The picture that you see with this story is my sweetie pie, my love, my great joy and was my blank spot for a while. My daughter was born on May 17, 2009 but I didn’t know it. You would think a delivery diary would be made up with details about the pushing, pain and that precious newborn. And in normal cases you would be right. But for me, the pushing and pain came far before the delivery and the fairytale ending I had planned for me and my precious nearly turned into tragedy.
With one born every minute you would think that pregnancy, labor and delivery is filled with tales of pickle cravings and ice cream, some serious deep breaths and some crying from baby and dear old dad after the tongue lashing mom gave him during those contractions. While having children is one of life’s greatest gifts and should be anticipated and enjoyed, parents need to know that there can be complications.
I began pushing my doctor to help me to understand what was happening with me early in my pregnancy. Something was going wrong. I was gaining weight at a rapid pace, I had swelling so significant in my hands, legs and feet that my feet would literally crack and bleed when I walked and I had to have my husband rub my legs down in order for me to walk a few steps. This couldn’t be right. I was previously a healthy young woman, I was watching my diet and taking it easy. But my concerns fell on deaf ears.
My doctor told me that pregnant women are uncomfortable and I would have to tough it out. If you have followed my blogs one thing you know about me is that I don’t take the brush off lightly. So I continued to push. Most pregnant women should gain 25 – 35 pounds throughout their pregnancy. I gained that in one month. I was having trouble breathing, my blood pressure was high and I was in constant pain. But my doctor still continued to dismiss my concerns. An alarm was going off in my head but I was the only one that could hear it.
The night before my delivery I actually went to the hospital because I felt I just couldn’t breathe. At the hospital I actually learned that I was having contractions but I was so focused on breathing I couldn’t feel them. They agreed to induce me and I was finally excited for the first time in a long while. I felt I was finally getting some help and that having the baby would help to relieve my symptoms. But something started going tragically wrong. I went from having trouble breathing to actually feeling myself dying. I went from having my labor induced to being induced into a coma. It was a move that doctors had to chance in the hopes of saving my life and that of my child.
I was given a 20% chance to live and was diagnosed with severe Preeclampsia which affects 1 in 10 women in the U.S. and Cardiomyopathy or heart failure. You can read my full story at www.ladiesliveandlearn.com.
On that birth day I was changed forever. By a beautiful baby girl, by a miraculous second chance and by a passion to make a difference in the health and lives of mothers and babies. The upcoming feature film “Breathe” starring Robin Givens, Elise Neal, Samson Logan and Jazsmin Lewis recounts my story and is coming soon.
Tune in to the new unscripted series "One Born Every Minute." Premieres Tuesday, February 1 at 10 pm et/pt on Lifetime.