Its been awhile since I’ve written a blog post. Over two-years as a matter of fact. At first it was out of pure exhaustion, then fear of writing, then finally a different form of worry.
I am no longer worried, and would like to begin dedicating one day a week to come back to this quiet little solace of mine. With high doubts of anyone reading these words, perhaps itll be a place to reflect back on in the years to come. Only time will tell.
Today I would like to put a closing to my pregnancy story, that was left utterly open.
We went to Kansas City after the GJ tube coiled up into my stomach, instead of staying in the first part of my intestines. Later we discovered this was due to the surgeon refusing to order a longer tube, and the higher level of activity I undertook. You see, I felt guilty after months of being in hospitals and on bed rest. My (ex)husband was tired of doing everything for our home and children, so when I could get all my nutrients without fear of a bad day coming, I took care of the home. This was one of the hardest times in the later half of pregnancy, the pain and granulation tissue that formed around the stoma. Shortly after this all feeds and medications began to fail, I was literally dying.
The surgeon who originally operated refused to take me again, fearing I wouldn’t survive another surgery. After this we moved on to another hospital, and had to leave the OBGYN who literally helped fight to save our lives. We owe Dr.Maki our lives, and will never forget this. The first ER visit resulted in an immediate hospitalization. The doctors came to our room in the early evening, happily announcing their surgeons would try to fix my tube. Great news!
Within hours they came back, alerting us that the surgeons reviewed my latest lab work and were no longer comfortable with operating. That OB sat there and handed me the most recent copies of my medical records, saying she told a large hospital in KC that we were on our way. So into the night we drove 4 hours to Kansas City. Only stopping to change diapers and for me to drain my tube. During the trip I began leaking black sludge from my tube, and worried over this. Vanessa from the Ayden Rae foundation spoke with us along the way, happy we would finally be helped.
We were turned away at 1 in the morning with the answer “You’re not our patient, and not our problem.” Persistent we came back the following day when I was losing consciousness again, only to be told to go back to Wichita. They didn’t care if we died, and the doctors who did, were bound by policies. For this period of time we relied on prayers, endless prayers. The child in my womb no longer moved, and I could no longer sit upright due to it all.
A group of 4,000 Catholic women followed our updates, angrily praying for God to help us. Well kids, he did. This group of women didn’t just pray, they acted. Elizabeth was a woman newly single with 3 kids, and a new home, struggling to survive that phase of life. We had never met her until we pulled up outside the front door. She and her eldest daughter came out to help us in, and settled into her daughter’s room. Zachary carried me through the door as her daughters comforted my frightened (then) 4 and 2 year olds. This time was crucial in changing how I view pro-life families. She had nothing to spare, but gave us everything. Even now tears swell up, as I remember what this time was like. Those 4,000 women went farther. They sent her money to help cover the cost of us living there, while others sent money to help cover our cost for basic necessities. Beyond this one family covered our rent for the next year. Meanwhile back home the Volunteer Fire/EMS dept. in my town took care of our home, car, and dog.
So the basics were covered, but I was still laying in a basement slowly dying. Here is the kicker. Those women called newspapers, reporters, tv stations, and any medical contact they had in the area. After a week (of going to the ER once a day for fluids) a man called Elizabeth. She looked at me, and began to nearly cry. A doctor wanted us to come in, now! We drove to the door, and someone parked our car as we were wheeled up to the maternity unit. Saint Joseph’s in Kansas City, MO saved our lives.
This was Halloween time, and once again hard missing a holiday. Elizabeth’s daughters’ had friends who came by with gifts and costumes for my two boys, taking them around town. They gave my kids a normal moment, which they desperately needed. While in the hospital a resident asked me if I wanted my baby to die, after this Kai (4) was terrified his brother would die. Later this same resident told me everyone aborts by this point, so I either eat or let the baby die. She no longer came to my room after this, and we will leave it at that.
Some funny moments from that time, are worth sharing too. It was the Royals Baseball season, and all those pregnant women spent the day walking. The maternity unit overflowed, and we were moved to the older section. This too was filled, and we moved to the geriatric floor! AKA- old people unit. My kids slept on blankets on the floor, and those nurses tried their best to make it work. As we moved back to the maternity unit a small fridge was placed in our room, and a local Baptist couple brought over bags of clothing, and food, for the kids.
At one point I had to explain to the nurses how to use my Joey pump, because it was unknown to them. After this I was force-fed, despite it coiling after a failed surgery. The surgeons tried to suture (sew basically) it in place, but couldn’t. At this rate TPN wasn’t an option, so vomiting every hour and keeping even 15ml of feeds down was the only option. Being the stubborn woman I am, I unhooked the feeds to let my bile drain. The next morning an OB came in, angry, and made me sign a paper promising not to touch medical equipment again. After arguing over abortion, we tried a medication that worked. One the Kansas doctors wouldn’t use because we are all bible thumping Midwesterners.
Marinol. FDA approved synthetic THC. Basically like weed, but without those amazing cannabinoids people use it medicinally for. Needless to say I kept down a few bites of cottage cheese, and several kinds of fluids. Within the week I went home, my new script in hand. Insurance denied, but we fought this and won.
Once home I was 25 weeks pregnant, and finally showing! I began to eat once a day, and drink all day long. Still terribly sick, but surviving. As the winter moved in my marriage took a dark turn, to which I stopped all social interaction. Christmas came and went, one of the worst ones to date. Skipping the details of married life on this post, we will keep to pregnancy.
Around 30 weeks maternity photos were done, showcasing that beautiful stoma scar. Momma began to bake bread once in a while, and even sew some layette items. Rusty (our old friend) continued to come by when Zach worked, to help with my kids. Being medicated to sleep 20 hours a day, was rough. We found an amazing OBGYN who was VBA2C friendly, and even dealt with my strict rules. As my due month approached, the home was prepared for everything. Prepared for a home birth, but this changed. Tempers were at an all time high, so I opted for a safer hospital delivery.
We went in, and I consented to the first and only vaginal exam. 4cm and ready to admit, much to my dismay. Our doctor was pregnant herself, and so full of love. Zach grabbed her a chocolate bar, and left to take the kids to grandma’s house. During this time all interventions were refused (as previously discussed), except for a spinal placed in case of need. With agreement on both sides, I was left to feel and move. At first the staff mocked our bag of essential oils, homemade swaddling clothes, and placenta instructions. As labor slowed we used a blend I made, and to the nurses shock, it worked! Big shocker right? Not really, not for my crunchy moms.
A friend Tiffany messaged me throughout the labor, as I had no emotional support for this time. We prayed, laughed, and made bad jokes. At one point the nurse was ready to run for a doctor because baby’s hair was felt, but in agreement with the OB, it wasn’t time. I refused to push before I felt ready, and she supported this. An hour later it was time, and she let my (ex)husband catch our son. Midway through pushing he yells “it looks like a toddler, not a baby!”. This is the one funny memory of having him there, and the one I like to think back on.
Immediately after delivery he nursed while clutching a rosary, and my placenta was left to deliver naturally. Over an hour later we cut the cord, and a hearing tech took care of it. You see, those nurses were freaked out but she had done it before. The next day we left, placenta in tow. Upon coming home the boys were able to learn how Elijah was nourished that whole time, and momma made capsules. Truly, they help!
Elijah was healthy, and could hear! Momma took a lot longer to recover, over a year. We eventually got back to a perfect home, great meals, and home learning. I will fill in the dark phases later, but not now.
Elijah was a child we tried for, fought for. A child the medical community felt was worth less than my life, a child left to die. A group of 4,000 strangers didn’t just silently pray for us. They stood up, fought alongside our family, and ultimately saved our lives. If any of you ever find your way to my page again, know this; we will forever be thankful for your role in our lives.
That child is thriving, beautiful, and so darn intelligent. He is alive because of faith. Even if you choose not to believe, the fact remains a group of women strong in their faith are who fought for us. Meanwhile many others only sent justification for abortion, or viability, even early delivery. The women who loved my child as their own, for the pure fact that his life mattered too, gave me the strength to push on.
Thank you. It will never be said enough to feel adequate, but thank you. We are alive, because of you.
Top row was Elijah’s 1st birthday, yes I made those. Row 2 is July 2018 at 2.5 years old, with all of us.
P.S- the featured image was from our first trip out of state. We saw the ocean, swam, ate, and were free! This day marked 2 years since the horrors, and all was great for the very first time.