fire walking

Firewalking: The Placenta Incident

There are two posts last year for May (pre-Moxie) and two posts for June on this blog. Only two.

That period of time – from the day of Moxie’s birth (May 7) ranging through July, sailing past August and well into September was an incredibly intense period for me. Intense on a level which literally changed my life.

It was like walking through fire.

This time last year I was paralyzed. I had become paralyzed in the course of an afternoon, completely unable to move the lower half of my body and was in pain that blew my mind.

Somehow Mikey got me to the emergency room in which I spent over 14 hours, full of morphine, while doctors alternately forgot I was there or tried to figure out why I was paralyzed. They dilated and scraped my uterus twice, trying to remove the placenta that had been left in my uterus after Moxie’s birth. I hemorrhaged twice.

Blood, more blood, oceans of blood, blood transfusion, morphine, more morphine, a fever that wouldn’t quit and pain so stupid I didn’t know my name.

I still couldn’t walk. The doctor sat me down and told me that I would need a hysterectomy and would be given one in 6 hours if that fever did not come down.

Yes, this time, last year I was in the hospital.

The hospital, where I did a lot of blessing for the good nurses that helped me go to the bathroom, that took care of me with a tenderness that should send them straight to heaven.

The hospital, which also had the nurses like that one that made me try to move myself onto the x-ray table even though I was still paralyzed, screaming in pain and sobbing uncontrollably and my stupid pink robe kept opening and I was naked underneath for all the room to see and felt like so much a slab of meat, pinned under my pain and humiliation.

I was in the hospital for a full week, alone.

I was alone. Without my month-old precious baby that unknown to most of my friends and colleagues, had Down syndrome. I didn’t know how to tell them.

Alone, without my 2 year old boy. Alone, without my husband, my mother.

But my friend Katie rushed over as soon as she heard I was there alone and stayed – and I’ll always, always be grateful to have had her by my side as that doctor was telling me that she’d be giving me a hysterectomy if my fever didn’t come down. Thank you, Katie.

It’s been a year but the Placenta Incident, as I call it, still feels raw.

I struggled to make sense of it at the time. I felt so betrayed by the medical system, betrayed by my body, betrayed by life, betrayed by God.

After going through the windshield of the car, after dealing with traumatic brain injury, after being betrayed by my father who is a pedophile, after hurdling through post traumatic stress disorder, after navigating the world deaf – after jumping hurdle after hurdle with my own disabilities, I then chose to not terminate the life of my daughter because the amniocentesis revealed the presence of Down syndrome. I gave her a home birth, the best possible welcome into life I could imagine and struggled to nurse her – after everything, after every.fucking.thing, my reward was to be paralyzed and to go through pain so severe that I felt blown apart?

How could God do this to me? 

A year later, I don’t have complete answers yet I know what I have irrefutably learned, the bits that, as I said, have changed my life, caused me to switch gears, quit my job, change my life, reorder my priorities.

I have learned that just like everyone says, life really is short. It can be gone in a blink. And we don’t know what may be around the next corner. I have learned that I need to hold tight and cherish – with every fiber of my being – those that I love.

I have learned that second chances may or may not come, so I must fly when I can, as often as I can. Take leaps, and bound over those puddles, take the photographs when the light is right, make my art, tell my stories, use my voice. I need to forgive all that I can – not for them, but as a salve for my own hurting soul.

I have learned that I must have no fear of moxie –  courage in life and acceptance of disability will make my life juicier.

I’m not at the point in which I can say I’m grateful for the Placenta Incident – it’s still too soon. But I can see the good that I have learned.

I am grateful for my life now. I cherish the pieces that I once took for granted: being able to walk, run, jump, bike ride. Toss up Micah, Moxie, catch them, hold them tight. Nurse my girl. I treasure my strength, my body, this amazing instrument of mine that has carried me through fire.

Meriah Nichols is teacher and artist who lives in a yurt off the grid. She is deaf, has 3 kids (one with Down syndrome) and a lot of chickens. She writes about travel, disability, and getting dishes done. She likes her tea Earl Grey and hot.


#deaf mom, teacher & #disability activist, living in a yurt #offthegrid. 3 kids (1 with #downsyndrome), a camera and a lot of chickens. Never a dull moment
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