[tweetthis]Life is a gift & I choose to open it with expectancy & thanksgiving, each & every day. @theharvestmag @allysonolivia[/tweetthis]
Writer, The Harvest Magazine Contributors Network
“You would have been dead in two days,” the doctor said while I lay in a hospital bed with my husband by my side. I never expected to hear those words when I gave birth to my beautiful baby girl two weeks prior. The days leading up to labor, I thanked God for all of His blessings. I was having my first child with my loving husband who I married a year and half ago.
On March 23, 2015, I experienced one of God’s greatest miracles. I gave birth to a healthy, precious baby. My heart overflowed with love. Staring at her little face and touching her tiny fingers and toes, I marveled at God’s creation.
Two days later, the hospital released me and my husband and I happily took our daughter home. My mom flew in from Baltimore, Maryland for a month to help care for our daughter, Cienna. We arrived at home relieved. So many things could have gone wrong, but nothing did, everything was perfect. Our family was growing and all we had to do was keep up.
We settled in while the demands of a newborn kept us busy. It was a slow recovery process for me. My body had been through a lot and I needed to take it easy. I tried to focus on breastfeeding, caring for Cienna, and taking care of myself.
A week passed and I was still moving slow. I had headaches and my back was hurting. I attributed these symptoms to having a baby and nothing more.
“You should call the doctor. I don’t think the swelling in your feet is normal,” Mom said.
“I’ll call,” I said to make my mother happy, but I did not call that day or even the next.
“Call the doctor just to be sure you are alright,” Mom insisted.
“Ok, I’ll call now.”
I called the doctor and inquired if it was normal for my feet to swell post-partum. The nurse assured me it was common to swell even more postpartum than during pregnancy. I was relieved that I did not have to worry about the swelling.
[su_box title=”Am I Going to Die?” style=”soft” box_color=”#11661d” title_color=”#c9fbe2″]I called the doctor and inquired if it was normal for my feet to swell postpartum. The nurse assured me it was common to swell even more postpartum than during pregnancy. I was relieved that I did not have to worry about the swelling. A few minutes later, the nurse called back. “There is a caveat to the swelling. It’s normal unless you have high blood pressure, then something could be wrong.” I asked my husband to take my blood pressure since he had a blood pressure cuff handy. My pressure was 170 over 95. I never had high blood pressure before so the numbers were shocking. We continued to take my pressure and the numbers were still high. The next day I called the doctor and she told me to come into the office. My husband accompanied me to the doctor’s office and the nurse took my pressure. It was still high. They told me to lie down and be still. They monitored my pressure every 30 minutes. They prescribed a medication to bring it down and I took it while they continued monitoring me. My blood pressure was now 250 over 100. “My God, am I going to have a stroke or a heart attack?” I thought.[/su_box]
My mind was racing and all I could think about was my daughter. Would I live to see her again? Would I live to hold her? Would she get to know me? Or would I just be a memory shared with her?
The doctor explained, “You have to go to the hospital now! I called labor and delivery and told them what is happening. You have what is called post-partum preeclampsia. It is extremely high blood pressure brought on by pregnancy or in your case labor. It could kill you. If you did not come in when you did, you would have died. You could have died. We are going to put you on a magnesium drip for about three days to bring your pressure down because you are not responding to medication.”
I covered my face and sobbed.
“Everything is going to be fine baby. Stop crying. Calm down,” my husband said as he put his arms around me.
I cried harder. I felt a weight on my chest and it became harder to breathe. Every breath took effort.
“You have to go to the hospital. It’s not an option,” The doctor said as she leaned in close to my face. “I’ll take you out the back way. Please go straight to the hospital. Don’t stop anywhere.”
We exited the rear of the doctor’s office and hurried to the car. I bent over and balled uncontrollably by the passenger door.
“Why are you crying? You have to calm down. You are going to make your pressure go higher,” my husband said as he helped me into the car.
“She said I could have died, but God spared my life,” I mumbled through the tears covering my mouth.
“Right she said you could have died but you are here, so you shouldn’t be crying.”
We rode to the hospital in silence. I was crying because the events of the day were overwhelming, but my tears were also tears of joy because I realized God saved me.
We arrived at the hospital in record-breaking time. I closed my eyes most of the ride and tried to hold back the tears. A hospital employee was waiting in the lobby to wheel me to the ninth floor, labor and delivery. I was just on that floor a couple weeks ago and had not imagined returning so soon.
After a couple of hours, I settled in my room. I was confined to a small bed. There were so many cords connecting me to loud beeping machines I thought was going to explode. I was uncomfortable, uneasy, burdened. My husband left my side briefly to bring my mom and baby to the hospital. While he was gone, I cried. I sobbed in my cupped hands. When I caught my breath, I thought about the goodness of God.
“I could have died,” I repeated the words of the doctor over and over in my head.
I repeated the name Jesus repeatedly until I felt calm. I rested in the promises of God and knew my life was not spared by some coincidence or stroke of luck, but God saved me for a purpose. I was not sure at the moment what the purpose was but I knew God would lead me in the right direction.
I had another opportunity to live.
How freeing to know God said, “Here is another chance. Today is not your day to leave.”
I continued to focus on God and His goodness while I was in the hospital. In two days, my pressure came down considerably.
“Your body is very strong,” the doctor smiled as she shared the details of my progress. “I cannot believe you did not have a stroke with numbers that high. It normally takes another day to see progress, but after six hours, your pressure started coming down.”
“It’s God,” I replied trying not to cry again.
“Yes, you are right. It was definitely divine intervention. We will start the paperwork for your release.”
After being bed-ridden for two days, I wanted to do a backflip when the doctor said I could go home later that afternoon.
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My battle against high blood pressure was just beginning. I would have to see a cardiologist about my condition. The great news is I had the opportunity to learn about high blood pressure and make changes to live healthier.
I left the hospital feeling blessed. I knew God saved me on purpose. I will not let luck take credit for me being alive today. When I felt the pressure of the situation weighing on my chest, I looked up. I said the name of Jesus repeatedly until the weight was lifted. I praise God for my healing. By God’s grace, my high blood pressure is controlled today with medication and I pray I will be able to reduce the dosage soon.
My daughter is healthy and happy. My husband and I cherish each other. Sometimes it takes almost losing everything to understand the importance of every day. Life is a gift and I choose to open it with expectancy and thanksgiving, each and every day.
[ms_featurebox style=”4″ title_font_size=”18px” title_color=”#199909″ icon_circle=”no” icon_size=”46px” title=”More about Preeclampsia” icon=”fa-star” alignment=”left” icon_animation_type=”bounce” icon_color=”#199909″ icon_background_color=”” icon_border_color=”#199909″ icon_border_width=”” flip_icon=”none” spinning_icon=”no” icon_image=”” icon_image_width=”” icon_image_height=”” link_url=”” link_target=”_blank” link_text=”Read More” link_color=”” content_color=”” content_box_background_color=”” class=”” id=””]According to the Preeclampsia Foundation’s website, preeclampsia is a disorder that occurs only during pregnancy and the postpartum period and affects both the mother and the unborn baby. Affecting at least 5-8% of all pregnancies, it is a rapidly progressive condition characterized by high blood pressure and the presence of protein in the urine. Swelling, sudden weight gain, headaches and changes in vision are important symptoms; however, some women with rapidly advancing disease report few symptoms. Typically, preeclampsia occurs after 20 weeks gestation (in the late 2nd or 3rd trimesters or middle to late pregnancy) and up to six weeks postpartum (after delivery), though in rare cases it can occur earlier than 20 weeks. Proper prenatal care is essential to diagnose and manage preeclampsia. Pregnancy Induced Hypertension (PIH) and toxemia are outdated terms for preeclampsia. HELLP syndrome and eclampsia (seizures) are other variants of preeclampsia. Globally, preeclampsia and other hypertensive disorders of pregnancy are a leading cause of maternal and infant illness and death. By conservative estimates, these disorders are responsible for 76,000 maternal and 500,000 infant deaths each year.  http://www.preeclampsia.org/health-information/about-preeclampsia[/ms_featurebox]
Allyson Olivia is the author of, “In the Name of the Father.” The novel is about a woman’s struggle to love herself, allow herself to be loved, and keep her faith in God despite what she witnessed in her home and in the church. In the name of the Father has a dual meaning, it represents the main character being influenced by her biological father and her heavenly father. Her passion for telling the story about a woman’s struggle to love herself, her man and her God comes from her soul. Learn more about Allyson at allysonoliviaringgold.com