Life begins at 40 they say, but my life began 3 years ago when I was 36 years old (going 37) during that dreadful day at the operating table. I just turned 40, and I said to myself that this will be the perfect time for me to finally write about my experience of Life and Death.
There are so many instances when my life became endangered but not as frightening as that of Aug. 21, 2015.
The risk started when I became pregnant with my youngest child, my son, Earl Jgene Conan. My Ob-gyne, Dra. Angelica Malambut of Tagaytay Medical Center told me many times that my pregnancy was risky — by being risky in my own vocabulary is to have a miscarriage along the way —I proved it was wrong.
My risk factors:
- age (I’m already 36 yrs. old)
- I got a previous operation last 2014 (removal of Endometrial cysts)
- the age gap of my children is 13yrs.
So during my pregnancy I am taking an anti-abortion medicine, to keep the baby holding. I have had pneumonia, severe allergies and I also got into a vehicular accident during these 9 months.
My baby’s condition was fine though, I had monthly check-up and everytime I had a pre-natal I always got to see my baby. My doctor have the latest ultrasound equipment which she can easily check the condition of the baby. At 8 months, Conan was positioned sideways in my tummy (this would make it difficult for a ceasarian section) so the doctor just asked me to eat sweets for him to move around which he did. I know I am going to be on a cs operations because my first baby was also delivered via the c-section.
The date was ready, August 21, we chose it so that it will be a Holiday (Ninoy Aquino Day) we can celebrate the b-day at home we thought.
Since we learned that the C-section delivery at Tagaytay Medical Center would cost as much than our budget we opted to Metro Lemery Doctors Hospital (which is 50% cheaper) and also an accredited hospital of my ob-gyne.
So we checked-in on August 21, 2015 before 7 a.m., got our room. I was called at the ER (I was with my mother while husband parked the car) for some SOP interview at 7:30 a.m. My Ob-gyne arrived and ordered to start cleaning me for the c-section procedure. She came in a sporty attire because she have a meet-up with friends afterwards. The usual way she is so cool, her voice can be heard all over and asked me “Are you ready?” I quietly said yes. I remembered the night before my operation I have had weird thoughts like “will I still be alive after the operation,” if anything happens who will take care,” thoughts like that.
So after the nurses sanitized me and got me ready, I was ushered at the operating table. They did the usual, I felt the anesthesia and fall asleep and woke up upon hearing my baby’s cry. I remembered they did not bring him to my side and it seems they carried him immediately and placed him at the baby’s nursing bed. After a few hours I was wondering why it was taking too long before they remove me from the operating table. I was AWAKE the whole time and just waiting, wondering. Then I heard my doctor shout “Transfusion, blood transfusion” that was when I knew something was wrong. I even heard “No Reaction, No reaction.” That time it came to my mind that maybe they are thinking I am dead or nearly dead. I was so dizzy but inspite of the dizziness I remain awake at least in my mind. I felt like a tiny light, I felt so little and it seems I am just peeking into my brain then I commanded my brain to tell my hands to “grip.” I said “grip.” “Kailangan gumalaw ang kamay ko para malaman nila na buhay pa ako. My thought was “Mga gago ba kayo! Buhay pa ako anong no reaction sinasabi nyo” and so I forced my hand (despite the anesthesias) to grip. I was able to move both hands (it was tied up). I also recall calling the male nurse’s attention to bring my child near me. I told him why you didn’t bring my child beside me so he got Conan and bring in to me for me to see. Afterwards, I felt dizzy again. And that was the last memory I have at the operating room. Little did I knew that the ordeal lasted for 5hours. The usual C-Section delivery was supposed to be just 45 mins. Little did I knew that I was in for a complete shock, I also didn’t knew that the time my husband and mother came in, I was at the Recovery room for some “last viewing” because the doctors said the operation was critical and might not be successful. So they made my husband and mother to view me while I am still alive. I didn’t know it. I am strong as far as I know. But upon waking up (at the recovery room) I began asking my mom “what happened? why it took so long, is something taken from me? Am I still complete? I knew something was wrong. My mother simply said “Don’t be shocked, the doctor will tell.” From that time until I was brought to my room I felt so dizzy, the world is literally spinning, it seems I was drugged.
Then after almost 24hrs of sleeping, my doctor woke me up and told me what happened. She and my family started their narrating the stories that happened during the operation. My doctor told me I lost a pail of blood (isang timbang dugo). She got so stressed that no amount of money could ever paid. She said “Hindi ako papayag na mamatayan ng pasyente dahil lang inoperahan ko ng CS.” She fought for me to live. She called 4 doctors more and called her husband which is an Internal Medicine doctor and prescribed “epinephrine.” This is the so-called miracle drug (ang pampabuhay). She gave me 3 doses because my blood pressure started to drop, and this avoided heart attack. She said I am nearly flat liner. And she said during one of her visits that everytime I go for a check-up next time I should tell the doctors that I was given epinephrine. She was so shocked and amazed to see and hear me TALK. And I narrated her my thoughts during the operation. Which I can tell she was shocked. She kept on telling me “ayaw na kitang makita, nagka-trauma sya sa 5 hours na pagsalba sa buhay ko.” She was shocked even to see me I was able to walk after a few days, she was amazed that I am NORMAL – NO BRAIN DAMAGE or whatsoever.
Anyway, here’s a photo of my doctor during my post operation check-up. She was happy to see me ALIVE, WALKING and talking but not happy to treat me again hahaha! She was just so traumatized.
Now, during my recovery and even after my husband and mom started re-calling what happened. My hubby told me that at the recovery room I looked like a zombie, flat layed, arms on the side, pale color and tounge out. He even asked the doctor “Doc, anong nangyari dyan, bakit ganyan itsura nyan.” I just laughed and can’t believe.
My mom re-called, she cried, prayed and quite panicked. And called my sister and relay. Asked questions like where will my kids stay, who will take care of Colene and Conan. And pray hard.
I am an inactive member of Jehova’s Witness and I left a note to my doctor : No ligate, No Blood. So during that medical emergency the stress of the decision regarding my treatment heightened, they asked my mom and hubby, of course they immediately Ok’d for a blood transfusion.
SO WHAT REALLY HAPPENED?
Doctors said after they pulled Conan out, the umbilical cord connecting to the uterus never stopped bleeding. It was like a water flow from a faucet. They already put blocks of gauze to stop the bleeding but it doesn’t stop. I was open for 5 hours and they have to make an immediate decision for the blood to stop. Imagine the stress, the stinky blood odor and 6 rolls of gauze where placed at the source of the bleeding but to no avail. So they did an emergency TAH (Total abdominal hysterectomy). They removed my uterus, my cervix and the fallopian tubes, the ovaries remained so I will not suffer the negative hormonal effects. Two ovaries still remained. Simply said I suffered from Uterine atony (death of the uterus). It simply died, these cases usually happens during normal deliveries (dinugo).
Medically speaking what happened was HYPOVOLEMIC SHOCK sec. to Post-Partum Hemorrhage sec. to Uterine Atony. I suffered from shock cause of too much bleeding.
WHAT SAVED ME
Medical treatment they gave me was 3 doses of epenephrine and 3 bags of Type B Blood. I was lucky the hospital have my blood type during these emergency. Type B blood is not common. So my doctor (being a probinsyana) said “Hindi mo pa oras.”
What saved me of course is a MIRACLE of GOD. We all consider it a MIRACLE. Up until today, other doctors I have shared my experience couldn’t comprehend why I knew what was happening. And they said my doctor is tough and smart.
I remember when I had a check-up last January, 2018 I told the doctor what happened to me. He was a doctor from UST. After hearing my story, he was amazed and told me to write for an anecdote. Or search medical websites to share my story. He said you shouldn’t be awake, you should be sleeping during the operation (because of the medicines put on me). That was why your doctor doesn’t want to see you. It was a MIRACLE. She can’t afford to see you again it was a traumatic experience as well as “nakakakilabot” na experience for her.
During the first few months after my delivery I was still considered “critical.” So during those days, I didn’t know exactly what to feel. I felt like my days were numbered, I was careful, I became sad too upon recalling that I can no longer bear a child in a natural way. Meaning I can still via in-vitro and if there’s a surrogate mother who will be paid or volunteer to bear the child for me. It was heartbreaking.
Up until today, 3 years have past, sometimes I felt like in the movies “The Final Destiny.” And so I keep on praying for long life, to keep me safe and to continue to take care for my family.
We were so blessed that aside from the second chance of life given to me, we were able to pay for the hospital bills. If that case happened in the hospitals at Manila, it would cost half a million pesos. So we were glad it just cost us roughly P100K including medicines.
Right after we checked out of the hospital, we stayed for awhile at Tita Lina’s house, my husband’s Aunt, and they cooked tinola the traditional way. Bought live chicken and killed this they say was “palit buhay.” And we offered thanksgiving.
We went for a little sunshine at the neaby river and thanked God for the gift of life He had given us. The life of my son, Conan, and for mine. Now, I’m counting my re-birth same as my son’s, now on our 3rd year.
Sometimes it still flashes on my mind, the situation that happened during the operation, it was clear. And it was a sad experience, a sad memory. But also it was a reminder that life is too short, we will never know when our time in this Earth will end.
After just 2 months since, we founded the Renters, Operators and Drivers Rent A Car Transport Service Cooperative which I think part of the purpose why I am still here.
I am living my life day by day, resigned from 13++ years of employment, pursuing my passions, taking care of the kids and our home, attending to business and many more.
For who knows when life ends, as for now I am happy at 40!
Jenny a.k.a. Bunting
About the featured photo, this was taken last September 29, 2015, a month after. I was so weak and pale (because of severe anemia), I am so self-conscious and scared. But we managed to go out and went to Taal Basilica Church and visited some relatives for some Thanksgiving.
Do you have a similar story? Feel free to share.