A Stranger No More

You would think since I wrote a book entitled The Day I Died that I would have finally solved the mystery of what happened the one day in 34 years that I do not remember. Although the book helped me piece the event together, there are still so many things I want to know. As I mentioned in my last blog, when I visited the staff at the hospital where I died and also delivered my daughter, I heard more unknown stories and now I am intrigued to hear more of the exact medical experience. My book is made up of my family member’s amazing accounts of what they witnessed and experienced intermixed with my own thoughts. That alone has helped me discover so much, but hearing stories from behind the doors of the OR and ICU is equally intriguing.

When I visited with the staff, they told me that when I stopped breathing and died, they wheeled me to the OR and needed to transfer me to another bed and didn’t have time to wait for the “thing” (not sure of the technical term) that slides a patient from one bed to the other, so a female surgeon whose adrenaline must have been that of three body-builders lifted me by herself (mind you—I still had Ella in my belly-see picture of me below the night before I delivered–I must have been heavy! ) and placed me on the other bed and began the c-section.

As I listened to these stories I wanted to know more about the specific time when Ella was born. That is still a little bit of a mystery to me. Of course God delivers! Just a few days ago, one of the bookstores sold out of the first batch of my books, so the owner called and asked for more. I hand-delivered them since it was close by and she informed me that a woman came in looking for the book and told the owner of the store that her daughter-in-law delivered Ella. Of course I was stunned and asked, “What are you talking about? Who is she? What’s her name? How can I get in touch with her?” The owner gave me all the information I was asking for and I was shocked to discover the woman who delivered my daughter happens to be a family member of a Catholic family in town who I know well. What are the odds, and I am more amazed that I am just discovering this now! I called the doctor as soon as I got her phone number and asked if we could meet!

We met at a Red Robin nearby. One of the strangest things for me in all of this is that since I don’t remember anything, I have no personal connection to delivering my own child. When Ella was born, I was dead and not even there, really, and no one in the O.R. knew either of us since my own OBGYN wasn’t there for the immediate response. Two other OBGYN’s delivered Ella while two other staff gave me CPR. My daughter was greeted into this world by strangers. As I contemplate on this more, I have realized that maybe this is what has been unsettling to me—not knowing the people who first laid hands on my child.

As I sat down with this “stranger” who delivered my daughter, I think I realized why I longed to meet her so much. It is not that she told me anything new, really, but rather it is what I learned about her. We spoke for two and a half hours and I would say about two minutes of that was information about Ella’s birth because she helped deliver Ella but handed her off to others while she stayed with me to help stitch me up. A few minutes after delivering Ella, she heard her cry in a different part of the room, but for the most part this doctor was with me. With that said, she was still one of the first people to touch and see my daughter.

As I was sitting across from her, and she told me her story working with me and Ella, I couldn’t help but wish I had some sort of closer connection to her. I feel like the Lord already placed in my heart a connection to her through her family relations, but I wanted more but had no idea that our conversation would be more than a telling of facts which was the purpose for meeting. As we ate our dinners, we began talking about many other things and before I knew it, we were no longer strangers. We were having a fruitful, deep conversation. There was a great comfort in sitting with her. I was at ease and she and I seemed to be able to talk about things that most strangers don’t talk about on a first meet. I guess for her, this was not the first encounter she has had with me, and her encounter was definitely a huge encounter as she saved my baby’s life.

I left with a warm heart feeling confident that God chose her— the daughter-in law and sister-in-law of people I know well—people who were simultaneously praying for me as their relative was right there with us—God chose this specific person to be there for Ella in my darkest moment. The doctor revealed how she has a daughter, and we both commented how motherhood is a great privilege. Her eyes got watery as she shared as her sorrow at seeing me dead and blue and thinking of my own children being motherless. This I am assured made her work quickly to retrieve Ella so that I could be shocked back to life. Maybe God chose her to be the first loving gaze and warm hands my daughter would experience knowing that she has the heart of a mother. I feel joyful and at peace knowing that the woman who helped deliver my daughter is no longer a stranger but rather a wonderful woman who I am positive was hand-picked to be there in that moment. If you read my book, you will see that God left no detail in my survival to chance. He set each person in motion to be there in the right time and the right place. It is a comfort to my motherly heart to have met this beautiful woman!

I kept thanking her for saving Ella’s life and mine as well in the fact the she foresaw that I would go into DIC and already got the ball rolling for me to have blood available sooner than later. When I thanked her, she said humbly, “I was doing my job that day.” What a great job she has—to bring life into this world! I will be eternally grateful to this doctor for saying yes to her calling and for working feverishly to save my daughter’s life! I hope Ella will have the privilege to meet her one day! She mentioned how nice it was to hear thanks because people rarely send a note to thank their OBGYN. I am surprised by that but hoping my situation may make others realize that even though most pregnancies go smoothly and the job of someone who delivers babies may “seem” easy, behind the scenes they are working hard to make sure every delivery is safe, monitoring the baby’s every heartbeat from another room and running into action to be a life-saver when things don’t turn out as planned. I know I will never take another doctor for granted again!

When I arrived home, Ella was sleeping but woke to be fed. I rocked her and gazed upon her telling her about the doctor who delivered her–who is no longer a stranger. Ella and I ended the night with this prayer for the doctor: “May the Lord keep her close to Him and lead her in all her ways!”

On another note: I will be writing blogs every two weeks now since my son will be participating in preschool. My time is going to be a bit more limited. Thanks to those who read this blog and keep up with it!

On a second exciting note: My book is now in e-book format! Yippee! Check it out HERE!!


One comment

  1. Auntie Gail · · Reply

    Melanie, once again, this is another indicator of the miracles that came your way that day! I am so impressed the doctor took time out of her schedule to meet with you and share her story. In all the doctors Patrick saw through his 26 years, the ones I remember the most fondly are those who went beyond their job, yet were humble. It’s nice to know those doctors are there when needed.

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