In Memory of Tammy

Tammy’s sister shares…

I was Tammy’s labor coach and arrived at the hospital just after she had her epidural. She said she had never felt pain like that prior to labor pains. Tammy never liked hospitals and asked how soon she could come home. I told her probably a couple of days. She asked me something else but to this day I can’t remember. I have blocked it out. Tammy was tired because she had been up all night so I encouraged her to rest. I was going to wait with my Mom in the reception room until she felt she was ready to deliver and then I reassured her I would come back to her. Those were my last words to my little sister….my only sibling.

I went to the reception room and waited with my Mom. It was about 11:20 and the Price is Right was on the tv. All of a sudden, doctors and nurses were racing up the hallway followed about 5 minutes more by more hospital staff. I decided to go to Tammy’s room and check in on her. Walking up the hall, I remember thinking I was being silly and I would walk into her room and she would be lying there. I entered the room as if in slow motion and she wasn’t there. In a daze, I returned to the waiting room. Mom was sleeping in a chair and I didn’t want to wake her especially if it was nothing. I sat there for a minute and then decided to go to the nurses station. I asked the nurse where my sister was and she told me in a firm voice to wait with my Mom. I awoke Mom when I arrived back and we both started to panic. We waited a few minutes (felt like hours) and went to the nurses station again. This time, a large group of hospital staff had gathered outside the delivery surgical room, included the hospital pastor. The nurse at the station was more insistent we return to the waiting room.

Tammy was sleeping when she told her husband that she was about to vomit. With that, she began to seize and her vital signs were failing. She was raced into the O.R. and her daughters were delivered via c-section. We knew that Eva had passed away a few months prior to that day but Tammy had to carry her to term. Marina delivered without vitals but was revived and placed on support. Because she went without oxygen for a bit of time, doctors began to lower her core temperature in case she suffered a brain injury. They said it may help if there was damage. Doctors worked on Tammy for hours. She had to have a hysterectomy. She lost so much blood and had 3 cardiac arrests before doctors could move her to the ICU.

My Mom and her husband got to visit Tammy for a short time. I was to go into the ICU next and was waiting for the call from the nurses station saying I could go in. When no call came, I called the nursing station and they said she had taken a turn for the worst. Tammy suffered another cardiac arrest and doctors worked on her for a long time but this time, she could not recover.

I remember hearing my Mother’s cry down the hall and I just knew she was gone. I remembered hearing this sound that I could not recognize and then realized it was me…crying.

Marina was transferred to a children’s hospital and placed in the neonatal ICU. She spent almost a month there before she could come home. At the age of 6 months, Marina was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy. She showed such determination even at a young age and overcame many obstacles. Even though we were told she may never walk, she showed them different (with the help of braces on her legs). Marina has difficulty with her speech but has amazing cognitive abilities. She even speaks two languages.

Tammy was an amazing woman. She was extremely hard working but always had time for loved ones, family and friends. Tammy was a bit mischievous and enjoyed making others laugh. She loved to dance, plan gatherings for any occasion and looked so forward to being a mother. She never got to hold Marina or tell her daughter how much she loved her.

A golf tournament in Tammy’s memory was held and money was raised for the AFE Foundation. I have continued to travel and attend as many events as I can to honor my sister and the many families affected by AFE.