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Tuesday was my firstborn's 15th birthday. And every single year I can't help but relive my near death experience. Every year on August 12, I praise God for allowing me to live to raise my son and go on to birth two more babies.
I believe that God has numbered my days and that it obviously wasn't my time to go 15 years ago, but as the paramedics rolled me out the front door that night, my husband truly didn't know if he'd be raising our newborn son alone. Later, the doctors told my husband that had another hour passed before calling 911, I would have been dead.
I lost A LOT of blood.
So, how did it all happen? Well, it wasn't an accident that I birthed my baby at home. I'd planned on it from the very beginning, and my husband was supportive of that decision. I found a midwife, faithfully went to all my prenatal checkups, and was all-around excited about having a homebirth.
I woke up around 6:15 on August 12, and as I was still laying in bed, I heard and felt my water break. It sounded like a little "pop." The warm gush of fluids confirmed my diagnosis: I was havin' me a baby that day! I was more excited than scared. Oh my, how naïve I was.
Once those good, long, hard contractions set in, I wondered why anyone would ever want to give birth. I never threw up once during my first pregnancy, but that all changed during labor. I don't know who ended up cleaning my vomit-soaked wall in my teeny, tiny bathroom, but thank you. That had to have been pretty nasty.
After about 8 hours of labor, I felt the urge to push. Little did I know that I would be pushing for 4 hours! Honestly, I didn't know that wasn't normal. Apparently, baby Mullin wouldn't cooperate with the midwife and move his elbow out of the way. He had it propped up by his head, so it sort of made him get stuck. Pushing out a big ole head is hard enough. But an elbow and a head, near impossible. Plus he was a big one - almost 9 lbs.
I had no idea the midwife had lost my baby's heartbeat and knew he was in distress. Thank goodness I didn't know, or I might have panicked. All I remember her saying is something like, It's time to push him out. One last big push, you've got to get him out. So, that's what my exhausted body did. One last giant push, and out he came.
I felt burning and tearing as Mullin entered the world, but it really didn't compare to the pain I'd been going through for the past 12 hours. No one knew yet that my insides had been ripped to shreds. The midwives were focused on getting my blue baby oxygen. I had no idea what was going on. I do remember feeling dazed, but goodness, I figured that's how anyone would feel after the work of pushing a life out.
My husband could probably tell the story better from here, because during the time between giving birth and being lifted onto a gurney, my memory is a little foggy. I knew something was probably not quite right when my midwife asked me if I wanted to hold my baby and I said no. It wasn't because I didn't want to. I knew I couldn't. I was extremely dizzy and oh so tired.
I guess I was bleeding more than normal. My midwife was giving me some kind of shot to help stop it, but it wouldn't stop. I remember begging my husband and midwife not to call an ambulance. I think my usually calm husband was a wreck at that point. I do know he called my mom, and I think it was after that when he called 911.
I have no idea what time it was, but I remember it being dark when I was being loaded into the back of the ambulance. I remember neighbors gathered around in my driveway and asking questions. As we were riding to the hospital, I can remember asking the paramedic if I was going to die because I could see what my heart rate was on some kind of monitor. I think it was 180 or something. He wouldn't answer, he just kept making this weird noise in his throat.
After we arrived at the hospital, I don't remember much until I woke up the next morning after surgery and a blood transfusion. The first person I saw was some lady doctor whose first words weren't, "How are you feeling?" or "Glad you're awake." Glaring at me she said something like, You'll never have a normal delivery again. Meaning I'd have to have C-sections if I ever had another baby.
Um, okay. Well, thanks for saving my life.
I just wanted to know where my baby was. My distraught husband had sent him home with his dad and step mom to take care of him that night. It felt like forever waiting until it was a decent hour for them to bring Mullin back up to the hospital. It was the best feeling ever to finally have my newborn son in my arms.
Yes, this is what a face looks like after a near death experience, surgery, and a blood transfusion. Not so pretty. I do remember my hubby saying he'd never been so happy to see my freckles! I guess they'd completely disappeared as my life was slipping away. Too bad the freckles had to come back.
This picture was taken the next day a few hours before I was released. The following weeks of recovery were pretty miserable, but I was happy to be alive.