Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Living Life

I've been going over this post in my head a lot lately - in fact I think about the actual event - that day - a lot. Probably every day.

Anyway, I've wanted to share this for a while now, but every time I try to write it in my head it just sounds so melodramatic and over the top that I think I can't possibly write about it - it's too corny/day-time-talk-show.  And who knows, perhaps I won't share this story at all.  Maybe the writing of it will help me to forget it/put it behind me.  If you're reading this then I guess I've decided to share after all.  So here we go ...

Last April I was pregnant.  But not for very long.  I found out pretty much bang on 4 weeks, and then a week and a half later I miscarried.  After this, I had a few incidents of intense pain in my lower abdomen.  Really intense pain.  Like childbirth, but more painful.  The kind of pain where you can't move or breathe properly because it all just hurts so much.

Obviously we were concerned so we rang the HealthLine (telephone medical service they have here in Newfoundland, where you can speak to a Registered Nurse) and I went to my doctor, and both said that I had a gastro bug.

Well, it was like no gastro I'd ever had, but we thought that they probably knew what they were talking about, so we trusted them.

Then one morning, very early (4ish), I woke up with the pains again.  Really really bad pains on my right side.  I managed to get back to a fitful sleep with the help of a hot water bottle, and by the time the sun came up I still felt a little off, but not really that bad.  Kalani's babysitter rang to say that she was ill so Kalani couldn't go to daycare that day, but because I was feeling better I thought I could stay at home with him and Dan could go off to work.

Kalani and I stayed in bed until 10ish (he was still breastfeeding at the time, so it was pretty easy to get him to stay in bed back then) and then we got up.

I knew straight away that something was wrong because I couldn't stand up properly - the pain in my side was too intense.  I called Dan's mum to come and help look after Kalani, though at the time I thought I'd just have to go back to bed for a bit and would then feel okay again.  About 10 minutes after I spoke to Joyceanne (she lives about 30 minutes away), I felt bad.  Really really bad.  Writhe around on the floor in pain bad.  I was starting to panic, so called a few neighbours and finally got through to the girl next door who came over straight away to look after Kalani until Joyceanne arrived.

I went up to bed and tried to hold it together.  I knew that I needed to go to hospital - I knew something was really wrong.  The pain was so intense, and I felt so awful - faint, nauseous, ill, ill, ill.  Dan was in a course at work so I couldn't easily get in contact with him, and I didn't have the presence of mind to track him down, so I contacted his dad who did it for me.

I then lay in bed and waited for someone to get there so I could get in an ambulance and go to hospital.

It hurt.

It was also probably the worst time of my life.

Dan and his mum arrived at the same time, and shortly afterwards we headed to hospital.

Once we got there we had a nightmarish time trying to be seen by someone in Emergency.  It ended with me not being able to breathe, so they triaged me, realised my pulse was through the roof, my blood pressure was through the floor, and something was wrong with me.

I could have told them that, but by this time I couldn't stand up properly, and I couldn't lie flat on my back - it hurt - way way way too much.

They took me to one of the little cubicles out the back of emergency and even at this stage one of the nurses told me that I probably just had gastro.  Bah.

They took a history from me (with a lot of help from Dan I think, I couldn't really speak by now), and then someone came in to do an ultrasound.

Then things moved fast. Very very fast.

The gynecologists came down and had a look and realised I had a lot of blood in my stomach and they needed to operate to find out what was going on.  We asked what the chances of everything being okay was, and they told us they didn't know.  They didn't know what was wrong, so they didn't know if I'd be okay.  I turned to Dan and tried to tell him something meaningful to pass on to Kalani - something he could hold on to as he grew up without his mother, but I couldn't.  I couldn't think of anything but pain.

Dan at this stage almost passed out he says.  Everything was moving so fast and just an hour ago he'd thought that I had a gastro bug, and now they're telling him they don't know if I'm going to live.  Scary, horrible nightmare.

By this time my blood pressure was really low (my lips turned blue) so they put two drips in - one in each arm and started to squeeze the bags of fluid to get it into me faster.   That stuff is cold.  So cold that I couldn't stop shaking - not just shivering, but arms flailing shaking.

They ran my trolley/bed thing down to the operating theatre.  Ran!  Just like on ER!  I felt kind of important, but also scared, and so so so so cold.  I've never been so cold.

In the operating theatre they had to hold me down to stop me shaking while they put more needles/iv's/poky things into me.  Then (and I will always remember this), as the zillions of people were doing their thing in the theatre to get ready to operate, one nurse just held my hand.  She stood there and held my hand.  Then I went to sleep.

Quiet.  Painless.  Warm.  Nothing.

When they opened me up they found that I'd had an ectopic pregnancy that had ruptured the fallopian tube.  Two thirds of the blood that's meant to be in my body was in my abdomen.  They took out the tube, mopped up all the blood, and sewed me back up again (I'm sure they did other stuff too!).  They saved my life.  If we'd waited another hour to go to the hospital things today could be quite different.

As I write this I'm crying... a lot.  I'm crying because writing this brings back everything I felt on that day - the pain, the fear, the cold, the confusion.  I'm crying because I realise how close I was to losing everyone, and how close they were to losing me.  I'm also crying because I'm so lucky to be alive.  Very very lucky.

So that's my story.

In retrospect, a lot of things should have been done differently.  We should have asked for an ultrasound after the miscarriage to confirm that everything was okay.  We should have pushed harder when the doctor and nurse said that I had gastro.  All of my symptoms were classic ectopic symptoms - so it should have been picked up.  Dan should have stayed at home that day.  And perhaps I should have known that I was bleeding to death.

So now it's almost a year since it happened, and we've gradually slipped back into our normal lives.  Getting upset over things that really aren't important, caring about things which don't matter at all and worrying about trivial things which aren't worth worrying over.

But that's life, and it's my life, and I'm living it.  I'm. LIVING. It.


  1. I love you and I'm glad you're here, telling your story. xo

  2. Hey darl. I went through a near-death experience. I too find myself getting caught up in trivial stuff that 'doesn't matter'. But that's normal you know? we can't live in constant fear/anxiety about what happened. But I know that you can stand back and remember that time - just enough to help you grab some clarity about the importance of whatever event in your life you are experiencing.
    I am so glad that you are here today - LIVING life to the best of your ability. Kalani and Dan are very lucky too. Love to you xx fellow CC girl - Carls

  3. I still find it hard to think about you standing there--or hunched up there--- bleeding to.... I'm just SO glad you're here with us. Hugs to the little musician.

  4. How can we see sense in this, your near death traumatic experience?
    Although only knowing about it all after the event, it chills me to the core to relive your horrifying time as that day unfolded.
    Thank God your are here...
    love always