Amanda Breckenridge

Survivor

Posted on July 6th, 2018

I loved every minute of being pregnant and on May 12, 2017, we welcomed our baby boy Grayson to this world. It was not an easy delivery and after 40 hours of natural labor, it ended in an emergency c-section and my little guy had to be in the NICO for 5 days due to complications. It was scary and I felt guilt as a new mamma not being able to hold my baby skin to skin for so long.

I thought the worst was behind me. My husband and I were both on maternity and paternity leave together and life was great. I recovered quickly and at 6 weeks post delivery, I felt 100% healthy and back to myself. On June 22nd, 2017 we went for a six-mile hike in the bay area. On 2am June 23rd, one day later, I awoke to extreme stomach pain. I thought it must be due to a new medication. Hours passed and I found myself laying on the bathroom floor as my fever was spiking. I never had a fever in my life. Something was wrong. I was experiencing pain worse than labor, but also wanting to go to sleep with extreme lethargy. We went to urgent care and after hearing it was going to be a 20-minute wait, I started telling my husband we needed 911 and we needed it now. I knew it in my heart.

We raced to Marin General. They thought I was in anaphylactic shock but nothing was working – all my organs were shutting down, my troponin levels in my heart were spiking. I had a fever over 105. Fortunately, my ER doctor suspected sepsis and he immediately inserted a central line catheter into my heart and began pumping my body full of 10 different antibiotics. They did not know what was attacking me but they were hoping that one of the ten antibiotics would save my life. Fortunately it did.

The next day they identified that I had a blood infection and the day after that they determined I had a group A strep blood infection which led to advanced septic shock. (Sepsis and Group A Streptococcus) The doctor let me know that I was on the one yard line of not surviving – If I had waited at my home for even 30 minutes longer, I might not be here today. It’s impossible to even imagine losing my new husband, not being able to be a momma to my 6-week old son or my beautiful step-daughter. One year later and it is still so hard to process.

After 5 days in the ICU, another several days in the cardiac unit, I was able to go home. An in home nursing team joined me and helped ensure antibiotics continued to flow via a PICC line into my arm.

I am forever indebted to the incredible team at Marin General Hospital. I am grateful that I survived this journey and I am now fully recovered physically from this wild, unforgettable experience. The mental recovery is a longer one but I find the more I share my story, the more fully I live my life and the more I give back in gratitude, the happier I am.