‘Triggers are a crazy thing. I never thought much about them… before I started having them.’: Mom shares experience with triggers after traumatic birth, life-saving hysterectomy

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“Triggers are a crazy thing. I never thought much about them before… before I started having them. Before I was trained on them through our foster care licensing. Sometimes, you can expect them. Other times, they creep in and rear their ugly heads when you’re least expecting it…

A Routine Appointment

‘Hmm… your blood pressure is a little high.’

‘It is?’ I nervously respond to the nurse.

‘Yeah, just higher than your normal ranges. You had a hysterectomy pretty young?’ She says in a surprised voice while going over my chart.

‘Yeah, it was a pretty crazy thing. Group A Strep that led to septic shock after my daughter was born.’

Woman in ICU with life-threatening postpartum sepsis and Group Strep A.
Courtesy of Lisa Robertson

‘Group A? Wow, that has to be pretty rare?’

‘Yes… it is. It’s mostly common in third-world countries. Dr. S saved my life with that hysterectomy.’ I’m somewhat annoyed I have to explain all of this to her.

‘How’s your baby?’

‘She’s fine… she’s almost 6 now.’

Almost six. Almost six years ago this trauma happened. Almost six years ago, I experienced this trauma that would leave me with triggers to smells, dates, events, and locations.

Meeting With The Doctor

I had an appointment today with the doctor who performed my hysterectomy. I haven’t seen him in over two years, and this was just a routine appointment. Nothing going wrong, nothing new happening. But as I sat in that waiting room, I felt my heart speed up. I felt my chest tighten.

As I was led back to an exam room, memories came rushing back. Walking these halls time and time again with a big pregnant belly. Walking these halls the morning my daughter was born and being sent straight to the hospital after my 40-week appointment. Walking these halls just three weeks after that with a PIC line dangling from my arm, a belly full of staples, and a heart shattered in pieces.

New mom takes picture of staples in her stomach after emergency hysterectomy.
Courtesy of Lisa Robertson

It all came back. Triggers are a crazy thing.

I wasn’t surprised my blood pressure was high. I felt it.

And when Dr. S came in to see me, he wasn’t surprised either. He attributed it to the weather and that the roads weren’t great on my drive-in, but he knows me. Even though I see him once every other year, he has been there through some of the best and worst moments of my life. He delivered my beautiful daughter and he removed my necrotizing uterus from my dying body. He sat with me as I sobbed before my surgery and after my surgery.

I wonder if he too has triggers from that experience? If just seeing me brings it all back? I can see in his eyes that it does… he looks at me with a look that wants to shout, ‘I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry,’ even six years later. He looks at me with a look that tells me he carries guilt. He wonders if he missed something. If he could have done something different to catch it sooner… before it was too late.

It wasn’t too late, Dr. S. It wasn’t too late. I am alive and breathing and healthy sitting in your exam room. I am a wife and a mom, and the Lord has blessed my life through this experience. Life has moved on and God has healed my heart. I literally thanked God for the air in my lungs as I walked into the building, remembering how fragile life can be.

New mom holds baby girl while sitting in black leather recliner.
Courtesy of Lisa Robertson

I pull out my phone and show him pictures of my kids… how big Avery has gotten, and introduced him to our son. His face shifts. He sees that I am okay.

Heartache & Healing

I am no longer broken inside, but I sit here writing in tears as all of those emotions come rushing back. I no longer dwell on that heartache, but it still aches from time to time.

Triggers are a crazy thing.

I still have a note saved in my phone dated 4/13/12. One day after my hysterectomy, I keyed in this simple verse…

‘Psalm 34:4 I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.’

Triggers may be a crazy thing, but the Lord is always faithful. He is always in control. And He is always bigger than our fears. I am thankful today to remember, to reflect, to see the goodness of God in all of that heartache and to see how close He has drawn me to Himself.”

This story was submitted to Love What Matters  by Lisa Robertson of Hartville, OH. You can follow her family’s journey on Instagram and on their websiteSubmit your own story here and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

Read Lisa’s backstory here:

Just 2 weeks after becoming a mother, I received a life-saving, emergency hysterectomy.’: Foster mom shares change in life plans after near-death experience

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