Tuesday, May 29, 2012

My Life Changed 20 Years Ago Today!

Twenty years ago today my life changed forever.  I gave birth to my first and only child and twenty four hours later my family was putting me on life support trying to keep me alive.  I was rushed out of the cozy little maternity suite where The Boy and I were suppose to share bonding moments,  straight to intensive care.  I didn't see The Boy again for three days.

After giving birth, my heart failed and most of the 40 pounds of extra fluid ended up in my lungs.  I had a severe and blinding headache and was throwing up.  Nobody realized my heart was failing until I woke up around 3 a.m the next day and couldn't take a breath.

I could hear this ominous gurgling noise coming from my lungs when I tried to push air out and I could get very little air sucked back in my lungs.  I had no clue what was happening.  I called the nurse and first just asked for water.  By the time she came back in the room I had collapsed and was gasping for air.  Next thing I know, the room is swarming, full of people and I'm being rolled away somewhere.

During that time all I could think of was breathing, staying calm, sleeping so when I woke up it would all be better and I could take my baby home.  Hoping that when I woke up, the nightmare would be over and I could get out of there with my baby.  I also became very concerned about breast feeding which was something I obviously couldn't do with tubes going down my throat and all kinds of drugs being pumped in my veins.

After they took me off the respirator, I convinced my Pulmonary doctor and my Obstetrician to get a breast pump sent up.  It was sort of surreal to be lying in intensive care pumping breast milk.  The lactation consultant told me it was good to get the old milk out and stimulate the milk flow since I couldn't nurse.  Then she changed out some of my meds so I could take the ones she considered safe to consume while breast feeding once I got home.

I had wanted a drug free natural birth with no epidural.  My plan was to drop by the hospital, shoot the baby out as quickly as possible with no drugs and then get the heck out of there the next day.

God laughed at my plans.

Unfortunately it didn't happen that way.  I had a really scary moment during labor when The Boy's heart rate went down ( I think they gave me a too big dose of pitocin ((?))).  I was shivering as they flipped me back and forth hoping to get the cord off the baby (if that was what was wrong) and then they injected me with something to get my heart rate up to get his up.

 I was convinced to get an epidural and I was terrified after that episode.  It was all a blur.  A really bad dream.  I was at their mercy.  The Boy and I are both lucky to have made it through all that.

I can't say I have good memories about that day 20 years ago, but once The Boy and I got out of that hospital and got home, my life changed for the better.  Having my son was the best decision I ever made. Even during those frustrating days of school, teachers, IEP's, homework, ugggg and everything else, no regrets.   The only regret is that he did not have a brother or sister to grow up with.  I was too afraid to have another baby and my Cardiologist said it wouldn't be a good idea.

My diagnosis was Postpartum Cardiomyopathy.

I spent an entire year with very little sleep, monitoring The Boy to make sure he was breathing.  Panicking every time I felt like I couldn't breathe or had any kind of chest pain.  Being the household breathing monitor is a really tough job.  My anxiety attacks started during that time.  I don't exactly remember when I stopped with the obsessive monitoring, I just remember waking up one morning and I had actually slept through the entire night.  The baby was ok, I was ok, everything was ok.  We were all still breathing.  After that it got easier and easier.

Every year I look back on that day and thank God that I survived so that I could be here to watch The Boy grow up.  This day for the past 20 years, I'm thankful.  Thankful for my wonderful son that God blessed me with and thankful that I am here to celebrate his 20th birthday with him and hopefully many more to come.

I always thought I was so tough and would be one of those women who could just squat down in a field and give birth in 2 seconds flat.  No drugs necessary.  Ha!   Even giving birth I'm such a drama queen!


  1. I'm glad you were able to share your story. I wonder how many other woman have had that condition..
    Happy birthday to The Boy!

    1. I don't know how many. I had never even heard of postpartum cardiomyopathy until I was diagnosed. Much like I had never heard of Asperger's until The Boy was diagnosed.