Story time Tuesday. I will be sharing bits and pieces of my journey it’s a lot for me to process and it takes a lot for me to recall and put things into words. But it all needs to be said to gain understanding of where I am today …
The day is August 12. We woke up to take my son to his first check up.
I had just given birth that Monday with a 3 day hospital stay. As soon as I arrived home I started feeling really off. I was so extremely dizzy I felt like I had been hit by a bus. Every time I tried to breast feed my son my heart would race and the room would spin. I didn’t know what breast feeding should feel like so I just kept doing it and dealing with the really uncomfortable side effects …
that morning I stared at myself in the mirror. I looked like a ghost. There was this emptiness inside of me. I was happy to be home, happy to know kai and I had made it through the birth (which was a miracle) There was a sense of pride in my heart. But I felt EMPTY.
We showed up at my sons appointment that Friday and I started feeling worse. I started feeling really hot and nauseous on top of my extreme dizziness. His pediatrician offered me water then asked me if I felt ok. I told her what had been going on the past couple of days. She looked at me and said “I think you should head back to the hospital. You don’t look ok.”
( looking back now nothing up to that point had been ok. It was silly of me to think the storm had passed)
I arrived in the ER they rushed me back. My blood pressure was 170/122. Normal range is 120/80. With my background in health care I knew that kind of reading was not ideal to say the least. They ran a few labs and sent me home with blood pressure medication (they had decided I was safe to leave)
On our way home we had to make a quick stop. I sat there in the target parking lot waiting for my boyfriend to run an errand when all of a sudden this rush came over me. Like a cold chill. My hands and face started getting sweaty I could feel my heart racing and literally see it pumping through my shirt. I knew something was terribly wrong. I called 911 and shortly after the paramedics arrived.
I will never forget that ambulance ride.
I don’t remember what my readings were when I was picked up. I remember the paramedics asking me questions. I was answering them back then I slowly felt my foot go numb.. then my leg.. then my left hand.. and my arm. I remember asking him with what little voice I had in me still (fear was coarsing through my veins) “I can’t feel my left side is that ok?” He stared at me and starting doing tests on my legs and hands but at this point I couldn’t move my left side at all. Apparently, I had failed his exam. All I remember him saying to the driver was…” I need you to hit the lights she might be stroking out”
Those words…. I can CLEARLY hear them in my head even 8 months later. They fell on me like a giant boulder. At that moment through the sirens and the rush of getting poked and prodded I remember looking out the window of the ambulance in complete shock. 1,000 questions running through my mind..Was I seriously about to die? I hadn’t even been home more than a week with my baby? How the hell is this even fair?!
I arrived at the hospital to officially be put on stroke alert. I was put in a room with maybe 4 doctors and 3 nurses. All My clothes were removed I had blood being taken from both arms. At this point I could see what was going but I had mentally clocked out. I saw my boyfriend arrive, I remember staring at kai in his car seat so innocent and small I remember thinking “I’m sorry you’ll never get to meet your mom” ..”I’m sorry I wasn’t strong enough for you” .. “I guess I won’t be there to watch you grow up”
The reality of that set in and a sadness so incredibly deep swept over me. A gigantic wave of pain flooded my heart. I was then wheeled away to the CT scan where two neurologist poked me with needles on both arms and legs. Still nothing from my left side it was completely lifeless. At this point I guess I had reached an epiphany. I remember thinking to myself “ok, this might just be my time to go” all the fear in me subsided completely, I decided To just breathe, relax, and let it happen. If this was Gods plan than what can I do?
I guess that wasn’t his plan. It took 3 more days in the hospital a lot of therapy, crying, yelling, panic attacks, praying, magnesium sulfate drips, medication I don’t remember, numerous ekg’s because my standing heart rate was 188 and higher (I couldn’t even walk without fainting) and a few MRI’S to come to the conclusion of 1) An Acute migraine 2) preeclampsia or 3) an adverse reaction to the blood pressure medication I had been given that made my blood pressure drop too suddenly. I was eventually discharged that Monday night. (The strength in my left side eventually came back over the course of a week and a half)
Those were the scariest 3 days of my life. When I got home from that hopsital stay I knew mentally something was really off . I would see kai and I felt like there was a huge wall between us. I couldn’t really recognize him or myself anymore. Those 3 days away from my newborn did so much damage. Damage I’m not even close to fixing yet.
So, at this point one week postpartum I had racked up an illness that lasted 9 months, a birth that left me scarred, and a scary terrible event that left me completely shattered.
This was the straw that broke the camels back.
The event that sent me into the abyss.
This is the moment PTSD came Rearing it’s ugly head into my life