Welcome to Coco’s Caravan Community! I started this community in hopes of helping others. After sharing my story and hearing back from so many others who were dealing with similar trials I realized we are not alone. We are here to uplift and help each other make it through each day! I hope these stories help you in some way! Continue reading to learn more about Mandie’s story!
Thirty years ago I was born with cystic fibrosis. Doctor’s told my parents I’d be lucky if I lived to eighteen. They mourned and grieved, then reset their focus on “living fully and not focusing on the life expectancy.”
They taught me compliance in and the importance of my disease care. They taught me to see the positive and look for silver linings in every situation. I handled my disease well. I understood it was terminal in my pre-teen years and still worked just as hard at long term goals; like attending college, as if I had no “countdown clock.”
I graduated from High School, then college. I fell in love and got married. My whole life I was told I wouldn’t have children. Three months into being newlyweds, we found out I was six weeks pregnant. I was even on birth control, it was truly a miracle! We immediately contacted my Doctor’s knowing my body and disease (cystic fibrosis) would need extra help during this time. Everyone shared their “Congratulations and smiles,” until everything shifted in less than a moment.
The words from my Doctor being, “My job is to keep you alive. My job is to keep you healthy. This threatens both of those things, and I encourage you to terminate the pregnancy.” She continued to tell us that she had been practicing nearly fifty years and had eight patients conceive, but not all of them made it to delivery. Just five months previous she had a woman make it that far…only for her and the baby to pass away in delivery.
We sunk, we were devastated. We told them we needed time to think. We counseled together, with our higher power God, and with the scriptures. We only ever received one clear answer, “This baby has to come to earth,” but never any clarity on what my outcome would be. We decided to move forward in faith.
It was a rocky road. There were many hospitalizations and ups and downs. Myself nor our baby should have survived some of those instances, but we continued to conquer and live past each hardship. At 37 weeks 2 days, I was experiencing hemoptysis – coughing up blood from the lungs. It was determined for me to be induced the next day.
I went into the delivery room knowing all the hard things I had done before and was ready to give it my all. Even if “my all” included leaving this earth. My husband and I walked into that room with faith. We knew God had helped us get to this point. We knew my medical team was intelligent and had all the right tools and knowledge to do their best to fight and keep me here.
Everything started, hours passed. We kept looking at each other with adoring tearful eyes. Our greatest moment, or our worst moment was just around the corner. Things started moving and getting intense, my Doctor was called and she came rushing to my room.
She walked into that room and our precious baby boy transitioned into this world. I heard him, I saw him through tears while simultaneously watching my MFM working, moving quickly, and trying to assess. Eventually our eyes met, and her words spoke, “you’re going to be okay” sealed with a kiss on my forehead.
What was the hardest thing you went through during this time?
The hardest part was not knowing the outcome. I knew the odds were against me; living with a terminal illness and having a baby. Then when we talked with my professional team of specialized doctors who shared that story of the women and her baby passing away during delivery, that hit deep and heavy. I knew my odds weren’t very high at survival. No matter how much we prayed, and sought insight, we never could receive a clear answer on if I was going to live or die during the birth and delivery process.
What advice do you have for people going through a hard time?
You have already been through so much. Think back on all the things you have previously accomplished. In the moment you might not have known how you were going to do it, but you did. You will get through this one too. You were born with the strength, find it!
What helped you the most during your trial?
Having a good friend to talk to. Someone who was “removed” from the situation. She wasn’t my spouse or an immediate family member. Someone I could cry to, ask questions, brainstorm, word vomit, and vent. She had two roles, listen or be my hype girl. I told her which one I needed before any conversation and she followed. Never sharing her concerns or own questions, just being what I needed her to be.
Share an update on your life now
Our son is 4.5 years old now! He loves jumping on the tramp, helping me with treatments and going fishing. My husband has a career as a Dentist and specializes in surgical dental implants. We live in my parents basement, which allows extra hands on deck to care for my cystic fibrosis and our child.
My bodies stability has been incredible and I have only been hospitalized twice, in a twelve month period for my cystic fibrosis. This is much different then every 6-8 weeks as we have experienced the last 3-5 years. I am working on receiving my Professional Public Speaking License.
What Quote or Motto got you through this difficult time?
My motto came from a stanza in a poem I wrote for a scholarship. In the poem, I was writing about all my dreams for the future. I wrote, “To conquer all that steps in my way.” Whenever new bad news is shared with me, or something is hard to digest. This motto pops into my mind, reminding me of my inner strength and all the things I have previously “Conquered”.
Mandie’s Story on Youtube: Living life with Cystic Fibrosis
Devin Super Tramp made the most beautiful documentary of Mandie’s life with Cystic Fibrosis and you can watch more of her story here! You can also read more of her story on her blog and follower her on Instagram HERE.
Please leave an encouraging comment for Mandie below! If you are interested in reading more Caravan Community stories click HERE