My Ticking Time Bomb

November 12, 2018 Amiya Amani 16 Comments




Disclaimer:  Trigger warnings and There is a lot of talk about blood throughout this post.


Aidyn in the hospital, only a day old.
August 25th will forever be marked in my life as a day of miracle and gratitude. On that day, I gave birth to my beautiful baby boy. Against all odds, I was 39 weeks pregnant and it was the most amazing experience I could have ever gone through. After seeing his beautiful face, after 22 hours of daunting labor, it dawned on me that at one point in time I was told by doctors that the possibility of my son being here wouldn’t happen. That any opportunity of giving birth could be life-threatening for me and/or my child. There was once a point in time where I thought I would never have kids because the idea of my dreams of a natural, vaginal childbirth could take my life. 


When I first started working at US Bank.
In November of 2016, I was living in Cleveland, Ohio. I had just interviewed for and started my first REAL job. After undergoing a two-interview process for a peak-time teller position at a national banking location, I was hired and began the training process. It was a Saturday and I was being trained in the lobby area. I had just started my period the night prior to coming to work, so I had on an overnight, extra thick pad due to how heavy my periods usually are. I always suffered from heavy periods due to dysmenorrhea. While I was sitting at my desk, going through my training courses on the computer, I started cramping extremely bad. The pain was almost unbearable. I leaned over my desk and put my hand on my stomach and it suddenly felt like something dropped into my underwear. I was not prepared to find out what it was.




Confused and embarrassed, I got up and rushed to the bathroom. I thought that I had bled through my pants and embarrassment set in further. Once in the bathroom, I pulled down my pants to find a huge clot sitting on the pad. It was approximately the size of a clementine *sorry to ruin clementine’s for you*.  I freaked out and the only thought that ran through my mind was to call my mother. I took a picture of the clot and sent the picture to my mom. She was at home and wanted me to leave work to go to the hospital. I had just started this job and I was more worried about keeping my newly found job, than my personal safety. I ended up suffering through the pain and clotting until the end of my shift. Once home, my mom decided that we should go to the hospital. Of course, I fought against her suggestion, because I’ve always hated going to hospitals. If there’s a way I can talk her out of any hospital or doctor visits, I will, but in this situation, I was just as scared as she was.


After I got to the University Hospital emergency room, I explained to the triage nurse what happened. Of course, they instructed me to go into the bathroom and pee in a cup. While in the bathroom, I felt the terrible cramps again. I couldn’t stand up and was hunched over the sink and holding my stomach in agony. I felt a large item dropping again and the pain continued. I walked into the stall and seen a similarly sized clot again. Now, my anxiety is skyrocketing through the roof. I am thinking of so many things that could possibly be wrong with me. Are my organs coming out? Did I eat something, and it went down the wrong path?  My mom is thinking more rational and likely ideas like internal bleeding, fibroids, endometriosis but my mind is all over the place. Sitting three hours in the waiting room and only being called back for triage, gave my mom and me plenty of time to think and made us even more worried about the increase of pain and wait. After seeing people go in and out of the emergency room, we eventually got agitated with the wait and left University Hospital to go to Cleveland Clinic.


Once at Cleveland Clinic, it was the same routine, triage then peeing in a cup. Although a risky move, that I would not suggest or only suggest in emergency circumstances, changing hospitals was the best decision that we could have made that night. We only sat in the waiting area for a total of 15 minutes before being seen. My mom was still by my side, helping me explain everything to the doctors. They decided to give me an ultrasound. With that ultrasound, they saw something but needed to do another ultrasound to see it better. This second ultrasound was a vaginal ultrasound, and it hurt like hell. If you have ever had the vaginal probe they use for vaginal sonograms, it is the most uncomfortable and embarrassing experience to have to go through as a woman. We eventually got back to the room and the doctor came in to talk to my mother and me about seeing a mass in my uterus. They explained in layman’s terms what the mass was and about me needing surgery to get it removed. Wait. What? This ENTIRE process took all night long and into the next couple of days to have a specialist review my sonograms, blood work, and labs. I had been admitted into the hospital and given fluids.


I am shortening the entirety of the story for the post, but during the process, it was long, drawn out and exhausting. That night in the emergency room, I was still just as confused as you probably are. Here I was, having a normal day at my new job and now I am in the hospital talking about possibly needing surgery to remove a “mass” in my uterus. The OB/GYN specialist went to consult with other doctors about the mass and the possibility of surgery. I fell asleep in the process due to the entirety of the stress of everything weighing on me. I never had surgery in my life and the only time I even needed stitches was when I cut my thumb opening a can while helping my mom cook when I was 13. Once the doctor returned, he said he was moving me to a different room so that I could have an MRI done. They didn’t have any openings for the machines until seven in the morning. Mind you, it is was now three in the morning and I hadn’t eaten since lunch at work, at one in the afternoon. For me to get the MRI done at seven, I couldn’t eat prior to getting it so I was SUPER hungry.


The next morning, I was taken to get the MRI done. It was long, and it was loud. You have strict instructions to be still and the machine chants at you, so I couldn’t even fall asleep inside the machine. Trust me, I tried, but all my attempts failed with each pot banging sound. Every time the machine stopped I was thinking, yes, it’s over, but then it would start back up again. Once I was back in the room, they finally fed me, and we (my mom and I) sat there waiting to hear from the doctors. It took all day long but finally, four doctors walked into the room (Cleveland Clinic is a teaching hospital so there are times where there may be more than one doctor in the room but FOUR!!). My doctor introduced himself along with the other doctors. They explained to me that the mass they were seeing in my uterus was medically known as AVM (Arteriovenous Malformation). The condition is rare and there isn’t a way of knowing when it came, or why it came, but that it is there. To attempt to explain in non-doctor language, an AVM is intertwined veins and arteries (in my case, it’s located on my uterus) that obstruct the flow of blood wherever it is located. If these veins or arteries rupture, it can be fatal for the person diagnosed. As one of the doctors said, “it is a ticking time bomb.” An AVM can exist in the leg, the brain or rarely, as in my case, the uterus. It was important for me not to get pregnant before surgery, as it could be life-threatening, so the doctors explained to me about birth control options before I left the hospital. They also talked to me about being referred to a specialist to see how and if the AVM could be treated. After hearing them talk about the AVM, it felt surreal to me. I never knew, suspected or could have imagined that my normal day at work would turn into me having a rare life-threatening condition. The doctor discharged me shortly after choosing Depo-Provera (birth control) shot as the best birth control choice. The next step was making my appointment with the specialist.


On December 5th, 2016, I walked into the Taussig Cancer Center at Cleveland Clinics main center (No I did not have any form of cancer). My doctor worked in Obstetrics and Gynecology for patients with high risk/special cases such as cervical cancer, ovarian cancer, cervical dysplasia, pelvic mass, and many more rare conditions. Mind you, I would like to give a huge shout out to the staff and system of Cleveland Clinic, they were beyond helpful to me and my family. After arriving at my doctor’s office, I was nervous to meet with her. Even though I did so much “research” on AVM, and came prepared with questions, I still hadn’t grasped a full understanding of the seriousness of the condition. My OB/GYN broke it down to me repeatedly and answered all my questions (even when I was asking the same questions). She even took it a step further and wanted me to meet with a Fertility Specialist so that I would know how AVM affects my decision on future reproduction.


On December 12th, 2016, I met with the Reproductive Specialist to go over how the AVM affects my ability to reproduce. While they explained that I could possibly get pregnant, it was unknown whether I’d be able to CARRY the baby to full term, if it would harm me or the baby to get pregnant or even have a vaginal delivery. She told me that I may have to consider other options like surrogacy or adoption, and if the AVM gets worse, the possibility of a hysterectomy (surgery to remove my uterus). After the appointment, it really set in that there is a HUGE possibility that I would not be able to have kids. This weighed heavy on me. I was still young, and my doctor recognized this, and she didn’t want to deplete any hope I may have had left. It was hard to be optimistic about a situation that could possibly result in death. Next, she mentioned me meeting with a Radiologist about a procedure called an embolization. An embolization is where a doctor inserts material through a catheter to block blood from flowing in the arteries and veins. This procedure was explained to normally be done with older women, who have fibroids, without the likelihood of giving birth in the future. It was not a normal procedure done on women who are still “reproductive” age and thinking about future pregnancies.

                We are now into the new year, on January 6th, 2017. I met with the Radiologist to do a consult before the procedure. The radiologist office was in the basement of the hospital (the ground floor but it was the basement!), so this scared me even more. She explained to me the specifics about the procedure, the type of anesthesia I would receive and even the healing time I would need after the procedure. 

Posting on snapchat right before my procedure.
                February 16th, 2017 was the day of the procedure. I went to the same basement as the consult with the radiologist. They admitted me as an outpatient to the hospital and took us back to a room so that I could be prepped for surgery. I had to remove all my clothing and put on the hospital gown. I laid in the bed until the nurse came back to put the catheter in my arm for an IV and to administer drugs. After she placed the catheter in my arm, she had someone deliver me to the procedure room. To my surprise, it looked just how it does in the television doctor shows, like Grey’s Anatomy. My nerves began to go on edge and my anxiety rose as I watched everyone around me prepping for the procedure. They moved me from the bed to the operating table and the nurse began to talk to me about the procedure and everything the doctor would be doing. After explaining the procedure and surgery, she then began to ask me questions about where I was going to college and how I liked attending college. She began hooking the catheter in my arm up to the IV and administering the anesthesia. I watched drip by drip, as I kept answering the questions. Suddenly my speech began to slur, and I was dozing off from the medications. I felt very delirious when the doctor walked in. I remember she greeted me, then asked me how I was feeling. All I remember was feeling like I could only respond “Good”, then I was fast asleep.


                I woke up to see the doctor looking at a screen, instructing her team on the next steps to take. I looked around to see where I was, I was still on the operating table. I heard my heart rate increase from the beeping of the monitor, but I felt so calm and didn’t feel any pain. As I looked at the nurse, I heard the doctor's voice tell her to up the dosage of anesthesia. By the time I woke up the second time, the procedure was complete. The majority of the nurses and doctors had left, and they were transferring me back to a hospital bed. The told me that I couldn’t move the leg that they maneuvered through, which was my right leg. Although they told me that, I was trying to be extra helpful (who asked me to be *rolls eyes*) and assist them in moving me to the bed and I slightly lifted my right leg. Only to hear those nurses who were left in the room scream “NO!” I knew to remain still after that and allow the hospital staff to actually do the work.


                Once back in the room, I could see my mom was already placed in recovery by one of the nurses. The nurse hooked me up to an IV and a morphine drip (the one where you press the button and it gives you morphine. THAT button was my best friend over the next few hours).  She instructed me not to move my right leg for a few hours. I slept most of the time, I would wake up hungry and wanting to eat. They say that most people get nauseous after the first meal following surgery but not I. I was only there for a night, then I would be discharged after meeting with my doctor the next unless she felt I needed to stay longer. A few hours had passed after my surgery and the nurse had let me know that I could finally move my leg when I asked if I could lift the back of the bed up. My mom assisted me while the nurse took my vitals, and I decided that I would help my mom by sitting up and scooting my butt back in the bed so she wouldn’t be standing longer than she had to, to wait for the bed to slowly raise. I don’t know why I kept doing this, instead of letting them help me! In rushing the process, I pulled a muscle directly where the incision site was, and I screamed from the pain. I saw blood, it wasn’t a lot but I was already high and paranoid, I went into a full on panic attack. I thought I had messed up my whole aftercare and would have to go back into surgery. I was hyperventilating and shaking, which scared me even more because this was the first time I had a panic attack so bad. It didn’t help to see my mom’s eyes welling up with tears as she tried to calm me down, realizing she couldn’t do anything to help my pain but to get me through it. I didn’t even notice the nurse had left, but I saw her running back in with an oxygen mask, pushing extra buttons on the machine and pushed my morphine drip button. After the meds set in and the pain relieved, I finally calmed down and fell asleep.

My mom stuck by my side the whole time and helped me more than the nurses did. Don’t get me wrong, I had AMAZING nurses who did everything they could to make me comfortable, but without my mom for the extra in-between care, it would have been unbearable. There was an angry old lady next to me, who was refusing a procedure and shouldn’t have been making decisions for herself and had to wait on family, who seemed to not want to come and make any decisions, who would push the nurses call button every chance she got for even tedious requests. The constant “DING” of the buzzer made me sympathize with the nursing staff so much more. Especially in the middle of taking my vitals, the poor old lady would pull at the curtain to call on MY nurse and I could see the toll it was taking on the nurses. Nurses in general, but especially recovery room nurses, hold a special place near and dear for the patience they have for those in need. Everything involved with this new discovery of the rare condition presenting itself would be a prelude of what is to come, the following year would take a change, several changes that would make me realize I would have more to think about than just my well-being.



The positive pregnancy test
that let us know Aidyn was
on his way!
                On December 18th, 2017, I had been working at my job now for over a year. Healed well from my previous surgery and the “okay” from my physicians at a 3-month and 6-month post op procedural checkup, I finally could begin moving on, knowing the success of my surgery. I had been feeling weird the whole week prior, somewhat the feeling of PMS but something was a little off. Enough that would cause me to think this may not be my period, but something else. Enough change to make me buy a 2-pack pregnancy test box. I took one pregnancy test that same day and it said negative, but I was confused on why I had this uncanny feeling that would not go away. It still made sense though that it was just PMS because I wasn’t due for a period until that 22nd of December. Once Thursday came, I sat on the bed with my boyfriend to discuss the possibility of me being pregnant. He was in denial about the entire thing, but the way I felt, I just knew it wasn’t my period starting. That whole week was pressing the issue of getting a pregnancy test. What he didn’t know was that I had already bought it and gotten the original negative result. While at home that Friday, I decided to take the second pregnancy test since I was a day late. I didn’t let him know what I was doing, I just went into to the bathroom and prepared the test, peed on a stick and waited. If you’ve ever taken a pregnancy test, it usually says to wait three-five minutes, but it felt like forever as I sat in the bathroom. A watched pot never boils…. It probably was forever because I kept the test flipped faced down and only turned it over when I was ready to. When I finally got the courage to look at the test, a rush of emotions came over me. I took the test into the room so I could show my boyfriend, he looked at the test and this silly grin spread across our face. I guess we were both too nervous to let each other know that we feared the results, especially with what I went through earlier in the year with my AVM. Now both of us happy and ready to be parents, that POSITIVE pregnancy test was all we needed, we were about to embark on a new journey of life.



For more information about AVM view these websites:










Next Post: My Pregnancy Journey

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16 comments:

  1. Emotional journey of a mother with childbirth is endearing read.

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    1. It was a very emotional journey, thank you so much for reading my post.

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  2. You are such a strong woman. For some weird reasons the thought of having a baby kinda puts me off. I hope to grow out of this someday.

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    1. Thank you so much for your comment, I really do appreciate your response. I was the same way, but after getting, your views might change. It's still a scary process but it's worth it, I promise.

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  3. I am shook by your story - I tend to suffer from heavy periods, and thankfully, I don't have something as yours, but the nightmare you went through is truly horrifying and yet an eye opener! thanks for sharing!

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    1. That was my biggest thing. I had always had really heavy periods and awful cramps. I should've gotten it checked out sooner, I probably would've caught the problem sooner. Thank you so much for reading my post and leaving a comment.

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  4. My mother been into a medical emergency and it was so bad she had to undergo pelvic ball joint replacement...and among other complications ... It was unbearably painful but it was a successful operation and she survived. I can't imagine the pain you've gone through but it was worth it.....

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    1. I'm so sorry you and your mother had to go through that and I am sooo glad she survived that ordeal. Going through something like that puts everything into perspective and it's definitely worth it. Thank you so much for reading my post and sharing your personal story with me.

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  5. Wow that's crazy! I'm glad you're okay and also congrats!!

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    1. One day you are thinking you are perfectly healthy then the next day having a rare condition, the best word to describe it, is crazy. Thank you hun!

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  6. Though I was very scared reading the beginning of your post (not the part about your precious boy's birth) but I am happy that through the scares you persisted. A woman's body is a miracle in itself

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    1. Thank you! & Yes, the woman's body is sooo amazing, I'm so grateful my body warned me about the problem before it was too late.

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  7. You are such a strong woman! I'm so sorry that you had to go through all of that, but I'm glad everything turned out alright.

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    1. Thank you so much! Everything is much better as of today!

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  8. Oh my! This is such an amazing story! You are such a strong and fantastic woman. Sending you hugs and prayers for your continuous strength and positivity in life!

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    1. Thank you Sheena! I am also sending the same vibes your way also!

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