Writing this blog post is the second hardest thing I’ve ever had to do in my life. The first…was literally a fight for my life. I’ve decided to share my story because what was once a dark and traumatic experience for me ended in hope and the beginning of a happier and healthier future. I pray that by telling you this story I can inspire you to overcome life’s obstacles, to fiercely choose happiness and ultimately live a more
prized Prix Life.
Earlier this year, my husband and I were expecting our first baby girl. The joy and excitement of this news was like none other because we planned and prepared for her. With daydreams of tutus and pink glitter, I was truly overcome with happiness. Not only was I excited about gaining a new addition to the family, but I was also excited about giving my parents their first granddaughter and of course – Noah a little sister to take care of and boss around…instead of me 😉
I was on cloud nine until one morning in February, when things went terribly wrong. While going through my normal morning routine of dropping Noah to school and then heading to work, I started to feel an excruciating pain in my stomach. My first instinct was to wait for the pain to pass but it only got worse. Suddenly, I was struck with a really bad headache. The pain was so overwhelming I literally saw “flashing lights” and my vision became blurred. This was the first time I ever experienced anything like this. I quickly got Noah to school so that I could deal with what was mysteriously causing this agonizing pain. After getting to his school and taking him inside, I tried calling my husband. He was still in the subway, commuting to work, so the call went straight to voicemail. I felt totally helpless. I finally called my mom while standing on the sidewalk in pain and she got me within 5 minutes.
Once she got there, I called my doctor and he said that I could be going through pre-term labor. He told me to come to his hospital in Manhattan to get treated for it and then he reassured me everything should be fine. Feeling less panicked, I asked my mom to take me to the hospital. Although she’d never driven to the city before, she braved her way through it and got us there quickly and safely. She’s a trooper.
When I got to the hospital I could barely see. The flashing lights became more intense and the pain was pretty unbearable at this point. When I got to the maternity ward I was in too much pain to explain what I was feeling to the nurses. All I could tell them was that I was in pain, very hot and needed to find out if my baby was OK. A nurse took my blood pressure and it was 210/100. I overheard one of the other nurses tell her to “Take it over again. That can’t be right!” The nurses couldn’t believe that someone who is still coherent could have blood pressure that high. Theoretically, at that level I should have been having a seizure or stroke. I’ve never experienced high blood pressure in my life. So this was by far the toughest thing my body ever had to go through. But by the mercy and glory of the Lord I held on.
When my husband got there I saw fear in his eyes despite his timid smile. He tried to assure me that everything would be okay. At this point, I couldn’t do anything but cry. Each blood test and lab result came with more bad news. My liver and kidneys were failing, my blood platelets were dropping and my health was completely declining. The looks on the doctors and nurses faces were filled with deep concern.
The heads of NICU, Maternity and High Risk departments came into my room to let me know what was going on and what would have to be done to stop this. They said the only way to treat what was happening to my body was to deliver my baby girl. However, there was a high probability she wouldn’t survive. Her lungs just weren’t developed enough.
In my mind, there was no way I was going to deliver my baby that day. I was only 6-months pregnant she was just too tiny. I didn’t care what the doctors said. I was going to fight it. Despite the pain I was feeling, I was willing to keep her there as long as I could. I convinced myself that I could do it for a couple weeks in order to allow her lungs to develop some more.
As the doctors huddled up and discuss the situation, I became dazed. All of it felt like a bad dream. But it wasn’t a dream. The tears streaming down my mom and best friend’s faces were so very real. My husband left the room for a few minutes and came back. The look of assurance that he once had was now replaced with grief and concern. His face was damp from his own tears.
With all the commotion going on in the room, he made his way over to me and said something I will never forget. “Please baby, Noah and I need you.” His words jolted me out of my daze. It was pivotal moment for me. He was right. I knew I had a little boy to live for and he and his daddy needed me alive. So after wrapping my head around my harsh new reality, I decided to have an emergency delivery while taking every precaution to save my baby girl’s life. But she still didn’t make it. She was just too small.
I stayed in the hospital for a few more days for monitoring and treatment. I thought I’d feel better when I finally got released and went home but that turned out to be the hardest part of it all. Not coming home with a new baby left me feeling completely empty and defeated.
Throughout my recovery I still had really bad headaches and pain. But what I felt physically was nothing compared to the pain in my heart. For weeks, I did nothing but sleep and cry. My husband, Noah and my mom tried to stay around me at all times but I still felt so alone and so depressed.
About a month and a half into recovery, I researched my condition and learned that although it was fairly rare there were a lot of stories that were similar to mine. Some women were able to go on with life and have more children. Even though they lost their child they were able to make do with their circumstances. Some women experienced permanent physical damage to their body from getting a stroke. Some were on dialysis and some lost partial vision. Hearing these stories gave me complete perspective on my life and my situation. I started to feel grateful for my life and prayed for strength. Only then did I start to gain clarity.
See, before this pregnancy I was upset with myself because I hated the way I looked. Since having Noah, I’ve had a constant struggle with weight loss. I excluded myself from events and outings to avoid seeing people. I even stopped doing the things that I loved, including interior design. My blog struggled a lot because I was so uninspired and unhappy. I had things in life that others desired like a loving family, a great husband and healthy child. But I couldn’t appreciate any of it because I was overcome with self-hate. I was once a girl who took pride in what she wore. I loved the trends and loved to dress up. But when the weight started to pack on, I became a different person.
In retrospect, I now realize how awful I was to myself. But this body that I hated so much pulled through. The reason I am here to tell this story today is because this temple of mine protected me and held on. I decided to be kinder to myself and stop spewing all that negativity about how I looked. It was no good for me or for my family. So I’ve changed and I’ve made a conscious decision to be happy.
Granted, this was a hard lesson for me. I lost my baby girl due to a rare condition that happens to a small percentage of pregnant women and a lot of these women weren’t as lucky as I was. However, I was given another chance to live right and to recognize my blessings. This is why I’m sharing this story with you. We need to be kinder to ourselves. We should love ourselves in any stage that we are in and most importantly choose to be happy. It’s so easy to fall into a slump and give up on life. But I now know that when I’m feeling better everyone around me feels better, because it radiates.
I realized the unconditional love and support from my mom who saved my life that day. I appreciated my aunts and cousins who visited me in the hospital and who called. I’m grateful for my best friend who cried my tears and felt my pain. I adore my sister who was there for me and answered all of my questions. Even when she didn’t have the answer to some of them she was still there to let me know everything was going to be okay. I’ll never forget the love I felt from my in-laws as if I was their own daughter/sister. And lastly I will forever love my husband who was my rock in all of this. I’m so very thankful for him and God has truly blessed me with a compassionate and loving partner. I love him with all of me and that beautiful son of ours.
I miss my baby girl and think about her every day. She would’ve been due this month and although I have sad days thinking about her – I have more happy days knowing that I have a lot to live for still. I choose to be happy and to think about the things that make me happy. Worrying about what others think is no longer an issue because I’m going to keep doing what I love to do and share my happiness with anyone that is willing to accept it. Hopefully I can make someone happy in the process.
So now I would like to reintroduce myself (and my blog) to you…this time without any inhibitions:
Hi, my name is Charlene Tanwing and I’m an interior designer, mom and a wife. Going forward, you will be able to capture the REAL me through these pages. I love my life and all things design/trends/beauty and DIY. I’m here to share all of these things with you. I’m a loud laugher and goofy at times.
I’m also little on the fluffy side but am working to achieve a fitter and healthier lifestyle (but the struggle is so real y’all). So I have summoned my super fit hubby, Chris to help me out. See Chris is a health and fitness enthusiast/trainer and seeing that we’ve been together for so long, maybe just maybe I’ll start listening to his advice on helping me obtain my goals as a sexy muvva.
I’d like to think of Prix Life as a work in progress and I’d like to think of myself as such. This blog is not about how perfect or prized my life is but it’s about how I’m making a prized life out of the life I’m given. I’m far from perfect but I’m willing to make my mess a message so others would be able to feel free to do the same.
So stay, follow and share with me as we go through this thing they call life and make it a prized one. We can’t trade it, give it back or hate it. We just have to make the best out of it. So let’s make every day count and live our best Prix Life.
To learn more about preeclampsia and HELLP Syndrome, visit here