When I found out I was pregnant with my daughter in January of 2009, I was overwhelmed with emotions. I was scared to be bringing a baby into the world with a guy that couldn’t even take care of himself, let alone a baby. I was ecstatic to finally have something of my own, to be the center of someone’s world. But, most of all, I was ready to do whatever it took to be the best mom I could be for my baby.
I was on suboxone when I found out I was pregnant. I immediately wanted to taper off of my medication. I was sent to a Fetal Medicine Specialist that encouraged me to stay on a stable, comfortable dose. There wasn’t much information on how suboxone would effect my baby back then. So, I did everything I could to stay as healthy as possible. I quit smoking. I ate a ton of fresh fruits and vegetables, I walked every single day.
On October 14th, 2009 at 0110, Flynn Elise made her grand entrance into this world. She was absolutely beautiful. She had big blue eyes and a head full of auburn hair. She was perfect. She latched immediately and I was head over heels in love. I had no epidural and no pain medication, and it was a TOUGH delivery. She was posterior (sunny side up), had a nuchal cord (cord was wrapped around her neck), forceps, episiotomy, more forceps delivery. I did that with NO pain medication. I felt like I could literally conquer the world. The “baby high” was something I had never experienced. I truly felt unstoppable.
Flynn only spent one night at home. Four days later, on October 18th, 2009, we were in a serious automobile accident that would effect the rest of my life forever. Flynn’s dad was unable to drive that night. God only knows why. I refused to have someone that could barely stay awake, drive the car that my 4 day old newborn was in. My midwife had told me I was allowed to start driving as soon as I felt comfortable to do so. So, I insisted on driving. We went to my parents house to drop something off and then we got back in the car and headed home.
It was the night of the Murrells Inlet Chili Cook Off. Anyone that lives in our area, knows that this is a pretty huge event. Basically, one big party. The roads were clear. Flynn was asleep. Everything was great in my world. Until we got to the traffic light on 17 right before Inlet Square Mall. A big, white, dual truck, came speeding through the lane, trying to beat a light. He hit me head on, driving about 45MPH. I immediately stomped on my brakes, but there was nothing I could do. I braced myself for the impact. Thank God I had my seat belt on. I took a few minutes to assess the situation. Flynn was okay in the backseat. I looked down and saw that my foot was turned completely around, facing towards my back. I saw bone exposed to the air. At this point, there was so much adrenaline pumping through my body, I didn’t even feel the true effects of my injuries. I tried to remain calm. Flynn’s dad reached for the phone to call 911. I said “NO! I’m calling.” I made the call and told them what was going on. Their main concern was my newborn in the car. I calmly told them my baby was fine, but I was seriously injured. They reassured me that help was on the way. I hung up and immediately called my parents. I told my mom I had just been in a serious accident. That Flynn was okay, but I was seriously hurt. I remember telling my mom I had to hang up, because I could hear the sirens.
The firefighters later had to pull the car door off of the car to get me out. They initially thought that Flynn had been knocked out due to the impact. My mom was a Nursery nurse at the time and asked if she could assess the baby. It turned out that Flynn slept soundly through the entire thing. Praise God. My baby was okay.
I remember asking the guys in the ambulance if this was all a dream. They kept me calm and told me that it was not a dream. That I had just been in a serious car accident, but I was going to be okay.
I got to the hospital and the doctor on call refused to take on my case. He said my injuries were too severe and he did not feel comfortable taking me on as a patient. They contacted one of the best foot/ankle trauma specialists in the state. He reviewed my case and agreed to take me on. But, he wanted to do surgery right away. We later found out that I had broke every bone in my right foot, both sides of my right ankle, my right tibia, and my right fibula. I had a Lis Franc Fracture/dislocation of the midfoot. Meaning the bones literally exploded and the joints became completely separated.
Before wheeling me back to emergency surgery, the doctor said “Caitlin…I don’t know that I am going to be able to save your foot. But, I promise I am going to do my very best to try.” I remember begging him to just cut it off. I was in SO much pain. I would have another traumatic, vaginal delivery 10x over what I was experiencing now. Pain control was a MAJOR issue due to the suboxone. I went through over 10 hours of emergency surgery.
I woke up with an external fixator and pins protruding from my foot. It required pin care 3x a day and when I was released from the hospital, I would have to have a hospital bed in the house. It was a serious, serious injury. I had to move back in with my parents. My mom and dad took turns doing all the wound care. They also basically became new parents again. I could not get up and get the baby. I could not walk around with her or dance with her in my arms. I was devastated, but so grateful she was alive, and so grateful I was alive. She was the motivation I so desperately needed at that time in my life.
My parents and I came up with a system. We had a baby monitor in my room and a baby monitor in their room. Every time Flynn would wake up, I would call them over the baby monitor. They would come in, usually half asleep, hand me the baby and go back to bed. Then when she was finished eating, I’d call them again to come get her.
I remember the first day both of my parents went back to work after the accident. I was home alone with Flynn for the first time. I had everything I needed within arms reach. And then….she had a massive blow out. Shit. Literally. I didn’t know what the hell to do. I couldn’t hold her and not put weight on my foot. But, I also couldn’t leave her in dirty clothes. I stripped her down, put her in the center of a blanket, folded it in half, and held onto the other end of the blanket with my walker and I slowly dragged her from the living room to her changing table. Mission Accomplished. I knew we would be okay after that.
I went on to have 8 more major bone reconstruction surgeries. I would go on pain medication for a surgery, come off and go immediately back on suboxone. I did that for each surgery.
It has now been almost 10 years since my car accident. If you’re wondering what happened to the guy that hit me, well, he’s dead. He later killed himself in a DUI One-on-One. If you’re wondering how my foot is doing, well, I still have it. I now have 2 non union fractures (bones that will never heal) and a post traumatic deformity. But, I’m alive. I now use Suboxone as pain management. Side Note: If you are using suboxone for pain, it is best used in small doses. The analgesic effects (pain relieving properties) of suboxone happen in very small doses. I get asked this question a lot. Most people believe more is more, but that is not true. Less is more with Buprenorphine. If you are using suboxone for pain and finding that a bigger dose does not work very well for pain relief, try taking a SMALL dose, every few hours. I promise it will work much better.
I had my daughter’s car seat installed by a CSPT and I KNOW her car seat saved her life. We have been through so much. My daughter literally saved my life. If it wasn’t for her, I don’t know that I ever would have been ready to truly get it together. Flynn will never know what she really did for me. I always said she was my guardian angel. I would go through it all over again for her. Anyone that knows Flynn, loves Flynn. She is truly one of a kind. She is hilarious and has a brilliant mind. She often can carry on a better conversation than most adults.
If you made it this far, you’re a trooper. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment and I will get back to you as soon as I can. I am always an email away.