I have been reached out to a number of times over the years with the anticipation that I would be willing to share my own personal story as a blood recipient, in hopes that it would encourage people in my surroundings to become donors.
For a long time, I have struggled and hesitated over the thought of sharing my story and making it public. I’ve always considered it to be a part of my past, and a hurtle that I was lucky enough for overcome. But more recently, it has been brought to my attention, that since I am not an eligible donor myself, this would be my opportunity to make a difference and to give back. Give back to the many many donors it required to assure my survival and to give back to all the other who are and who will be in need of blood.
Here is my story..
In the early morning hours of August 30th 2012, I was on my way to the hospital with the anticipation and excitement of meeting my brand new baby boy. I was young and in perfect health, as I had been my entire life. I had had a great, complication free pregnancy.
The first part of the delivery went smoothly and just as planned. I remember hearing my son’s first cry. I couldn’t wait to hold him. As the time passed, I soon realised that this was taking longer than I had expected. I remember everything in the room getting more and more chaotic. I remember the state of panic setting in amongst the doctors and nurses in the room. As I lay there, clueless to all the commotion going on, I remember seeing the nurses hang more and more IV’s over my head. Within a short period of time, the doctor were having the nurse’s squeeze the IV bags so they would administer faster. I remember the doctor asking the nurses on numerous occasions if they had gone to talk to my family. All the while, I had no clue what was happening, but I knew it wasn’t good. I felt like it was a scene from a movie. This could not be happening in real life. Not to me. I remember thinking my son needed me. He needed his mom. I remember the anesthesia wearing off and being uncomfortable. That quickly changed to unbearable pain. I remember just wanting everything to be over. In the meantime, the nurses were going out to the waiting room to inform my family of my condition and basically telling them to stay put with their sleeves rolled up. I could very well have died that day if the blood supply had not been what it was. Being in that type of situation, the last thing you want to have to think about is that you are going to die simply because they cannot provide what you need.
Throughout the whole procedure, I was never informed of what was happening. I would learn all the details of the ordeal more than a week later, when I was finally able to be with my son. I was told that I was losing an average of 2 cups of blood per minute. They would inform me that I only had enough blood to survive for one more minute. It was at that point that they made the decision to try a procedure that had only been done once before to someone from another province. Yes I was a Guiney pig. I was a trial run. But the outcome seemed promising to them as the procedure they attempted allowed them to control the bleeding just enough so that they could administer as much blood as I was losing. That day, I received blood transfusions by the minutes. The following days, I remained in ICU, heavily medicated in an induced coma state. I would receive blood transfusions daily for the following weeks. I was told that it took hundreds and hundreds of donors to keep me alive. What was supposed to be the happiest day of my life had quickly taken a turn for the worst and became a living nightmare. The days following the delivery are a blurr. I remember very little of my sons first days. I remember being in excruciating pain and wanting to give up.
I later learned that there were no answers to what had happened. I learned that it was a very rare condition and that they had never seen what happened before. I was the first and only Canadian to have survived that. I was lucky enough that on that morning, it just so happened that the 3 most renowned Doctors / specialists happened to be at the hospital. They were all called in the room and worked together to save my life. My doctor told my family that she had never worked so hard in her 30 years of delivering babies. To this day, there is still very little known about my condition.
I slowly recovered from the trauma, regained my strength and health back. It was a very long road to recovery. It has been an uphill climb and it took years to get a clean bill of health. As a single mom, I knew I had to do it for my baby. Giving up was not an option. My son depended on me to be there for him and to take care of him. He has always been my source of motivation and my greatest inspiration.
But without the kind hearted, selfless people who choose to literally give a piece of themselves to complete strangers who are in need, I would not be here today. This was my reality and it was a harsh one. It was not fun to go though by any means. It has made me realise that you don’t need to be sick and you don’t need to be in an accident. It can happen to anyone, regardless of the age, the situation or the health of the person.
Just remember the difference you can make in anybody’s life and be thankful to be on the giving side of the donation.
I may have missed the first few days of my son’s life. But today, my son has his mom in his life. I get to be there for every milestone. I was able to see his first smiles, hear his first words, help him take his first steps. I get to watch him learn and grow into the amazing little boy he has become. We are both healthy and lucky to have each other. I am truly blessed.
It took me more than 6 years, but it’s my time to share. If sharing my story can inspire just one individual, one friend, one co-worker to donate, than I feel like I have done my duties at giving back. Read my story and please donate! #savealife