If you look at the version of me on the left, you'll see someone smiling, but you would have no idea what lives just beneath the surface. You've gotten this far into my website, so you probably already know that I lost my daughter at just over 20 weeks pregnant. You also know I lost my uterus. I had a condition called Placenta Accreta, which is a very fancy way of saying that my placenta had started to "eat" it's way into my uterine lining and out the other side, causing my water to break and my uterus to hemorrhage.
A surgery that was supposed to take 30-45 minutes ended up taking over 6 hours. I went through more than 5 times the amount of blood I can hold in my body. One of the attending physicians used the term "blood fountain" when referring to my abdomen during surgery. I have scars from all the different ports used to feed blood into my dying body. At one point during the surgery, the anesthesiologist pulled me out of anesthesia to try to get me to fight for my life. I don't remember the half hour that I was awake, but apparently I chose to fight because I'm still here.
A lot of miracles happened the night I went into surgery, but that's not what this post is about. This is about the aftermath. This is about what happened for 12 months after the day I fought for my life.
The first thing I remember when I woke up after surgery was looking around the room for Johnny. Seeing him was really the only thing that mattered. I didn't know about the near-death experience at that point, or the fact that a whole day had passed instead of an hour or two. I looked for him, and felt okay. He was there so I decided to go back to sleep.
The next time I woke up, I was scared. I felt something weird in my throat and went to scratch but my hands were tied down. My feet were tied down. I had a tube down my throat and IV lines coming out at all angles. I panicked a little. I couldn't breathe. I thought I would suffocate and had to retreat into that little part of my brain where I told myself I would have to survive. I had an anxiety attack like never before. It was as if every tube and restraint was trying to kill me. I had to count my breaths. In and Out. Over and over and over. I couldn't pay attention to anyone talking to me or I would lose count, so I pretended to be asleep. After what felt like hours, I was able to calm down and analyze the situation. I was alive. I couldn't move my hands or my feet. There was an IV coming out of my neck, both wrists, both hands and both elbows. I had a tube down my throat and I wasn't breathing normally. My lungs were extremely tight and I could feel fluid building up. I could tell I was going to choke or cough, but I couldn't breathe and I had to get someone's attention. I opened my eyes and saw my parents, siblings and Johnny. A nurse was in the room and I started to choke. She stuck a small vacuum tube into the tube in my throat and told me to try to cough. I don't know how drowning feels but I imagine it was close to what I experienced over and over during the next few days. Fluid would build up in my lungs and I would have to get suctioned out because I wasn't strong enough to breathe on my own. My throat was so constricted, I had a child's size intubation tube. You know that Kelly Clarkson song where she says "I can breathe for the very first time" ? That's how I felt when I finally got that tube out. It was like I had never had fresh air before. The anxiety and fear of not being able to breathe overshadowed every other emotion that I had.
A little while after I woke up, I motioned with my hand that I wanted to write. The thing about having a tube down your throat is, you can't talk. (HAVE YOU MET ME? All I do is talk.) I wrote down one word. Uterus?
Johnny shook his head. It took me a second to realize what he was saying. When we went in to the surgery I was told that there was a slight chance I would need a blood transfusion or a hysterectomy, because my placenta didn't look normal on the scans. Chances were extremely slim and they told me not to be concerned so I signed the paperwork for both. I didn't want to, and almost didn't.
No uterus? I just lost my daughter and now I can't try again? I started to freak out. I could feel my heart start to race, my breathing got more difficult and my brain went into overdrive. I couldn't handle it. I wasn't counting my breathing. I couldn't stay on top of it and started to choke. I knew that if I thought about our daughter or our future children in that moment I wouldn't be able to focus on staying alive and my breathing tube. So I shut down. I don't know how else to describe it. You know when you do a hard reset on a computer? Where you just hold the button down, force close all the programs and just turn it off? That's what I did to my body. I shut my brain down. No thoughts of anything other than breathing "in-two-three, out-two-three" over, and over, and over. My body wasn't restrained. I didn't have a body. I didn't have a missing uterus or a dead child or a tube in my throat. All there was, was breathing.
Shutting down in that moment was the only thing I could do. The problem was, I didn't turn anything back on all the way for a very long time.
Let's fast forward to being home from the hospital. I had been cut vertically, from my original c-section scar to my belly button. I was supposed to stay horizontal as much as possible to allow myself to heal. Not only was the majority of my stomach numb, my brain was too. I got home on Christmas. I had my son, and was supposed to be this excited, happy mom on Christmas. I don't remember the day at all. The next few weeks were a blur.
We closed on our first home on January 13th, less than a month after losing our daughter. I had imagined raising my baby girl in this home. Had her nursery all picked out, knew where her swing set would go in the back yard and even planned out how I'd set up the house for her first birthday and Christmas.
I tried to cope with that nursery in a lot of ways. First I threw money at it. I maxed out every single credit card in my possession. I bought curtains and new pillows and random things for the house. I bought memorial stuff, light fixtures and cleaning products. As Seen On TV became my friend. I spent SO MUCH MONEY, you guys. I got new tattoos, new piercings, I tried everything possible to feel "alive" or "awake". Nothing worked.
My marriage suffered. My work suffered. My relationships with family and friends suffered. I believed no one could possibly understand my pain. I didn't feel like a woman anymore. I felt like an empty shell. A pointless body with no purpose.
I also coped by eating a lot of food and drinking a lot of beer. I gained about 30 lbs in a few short months. (I'll include my then and now pic below, I have no shame at this point and if it helps even ONE person get off their butt and do something about their health, it'll be worth it. Ya know?) I thought I could feed my depression and PTSD with food. That doesn't work, for anyone wondering. I just got fat and my skin was terrible. This is the time where you look back up at the picture of the girl on the left and notice the bumps and dullness of her skin. YUCK.
So drinking, spending money I didn't have, eating food. Those were the ways I tried to cope with my system shutdown. Horrible, horrible ways. I won't get into the details of the depression and suicidal periods, but I had those too. For months I would pray every night to die during my sleep so I didn't have to live another day as the person I was. I would drive to work and just imagine crashing my car or driving off the overpass to end my life.
Then, I got laid off at my job of over 3 years. Yep. I was unemployed. Johnny was very supportive and helpful, I didn't do anything specifically to get fired, it was downsizing. I got unemployment benefits and severance and ended up getting the job I have now within a month. I was still quite depressed when I started my new job, but the atmosphere and culture there was drastically better than the job I had come from, so it helped.
Fast forward to the end of the summer (when above picture was taken) and my sister-in-law, Amber, introducing me to a new Direct Sales company. They were only about 6 months old and sold an upscale line of workout clothes. I had just joined a 6 week challenge at a cross fit gym to try to get into shape (again, that hideous before and after picture will be included here somewhere!) and new workout clothes sounded fun, so I thought about joining. I had dabbled in direct sales in the past, but never really took it seriously and kind of hated all the pushy stay at home mom's who were trying to get me to buy their patches or oils or weird makeup. I decided I would "try it" and see what happened. Amber consistently pushed motivational content my way. YouTube videos, motivational quotes, affirmations. I was SO resistant to her efforts. I thought she was so annoying and kept telling her it would never work. She was persistent. JUST TRY IT. And I did. I started positive self talk. I started taking care of my body and my mind a little bit more every day, and I started to smile more. Not like "fake for the picture" smile, but actually smile.
About 3 months into my initial direct sales journey, I started talking to my mentor, Katy. If you read the "about me" section you know how that went. We did a vendor party together and I signed up the next day. I wasn't "whole" when I signed up. I was still depressed, without many friends and had NO IDEA what I was doing, despite going to cosmetology school and working as a makeup artist for a few years in the past.
What I found with this makeup business was a tribe. I found a group of women from all backgrounds who had experienced things like I had, but were choosing to do something with their lives and help other people. I started to talk to women who I knew needed that boost like I did. They needed someone to tell them their worth, show them what they were capable of and love them through their struggles. I knew I was capable of those things. I knew I had a talent for tough love, but real love. I say things how they are. I speak the truth and while it may be blunt I say it with love and from the most genuine place. I earned the nickname "Sarge" from my friends, because I tell people what to do. I tell my girls what they need to know and how they need to be if they want to be successful. I'm not the highest in the company. I'm number 2,268 out of over 250,000 distributors, though. I have put time, effort and energy into this business and I am successful because of it. I have grown my team full of women who love each other, want the best for each other and are all on a similar journey. We all want to be the best versions of ourselves. That's what Bloom Beauty offers. Yes, we have the best makeup and skin care on the planet. It's clinically proven and third-party tested and will last ALL DAY LONG without smudging or budging. BUT. I can help you change your life. I can't do it for you, that's up to you. I know I can help. I know I can push you when you need to be pushed. I can be there for you as a shoulder to cry on and a sounding board when you need to work through things. I know how it feels to feel lonely, sad, depressed, ugly or defeated. I've been there. I'm not now. (This is where you look at the girl on the right!)
I have overcome so much in the last 18 months. I have grown into someone I never thought I would be. I have friends. REALLY GOOD FRIENDS. The type of "Four Ever Friends" (inside joke, sorry not sorry) that will be in my life until I'm 80. I have a support system. I have self-confidence. I have a thriving, growing business that is just beginning. All of that because I took a chance on myself. I paid $55 to start a business and it has changed everything in my life. It changed my self talk. My habits. My income. My relationships. Literally every single part of my life has changed because of this amazing company.
If you need a change, a push in the right direction or you just know you're missing "something" to get you to where you want to be, I invite you to join us. I invite you to spend the type of money you'd blow at Target in the dollar spot on a distributorship and work toward changing your life. You will have instant friends, a support system, the best makeup and skin care in existence, and you will change your life.
Here's the before and after. Girl on the left- GET IT TOGETHER. Girl on the right is in progress. (And yes- that's underwear. We're all adults, get over it.)