CONFIDENCE FROM CATASTROPHE | HOW A NEAR DEATH EXPERIENCE MADE ME STRONG 24


This month, I want to get a little personal and share some stories about myself and my journey to embracing my plus size self. In order for this story to make sense, you’ll need a little perspective. I need to take you back to the morning of Tuesday, August 5, 2014.  I had been waiting for this day for, well, all my life. I was having a baby! After a LONG and complicated pregnancy, me, my husband, and mom welcomed the most perfect little being into the world at 12:02pm.

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She was every bit as perfect as every other mom thinks their baby is the first time they see them. The joy that fills you up so completely is really hard to describe and you have to be a mother to get it, but I felt all of those things. I had done it! I was a mother. She was perfect! I got to see her briefly before they whisked her off to the NICU for all of the “just to be sure” testing they do when babies aren’t full term. Avery was born at 36 weeks, just shy of the cut off. But I was prepared for that, and my mom, husband, and wonderful doctors assured me that she was fine, it was just routine. Little did anyone ever realize that is was me who was in danger.

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About 18 hours after I had delivered this beautiful baby, my body tried to die. I suffered what is clinically known as an Amniotic Fluid Embolism, a rare obstetric emergency that results in sudden shortness of breath, excess fluid in the lungs, extreme low blood pressure,  failure of the heart to effectively pump blood, life-threatening problems with blood clotting, Rapid heart rate, seizures, and coma. I was immediately taken to the ICU and stayed there for the next 5 days. I was given 4 units of blood to compensate for my extreme blood loss, and was on a machine which breathed for me for the next 4 days.

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For anyone who thinks love can’t save your life, I am here to share that it was nothing but love that saved mine. Over the 4-5 days where the doctors couldn’t tell my family whether or not I would survive this terrible thing that had happened to me, I was silently willing myself to live for my child’s sake. I don’t remember it, but my doctors allowed her to come be with me in the ICU everyday. I am told that when she was there, a noticeable physiological change happened to my body.I dreamt of her a lot (or I think they were dreams). I was so drugged up, that it is possible what I recall as dreams are actually mini memories and I remember feeling the strongest urge to live. On day 5, I turned the corner. My body was responding to the medicine, prayers, and my insistence to make it and finally, on day 6, I was able to be transferred to a step down unit. I finally got to hold my girl!!

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On day 11, I was at home, resting and recovering. I had learned to walk again, and I could finally get to the job at hand… taking care of a newborn. (check out this amazing picture of me and Avery Jade taken about a week after I got home by my friend Tosha at Addie Kay Photography, don’t we look great?)

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The next several weeks were difficult, but I always felt this overwhelming sense of gratitude. I decided in those early days back at home to internalize that feeling and be happy with this body that had worked so incredibly hard for me in the days before. Up until I got pregnant, I struggled, like so many women, with body image. It’s been a LONG time since I fit the mold that the popular media wants to put women in, and even then, I wasn’t confident. Over the past 2 years, I have learned to really love and appreciate the body that I have. Is it the body I aspire to? No, it’s not, but I have to give a great deal of credit to this shell that houses my soul because it has done amazing things. It carried and nurtured a baby and it worked like hell to keep me here with my precious family.

How could I not love this body? Even in spite of what TV and magazines and all the pretty blogs I read tell me? Today I am confident in my size 18 body. I no longer make excuses to not go out, or not get dressed up, or not be present in pictures with my family. My confidence doesn’t blind me to the fact that I need to loose weight, but it does allows me to find joy in the everyday, where ever I currently happen to be, instead of beating myself up for where I wish I were. In the days leading up to Valentine’s Day, I want to challenge every woman to do ONE thing that reminds you of how amazing you are and tell me what you plan to do so I can help hold you accountable. I promise it will make you feel alive, and your friends, family, and children will love you so much more for loving yourself. I can’t wait to hear your plans…I have something BIG up my sleeve so stay tuned!

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24 thoughts on “CONFIDENCE FROM CATASTROPHE | HOW A NEAR DEATH EXPERIENCE MADE ME STRONG

  • Tiffany

    Amber…I SOOOOOOOO love this post!! And it was right on time…as I text with a friend back and forth on things to try to loose 20 lbs in 6 mths this a.m…this right here is what I needed to “hear”…as you know 8 mths ago I gave birth to the most precious baby girl that I had been waiting and praying for seems like all my life…blood pressure issues at the end of my pregnancy but NOTHING as serious as your experience…and of course afterwards I started to look at my body “nit-picking” like most of us do…I need to loose this and that…but never had I thought of embracing my “new” body as this amazing vessel that grew, nurtured and birthed this beautiful baby girl that I love with ALL my heart…not saying that I won’t try to loose the 20 lbs…but I have a new perspective on how to react and celebrate myself if I only loose 5 or 10…I plan to love my-entire-self…arm fat and all! Thank you Amber!!

    • Amber Post author

      Ahhh! Tiffany I am so glad to hear this! I’m not saying I’ll never be a size 10 or 12, just that I am going to celebrate myself no matter what the number in my jeans is! We are gorgeous mothers who set the example of self love for our daughters. I know we can do better, for their sake

  • Jonnie

    I love your story!! The human body is amazing and the will to live absolutely powerful! You’re so on point. I admire your strength and your self confidence! That’s what makes you beautiful. It shines!! 😘

  • Amanda Gress

    Amber
    I am so moved by your story. What an amazing testament to “love conquering all!” Your strength and positivity are infectious and I pray that others who read this feel this in your message.
    I decided a little over a year ago to lose weight and was successful in losing about 40lbs. In the beginning it was awesome and I felt great, but I also learned that you have to love ALL the parts of yourself, not just the outside, to be truly happy. Beauty has to start from within your heart and the rest will follow. It’s about the mind, body, and soul as a whole, we shouldn’t exclude 1 for the benefit of the other.
    My resolution this year was not to “be healthy” or “exercise more” but to be the best “me” I can be.
    Thank you for your wonderful testament, God Bless You!
    ~Amanda Gress

    • Amber Post author

      I have found that being your authentic self is the key to unlocking all of life’s little blocks. I am so happy that you could relate to my story Amanda!

  • Shaunita

    Beautiful and very well written Amber….you are one amazing individual! This speaks volume to me & I needed to read such a message as this to helpe regain my focus and embrace the true essence of Shaunita! Thanks for sharing your story and bringing awareness of the importance of love….not just from others but from ourselves 🙂 I thank God that He provided you with the strength to still be here with us! Love you babe!!

  • Elizabeth Deshaies

    (Squealing) AMBER!!!! I am glad to know you Amber. I am encouraged by your story. In my opinion, your brave revealing prose adds volumes to the strength of your “voice” versus vulnerability from sharing. It has been through loving myself boldly and without compromise that I give credit recently to new love, renewed direction, and a daily joy untouched by critics. I plan to “let my little light shine” as my higher power (God/Christ Jesus) leads – accepting it shines brightest through grace as practice of my gratitude.

  • Michelle McMurray

    What a beautiful post about your experience! It puts body image right into perspective. Most of us are guilty of some of the things you mentioned and I applaud you for your self love. I’ve never looked at it like that until now.
    Xo

  • Denise

    Hi Amber. Thank you for sharing your beautiful story. I have with my weight for quite some time. Having recently undergone hip replacement surgery has decreased my ability to work out the way I need to. I feel frumpy and tend to wear my clothes very loose. Thanks to you, I will return to the “beautiful” me. A little make up and more form-fitting, attractive clothing. I’ll continue to work on a healthier me through proper nutrition and exercise. And I’m going to look beautiful while doing it.

  • Denise

    Hi Amber. Thank you for sharing your beautiful story. I have with my weight for quite some time. Having recently surgery has decreased my ability to work out the way I need to. I feel frumpy and tend to wear my clothes very loose. Thanks to you, I will return to the “beautiful” me. A little make up and more form-fitting, attractive clothing. I’ll continue to work on a healthier me through proper nutrition and exercise. And I’m going to look beautiful while doing it.

  • Shelley

    Amber,

    My dear sweet friend….. Cry did not cover it. Knowing this story and then hearing it from your point of view and how you have turned it into a positive reminder for yourself and others of what LOVE truly is, this was nothing short of heart breaking perfection. My heart broke for you as a mother because I have been in your shoes and know how these life changing experiences alter us and remold us, some use it for the best and others let it tear them down to never rebuild themselves. I applaud you my love, you are an inspiration for any woman/mother to always find that silver lining and then turn it into your own rainbow no matter the hell they have lived through.

    As I go through another trying time I am going to hold you and the admiration I have for you close to my heart. You make me laugh and have seen/heard my tears of despair and anguish and I am so truly blessed to have an amazing woman like you as a friend to see me through another “hell.” Lord knows he needs all the help he can get to deal with me. LOL

    LOVE you with ALL my heart!! xoxox

  • Keinesha

    Thanks for sharing your journey with everyone. I totally agree with you on everything. Love can give us that extra push we need to conquer things that we normally wouldn’t be able to. Just another reason why I’m thankful for our paths crossing and knowing you. I love how you said that just because you embrace who you are doesn’t mean you don’t have room for improvement. I believe that’s what makes it even more real. When we love ourselves and focus on the good we are taking the first major step in being healthy and happy. The mind has to be healthy and then everything else will follow. Rock on Amber!

  • Nikki

    Beautiful!! Thank you for sharing! As a mother of four, it is amazing how our love for our children can conquer all! Thank you for expressing all that our bodies do as well!