Vail Valley Charitable Fund: No one said the journey would be easy
Special to the Daily
In the summer of 2016, my husband, Geoff, and I found out I was pregnant. We had been trying to add to our blended family for a few months. We couldn’t wait to share our excitement with his two boys and my two girls.
Unfortunately, I quickly developed nearly fatal complications at nine weeks, and carrying to full term was uncertain.
Early on I noticed that I was winded climbing stairs. I chalked it up to pregnancy in my 30s (it had been 10 years since my last baby, things change right?). However, something didn’t feel right. I went to the emergency room where a simple blood test diagnosed a blood clot. It’s not uncommon to develop clots during pregnancy but full-body imaging to determine the location of the clot was risky. I was sent home to follow up with my OB.
I developed a headache the following day. Having a long history of migraines, I’ve learned to just power through them. By mid-day, my migraine was beginning to impact my vision and I knew it was time to head home. The intensity of my headache was so severe I knew that I was a danger on the roadway. I pulled over and called my husband to come and pick me up. My plan was to rest at home, but that’s not what happened.
With no relief from the pain, we went to the emergency room again. The doctors discovered three blood clots in my brain the size of my thumb. The clots obstructed more than 90% of the normal blood flow to the brain. Prayer met where modern medicine fell short. My doctor called it a “miracle” that the clots never caused a fatal stroke.
Doctors put me on blood thinners to help prevent future clotting while they stabilized me and the baby. This meant daily injections into my growing belly until after delivery. Believing that the risk was of clotting was a pregnancy-related issue, I was taken off blood thinners after delivering a healthy baby boy in March 2017.
Four months after giving birth, I developed stroke-like symptoms and was quickly flown to Denver with another blood clot in my brain. Once again, with nearly a complete blockage in my brain, I did not suffer from any lasting neurological complications.
My medical bills were mounting and my return to work as a School Resource Officer for the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office was uncertain. Our community met me where I was at and exceeded all my expectations. Thanks to the generosity of our community and life-changing organizations like the Vail Valley Charitable Fund, I was able to focus on my family and my health instead of my medical bills.
My not-so “little” guy will be 4 later this month. He is so full of life. I was able to return back to work for the community I love, and my family was not burdened with excessive medical debt. We are all faced with trials in life. We are not promised an easy journey, just a successful outcome. We are truly blessed!
Megan Heil is a Vail Valley Charitable Fund Grant Recipient. Find out more about the VVCF’s mission at vvcf.org.