On my drive home I talked with my dad shortly. He informed me, and it was the first time I understood, that Pam was dying. My dad said that Pam is really sick and I needed to talk with her. She was waiting for me to be with her, so I could be with her when she delivered. Pam was still waiting after my 6 hour flight. My dad said it was critical that she had this baby as soon as possible. So I got on the phone and I told her that I was on my way. I told her not to wait, but to start trying now.
I found out later that Pam never really had a choice. The doctors were going to make Pam have this baby. What happened is that Pam got a condition that is fairly common with pregnant women: Preeclampsia. On top of this she also was diagnosed with HEELP Syndrome. No doctor knows how women get it, but they know the cure: delivering the baby. Preeclampsia and HEELP Syndrome can become so severe that it can kill the baby and the mother. This is the situation Pam was in.
What doctors do know is that Preeclampsia and HEELP Syndrome have something to do with a mother’s placenta. And the cure for my wife was removing the placenta.
It took me a total of 10 hours when it was all said and done to get back on the plane, get into my jeep, and finish the drive from Northern Virginia to get to York. I was numb.
I don’t remember parking. I don’t remember asking where Pam’s room was. I don’t remember if someone met me in the main lobby. I vaguely remember seeing my dad. I think he was waiting for me and he took me to Pam. What I do remember was seeing Pam for the first time. I can’t remember driving into York, but I will never forget seeing my wife. It’s in my mind permanently.
Pam’s platelets should be around 200,000. Her’s went all the way down to 30,000. At 20,000 the doctor told us that we wouldn’t be able to stop her bleeding, since platelets are the factors of your blood that help you clot, and stop bleeding. Pam’s lungs began to fill up with fluid. Her kidneys began to shut down. She was white as a ghost. My wife, an incredibly healthy woman at 33 was dying. I didn’t fully realize this until I saw her. As soon as I walked in, the entire family quietly exited and left us alone.
Here we were, two young kids, faced with death. We were about to meet our dead child, and my wife was fighting for her life with a broken heart. We had just entered hell together. Together, we took a deep breath.