Sunday, February 12, 2012


One week ago, it was my daughter’s 24th birthday. 

24 years ago, our baby girl was born under miraculous—yet, near tragic circumstances.

Every year at this time, I think about how I nearly died and how my life was saved when I was blessed that I would live to raise my children.  This year, these thoughts seemed especially poignant because my daughter is about to become a mother, herself.
At what point will my children be considered “raised”?

Even though two of my children are adults and married, and our youngest is almost 16, I hope they all continue to need me for a long time. 

I am truly thankful that I have been able to be their mom for all of these years.  It is so awesome that I get to be a grandma to one--soon to be two--amazing little boys.

My daughter was born about 1 month early.  I went to sleep one night and my husband woke up when the bed started shaking.  He thought our Yorkie, who slept on our bed, was doing some kind of weird dog thing, but when he turned on the light to see what she was doing, he saw that I was having convulsions.

Then, the miracles started happening. 

My husband’s first thought was that he needed to call his Dad.  We lived in a little house that was on the same property as my husband’s parent’s house.  We were remodeling our little house while we were living in it.  One of the things that we hadn’t gotten yet, was our own telephone line.  We shared one with the main house.  We had a way to call each other, where we would call the one phone number that we shared, hang up, then pick up the phone again, and we would be able to talk to someone in his parent’s house. 

When he told his Dad what was happening, my father-in-law dropped the phone without hanging it back up and ran to our house.  Seeing that I needed medical attention quickly, he picked up our phone and called for an ambulance.  But, there was no way he should have been able to make a phone call when the phone at his house was off the hook.  Yet, he made THREE phone calls.  The second call was to a neighbor who lived at the top of the dirt road that we lived on to ask them to watch for the ambulance and direct them to our house (we didn’t really have a real address, just a rural route number).  When it seemed like the ambulance should have been there, he called the dispatcher again to ask where it was.  It had been sent to Freeburg, not Smithton.  So, they sent another ambulance.  Miraculously, this ambulance had an EMT who was specially trained in treating people who were having seizures.

After those three phone calls, the phone would not work and they found out later that it was still off the hook at the other house.  Miracle.    

I had several seizures at our house, including one where my mother-in-law thought she should grab my tongue so that I wouldn’t swallow it and I hit her and told her not to touch me. I also bit my husband’s finger when he tried to do the same thing.  I had no idea that I was doing any of those things.  I had another seizure in the ambulance, but didn’t have one after arriving in the E.R so the doctor said that they would monitor me over night.  As soon as he said that, another seizure began. 

My husband felt that this last seizure was also a miracle--to make the doctor would realize that our baby’s life and my life were in danger and that monitoring us over night was not a good idea.  
The doctor performed an emergency C-section and minutes later, we were the proud parents of a 4 pound, 4 ounce tiny baby girl.

I had no idea that I was the proud parent of this little miracle.  I wasn’t aware of anything that had happened so far that night.  After the C-section, I did not wake up.  My body was starting to shut down and the doctors told my husband that they didn’t think I would live.  I had a collapsed lung, pneumonia, my kidneys were failing, fluid was running outside my veins and I was swelling up, I was in a coma, and I had a central line going straight into my heart trying to keep me alive.  My husband had this beautiful baby girl that he was thrilled about, but was so worried about me that he didn’t know what to do.  He was fortunate that his parents were right by his side throughout the whole thing and my parents came on the first flight from Utah to Illinois that they could get. 

My husband and father-in-law had given me blessings, and everyone in our families, and our church branch was praying for me, but my father-in-law had a strong feeling that there was someone else who needed to come to the hospital to help me. 

He called our stake president and asked him to come to give me a blessing.  The stake president started to say, “Glen, you can do that”, but then he also had a strong impression that he really did need to come to the hospital.  He said that he was on his way.  Our stake bounderies encompassed something like a 50 mile radius.  Luckily, the stake president was at the church, about 10 minutes away from the hospital instead of at his home, which was about 45 minutes away from the hospital.  He and the others he was meeting with at the time prayed for me and then he left. 

I was in a coma for two days and I don’t remember very much that happened for about a week.  But, I have this vague memory of seeing the stake president’s face and hearing his voice.  My husband was in awe because the stake president had not been given all of the specific details of my condition beforehand, but he blessed me specifically with every single thing that I needed in order to be healed. 

Another miracle.

After asking one more time,
"Where is my baby?"
My husband says that he has
definitely seen me at my worst!

After the blessing, as I was slowly waking up from the coma, I repeatedly touched my stomach and asked where my baby was.  Whoever was in the room with me at the time would tell me that she had been born and that she was in the nursery waiting for me to wake up so that she could see me.  Whenever they could, the nurses would go get her in her little incubator so that I could see her.  Then, I would go back to sleep, wake up, and repeat my question about where my baby was.

I remember waking up and seeing my parents standing in the doorway of a hospital room.  It seemed like they had suitcases with them and they said they were going back to Utah now that I was awake.  I asked them why they were there and then I asked where my baby was again.  I didn’t even know they were there and then they were leaving.  I was so confused.

Even after I had been transferred to the maternity ward from the ICU, I woke up not knowing where I was and what had happened.  I think I must have been driving my husband crazy by asking him that over and over again, but he was very patient and loving with me.

Jer made me a card.
So tiny.
Our little girl, Kj, was doing very well.  Her only problem was that she was so tiny.  But, she gained weight quickly and was able to go home when she weighed over five pounds.  I was released before she was, but I developed a big infection under my C-section incision and was only home for a few hours before I had to be readmitted because I became very sick.  So, when she was ready to be released from the hospital, I had to stay.  That was hard.  They brought her to my room to see me before she left the hospital.  It made me unbearably sad that I had to stay in the hospital while she went home. 

But, soon we were all together as a family.  I was elated to see our little boy, Jer, and it felt good to be out of the hospital, even if I did still have a long road ahead of me to get my health back.

So this is a sister?
One of the hardest things for me to do was to remember things.  I thought that maybe I would crochet while I was laying in bed—since I was not able to do much else and I loved to crochet.  When my husband brought me my yarn and crochet hook, I just stared at it.  I could not remember how to do it.  Another time, my husband brought me the checkbook and all of the bills so that I could take care of that chore again.  But, when I went to sign the check, I couldn’t remember how to sign my name. 

We stayed at my husband's parents house for several weeks after I came home so that they all could help me with the baby and with our 2 ½ year old son.  The first time I went back to our little house I saw a bag of fabric sitting on the counter in the kitchen.  I could not remember buying it or what it was for.  I showed it to my mother-in-law and she told me that I had gone to the mall the day before my daughter was born and bought the fabric to make curtains for Jer’s room.  I could not remember doing that, at all.  She told me that I came to see her when I got home from the mall to show her the fabric and that I told her about stepping hard off of a curb as I was going to the parking lot and I said that my stomach hurt while driving home, especially bouncing down our dirt road.

The doctor’s didn’t really know exactly what had happened.  Acute fulminating eclampsia was one diagnosis.  The placenta tearing away from the wall of the uterus and releasing toxins into my system, was another.  Whichever it was, or whether it was both of them or not, it was a miracle that my daughter and I survived it.  Usually both mother and daughter do not live—-typically, one or the other does. 

But, miracles happen. 

I’m glad they happened to us.

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