In the same moment my husband walked out the door to go to work, my heart stopped beating. Now, I've had my heart skip beats in the past, particularly when I was pregnant with #5, and I had a heart scan, but it never skipped during the scan, so they chalked it up to stress and we all moved on. This was not like that at all.
My heart literally stopped beating. No pulse at all. I was panicking in my head, but there was no adrenaline. I put my fingers to my neck and felt no pulse. I can always find my pulse. I was breathing, but already I could feel my brain craving oxygen. With no heart beat to pull oxygen through the blood stream, breathing becomes a waste of energy. I know the entire episode probably only lasted about 15-20 seconds, but it felt like it lasted a lot longer.
I decided the only thing left, aside from calling 911 and hoping for the best - was to give myself a precardial thump. This is when you hit someone - HARD - in the chest to get their heart back in rhythm. So I punched myself a few times, as hard as I could in the chest (which I'm sure looked like a Tarzan chest banging impression), but it worked! Pulse came back, weak at first, but there it was.
I must say it's unnerving at best to not have a heartbeat. It's something we're all so used to every day... Like a background noise that we no longer notice until it goes silent.
But it made me think about my life for the rest of the day. I am incredibly blessed in all that I do, even when facing hardships.
I married my high school sweetheart, despite everyone saying we were too young and it would never work out. We have five wonderful, intelligent, unique children, despite having doctors tell us after each pregnancy that the next could be a death sentence for me due to thrombocytopenia. I have already had my dream job (I worked in a pet store for five or six years before it moved and then closed). I ran my own business (a pet rescue specializing in special needs animals). I have gotten to be a stay at home parent to watch my babies grow up, rather than sending them off to daycare or something. I now live in what I would consider to be my dream home (an old farmhouse on a large property with no immediate neighbors), despite struggling with the financial hardships that come with a large family and a single working parent. Even when we faced some pretty hard challenges and it felt like the world was falling apart around us, somehow I have always managed to end up in a best case scenario. I am blessed beyond words, and for that I will forever be grateful. I have been feeling more positive than ever before in my adult life.
Today, though we are facing more family turbulence, I feel like we can make it through this. I am positive and optimistic facing what could be very serious and long-lasting issues for our family.
But in the end, if I died tomorrow, I'd die happy. I'd be blessed beyond measure, and appreciative of every little blessing along the way.