand as his parents listened to the doctor talk about his plan to move me to a facility with an ICU. I had a septic kidney infection which for us non-medical people means my blood was literally poisoned. I was so paralyzed with fear that I couldn’t even talk to Richie, my eyes were too full of tears and I needed to concentrate on breathing with this elephant sitting on my chest. I kept hearing whispers of a possible emergency C-section which only made me feel worse. With in minutes my father-in-law had an ambulance outside and a stretcher in my room ready to take me to another hospital in Tacoma. The ride felt like hours long even though I knew it wasn’t. My mind kept trying to drift away from what was happening and as I squeezed Richie’s hand I remembered my little tradition of praying for ambulances that passed me by as I was driving on freeways and roads. I wondered if there was anyone out there praying for me in this moment.
We arrived at Tacoma General Hospital and Cooper, the EMT helping, told me that Richie wouldn’t be allowed to come because I would be swarmed with nurses and doctors doing test. “You’ll see him soon. Focus on breathing and don’t be overwhelmed, I’ll be right by your side,” he said. We went through the door and I gave a little half wave goodbye to Richie as my other hand gripped Cooper for dear life. Sure enough I was swarmed with people taking samples, doing test and hooking me up to new things. I had to get a full body scan which meant I would have to hold my breath as they shoved me into a machine since the equipment helping me breath wouldn’t fit. It was hell and it was harmful to my unborn baby but it was necessary in our situation. More test, more IV’s, a small surgery and two blood transfusions later I woke up in an ICU hospital room alone at 3am.
Immediately I reached down and felt my baby bump. My mind was flooded with questions.. is she ok in there? Am I ok? Where is my family? I reached out and felt my mouth. There was a large tube going down my throat and tiny tubes in my nose. In a moment of panic I started ripping them out. I thought they were keeping me from breathing. What I didn’t know was they were there to help me breath. I also had no idea that the large tube in my throat had an inflated balloon attached to the bottom of it to keep it from coming out. Don’t worry it didn’t stop me. I ripped that sucker out and as I did I felt intense pain. I heard alarms going off and a nurse ran into my room. Her face said it all for me. This was not good. I heard her yell “OH SHOOT” and immediately doctors flooded in.
They had to tie my hands to the bed so I wouldn’t feel impulsed to rip out my tubes again. I felt like a criminal which was sad but also a little bit of a badass which in this case was good. Richie was there at my side holding my hand again reassuring me everything would be fine. I knew it wouldn’t though. I couldn’t talk. I couldn’t drink or eat and I was in so much pain. PAIN. PAIN! Apparently the tiny tubes in my nose was for food but no one thought to tell me that so I literally thought they were starving me. Every hour nurses came in to give me shots in my arms and in my belly. They hurt and burned but I refused to cry. My poor little belly was so scabbed up from all the shots I just hoped the tiny human in there was doing ok. I was miserable!
Days went by, Christmas came and went and I got to see familiar faces of family members and close friends that came to visit. It gave me hope to see them. I knew however my body must have looked like death that swallowed a basketball because on a couple occasions people would walk into my room , see me, walk out, sob, work up their courage and come back in to the room with puffy eyes. I tried to keep my spirits up I wanted Richie and my family to know I was fighting and that I wanted to live through this.
I took sign language in high school and so did Richie so I was able to communicate tiny bits to him. Huge relief. I thought I was doing well and that I would be able to get my tube out but when they did a test and told me it would be longer I lost my hope. I’m embarrassed to admit it but I signed to Richie that day that I was going to die, no that I wanted to die. The next few days were the darkest days of my life. I thought of Richie and of our unborn baby and guilt overwhelmed me. I felt like I was failing them both for being so weak. I had nightmares while I was awake of shadow figures sitting on the end of my hospital bed staring at me and I wasn’t able to make a sound for help. I wanted out! I wanted the pain to stop and I really wanted a large glass of peach ice tea.
My family and friends wrote scriptures and taped cards in my room to encourage me. Instead of watching the clock tick waiting for another person to come I decided to read the scriptures again. I took about a hundred times before one of the scriptures hit my heart hard. As I was busy wallowing in self pity and defeat angry at an absent God, I found him. There it was, my answer written on the wall of an ICU hospital room. Isaiah 41:10
“Don’t be afraid, for I am with you.
Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you.
I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.”
I cried as I read those words over and over again. I talked to God and asked for strength. Physical and spiritual strength. I was greeted with much needed sleep and dreamed of my little baby waddling around and Richie and I laughing following after her. I awoke to movement in my belly. The first time I felt her really kick since entering the hospital. I knew that she was going to be ok. I knew that I was going to live and make it through this. I knew that God was going to help.
The next day I got my tubes out. I had a throat specialist come and do some therapy with me to be able to talk and swallow again and of course I Aced the test! Few days later I was out of the ICU and down in the maternity wing chugging peach ice tea. The nurses were shocked at how fast I was recovering! Richie and I spent new years eve sipping on some sparkling cider someone snuck in for us and we slow danced to the sound of fireworks outside the hospital room and the buzz of the TV as the countdown started to the new year. I was thankful to be alive and even more thankful to be married to him.
After 11 long days I got to leave the hospital and I’d like to say everything was smooth sailing after that but it wasn’t. Jaiden was born and she had her own complications and then shortly after I had surgery to take out my gallbladder (don’t even ask). All in all though God has been with us. Just like He promised me on the walls of my ICU room long ago He has strengthened and help me. I know whatever comes our way we can face it because He is faithful time and time again.
I can’t write a post about being “thankful” with out giving a proper shout out to my amazing best friend, Richie and all my family and friends that were there with us giving support and praying for healing. I also want to say how thankful I am to the nurses and staff at Harrison Medical Center and Tacoma General Hospital ICU wing. I know I wouldn’t have made it through with out all of their help!