Updated: Apr 21, 2020
January 2018: My husband and I had been struggling in our marriage for a bit and we were desperate for an intervention from God. Shortly after we separated, I found out I was pregnant with our 3rd child. At the time, it seemed like the worst timing in history. But God knew it was the perfect time. We sought out counsel, figured out better ways to communicate and learned how to work towards becoming ONE. After a few months of being back together we found out we were having a little boy and we were so excited to add another little one to our family. My pregnancy was going well aside from the sickness that comes with gestational diabetes, the never-ending back pain and the constant restlessness of my legs.
New pain started during my 6th or 7th month of pregnancy. The pain was in my left side just under my breast and moved into the center of my chest. I assumed it was bruised ribs because of how active little Fletch was. He was always jabbing me in the ribs.
October 2018: The pain wasn’t bad until during delivery. It was excruciating every time I pushed and then after he was born, it didn’t subside one bit. With my other children, I never took any pain meds. But with my son, I was taking all they would offer me and it was concerning. After 10 days of dealing with this awful pain, I decided it was time to call the doc. I called my OB’s office and while I was waiting for a call back, I started shaking with the chills. I took my temp and it was at 103. I thought “Crap. Now I have the flu.” So I drop off my kids at my moms and headed to urgent care. Upon arriving, my temp went up to 104. They tested for the flu and it comeback negative. They took my blood and the doctor there told me I was going septic. The only thing I knew about that was that it was bad. He said they are going to transfer me via ambulance to St. John Owasso. I made phone calls to my mom and husband and truly was frightened for my life. I just kept telling God, “I still need to be here to raise my kids. They need me.” Within minutes of arriving at St. John, I was tested for the flu (it was negative) and another blood draw was done. And those of you that have been tested for the flu know that it. is. horrible. And I had to do it twice it one day. Ugh.
The doctor came and spoke with me after talking to the doctor at urgent care. He informed me that I was not going septic and he’s not sure why I was told that. He said I was moving in that direction and that it needed to be taken seriously. Well I know why I was told that... if they hadn’t of thought for whatever reason that I was going septic, then they may have just sent me home with an antibiotic and what was really wrong with me would have been fatal.
After 24 hours of multiple x-rays, ct scans, and ultrasounds the source of the pain was found. I had a symptomatic 2cm aneurysm in my splenic artery. I was clueless as to what that was. The doctor explained to me what an aneurysm was and that because it is symptomatic, it could be close to rupture. Thank the Lord for my OB. He wanted to order another CT scan after they couldn't find anything on the 1st one. He was told no but he said he just had a feeling that if he sent me home, it could be bad. So he called them back and pushed as hard as he could to get that second CT. And if he hadn't... I don't even have to say it.
What I found out after the fact was that 95% of symptomatic splenic artery aneurysms rupture during pregnancy and unfortunately it’s fatal for mom and baby. Outside of pregnancy there is still a 75% mortality rate if it were to rupture.
I was transferred to St. John Tulsa to meet with a cardiologist to determine the next step. It took 4 days to get my fever down and during that time I had a procedure done where they insert a catheter into the artery in my groin to try and place a coil to repair the aneurysm. After 3 hours, it was a failed attempt. I was then told I needed to remain still for 6 hours because they were able to plug the artery. I couldn’t even lift my head and the pain was worse than ever. Shortly after, I met with the cardiologist again and he gave me two options. I can either have a splenectomy with a laparoscopic approach or have open surgery to try and repair the aneurysm and save my spleen. I decided to have open surgery. I wanted to be able to keep my spleen if possible. I had just learned how important the organ is for your immune system. A week later I went in for surgery. Unfortunately, during the repair, it was determined that my spleen was drying and the surgeon had to take it out. But other than, that it was a successful surgery. It was a long 7 days in the hospital. Day 1-3 are a complete blur. I had a tube going down my throat into my stomach to empty it. I didn’t realize that during the surgery, a lot of my insides were taken out to get to the spleen. It freaks me out just thinking about it! Day 4 the tube was taken out and I was finally able to eat. My dressing was also removed and when I saw how big my incision was, I couldn’t help but cry. It may not bother other people but I hated seeing my stomach like that. I have very few stretch marks and seeing a 10 inch long incision down the middle of my stomach made me sad. Also on day 4, they saw fluid in my lungs and determined that one of my lungs was partially collapsed. Which meant I needed to stay another day. I don’t think I’ve ever cried so much just missing my babies. Especially my newborn! It’s not right for a mother to be away from her newborn! I began exercises to build my lung back up but I just wanted to go home to be with my newborn baby. I thought I could go home on day 5 but they were having a hard time managing my pain. By day 7, I told the surgeon, I would rather be home and deal with the pain than be away from my kids any longer. Thankfully they sent me home! It only took a few days and the pain was a lot more manageable.
I don’t know why God had his hand on me and Fletch the way He did but I am so thankful I’m alive, that the aneurysm didn’t rupture during my pregnancy and kill my baby and I, that it didn’t rupture after, that it was found and taken care of with a successful surgery! It’s not fun being put under and I just kept telling God the same thing over and over. I need to be here for my kids. I’m not done raising them. We have lost loved ones in my family in tragic ways and I can’t understand why Fletch and I are still here and they aren’t. And I can’t help but feel guilty for hurting so bad through the whole thing when other people hurt worse right now. But I trust in the Lord when it’s easy and when it’s hard. Being away from my newborn for longer than he was even alive broke my heart and I kept thinking “He’s not going to know me. We didn’t bond for long enough.” But I’m so thankful that I’m with him now. And I’m not going to live in fear by not having my spleen. That year has been the hardest year of my life. My family went through tragedy like you wouldn’t imagine. And I’ve been attacked spiritually, emotionally, and physically and it’s been a fight with the devil over my mind and my heart. And I’ll keep fighting and keep praying and speaking positive words over myself and my family. I’m not going to taken out.
Thank you to everyone who helped with my kids, sent meals to our babysitter, McCoy and
I and for all the visits (it’s incredibly lonely sitting in a hospital room for days on end alone), prayers and text messages. I can’t thank all of you enough. My church family helped a ton during this time and I am so very thankful!
This photo was the first time I saw my son in 15 days. It was so precious! I missed him terribly!