How many times have you experienced a feeling in your gut that something wasn’t right? Or deliberately ignored that little voice inside your head that relentlessly said “hey you! pay attention here!”
If you’re as big a fan as I am with investigative crime shows like Dateline, 48 Hours or 20/20, you’ve heard the same five words uttered at least one time per episode; “I knew something wasn’t right.” It’s no secret that women posses the ability to sense danger before it happens, however, we’re more inclined to ditch our creepy internet date faster than we can say “boo” than we are to take ourselves to the doctor when we feel a bit off.
We’re applauded by friends and family when we’ve removed ourselves from a romantic situation that appeared to be “toxic,” yet are scrutinized or labeled a “hypochondriac” if we pursue a diagnoses when we feel physically ill.
I’m not a doctor, psychologist or psychic for that matter, I can’t get into the minds of your loved ones and tell you what they’re thinking, however, what I can do is share how my ability and willingness to listen to the intuitive voice inside my head has saved me on numerous occasions.
Since I was a child I knew I possessed a strong sense of self. I don’t mean just being confident in my skin, I was hyper-sensitive to the invisible signals that my body or mind would send out, similar to a red-flag warning you might encounter before a natural disaster hits. Thankfully my body has never endured a category three hurricane, but, no doubt I would’ve felt it coming.
In 2009, barely thirty-six weeks pregnant, I went to the doctor for a standard prenatal appointment. Just before my name was called I stepped into the restroom when I was overcome by a terrible feeling that something was wrong. I can’t explain what exactly happened, I didn’t experience any physical sensation, all I know is my intuition told me the baby and I were in danger and without pause I quickly told the doctor I believed my bag (the amniotic sac) had ripped.What a strange thing to say, and without any evidence of this happening. The doctor was concerned, assured me it was way to soon for my bag to break, but would run a couple tests to be safe. As I laid there on the examine table awaiting the results, the voice inside my head kept getting louder and louder, “something’s wrong here and there’s no two ways about it!”
The doctor returned to the examine room and explained that although I did test positive for amniotic fluid, she felt this was a natural occurrence that could happen in the last trimester. I was directed to get dressed, go home and relax. Although she felt both the baby and I were safe, I was instructed to return to the hospital if there were any changes.
Before gathering my things, I paused, looked her in the eye and once again expressed my level of concern. One thing about following your instinct, it’s just that, yours, and for professionals that make a living basing their diagnosis on concrete numbers and physical evidence, it’s very hard to convince them otherwise.
Against my best judgement, I returned home, laid down on the couch and did everything I could to drown out the voices swirling around my brain. Looking back now, that inner argument going on in my head reminds me of the characters from Pixar’s movie Inside Out. Sadness was moaning,” Why me? Why doesn’t anyone ever listen to me,” Fear chinned in ,”You know we don’t have much time, once your bag is broken you only have 24 hours before you and the baby could…” Anger hastily butt in, blurting out, “What an idiot! What kind of doctor sends you home? You know something’s wrong so get your ass back to the hospital!”
Before I could finish my thought my husband and I were shuffling thru the doors of the Emergency room. I was immediately fast tracked through a multitude of tests and low and behold, my bag was torn, I was losing amniotic fluid quickly and had I not returned to the hospital, the end result would have been tragic.
To say I was frightened would be an understatement, from the moment I delivered my son he was rushed to the NICU where he remained for an entire week. Leaving his side ONLY when the doctors needed to assess him, I sat there, day and night beside the incubator praying for his life and giving thanks to God for the ability to follow my instincts.
My son made a full recovery and today is a healthy, active beautiful boy. However, shortly after we returned home I noticed my own health was declining and the long journey to my Lupus and IBD diagnosis began. Although this time I refused to let any doctor disregard my concerns and was committed to pursuing the professionals for answers.