Monday, November 1, 2010

Coming Through, Part 2

In July 2009 while in my first trimester of pregnancy, I started having unexplained seizures. This is part 2 of the series that recounts that time. Read the previous entries here:
Part 1

And I will raise my hand up into the nighttime sky
And count the stars there shining in your eyes
Just to dig it all and not to wonder, that’s fine
And I’ll be satisfied not to read in between the lines

July 2009:

The lawn. That’s the first thing I saw in front of me. It was dark out and I was floating above the grass, unrecognizable faces above me on either side. They asked if I knew what had happened.


Had they asked if I knew my name, I would have answered the same. I was someone else. I was nobody. I was just born, or maybe I died. Nothing was sure. Yet oddly enough, everything was fine. I was warm, calm, and fine. Confused, yes, but without any strength or desire to put the pieces together.

Sometimes I still think about that feeling, of not knowing who I was. It was absolutely surreal. No past, present, or future. No name, no ties. Floating in a dream.

Then I saw a familiar face. He was frantic, yet the sight of him was reassuring. He knows me. This guy over here! He’ll tell you who I am!

His eyes met mine and he said to me without words, “There you are.” Gently, I was pulled back down to earth and I started to feel the weight of my limbs again. My best friend, my husband, my heart, Tony… yes, that’s whose face that is… he called my name. It sounded vaguely familiar, but the tone was wrong. Worried. Each time I heard my name aloud, I was pulled down into the world a little more.

Sarah, you’re going to be okay.

Sarah, we’re taking you to the hospital.

Sarah, you had a fall.

I am Sarah. And apparently I fell. Musta been a bad one.

Our neighbors stood outside their homes. They looked worried too, their hands over their mouths. Before I could smile and wave (would that be silly?), the gurney under me was lifted up into the back of the ambulance. Tony was standing outside the open doors at my feet.

“I’ll meet you at the hospital. They’re going to take care of you and make sure you and the baby are okay.”


I didn’t ask what he meant. I nodded, rested my head back, and closed my eyes. At some point during the ambulance ride I remembered that I was pregnant. 3 months, I think. Ohh. The baby. I looked down at my nightgown and placed a hand over my belly. A tiny little pooch about the size of my palm protruded slightly. My ears got hot. Then my face. ‘Oh my god, the baby. How bad was the fall. What if…’

Tony’s experience of that night is obviously very different. He wrote about it in detail. But it is too terrifying to post. I will summarize.

Late in the night, he awoke to the sound of coughing or choking and thought it was the dog. Barkley often hacked in his old age, god bless him. I was moving around. Tony assumed I was trying to get the dog off the bed to prevent him from vomiting on the sheets. But then I fell. Tony jumped up and turned on the light to see me twitching violently on the floor, my eyes rolling back. Crazy, alien-esque, WTF-is-going-on twitching, for what seemed like forever but was only about 30-60 seconds, and then it stopped. And there was blood. A scary amount of blood by my head.

Tony called 911, understandably panicked. As he waited for the ambulance to arrive, he lay on the floor and held me in his arms. My eyes were closed, I breathed deeply, gurgling sometimes like a snore. He talked to me, begged me to hold on, keep breathing, just keep breathing. He thought I was dying.

I can’t even imagine. My heart breaks for my husband for having to see all that. If it had been the reverse, I don’t know if I could’ve kept it together like he had.

The only part of the ER visit I recall is the ultrasound. And the overwhelming relief when they found a heartbeat, steady and strong. Like his father. Tony and I cried and held each other. The baby is fine. The baby is fine.

After many questions, discussions, and exams, the doctors concluded that I likely had a seizure. The blood was from hitting my head on the nightstand, resulting in a lovely cut to my face. Mirrors are scarce in hospitals (gratefully), but I could tell by the reactions of others that I wasn't exactly looking my best.

Now what?

I had to be admitted, but our local hospital did not have the capacity to perform all the tests that needed to be done. They decided to transfer me to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. There I was in for a battery of tests, a team of doctors, and many more questions. As well as a couple of very scary set backs...

Continued in Part 3...

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