It’s been a few months since I’ve written to the women of Big Ocean; oh how blessed it is to be back home with this loving sisterhood.
In December, I almost lost my life. It was the Monday after Christmas, and we had just finished celebrating at my engagement dinner. Hopes and dreams for my upcoming March wedding and the life I’d build with my husband filled my heart with much joy. As I traveled home with my parents, we didn’t realize how quickly this wonderful night could take a turn.
I was looking out the window at the dark shapes along the road as they lit up with the glow of headlights reflecting on the fresh blanket of the falling snow. Dad said, “I don’t think that car’s going to stop…” just before I turned to see it run a stop sign and slam into us. The impact from the T-bone pushed us over the centerline and into oncoming traffic for an immediate head-on collision with a ¾ ton truck. The first car spun around us, hitting our Toyota Highlander another time as it flipped around. Three hits in just a few short moments.
I was tossed around and when we finally stopped tossing, I felt like I was burning.
To make a long story short, I was extracted from the car in critical condition and rushed via ambulance to the hospital where it was determined besides the bumps and bruises from being tossed in the car, I had also experienced lacerations where my seat belt had cut and burned my skin as it held me in the seat while I was thrown. My left lung had collapsed and was filling with blood, my diaphragm was twisted and raised, ribs popped out of place, hips rotated out, shoulders out of place, but the greatest burning sensation was the acids from my stomach released into the rest of my body chemically burning my insides as a result of my esophagus being ripped off the digestive tract in the impact.
They took me away for surgery where my ribs were cut open and clamped so they could get in behind my heart and repair the damage. I was in intensive care for a few days, strapped to a bed with IVs, drain tubes, oxygen tubes, etc. My big sister came to sit with me so my fiancé could go home to sleep; he’d refused to leave my side until I woke up. Because of the tubes in my throat I couldn’t talk, but I could use basic sign language to my sister then have her translate to my nurses and doctors. The value of sisterhood is beyond explanation, yet the simplest way to describe it is a peaceful comfort even in times of trial.
There is so much power in sisterhood and the ability we as women have to mother each other, to nurture and care for each other. I had amazing females all around me those two weeks in the hospital. Some were family, most were strangers. Women who would wash me, braid my long hair, help me learn to walk again, and I was eventually taken off IVs and taught by a wonderful woman how to eat again. That nurse is my angel. Throughout my recovery process, I’ve been blessed by women in my family, my faith, Big Ocean Women, and from work who have prayed for me, visited me, and helped care for me.
We as women are incredible creatures. Our loving nature to serve others and care for them is empowering. Love has healing power.
As women, our desires and willpower can give us strength to defy odds. I was told I’d be three weeks in intensive care, it was only two in the hospital. I was told it would be three months on feeding tubes, yet I started eating soft foods (applesauce) before those two weeks in the hospital ended. I was told I wouldn’t be able to walk up my aisle without a walker, but my dad took me on walks everyday after I left the hospital so I could transition from a walker, to a cane, to only needing his arm. When we, as women, make a choice to overcome our challenges, I believe our femine nature can help push us to succeed.
The road has been long and hard. The challenges of continued recovery as I battle loss of eyesight as a result of black spotting damage to my eyes from the accident, struggles to breathe as I’m barely at 2000ml oxygen when a healthy adult female should be at 4000ml, mental trauma as I have struggled with nightmares and flashbacks, challenges as I’ve been learning to drive again, and the most painful challenge came the middle of April, when we had lab work done on my internal injuries. The internal damage to my reproductive system as sustained in the accident may prevent me from being able to carry a child.
The amount of heartbroken tears I have shed the last few weeks are beyond number. To love and value the procreative powers of being a woman, to desire so completely to one day be a mom, and to have that choice taken away from me as a result of this horrid accident that almost took my life, someone else’s choice, has been overwhelmingly difficult.
The day I got the phone call with my lab results, I wept. I called my husband and we wept together. I have always believed I was created divinely as a woman and would one day be a wife and mother the way God designed me to be. I’ve felt like this calling was stolen from me. I’ve felt angry at the person who made the choice to run that stop sign and so completely alter my life. I’ve felt broken and damaged believing I am “less than” as a woman because my body cannot function as it is biologically designed.
I’m not sure how many women in our organization struggle with infertility or have felt the pain of losing a child, and I don’t pretend to know your pain, yet in some regards, I can sympathize with your heart. I have felt an emptiness inside, and some days I feel an emotional numbness. I grieve for the children I have dreamed of having but now physically cannot have. I cling to every tiny sliver of hope for healing, fighting my doubts and praying with all my might for the light to shine on my womb someday and bless my marriage with a child.
I’ve been told to just be grateful I’m alive. While gratitude for the life I’ve been given is present and strong, it doesn’t soothe the throbbing in my soul for what is lost. I am glad to be alive; it’s a miracle I cannot deny. I’m also grateful for modern medicine and my medical team for our new treatment plans to try to restore my reproductive system. But gratitude doesn’t replace grief, hope doesn’t replace reality, and dreams can’t erase the damage.
Yet, my internal desire for motherhood gives me strength to keep fighting. Strength to push on, strength to dry my tears, to try new treatments, to hope and dream of a day when I can conceive and bear a child. I will do everything I can to try to heal so I can be a mother. Such a sacred desire is within our very natures and biology.
**Photo Credit: Wedding Photos from Yelena Tsioma Photography