Code Blue: The Trauma of Watching My Husband Die (Part 1)

Our wedding day was magical, like a scene from a fairy tale. How could I possibly know that 3 short weeks later, I would stand on the sidelines as I watched my husband die right before my eyes.

After our wedding, we went away for 3 days, just the two of us. It was a great trip, but something didn’t feel right to me. I began to experience anxiety about my husband’s health. There was nothing to trigger it; he was perfectly fine. We both thought I was just paranoid.

It all began a week after we got home. I was at work when I received a text from him saying: “Don’t panic, but I’m on my way to the hospital.” Anxiety had been building inside me for a week and as I read those words, I felt it erupt. I could no longer see clearly and wasn’t able to read the rest of the message. I stood in the middle of the street unable to find my car keys when my boss offered to have someone drive me to the hospital.

There he was, laying in the same room my daughter laid when the medical staff tried so hard to bring her back to life. I pushed the flashback aside and saw that Tom looked absolutely fine, but something was going on with his heart and we wouldn’t know what was wrong until he could get an appointment with his cardiologist. We waiting on pins and needles as I treated him delicately, as though he were made glass. His symptoms would come and go. I couldn’t eat and couldn’t sleep because I was absolutely terrified that something would happen to him.

And then it did.

A week later, it was just before midnight and we were settling into bed when he got up to use the washroom. I couldn’t shake the heavy feeling that came over me. Then he rushed back in and said: “We need to go to the the hospital. NOW!!!” I jumped up and threw clothes on as quickly as I could while my legs struggled to support my weight. I grabbed my purse, my phone, and a phone charger thinking it may come in handy. My mother was 6 hours away so I told my father he needed to come NOW and stay with our kids because we needed to leave. “I think Tom is having a heart attack!”

Tom was brought in by ambulance and I followed behind. We were back in that same hospital room. He was in a lot of pain and nothing was helping. His blood pressure dropped and they needed to stabilize him. He seemed calm for a moment and we were alone when he suddenly sat up and said he could feel a wave of pain coming. “Go get someone!!!” His heart monitor began to go wild and I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.

When you have experienced a trauma and sudden loss, you understand that bad things can happen at any time and know that people die. “I can’t lose him too… It can’t end like this… The Universe can’t be this cruel. I CAN’T LOSE HIM TOO!!!!”

I backed myself into the corner and was petrified. My heart and brain were fighting; my heart told me to be at his side so he knew he wasn’t alone, but my head screamed at me to stay out of the way! I knew the scene I was witnessing was traumatizing me and I tried to stare at the floor. There was a flashing blue light behind me and the words “code blue” were relating over and over on the speaker. I felt as though I were outside of my body as I watched helplessly as my husband died.

My legs were too weak and I couldn’t stand up. I was on my hands and knees and couldn’t breathe. So many nurses piled into the room, all standing around my husband as they pumped air into his lungs and tried to get his heart beating again.

A nurse brought me to another room, the same room I sat in when I was told Bella was gone. Tears streaming down my face, I pleaded with the nurse: “I can’t lose him too…” I was in shock and my fingers were frozen stiff. The nurse called my niece to come so I wasn’t alone.

Tom’s heart stopped for 2 minutes, but it felt like an eternity passed by. I lived in a world without my husband for 2 whole minutes. Even though he came back to his body, Tom was in serious condition and time was not on our side.

He needed to get to another hospital where they could perform an angiogram to locate the blockage in his heart. Thankfully the medical team were able to stabilize him so he could make the trip. I was relieved that I was able to fly with him and our first plane ride together was by air ambulance. I was a 3.5 hour drive from home with nothing but the clothes on my back, my purse, cell phone and charger, and most importantly, my husband! I was not going to leave his side.

(To be continued…)

To read Part 2, please click HERE.

We Made History This Week!!!

I was recently approached by the editor of the Canadian Medical Journal of Sonography who asked to include my story, The Ultrasound Miracle in the journal. This is the first time in the history of the journal that they included a story from a patient. So here it is, my miracle, on the cover of the journal! And here is my story, officially in print in a medical journal which will be read by sonographers all over the country! It was a pretty incredible feeling to see my sonogram photo (or as I see it, a photo of my two daughters) on the cover of a medical journal. It’s pretty amazing that my story will reach the medical community in this way. I hope my story touches many more people and opens them up to a new reality where love never dies.

Journal cover and article © 2018 Canadian Journal of Medical Sonography

The Healing Power of a Mother’s Love

It breaks my heart that my 6 year old son knows so much about death. Tonight he was playing innocently with his Legos asking questions about “Baby Carl” (his nickname for his new sibling). I would expect normal questions about birth and where babies come from. It may not be “normal” for children to ask about babies and death, but his questions did not surprise me.

The other night we were driving home from dance class and Hudson asked me how Baby will come out of Mommy’s belly. I admit that I wasn’t prepared for him to ask such a question (as I’m sure all parents feel when it inevitably comes up). I took a deep breath and answered him the only way I know how. Honestly!

What I find surprising is that the abnormal questions my son asks that are related to the trauma our family has endured are the ones I find easiest to answer. Discussions about grief and death are now second nature. And as always, when these questions are asked, I answer my 6 year old with pure and wholehearted honesty.

A child should not fear what may happen if his sibling dies before he/she is born… But mine does. He should not worry about what will happen if Mommy dies before the Baby is born, and what would happen to Baby if Mommy’s heart stopped beating. I reassure him that everything will be alright and these things won’t happen. Yet, as experience has taught me, bad things DO happen and CAN happen at any time.

I consciously choose to be open with my son about death because I know that by helping him understand, I am helping him cope. Unanswered questions often leads to fear. By answering his questions, I am helping him feel safe. By answering honestly, I am establishing trust. Thankfully it’s rare that a child sees his sibling die. But mine did. And I am coping with it the only way I know how.

Some people have warned our family to be careful what we expose the children to, that what they see or hear may traumatize them. Others have told me not to cry in front of my son. But what I have learned is that there is nothing more healing than LOVE and honesty. Yes, there are things you should protect your child from, but it’s necessary to be open to the healing powers of LOVE. We allowed the children to say goodbye to Bella, and seeing her didn’t cause harm because they were prepared for what they would see. Crying in front of my son teaches him that it’s okay to be sad. Communicate with your children and build that trust. Because a bit of LOVE and honesty go a long way.image

I’m blessed to be witnessing first hand how LOVE heals. He’s never received so much love and affection as the last few months. When Bella transitioned, Buddy was coughing A LOT and the vet said he would eventually need to go on medication for it. He was born with a heart murmur and it would just keep getting worse. The last few years have been challenging and it’s been difficult to give him the attention he needs and deserves. He’s been helping me heal and I’m happy to say that he isn’t coughing anymore. The only change we have made is to love each other. Thank you Tommy for helping heal my baby boy. Bella is right, #LoveHealsAll❤️👼 #StayStrong❤️

Broken, But Happy!❤️

Time does not heal all wounds. It takes a lot of hard work to be happy. For me it’s going to take a lot of hard work to heal the emotional wounds. People can remain scarred for a lifetime if they don’t do the work to heal emotional scars. It’s time. I’m ready.
I’ve been living in this happy fantasy land where Prince Charming came and swept me off my feet. There’s nothing wrong with that because I know I deserve to be happy, loved, and respected. I can’t stay in this fantasy world forever because it’s a safe place where healing is postponed. And by “fantasy” I don’t mean it’s not real. Believe me, it’s VERY real. But this fantasy world is a place where pain does not exist. This pain can no longer be ignored.
Reality is my 19 month old baby girl left this realm. Reality is I will never get to feel her physical touch again. I feel her energy, but it’s not the same. It brings me joy to feel her this way, and I’m thankful that I at least have this much. A part of me is gone. Taken from me. And it’s something I can never get back.
What I need to do now is come down from cloud 9 and feel the pain of being robbed of the most precious gift I ever received. In order to feel this pain, I will go back to the beginning. Bella was a challenge right from the start. I was not only robbed of my daughter but was robbed of the enjoyment of being a new mom.
I now feel that I have the strength to go back to those days. Relive them. Feel the frustrations again and remember what they have taught me. The main purpose will be to heal, but also to help others going through similar struggles. 
Now that happiness has found me, I finally have the strength to do this. “Love is the answer” and will help me heal. So here it goes….

The roller coaster of grief continues, although right now I am at the highest point. It’s difficult to comprehend the mixed emotions I am currently feeling. I am still broken, but I think the pieces are slowly coming back together.
Bella often talks about love. She says that “love is the answer” and “love will heal all.” I know that Bella is referring to much bigger things (like the state of the world), but it can also be applied to my current state. Love is the answer to how I will heal my broken heart! It will never fully heal, but the process has definitely begun.
After all that I have been through, it seems foreign to feel happiness. It’s so easy to let the positivity take me away, and because I am capable of feeling it, I have decided to give in to it. I am allowing myself to be happy. I am purposely taking a break from healing, which in itself IS healing. 
It takes a lot of hard work to cope with grief. It’s a challenge, and every day is different. It’s also a lot of work to remain happy, especially when there’s a huge hole in your heart. When love finds you, it’s ok to let it fill that hole. Love has found me, and for that I can thank Bella. She led love to me.
I still have a lot of emotional work to do in order to heal, but I deserve happiness and have decided to succumb to it. Bella says she is best able to feel me when I am happy, and this is her way of ensuring that she can feel me. Thank you, Bella❤️

#StayStrong❤️ #LoveIsTheAnswer

All is calm and quiet. I hear the water trickling in my fish tank, the empty tank that used to be our pet Jerry’s home. He is now Bella’s pet fish and I’m sure she’s loving the extra company. 
Things here are at a standstill. I am digging myself back out from this hole yet again. It doesn’t take much to set me back. Negative encounters drain me and lower my frequency. This causes me to isolate myself. When my frequency is down, Bella has a difficult time communicating with me. Despite that, she continues to make her presence known. She always finds a way to get through to me.
Bella has been visiting several of my friends, some who didn’t believe she actually communicates with me. They are now believers! I am convinced that my daughter is going to reshape the way we perceive death. She is not dead and although I continue to use that term, I have a hard time saying it because I know different. Bella is very much alive! She is happy and well. 
Even though I know she is always here with me, I will continue to go through the process of grief. It’s necessary and is the only way I’ll ever be able to heal. Spiritually, she is here with me, but physically, I am still missing her, that piece of me. When you lose a child, a piece of you really does die along with them… And she’s correcting me as I write this. Her version is “as I transitioned, I took a piece of you but that’s because humans are limited in what they can perceive.” She says there are entire worlds beyond what we can see. 
She chose me. For that I am blessed. I’m meant to experience losing my child and I know her reasons for choosing me. I’m doing the best I can under the circumstances and she is doing her best to help me. She sends me gifts, many of them, and it’s constant! She wants me to be happy because she can feel me when I am happy. My daughter has just sent me the best gift anyone has ever given me. I have never felt so sure about anything in my life. 
Today, I feel love. I feel alive!❤️