My 2020 Story
2020 has been a year full of ups and downs for many people, and it’s probably been the hardest year of my 31 years here on Earth. I know that it’s been hard for many people, but here’s my 2020 story. I hope that maybe it will encourage someone else out there, or maybe someone will need to hear the words I am sharing. A friend recently shared her story, and it was such a Godsend because it helped me have someone I could share my thoughts and feelings and feel known by someone else.
We all know that the world (especially the US) came to a weird halt around March 12 (which so happened to be my 31st birthday). The virus had come to our state and the news everywhere was about Covid-19. There were so many unknowns. We officially closed the shop for customers about a week later, and we were just doing shipping and local delivery. We didn’t know what to expect, but we persisted as much as we could without any childcare or employees working the shop. We also were supposed to open our new children’s store on April 3rd, but we decided to push that back until things were a little more settled. I worked tirelessly during this season to stay afloat on orders, deliveries, and shipments. Bryson helped when he could with his freelance, but it was primarily in my hands to get everything out the door.
Owen’s first birthday was March 19, so we were supposed to have a fun little party with family, and we had to push that back as well (I’m hoping to have a party for his half-birthday in September). We Facetimed our families and had cake by ourselves as a family of 3. We tried to make the most out of every situation and find some joy in the little things of being at home with our little one. He started walking, started saying more words, and just became a toddler over our time in quarantine. It was a special time, and I’m so thankful for it.
My family received the news in late March that my grandmother’s kidneys were failing, and she decided to not seek any major treatment. I didn’t think much of it at the time because the doctor said they didn’t have a definite timeline of what might happen. In mid-April, we got the news that she wouldn’t have much longer, so I decided to go with my mom to visit her one last time. I hadn’t wanted to go before because what if I had the virus and didn’t know. And then I could have infected her. So, my mom and I went, and it was so terribly hard to see this strong woman in so much pain and so not herself. She remembered who I was (thankfully), and I was able to sit with her for a little while. But it completely wrecked me mentally. I knew that she wouldn’t have much longer, and she ended up passing away the very next day. Her funeral was set for Wednesday, April 22, the day after our anniversary.
Our 8th anniversary was April 21. We were still trying to be cautious about where we went and what we did, and many places were still closed. So, Bryson’s parents watched Owen for us, and we went to Five Guys and took our food to a park. It was a good time but overall it was just weird. Weird to be celebrating our life together but in quarantine, and I just lost my grandmother so weird to be celebrating because of that. It had been over 25 years since I lost a grandparent and working through grief was challenging (still is).
On the day of my grandmother’s funeral, we got ready, and my MIL came over to watch Owen. We went to the visitation, social distanced as much as possible, and then we drove to the funeral in Franklin. We had decided to go and see my mom’s dad in Franklin after the funeral was over because it had been a long time since seeing him as well. The funeral was just family and a few close friends, and I honestly felt at peace during all of it. She was so much better off being in heaven than being in pain. I knew she loved Jesus with all of her heart, and she had gained her reward. We went to see my Paw Paw, and he was eating a burrito which I find hilarious because I've never seen him eat one before. It was so good to see him, too! Quarantine can make seeing older family members challenging, but we tried to make the most of our short time with him outside from a distance.
We went home and made dinner and had our nightly routine. I was nursing Owen before bed when I had a sharp pain in my left abdomen. It continued to get worse, so I asked Bryson to finish our bedtime routine. I thought I needed to go to the bathroom, but that wasn’t the case. So, I laid down and continued to feel horrible and got progressively worse. We texted some of our friends (a MD and a PA), and they all seemed to think it was a GI bug, and that I needed to wait it out. They also told us what to look for if it was my appendix. As the next few hours passed, I continued to feel terrible and started to feel like I was going to pass out. I’ve never passed out before, so I was really scared. Bryson tried to help me sit up at one point, and he said I had some sort of spell where my eyes rolled in the back of my head. We called our friend, Glenn who is the PA), and he said with those symptoms he was afraid I was hypotensive. So, we knew it was serious and decided we better go to the hospital. Bryson called his mom to come immediately to stay with Owen, and he got me to the hospital within a couple of minutes.
Now, as you remember in this story, this is April. This was the middle of Covid. We were anxious about what would happen at the ER because they weren’t allowing patients to have someone with them. They took me back, and Bryson had to go to the car. I honestly have never been in so much pain and never been so anxious in my life. I, thankfully, was coherent enough to answer all of their questions even though taking breaths was a struggle at this point. My temperature was 94, and my BP was 60 when we arrived. The doctor came in and asked if I was pregnant, and I answered not that I know of. They tried to get my warm, performed tests, hooked me up to a bunch of monitors, and asked a bunch more questions. All of the nurses were amazing. They all comforted me and made me feel safe and cared for even though I wasn’t able to have Bryson there with me. One of the sweet nurses even held my hand. There weren’t many people in the ER, so it felt like everyone was working on me. The doctor came back and said I was in fact pregnant, and that I had had an ectopic pregnancy that ruptured. I kinda knew what that meant because one of Bryson’s cousins’ wives had had one. Bryson texted our friend who is an OB, and he called him to explain what they would be doing in surgery and that it was pretty common (3% of women). We ended up knowing a nurse in the ER, and he allowed B to come back and stay with me once they knew what was going on. I had to have an ultrasound before surgery, and the OB was called in to talk to me and explain things.
I cannot explain to you the amount of pain I was in during all of this. I had a child naturally with no medicine, but this was terrible. I don’t wish it on anyone. They wheeled me up to the OR, and the OB told us all the info of the surgery and there was a slight chance I might not make it. I remember asking B to pray with us when they had given us a second together before I went back for surgery, and I was so scared. I knew that God would take care of me, but I just couldn’t imagine not waking up. Every single nurse in the OR and doctor was so kind and reassuring. It was such a huge blessing to have them at my side. They were all female, so it was great to know I was in the hands of a strong women team!
My surgery only took an hour, and it was all laparoscopic. I woke up to the friendliest nurse in recovery. She was so sweet, and she held my hand while I was waking up. When I got to my room in the Mother and Baby wing, I had heard things about my nurse that she was a little cooky, but she was amazing. There were a lot of nurses that came in when I got to my room. I knew one of them from when we had Owen. She was our sweet night nurse after he was born, and it was so good to see a familiar face. Bryson wasn’t able to stay with me after our surgery due to the hospital’s rules about visitors. He actually walked to his car with the OB when she was leaving. She was so sweet to us through all of this.
Around 7 in the morning, they asked if I wanted to call my husband and ask him to come back. They were going to treat us like we had a baby, so Bryson could come and stay and not leave the hospital. I ended up having a nurse call him because I was still weak. I remained in so much pain the first few hours, so they decided to get an x-ray of my stomach later that day. I had lost 2.5 liters of blood, so my stomach was really extended because of it. They also had to give me blood during my stay 3 different times. They were afraid it would cause more trouble if I ate or drank anything, so I wasn’t able to have any liquids or food for 3 days. I also had to be able to walk around and not get dizzy or pass out, so I had to get up out of bed and walk around. All of this really threw me for a loop because I had recovered so quickly after Owen, so I have way more respect for all of you c-section mamas. We watched a lot of daytime tv and slept as much as we could. I finally got to go home on Sunday afternoon. We had so many friends and family bring us things while being in the hospital and after I got home, and we are SO blessed to have an amazing community around us.
I say all of this to let you know if this has happened to you that you aren’t alone. I have realized that talking about it gets it out of my head and makes it not as scary. I have been talking to a therapist since the beginning, and she has been so helpful. I still have so many questions and anxieties, but I am almost back to “normal” physically. I’m still healing mentally, and I am telling myself that is okay. I don’t have to have my grief in a specific timeline. I am so thankful for the care I received at our local hospital. They were amazing, and they truly cared about me. I’m so thankful for our community that has helped us in so many ways during all of this, too. It truly takes a village, and I hope you know how much you mean to us.
Needless to say, this year has been hard for me, but I want to encourage you to give yourself grace. I say this to myself a lot, and I know that in order to give others grace, I have to give myself so much grace. So, here’s to 2020 and giving ourselves a little more grace!