On November 28th, one hour before Thanksgiving dinner, my water broke and my placenta tore. I was rushed to labor and delivery and had an emergency C-section. At 6:52 PM, my beautiful miracle, Liliana Anne, was born. She was a month early, but she was healthy and safe, or so I thought.
Apparently, sometime during my five-day hospital stay, my baby and I came in contact with someone who had Pertussis (whooping cough). I was never offered the DTap shot, so I didn’t get the booster.
When my nine-day-old “Lil Bean” started coughing, I got worried. I took her to her doctor and then to the ER the following day. Eventually, they transported us to Children’s Hospital almost 100 miles away from our home, and placed her in the PICU.
She was put on oxygen, IVs, and medicine. The Center For Disease Control quarantined us both for six days.
All I could do for six days was watch my baby fight to live, and pray that her next breath wouldn’t be her last. The doctors warned us not to get our hopes up that she would survive. She was in extremely critical condition, and her chances were not good. One week later, my chances weren’t good either. While coughing, I cracked, broke, and ripped the cartilage between my ribs. Then I split my C-section incision and had to have it re-sutured.
The pain was unbearable.
Did I think about using? You bet your ass I did. Some nights I cried myself to sleep with the urge to go to the ER and beg them for something, ANYTHING, to ease my pain. I thought about drinking until passing out just to numb myself, but I knew I couldn’t. I was still struggling to breastfeed, and I didn’t want to hurt my baby, so I didn’t cave. I thought about it almost minute to minute, but I didn’t give in. I did a lot of praying and calling, and crying.
And I fought the urge.
For weeks, I would watch her get better then take a turn for the worse again. I couldn’t keep anything down because of the coughing, so I became dehydrated and started losing more weight. Eventually, I lost the ability to breastfeed because I was so sick. This alone damn near drove me mad! On top of being sick, I was a failure. I felt like I couldn’t do anything right! I had managed to nurse Lil Bean for five weeks and, that in itself, felt like miracle!
We spent Christmas in the ICU. Then we spent New Year’s Day in the ICU. I spent a lot of time crying and making deals with my higher power to get us healthy. We came home after five weeks because, even though we both still had a cough, it was manageable. We both now have immunity to pertussis and will most likely never catch it again, but I won’t take any chances. We’re all immunized in this home.
Unfortunately, our story does not end there. Nine days after coming home, my significant other called me on his lunch break, like he always did. He said his right arm was as if it had fallen asleep, and it was moving into his leg. Fifteen minutes later, he called me back and said it was now in his face. I begged him to leave work and go to the ER, so he did. The ER thought it might be caused by the terrible headaches he had or even a pulled muscle. The next morning, he woke up and couldn’t move, walk or talk. I called EMS and they took him back to the ER. It was then that we found out, at the age of 46, he suffered a right side partial paralysis stroke.
My first thought was, “Man, do I ever need a drink!” But I resisted. Again.
He spent five days in ICU and is home now. He has constant appointments and therapy and has since lost his job. I only get SSI, so I don’t know what we’re going to do. The thought of losing my house and kids is too much to bear, but I will keep going as long as I can. Sometimes I still think to myself, “I want that drink! Or maybe a pill!” Then Lil Bean wakes up and I realize she will be the only one getting a bottle tonight.
Lil Bean and I are finally on the mend and her Daddy is slowly recovering. It will be a long road for the three of us—months for me and Lil Bean and probably years for her Daddy—but we all are alive and have been given a second chance at life. That’s all that matters.
When I was asked to write this, I didn’t know why anyone would want to hear about this messed up part of my life. Then it hit me: I want to hear it. I want to read it. I deserve to let out a HUGE sigh of relief knowing that I did all this, I went through all this, and not once did I put something in my body to make me feel numb. I’ve faced a lot of fears and dealt with a lot of challenges over the last year, but I have not picked up a thing. So, please remember, whatever comes your way, you can do it. You never need to use or drink ever again.
I am living proof that as long as you believe in yourself, anything is possible – even sobriety.
We would like to thank Dianne for submitting this brave and amazingly inspirational post. She is a recovering addict and alcoholic with four years of sobriety.