My Unexpected Blessing
By: Tanya Merriweather
I had my unexpected colostomy on March 10, 2017. The day that changed my life forever was when my son, Bryce, was born prematurely at 27 weeks on March 8th. A few days prior to my son arriving, I started experiencing excruciating pain in my abdomen. I made several visits to the emergency room thinking I was having contractions, but the doctors continued to claim I wasn’t dilated, gave me painkillers, and sent me on my way. At this point, the pain was so severe I could barely move or even eat and I was extremely constipated. I continued to call out of work due to the intense pain.
It was on a Wednesday morning and I was home by myself and had the strong urge to use the restroom. Before I could even blink, my son was laying on the bathroom floor. I literally delivered my baby in my bathroom all by myself. He was completely quiet. I was in total shock, but knew I had to respond quickly and had no time to waste. The mother instincts kicked in immediately. I quickly called my husband and then 911. I wrapped my son in a towel, but still no sound was coming from him. While on the phone with the operator, the paramedics were at my door in minutes. I struggled to get downstairs while holding my tiny baby. Once I opened the door, it felt like a dozen paramedics were swarming into my house. They immediately took my baby and checked his vitals. All of a sudden, I noticed my husband laying next to me trying not to pass out. As hard as it was, I tried to remain calm. I remember my in-laws standing outside the house trying to see what was happening inside. The paramedics took my son in an ambulance and I was placed into another one. All I could think about was my baby, but I knew deep down God was protecting him and he would be okay.
Once I arrived at the hospital and placed in a room, I knew something was still off with my body. My stomach was still distended and I still couldn’t have a bowel movement. My face started to break out with rashes and I still didn’t feel well. The nurses continued to give me laxatives, but that made me feel worse. I couldn’t even sleep at night because I was in so much pain.
I found out that they transferred my son to the NICU at another location. He only weighed 2 pounds. I was devastated I couldn’t hold my son and was also frustrated that the staff couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me. After a couple days, the maternity ward finally called in a surgeon to evaluate my condition. I had a CT scan done and the radiologist noticed a blockage. A procedure was scheduled immediately thinking something internally could be twisted. After surgery, I woke up in the ICU and noticed I had this bag attached to the left side of my belly. I was clueless to what purpose that served. I eventually found out that my sigmoid colon was completely damaged due to a blockage and the blood supply was cut off, so the surgeon removed 60% of my colon. In order for my rectum to heal, the surgeon performed a colostomy. This was the first time ever hearing about an ostomy. I was devastated and couldn’t understand why this was happening to me.
Immediately, I had to learn how to care for my ostomy. With everything going on with my newborn and my condition, it was extremely difficult for me to understand. My husband was so supportive and helpful while learning how to apply the bag and care for my stoma. I’m so fortunate to have such a loving and dedicated partner, who stayed by my side the entire time. I was in the hospital for almost two weeks before I was discharged. My parents also visited me everyday at the hospital.
My son was admitted to the NICU, but I wasn’t able to see my baby during my time in the hospital, so my husband would visit him everyday and would show me pictures. He didn’t have a name when he was born, so my husband and I decided to name him Bryce. He was born at 2 pounds. He was covered with so many tubes for oxygen, feeding, etc. Not seeing my baby in person, was the most difficult part to handle. Also, not being able to care for my 4 year old daughter was extremely heartbreaking.
I experienced severe depression and anxiety. I was afraid to leave the house because of the noises that my bag would make or even the risk of it leaking. My doctor told me I could have a reversal in 6 weeks and he was right. I ended up having my reversal within 2 months. I wasn’t diagnosed with any chronic illness and there was no specific cause to why my colon shut down.
I understand that I went through this for a reason. Even though I dealt with a great deal of anxiety and pain, I was blessed with a beautiful son that is healthy and thriving each day. He’s my angel. I owe all of it to the Lord above. I will be forever grateful and know the Lord is my protector and healer. I had 3 surgeries in a 2 month period and recovered very well. I have a whole new appreciation for life, my family, and all of the people who expressed so much love and support. I have my two beautiful children that I’m able to care for and enjoy everyday.
I am truly blessed and would do it all over again to have my little miracle, Bryce, right here beside me. Life is amazing and I’m so glad I can share my story to the world.