So I've been told by many that I need to start a blog. Well back when MySpace was cool I blogged almost everyday and to this day that's where alot of my most precious postings are located. I don't even know where to start really. My name is Tressa Booth and I'm just an ordinary girl who had something very extraordinary happen to her. June 22, 2007 will always be the day that changed my life FOREVER and for so many different reasons, but I have to say the biggest reason of all is that was the day that completely shifted my relationship with Jesus Christ. You see, I am 27 years old and for 25 of those years I was a PK or Pastor's Kid. I grew up in church and was saved at 5 years old at church camp. I lived a pretty good life, yet still made my share of mistakes, but God was never really personal to me. I went to church because I had to. Don't get my wrong, I loved God, but I was missing that intimate and abiding relationship with him. When I married Casey at 19 years old we were already really plugged into the church and loved serving in any capacity we could, but still something was missing...
In January of 2007, after being married for 3 years, we found out we were expecting our first child. You can imagine how excited we were! The first 5 months of my pregnancy were typical, extreme fatigue and nausea were the two biggies for me, but I didn't care. I LOVED being pregnant! Then around 23 weeks I began to have this on again off again back pain and this wasn't just a slight ache. It was a paralyzing pain in the middle of my back. It felt like someone had grabbed my spine and was twisting it. Not pleasant at all! It wasn't constant, but when it happened it was crippling. Of course I spoke to my doctor about it and at the time he wasn't to concerned. He said everything looked good and that I could take tylenol. On June 21, 2007, on my way home from Tulsa, the pain started again but this time it was worse then ever and not even the tylenol did the trick anymore. It was impossible to sleep that night and trying to get comfortable was out of the question. The pain brought me to tears. After about an hour of tossing and turning, Casey finally got out of bed and said, "I'm taking you to the hospital." At this time it was midnight and both of us had to work the next morning so tensions were running high to say the least. I was reluctant and said I wasn't going. He insisted and I finally gave in. So in my sweats, tshirt and flip flops, I grabbed my purse and we were out the door headed to Willow Creek in Fayetteville.
Once we arrived they got me all hooked up to a fetal monitor and started running tests. The course of events from there on out are still a blur, everything happened so fast after they took my blood pressure. As nurses and doctors were coming in and out, I began to hear words like, preclampsia, hypertension, seizsures...all very scary to me! I was admitted and sent upstairs to my own room. By this time it was 4am and our families were on their way. By 7am on June 22nd, MY favorite doctor to this day, Dr. Duke, came into my room and gave us the news. He said, "You are getting very sick very fast, we are going to airvac you to UAMS in Little Rock and your baby will probably be born today."
WHAT?! NO WAY! I'm only 25 weeks along!! It's too early!! I began to fall apart, freak out and cry but was quickly informed by the nurses that due to my high blood pressure I did not have the luxury of falling apart because that could send me into a seizsure. WOW! Way to help calm me down! But what happened next is when everything changed, my dad leaned down ever so gently and whispered words of peace and comfort and at that moment the Holy Spirit took my hand as if to say..."I got this." I felt safe and secure like everything was going to be okay. By 8am the helicopter was there and whisked me away to Little Rock.
When I arrived at UAMS, the new set of doctors and nurses began to running more test to see what exactly was going on and how long could we hold off on delivering my baby girl. By the time my family arrived we had a diagnosis. HELLP SYNDROME
What is HELLP Syndrome?
HELLP syndrome is a life-threatening pregnancy complication usually considered to be a variant of preeclampsia. Both conditions usually occur during the later stages of pregnancy, or sometimes after childbirth.
H (hemolysis, which is the breaking down of red blood cells),
EL (elevated liver enzymes) and
LP (low platelet count).
Unfortuneatly, the only cure was to deliver Averie immediatly. I was reeling from everything that was being said. Was this all really happening to me? At 6:30PM I was wheeled back to the operating room and at 6:46PM on June 22, 2007 Averie Marie Booth came out screaming, weighing only 15 ounces (432 grams). We were given the possibility of her grim fate from the beginning. One doctor said only 1 in 5 babies weighing less than 500 grams survive. Averie was that 1! After a week in the hospital, I made a full recovery and was released. I pretty much moved to Little Rock because we had a long road ahead of us. There were good days and bad days. It was an emotionally roller coaster that I so desperately wanted to get off of. Some days I was so stricten with depression that I didn't even get out of bed. Then other days I would be completely fine. Casey came to Little Rock when we could and I would go home on the weekends sometimes, but living apart was hard. Finally after four months of gaining weight, learning to eat on her own, test after test, good days and bad days, and ultimatly exceeding all expectations and blowing the doctor's minds, we actually got to take Averie home with us. So on October 18, 2007, Weighing 5 lbs 12 oz, we loaded this little miracle into our car and started our journey home to Centerton.
We were greeted with a parade of family and friends on our street holding signs; "Welcome Home Averie!" I'll never forget that sacred moment.We were home and were finally able push play on our lives that had been paused for four months. Our dream had come true. We had our baby home with us, our family was whole. Because of her prematurity, we had to use a little more procaution when going places or having vistors, but we didn't let that stop us completely. So many people had followed our story, read my blogs on MySpace as I mentioned earlier, and most importantly had covered her in prayer. Now we wanted people to see what God had done! We wanted them to see the results of their prayers! We took her to church and had her dedicated. We had family pictures made, and even put up our Christmas decorations on November 1st because we were so excited to share our favorite holiday with our new addition. We did all the things we had been dreaming of for so long and had finally begun to feel "normal" again. Then the unthinkable happened....
On November 28, 2007 I woke up out of a dead sleep and found myself looking down at Averie in her bassinet. I rubbed her back and noticed she didn't wiggle or move. I turned her over and her lips were blue. I began screaming, "OH MY GOD! OH MY GOD!" Ironically, we had to become CPR certified before leaving the hospital with her so naturally I began performing CPR on my 5 month old daughter. Casey was already awake and calling 911. They were there in what seemed like seconds. My heart was pounding out of my chest. NO WAY was this happening! We have been through enough! The paramedics took over, put me in the front seat of the ambulance and told Casey to follow behind in our car. I couldn't speak, I was in complete shock and denial of what was happening. By the time we arrived at the hospital our closest family and friends were there waiting for us. We waited in a small room for what seemed like hours. In reality it was only about 30 minutes. A young and very kind doctor stepped into the room and uttered the words I thought I would never hear..."We were unable to bring her back her. I am so sorry we did everything we could."
It's hard to put into words what happened next, the feelings, the tears, the screams...it was all so raw. At that moment, my life was over. I didn't want to go on without her. I wanted to crawl into bed, go to sleep and never wake up. For the first time I felt lost, hopeless and like I wasn't going to survive this. My dream, my baby girl was dead! The nurses wrapped her up in a blanket, put a little hat on her and allowed us to set and hold her and say goodbye as long as we needed. After I had said my goodbyes I remember standing in the middle of a dark hallway in the ER, looking at my mom and saying.."Where do I go now? What do I do?" At that moment I couldn't see a future.
Two days later we buried our little girl, Averie Marie Booth. Our church was packed out for her funeral. Family, friends, nurses, doctors, people we barely knew were there because God had used this little girl to impact so many lives. I was in awe of God's faithfulness. Even though I was in the pit of despair and grief I began to see the light at the end of all of this. I began to grieve with hope; hope that although the loss would never leave, the raw grief would someday be gone. Thus began the journey of a lifetime! Jesus Christ came and transformed my life through this tragedy. Something shifted in my life on June 22, 2007. Jesus Christ became real to me. He became more than a nice idea or story. He was personal to me, He was working on my behalf; moving mountains for me. He saved me from a life of sadness, depression, bitterness, lonliness. He saved my marriage and made it better than I could ever imagine. He gave us a son, Asher Kayne Booth, who brought the JOY back into our lives. He's given me a testimony to share so that He may be glorified.
My story doesn't end here, it's only just beginning...