“A man of courage is also full of faith.”
Marcus Tullius Cicero
I have had those who have questioned why I have kept my faith and not accepted that there is no God, or at least not a personal one. I tell them because the events of this past year have proven quite the contrary to me. January 17, 2012, I woke up with chest pain and shortness of breath. I was twelve weeks pregnant, and I figured I had just slept funny. However, as the hours progressed I realized it was something more serious. I called my husband and voiced my concerns, he told me I was over-reacting. He then hung up on me and said he had work to do. I then called an ambulance and went to a local hospital. They said they wanted to rule out Pulmonary Embolism (PE) so they gave me a D-Dimer which came back positive. to ensure that it was not a false positive, said hospital did a V/Q scan and kept me overnight, during which I coughed up blood and had alerts on my oxygen, pulse, and blood pressure. My husband did join me after work. The doctor told me there was no way I had PE and it was probably just pain from my pregnancy. I argued with her for a CT scan, but she refused. I had another doctor willing to sign off on the CT and the radiologist refused to give me one.The next evening, I was released and diagnosed with chondritis. I went to bed and had a dream of my Grandmother, Father-in-law, and another loved one (who died two weeks prior from PE) who told me that it was not my time yet. I woke up the next morning, called my obstetrician and went to the office. As I was being triaged, she walked in and said “what are you doing here?! They released you?” I explained the situation and she told me that she had a dream about me that night. She ordered a pulse/ox stat then sent me for a CT Scan stat. My entire life changed in the next fifteen minutes. I got off the table for the scan, went to get lunch, came back to the office expecting to wait another thirty minutes for my results. I began talking to a church friend in the waiting room, I hear a nurse say my name, then a nurse and my doctor bust through the door with a wheelchair telling me not to move. She told me I had multiple, bilateral pulmonary emboli and I possibly had dead lung tissue. They wheeled me to the MedSurge at the hospital (a different one from earlier). I was hospitalized for nine days fighting for the life of me and my child. I had a visitor waiting on me in the hallway while I was read last Rites and anointed by my Priest. I gave first confession and received absolution. I received the Eucharist for the first time when the outlook from the world was dismal. I was given hope. I knew that I had a God who was always with me. I had a God who was so personal that I could partake in communion with him in human form. I could literally have him in my presence. I had a peace that passed all understanding. I thought of the blessed Virgin Mary who had a difficult pregnancy being that she was young and unwed. Society already saw her baby as an outcast. She faced the judgement and held on to her faith. She found favor with God, so she did not need approval from man. Nor did she owe an explanation. She did what she was to do and is Queen of Heaven because of it. Her first coronation was that child who grew in her womb. Motherhood is one of the highest earthly honors we can have. My son was a blessing, so I was ready to withstand whatever it took to get my baby boy born. I was released from the hospital. I then had to take blood thinners for the remainder of my pregnancy. Two shots in my stomach a day. I also had In-Home Care and had to drop my college classes for the semester. I was on strict bed rest and even had to be monitored while in the shower in case my blood pressure surged. I did not let it defeat me. I refused to terminate my pregnancy, though others thought it would be wise for me to do so. Then, July 23 I was in Walmart and thought my water broke. We went to the hospital and my contractions were picking up but not regular. The next morning, I was about to be released, so I stood up. I heard it, more water, so I paged the nurse. As she was walking back I looked down and noticed that it was blood. I was never more scared up to that point. She responded immediately and put a bed pan under me and called the doctor. My regular Obstetrician was gone. Instead, I got a traveling doctor who I did not know. She did an ultrasound and said it looked like Placenta previa and that I would need an emergency C-section. The anesthesiologist did not want to take the risk of putting me under, (he happens to attend church with me) so they sent me to JCMC via medflight. By the way, I’d received two pints of blood at this point. The kids’ Godmom picked the girls up at this point, though she had prior obligations. I had a couple friends who had to turn around in Abingdon at the news that I was being transferred. I was nervous about flying without monitors and such, but we arrived safely. I was moved to a room and given another pint of blood while my friends and adopted mother were waiting on the arrival of my baby. The resident did another ultrasound and found that it was just a clot blocking his head, so she took me to the OR and removed it and took me back to my room to labor naturally. My contractions were strong and constant, and we were ready for my son to get here. Steve and my adopted mom stepped out of the room momentarily and missed most of the action. I had a huge contraction and felt light headed. I paged the nurse. In medias res an obstetrician was coming on the floor and was being told about my issues. My regular high risk doctor happened to be out of town as well. I then had another huge contraction and heard my blood spilling on the floor. My friends bolted out of there and alerted the personnel. They all were nearby and came in and started disconnecting stuff and asking me questions. I remember in all of the chaos they checked the fetal heart rate and it was 132. I was at peace; my son was okay. I uttered the Rosary in Latin under my breath, “Ave Maria gratia plena.” They began doing the jog you see on ER and Grey’s Anatomy. Many of us thought that I would not return. I was praying that whatever woman raised my kids would be Godly and loving. I remember zoning out and the residents grabbing me while I held on to a metal bar. The last sounds I heard were my blood splashing on the floor of the operating room and the doctor ordering four more units of blood. I didn’t think I would wake up. I received eight units of blood and four units of plasma. I did wake up four hours later and laid eyes on my son for the first time. I held the son I never thought I would see. Yes, science gave the technology and skill to save my life. The doctor performed a horizontal cesarean in one minute! As well as almost completely rebuilt my blood supply. However, God was there in the midst. Those dreams were not by choice or by chance. Everything had to happen the way it did for me to still be alive and have my son. There were times experts were wrong. There were times those I trusted failed me. I forgive them, they are human. I am alive today because my Lord saw it fit. If that doctor had hit one extra red light I could be dead right now. If that doesn’t sound like Divine Providence, then I don’t know what does. Faith saved me. Faith moves mountains. Faith changes people. Faith gives hope to the hopeless and love to the unlovable. Faith gives you to stare death in the face and say “bring it.” Faith lets you be at death’s door and not be scared of entering. Faith will let you look at lightning during a storm and say “you don’t scare me, I know where you came from.” My God has never forsaken me, so I will do my best to not forsake him. I will keep my faith. My faith leads me to believe that I see the body, blood, soul and divinity of God every week. My faith is restored. My faith is what gives me life.