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The Night I Almost Died, and Why My Family Wouldn't Need a GoFundMe

The Night I Almost Died, and Why My Family Wouldn’t Need a GoFundMe

You can survive dying without needing a GoFundMe.  I’m living proof.  Three weeks ago, I almost died in an emergency operation after childbirth. Today, I’m looking down at the fluttering eyelashes of my snoring newborn, and my heart swells with enormous gratitude for the privilege of being alive to witness her life.

In today’s podcast, my husband Lucas and I tell you our very personal story of harrowing trauma and crisis, miraculous healing and recovery, redemption, and the eternal treasures we’ve gained.  And we share the four pillars of protection that carried us through the scariest and hardest week of our lives.

Through our story, I want to show you how you can build the bunker of protection to survive life’s worst moments.

Where Protection Fits into the Cash Flow System

Protecting your financial life is just one part of a bigger journey to building time and money freedom. 

That’s why we have created the 3-step Business Owner’s Cash Flow System, your roadmap to take you from just surviving, to a life of significance, purpose, and financial freedom.

Livelihood Safeguard

The first step is keeping more of the money you make by fixing money leaks, becoming more efficient and profitable.  Then, you’ll protect your money with insurance, legal protection, and Privatized Banking.  Finally, you’ll put your money to work, increase your income with cash-flowing assets.

When you fully protect the wealth you’ve built, no event has the power to sweep away what you’ve created.  Then, you can experience peace of mind and relieve the anxiety, even during life’s worst moments.

How I Almost Died After Childbirth

At 38 weeks and 2 days into pregnancy, I had a visit Monday morning, May 20th, 2019, at 9:30 am. We were going in for a nonstress test, ultrasound, and an appointment with the midwife. 

The test showed baby’s heart rate too high.  She was in distress.  A rushed ultrasound showed that she was now in the 3rd percentile, diagnosing her as Intrauterine Growth Restricted (IUGR).  My blood pressure classified me as having Pregnancy Induced Hypertension.  Basically, my placenta was calcifying and not allowing baby to get enough blood flow and nourishment.  They said we needed to induce right away to allow baby to tolerate labor. 

I was wheeled to labor and delivery, admitted, and began induction at 1:30 pm. I still wanted to maintain an as low-intervention birth as possible. Even though I was on Pitocin to jumpstart labor, I had requested no pain medication. 

Active labor finally kicked in about 8:30 pm and my doula returned at 9 pm. In 43 minutes, I dilated from 4 to 10 cm. Baby was born after an intense, fast, and shocking labor at 9:43 pm. 

Problems in the Third Stage of Labor

Afterward, the midwife and OBGYN kept asking me to push out the placenta.  I pushed and pushed through a pounding headache. Only there was nothing to push. This was due to a “retained” or “sticky” placenta, which wouldn’t detach from my uterine wall.

Over the next hour, I pushed, and then the midwife and then the doctor tried a manual extraction. Without pain medication, my body was nearly going into shock.

At 10:45 pm, they decided to take me to the operating room to surgically remove my placenta. They gave me some initial anesthesia and wheeled me out of my baby’s room. 

In the Operating Room

During surgery, I hemorrhaged, losing at least 2 liters of blood.  They placed a balloon into my uterus to stop the bleeding, but the bleeding wouldn’t stop.  They did a blood transfusion, but the blood they were giving me was flowing right back out. 

At 1:30 am, the doctor told Lucas that they hadn’t been able to stop the bleeding. Then, my uterus wouldn’t clamp. Once the bleeding got under control, I ended up in something called DIC, where my blood wouldn’t clot.

In the ICU

By 1:45 am, I had arrived in the ICU, but my blood pressure was falling, and I became unconscious for at least 45 min. 

I was next aware of the clock in a strange room, reading 2:30, and I knew it was 2:30 am.  I noticed a sense of gratitude for the ability to live to see another day and that God is good.  Then, I saw the 9+ medical professionals around me, some of whom I recognized and some of whom I found out later who they were.  Two OBGYNs, at least three ICU nurses, two anesthesiologists, and I was later told they had called a medical alert to bring in a respiratory specialist and an intensive care specialist, among others.  Looking around at these people, I felt so valued and loved, knowing that all of these people were working together for my health and my life. 

I then realized that Lucas hadn’t seen me for four hours and must be heart-wrenchingly worried. 

At 3:00 am, the doctor told Lucas that the bleeding had stopped. However, there was a problem with my platelets and hemoglobin, they had called in specialists, and my situation was worse.

By about 4:15 Tuesday morning, Lucas received word that I was stable, and he could come to see me.

The Gravity of My Situation

In total, I received 8 units of blood components: 4 units of red blood cells, 2 units of frozen plasma, and 2 units of platelets.  I become exceedingly grateful for the unknown donors whose decision to give blood had allowed me to live.  I also found out that the average man has about 10 units of blood in his body, the average woman about 5-6.  Being pregnant, I’d had more, but in total, most of the blood in my body now was not my own!

I was later told that I’d had no color in my body at all, even my lips, during that time.

I also discovered that often, many hospitals wouldn’t even have 8 units of blood on hand, necessitating a life flight transfer. This measure was mercifully not needed in my case. 

The Emotional Agony of Almost Losing A Spouse

Lucas told me later about the 5 ½ agonizing hours he spent feeling helpless and alone. Once I was wheeled out of the delivery room to the OR, he had no idea what was going on with me, except for two grave updates from the doctor. 

Fighting for the strength to be mom and dad to our newborn daughter through that tenuous night during her first day of life, he wondered if I’d make it.  He knew it wasn’t my time yet.  He didn’t want to be raising our two daughters without me.

At one point, he was praying and comforting little Olivia – comforting himself really – telling her things like, “Momma is going to make it because she is strong.” Through tears, he thought, how could I tell my 7-year-old, Avalynn, that her mom was dead?”

He wrestled to focus his mind on me being ok and seeing me again.

Financial Peace During the Trauma

At some point during the sleepless hours that night, he distinctly remembers thinking, “Thank God we have life insurance.” 

It didn’t take the pain away.  He knew that nothing could replace me, his wife of almost 13 years, business partner, best friend, and co-pilot through all of life’s moments. We’d created a beautiful life together up to this point and have big plans and dreams ahead. 

But at least he knew he wouldn’t have to worry about working and trying to raise two girls on his own right away. 

Practicing What We Preach

As we teach and help people to increase cash flow, protect it, and make more, we’ve taken our own medicine.  We’re not just talking about theories, but the real protection that comes from having the most insurance you can get.

Lucas and I both have as much life insurance as we can get.  It’s called insuring our full Human Life Value

It’s the safety net that would have caught my family, had my story not had a happy ending.  It would have given Lucas time to grieve and figure things out, without the added burden of financial hardship. He could have taken a year or two off work, paid for nannies, childcare, meals, etc.

Even though we have as much life insurance as we can get, it’s still not enough to take care of our family forever.  Cash itself, no matter how much, is not cash flow – but it can be used to create it.  To reach financial freedom, you would need to manage the benefits and invest them wisely to create cash flow from assets like businesses and real estate.

But the alternative to having life insurance is the desperate anxiety of financial crisis on top of personal life tragedy.

Don’t Have to Use to GoFundMe

We have seen so many friends turn to fundraising through GoFundMe to make it through the financial storm that ensues. A family member’s health crisis or the loss of a loved one have become financial emergencies that compound the stress, worry, and hardship of going through the disaster. 

To be clear, GoFundMe is a wonderful tool for raising awareness. Coming together to help others is a beautiful gift during dark times. 

However, it’s heartbreaking to see the lack of financial preparedness force people into a place of desperation. 

It can be prevented. 

You can be prepared. 

And with the protection in place, you may have the space to think and time to process everything. It may give the security that maybe just one thing is under control at a time when the rest of life is spinning out of control.

That’s why our work is so much more than work. It’s a mission and a calling, a purpose. We feel compelled to encourage and equip you to live full to the brim with meaning, no matter what happens to you.

The Scariest and Hardest Week of Our Lives

The Night I Almost Died, and Why My Family Wouldn't Need a GoFundMe

I spent about 20 hours in ICU.  All day, I was on a clear liquid diet. I wasn’t able to be with my baby, Lucas, or my older daughter.  I did get the best 40 minutes of the day when Lucas got permission from the nursery and ICU to bring Olivia down to visit me. 

Lucas left to pick up Avalynn so she could meet her baby sister.  I got to see, hug, and reassure Avie that everything would be ok. Then she left to spend the night with another friend.

We’d planned for Lucas to be able to be with Avie at home during the nights, and I’d be with Olivia. But Olivia needed a parent to be with her now, and Lucas was juggling all the roles on his own.

Miraculously, I recovered very quickly and was able to return to the mother-baby room in labor and delivery that night, on Tuesday at about 9:30 pm. 

When I saw how exhausted Lucas was from being up all Monday night and the emotional toll, I sent him home to get some real sleep. I knew I had the nurses to help me through the night on my own, and at least one of us could get some rest. 

Circumstances Got Even Darker

A few short hours later, he received a call that Avie was sick with vomiting and diarrhea.  He went to pick her up, and we again re-evaluated how to handle this situation.  He couldn’t leave her, bring her to the hospital, or be with his wife and newborn daughter.  His hands were full and he just had to trust that I would be ok on my own.

By Wednesday morning, I was strong enough to move about unassisted, and Olivia was getting the hang of nursing.  However, I had a gnawing concern about the wisdom and safety of going home to a sick family with my weakened state and a newborn. A friend who visited me offered to have me stay with her until Avie recovered.

By Thursday, what we thought was a 24-hour bug had no sign of letting up.  Avie was too sick to leave the house, both violently ill and completely lethargic. 

Thursday night, Lucas took her to urgent care, and then the emergency room to rehydrate with iv fluids.  They said it was Rotavirus. 

Failing the Discharge Tests

That night, I was discharged from the hospital, but Olivia had yet to pass a 90-minute car seat test to ensure her tiny body would maintain sufficient oxygen while strapped in.  She had already tested twice on Thursday and had failed both tests within the last few minutes, both times because she was holding her breath to poop.  I was informed of the new plan to take her to the children’s hospital via ambulance for another test (car bed test) before discharging her, and if she failed that, she’d be in for another 5-day hospitalization. 

Along with my discharge, I would not be receiving more meals while Olivia was still a patient, and I was just a guest.  I’d need to fill my own water and get my own food instead of asking for it, and to do so, would have to leave Olivia in the nursery. 

More Than I Could Bear

While frantically coordinating my transportation either for discharge, or to the children’s hospital, since Lucas was caring for Avie’s desperate condition and couldn’t do anything for me, not knowing where my next meal was coming from, which was terrifying in its own right because of the massive breastfeeding hunger, knowing Lucas and Avie had been in a never-ending nightmare of sickness and were up all night, Olivia screamed for three hours and wouldn’t nurse, my milk came in with all the pain and fever associated with it, and I felt so alone and afraid.  I’d nearly had mastitis when my milk came in with Avie, and it had been almost more painful than labor. 

I tried to pump off the excess milk but had instead blistered and bruised my breast in the process.  I was shaky with lack of sleep, in great pain from the engorgement, afraid of being unable to nurse Olivia through the pain, scared of getting mastitis and not being strong enough to care for Olivia, frightened of not having a satisfying meal in the morning, worried about the car seat test, anxious about Avie’s health and feeling so frustrated that I couldn’t be there for her, concerned for Lucas being able to withstand the trial of watching all of his girls suffer, and feeling completely helpless. 

Everything was outside my control.

My Breaking Point

At 4 am, after just two hours of sleep, the nurse came in and needed to do yet another test. (There were so many blood tests for me, bilirubin checks for Olivia, medication for my uterus to clamp, etc. throughout the days and nights that I’m not sure which was which). 

I asked for help. Before I knew it, I was sobbing in front of her, telling her how hard all of this was.  I had reached the point of more than I could bear. 

The Light at the End of the Tunnel

She stepped into the role of a lactation consultant and helped me survive the night. She brought me life-preserving supplies, coached me through nursing, and then brought me apple juice and apple sauce. I had no choice but to believe she was an angel. 

In the morning, there were new mercies at every turn.  I received breakfast.  The neonatal specialist from the children’s hospital arrived and decided to do the car seat test one more time, adding in faith and positivity that she would pass. A friend offered to drive me wherever I needed to go, including to pick up a probiotic I needed after all the antibiotics, and to prevent thrush.  The friend who’d offered for me to stay at her house let me know she’d already laid out baby sleeping gowns.  I received lunch.  Olivia passed the car seat test!

Each provision was manna from heaven, and each time, I wept aloud with gratitude. 

Discharged, But Not Going Home

Olivia was discharged at about 12:30 pm on Friday afternoon.  My friend became family. She carried my bags, snapped the photos of Olivia and I that we’d missed, and drove me “home” from the hospital in my own car to another friend’s house. 

Then, I recovered in the home of another friend who became family. She cooked lovely meals and made the space for me to relax, heal, and create some of the first memories with Olivia.

Home at Last

Finally, sickness left our house on Sunday morning, and we waited for 48 hours. Lucas sanitized everything. We trusted God, and then Olivia and I came home on Tuesday. It was 8 days after her birth, and a full 7 days since we’d all seen each other. Lucas and Avie had essentially missed Olivia’s first week of life.

Beginning Wednesday morning, we slowly, tenuously, cautiously became a family again, able to snuggle and kiss and hug and hold and share our affection. 

The Eternal Treasures We’ve Gained

When talking later with Lucas about how challenging it was to have missed the first 24 hours of her life, like the anchor he is to me, he said, “It’s what’s given you the ability to get the rest of your lives together.”  We both knew that without the excellent medical care and the healing power of God, I might not have lived to be her mom.

Overwhelmed With Gratitude

As we pieced the story together, I learned just how close I was to becoming a maternal mortality story, and how, by the miraculous hand of God and the wisdom of an excellent care team, I lived to tell my story instead.

The Night I Almost Died, and Why My Family Wouldn't Need a GoFundMe

We’re a living breathing testament to the goodness and mercy of God. 

Through the physical and emotional toll of the hardest week of our lives, we were sustained, held, and surrounded by the close, tangible presence of Jesus, an enveloping peace and overwhelming gratitude for life itself, angels in human form who ministered to us, the goodness and provision of God at every turn, the supernatural strength and healing, and the beauty of friendship when we needed help and God taught me about valuing my life the way He does and receiving the kindness and care and love from literally at least a hundred people. It’s just so overwhelming! 

We have so much to be grateful for.  The gift of each breath and heartbeat, the rich addition of this beautiful child, these four lives that have been united into a family, the opportunity to see each sunrise and sunset, the love spilling over and erasing the limits and boundaries of our hearts, and the great Author of Life who holds us together.

We’ve walked to the brink of death and back and can confidently say that we’re tremendously grateful for the protections we’ve staked into the ground of our life.

Four Pillars of Peace of Mind

1) Relationship with Jesus

The first and ultimate source of our peace and supernatural strength was our personal relationship with Jesus and the sustaining presence of a God who was so, so good to us during this time.  We experienced the nearness of a very real God who loves us without condition, and who provided an enveloping peace and gratitude during our hellish circumstances.

2) Abundance Mindset

The second source of our peace was the abundance mindset that we’ve cultivated over the past six years.

3) Relationships

Third, we experienced a tremendous outpouring of love from friends and strangers who have come to our aid.  Relationships are so central to our wellbeing because humans need human love.  We are designed to give and receive love.  The only way to truly value others is to truly value yourself.

4) Financial Protection

Finally, we experienced peace of mind because of intentional financial protections that we established.  We have as much life and disability insurance as we can get.  We have health insurance. We’ve built emergency savings.  And we have an estate plan with a living trust.

How Financial Protections Eliminate the Need for a GoFundMe

Life Insurance

If I had died, the life insurance death benefit would have paid out to our estate, giving Lucas the security and space to figure out everything else.

Disability Insurance

Had I become disabled instead, disability insurance would have provided continued income.  The waiver of premium rider on my life insurance would have ensured that if I lost my income because of disability, my life insurance premium would be paid by the insurance company so my policy would stay in force.  My accelerated death benefit rider would have allowed us to use the death benefit early in case of terminal or critical illness to pay for mounting bills.

Graciously, I didn’t die or become disabled.  Neither life insurance nor disability were our necessary solution. 

Health Insurance & Emergency Fund

However, we will use our health insurance.  There is a cap on total expenses that are in-network and medically necessary called the Maximum Out-of-Pocket.  The bills are just now starting to roll in.  We have no idea the extent of the cost at this point, but I fully expect them to be beyond the scope of any bill we’ve ever seen before. However, we have the peace of mind of knowing that, even if the total charges reached a quarter or half a million, we won’t pay more than our Max Out-of-Pocket.  And our emergency fund is sufficient to cover that.

Estate Plan

Our estate plan and trust have a Health Power of Attorney that secures Lucas as the person to make medical decisions for me if I’m unconscious or unable to do so myself.  There are provisions for our children to be taken care of by a guardian of our choosing if something happens to both Lucas and me.  There’s a designated trustee to direct and manage the estate funds to care for our children.  And Lucas and I both have the maximum life insurance in place to provide the funds the guardian would need to raise our children in our absence.

While none of these financial protections can ever replace me or any loved one, they do give an unparalleled peace of mind for life’s stormiest seas.

Secure Protection When You Don’t Need It

The thing about protection is that you have to put it in place when everything is going perfectly, and the thought of needing to use it is the furthest thing from your mind.  If you knew when you’d need it, you’d buy it right before.  But since life is so unpredictable, the only way to have peace of mind during the dark times is to stake your financial tent firmly during the day, when trouble is nowhere near.

We never thought in a million years that we’d live this out so personally.

Working in the financial industry, we know it’s possible. But it’s still so easy to think that these types of things could never happen to us.

I’ll never think that again.  I’m so thankful we had the protection in place.  It’s a tangible gift of love amongst our family.

We do know from hearing stories of other agents who have delivered the life insurance checks after the loss of a loved one that no one ever says the death benefit is too much.  Often, it’s far too little to do the most good.

Protecting your loved ones and ensuring they are taken care of is so easy.

To assess and build your roof of protection, book a Strategy Call

If this is important to you, I implore you to get started today.  You’ll be forever grateful.

Success leaves clues.  Model the successful few, not the crowd, and build a life and business you love.

Rachel Marshall

Rachel Marshall

Rachel Marshall is the Co-Founder and Chief Financial Educator of The Money Advantage. She is known for making money simple, fun, and doable. Rachel helps her clients create time and money freedom with cash flow strategies, Privatized Banking, and alternative investments. Rachel is the co-host of The Money Advantage podcast, the popular business and personal finance show. She teaches how to keep more of the money you make, protect it, and turn it into cash-flowing assets.
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4 Comments

  1. Avatar Sheila Rociel on June 11, 2019 at 11:11 pm

    Rachal, this is an inspiring testimony. Thank you so much for sharing your story.

    • Rachel Marshall Rachel Marshall on June 18, 2019 at 4:16 pm

      Thank you so much Sheila!

      I am so glad to be alive and able to share this story.

  2. Avatar Brent Stake on August 8, 2019 at 2:19 pm

    I found your blog today about paying off debt. Then I read your story. I have been through facing death myself. No better security than Jesus. Psalm 23 and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Blessings!

    • Rachel Marshall Rachel Marshall on August 9, 2019 at 6:40 am

      Brent,

      Thank you so much! I absolutely agree.

      I’m so thankful to be here and that makes this work so much more important to me!

      Rachel

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