You've never lived until you've almost died.

Today isn't just another ordinary day. I woke up, my heart is beating. I can breathe. I can talk to anyone. I can try anything. This day has infinite potential. Those all seem like ordinary daily activities for most, but for me this is something to celebrate.

"I never lived until I almost died".

Today, I turn 30 and I am thankful to be alive to bring you this story. I hope it will save someone's life.

My pregnancies have always been more challenging than the average individual. In the first 8 months of my pregnancy with my 2nd child I had severe daily vomiting, two Pik Lines at 3 months and 7 months pregnant, constant dehydration and on two occasions passed kidney stones. I was given IV bags 5-6 days per week in the morning and sometimes returned in the evening on the same day.

I always endured. The gift of life has always been miraculous. Each child my husband and I have been blessed with has been a life changing experience.

"This pregnancy-- life changing was an understatement".

On January 6, 2014; 8 Months Pregnant with my Daughter, I was doctor diagnosed with the H1N1 Flu. That morning, just to breathe was almost suffocating. While the x-rays showed no sign of Pneumonia, I suddenly took a sharp turn for the worse and by 6 pm that day, my lungs began to fill with fluid, my oxygen levels went to a horrific low of 81%.

My baby is all I was able to think of when I arrived and was admitted to the hospital, I remember begging the doctors prior to my arrival because of the enormous toll and very weighed down pregnancy I was experiencing --if he could just please deliver my baby girl. I was so overwhelmed with worry and I just wanted our little blessing to be safe.

It's 6pm, my lungs were full of fluid, I was immediately taken to the ICU

The flu caused me to fall into a Coma. Both my baby and I were paralyzed- to control my breathing.

I cant imagine how my dear family was feeling. The rest of this story to you, was told to me. I have no memory of any of the following events.

On January 7, 2014 I went in to Acute Respiratory Distress. The doctor talked with my mom and my husband. Told the both of them, they could give me a very strong drug that could significantly improve my Pneumonia. Sounds great, right? Except, the doctors disclosed, its not 100% and its likely our baby would die. The other option was to do an Emergency C-Section. It's possible I just had hours left of my life, but they could save my unborn child. By this point, my organs were completely failing.

On January 7, 2014 Zaleyah was born by emergency C-Section.

We both survived!

.

Immediately my vitals began to improve. My beautiful baby girl was in the NICU on a ventilator and I continued in a coma- in ICU. Twelve days later- on January 19th, both my blessing and I were awakened from our coma- JUST MINUTES APART. It was then, we were reunited. Tears filled my face. It was she that gave me life. Her presence in this existing world saved my life.

Influenza A (H1N1) tried to come in like a thief in the night and steal both of our lives. Gratefully, we are here today, to tell you- Please vaccinate yourself against flu. Please wash your hands. Stay home when you are sick. Sadly, I chose not to vaccinate against flu. I believe my mission now- is to tell you that its possible flu can come in your home and I need you to know how important it is to take these preventative measures to protect your life.

Protect yourself. Protect Everyone Around You.

Though, I live on, healthy in this life- with my entire family- I suffer from permanent weak lungs. I spent the first 3 weeks home on oxygen not knowing if I would ever heal and be off those machines. I don't remember many significant events and milestones that happened during my life. Most days, I sit for a minute to determine what I was about to do, I forget often. My beautiful daughter has developmental delays. Its a tragedy to face what my enemy (flu) did to my family.

To think, this could have potentially been prevented. What if I took the preventative action to protect myself and my unborn child? I think it is also important to point out, if you think for a chance you have flu. Please, DEMAND a flu test. It is your right, it is your body. When I had a gut feeling I had flu, even though I was told I did not, I trusted my doctor. I never demanded a flu test. Flu takes action in your body quickly. You don't have time to wait.

So as another year goes by, and my 30th birthday comes to a close, I reflect on how precious life can change in just a blink of an eye. I admire my husbands strength and endurance while he stuck through one of the most difficult times of our lives. I look at my three beautiful blessings in their eyes and I cannot imagine not a single day with out being welcomed by their contagious smile. Today is a day to be celebrated. I am alive, I woke up, my heart is beating. I can breathe. I can talk to anyone. I can try anything. This day has infinite potential.

#flu #flucoma #coma #influenza #flushot #fighttheflu #fighttheflufoundation #TheEndFLUenzaProject #endfluenza #babycoma #vaccine #fluprevention