A journey of hope and healing after a decade of infertility and two maternal near-misses.

Meeting Doctor Mills

With my Pulmonary Embolism Survival Anniversary and the New York City Walk to Stop The Clot coming up in less than two weeks, it is high time I posted about some other #stoptheclot related news from earlier in the year.  I had every intention of writing about this months ago, but you know... life with toddlers.  :)

If you have been following my story at all, you know the Emergency Room Doctor was crucial in the discovery and diagnosis of my bilateral pulmonary emboli when I was 24 weeks pregnant.  I shudder to think about what life would be like for my husband right now if we weren't fortunate enough to have a doctor who recognized the symptoms of blood clots. 

Up until now, you've known him as Dr. Mills.  Because I was sharing my story online and had not asked permission to use his real name, I wanted to protect his identity (and the identity of all of the healthcare professionals I have written about so far) but in late January, his role in my story became very public!  In honor of Blood Donor Appreciation Month, the hospital set up a meeting and I enjoyed a rare opportunity that few survivors ever have.  My family and I met with Dr. Marc Milano, (aka: Dr. Mills) for the second time to thank him for saving my life and the life of my unborn son. 

A Big Thank You

Soon after Nathan was born, I sent birth announcements to all of the doctors who treated us and wrote a note of thanks for their amazing efforts to help us survive.  One of those announcements made its way to Dr. Milano but being able to thank him in person as a family of three- and under much better circumstances this time- was special. The tiny, unseen patient from our days in the ER was now a toddling one year old full of energy!  So many of those raw memories from the pulmonary emboli episode came flooding back that afternoon.  I tried not to tear up during the meeting but how do you even begin to thank the person who was instrumental in saving you and your miracle baby?  Dr. Milano’s persistence, thoroughness and determination is one of the reasons my son and I are walking around today.  Of course, my son had no idea what all of the fuss was about.  Someday he will.    

The Blue Bag of Swag

A few days before, I decided I wanted to give something to Dr. Milano. I had no idea what would be appropriate or meaningful so I reached out to my contacts at the National Blood Clot Alliance for help. When I presented him with a gift bag, he said something to the effect of “You didn’t have to do this.” as I expected.  All I said was “You’ll understand when you see it.”  A special thanks to Judi for not only providing #StopTheClot swag but sending TWO shirts to make sure Dr. Milano would get the correct size.  He loved it!

June Marks Two Years

As I rapidly approach the second anniversary of the PE near-miss, I'm still filled with a gratitude that can't really be articulated well.  I hope the intensity of that gratitude never fades as the years go on.  It blindsides me during ordinary moments, silly things like walking into Starbucks for an iced coffee with my son nestled on my hip with his little arms clinging to me like a koala.  It creeps in as I watch his eyes slowly close and his body surrender to sleep in the dim light of his nursery every night.  Gratitude  makes my heart want to sing when I see him horsing around with his Dad.  I almost missed all of this.  And unless you have teetered on the fence between life and death, it's hard to put the depth of this feeling into words.  There really are no words to describe it.  I look at my son and remember and replay so many of those hard moments.  I remember the countless pleas and prayers from my hospital bed that this sweet little boy growing inside me would live!  And to see him thriving... to be alive to experience all of the joys and hardships of motherhood every single day- this is living!

Running with joy because we survived pulmonary emboli!

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About the Author: Casey Cattell struggled with infertility for more than a decade before giving birth to her son, Nathan, in 2015. She is a two time Maternal Near Miss Survivor writing to give hope to women in the midst of hardships that challenge their faith. She also enjoys sharing her latest creative exploits. Casey and her husband live in the Northeast, USA and in their downtime like to explore new places and hike with their young son. If you liked this post or were encouraged by it, please consider passing it on. Find Casey on Instagram and Twitter.

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