“I met my husband about 14 years ago, as we would often see one another at church services. Before he became my husband, we were like best friends. We did everything together, and truly enjoyed each other’s company. We grew a deeper love for one another, and on July 22, 2016, my husband asked to marry me in the company of our family and friends. After we were married, we desired to have a child together, but I had previously undergone a partial hysterectomy, which left me with one ovary and one fallopian tube. We decided not to focus on trying to have a baby at this point. Instead, we continued to live our lives to the fullest, loving on each other daily.
The day I found out I was pregnant, I can vividly remember sitting in the restroom and being hesitant about sharing the news of the positive pregnancy test with my husband. ‘How could this happen?,’ I asked myself. But there were two lines as plain as day on the pregnancy test, so this was real! My heart felt as if it would beat out of my chest and I ran into the bedroom to share with him about the good news. When I told my husband, he was so nervous, he went outside for some air. It truly surprised the both of us!
In the beginning of my pregnancy, things appeared to be normal. I attended regular doctor appointments and the baby was doing well. I was a Dean of Students for a local middle school and was working to complete my Doctor of Education degree in Counseling Psychology all at the same time, so I thought I had a clear career path. What I didn’t realize is that the moment I disclosed to my employer I was pregnant, it would turn into a very hostile place.
The stress from my job was unbearable at times, and I noticed I began to have headaches and difficulty breathing at times. I could no longer walk up and down the stairs at work, and I was only 4 months pregnant at the time. I decided to reach out to my doctor, who gave me a thorough evaluation. Because I had a history of miscarriages, as well as my stress level, I was placed on complete bedrest until my due date.
Then one day, we were having a barbecue, and enjoying outside games, music, and laughter. The room was filled with loved ones and friends. It was a gathering just like any other time, or so I thought. At the end of the night, I felt a ‘fullness’ from my chest to the bottom of my stomach. I stood up, holding onto the countertop because I could not sit down without becoming short of breath. My husband noticed me struggling and ran over to assist me. ‘I can’t breathe honey,’ I stated. He stood beside me and monitored my breathing. My husband told me he felt it was best to take me home so I could relax.
I could not breathe all the way home. I rolled the window down to see if fresh air would relieve my pain, but it did not. When we arrived at home, my husband assisted me into the bedroom where I sat straight up because I could not breathe lying down. My husband stated that my breathing sounded as if I was under water, and we called my doctor’s emergency phone number. I informed my doctor about what was happening, and she told me to go the ER immediately. ‘You are in labor,’ she said. I could not believe it. I was so afraid; I began having flashbacks to November of 1997 when I was 7 months pregnant with my son and had to be induced to save both of our lives.
I arrived at the emergency room and was taken to labor and delivery immediately. After I was evaluated, I was told my baby was showing signs of distress, and I had to have an emergency C-section. At this point I became even more upset, and I did not want to deliver my baby this small. I knew my baby could die. The tears filled my eyes and rolled down my face onto my hospital gown. The doctor went on to explain the reason I needed to deliver the baby quickly because I had HELLP Syndrome, which is a rare but serious condition, usually associated with preeclampsia.
So, I went into the delivery room and all I could remember was the doctor asking me if I could feel certain things. Then I remember going to sleep, but I didn’t wake up. I stopped breathing and was placed on a ventilator. It was so quiet and peaceful, but I knew I was dying. I could not move my mouth, but I prayed in my spirit to God for a miracle. On the other side, the hospital was filled with loved ones who prayed for me nonstop to wake up. I woke up the next day, lying in the pulmonary intensive care unit and I was so afraid. I tried to speak, but words would not form. My throat was in excruciating pain from the breathing tubes, and my mouth was still taped up. I noticed the room was so quiet, and my husband looked over at me with the most concerned face I ever saw in my life.
I motioned for my husband to bring me something to write with. I can vividly remember asking him two questions: ‘Did our baby die?’ My husband answered, ‘No.’ And then I asked, ‘Did I die?’ I spent 24 hours in between two worlds, praying for a miracle, and I received two. I received my life back, and I received my daughter’s life back. Although she only weighed 1lb, 4oz, she was a fighter. She stayed in the NICU for almost 3 months, and I came to the hospital daily until she was released. We are both now healthy and whole, and I often help other mothers who this has happened to. I hope my story can encourage someone else to still believe when life seems impossible.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Chatiqua Miller of Nashville, TN. You can follow her journey on Instagram and Facebook. Submit your own story here, and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
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