"After waking from a two-month coma after childbirth I struggled to discover what had happened, love my child, and rediscover who I was. I awoke to a baby I didn’t know and a body I didn’t recognize. I faced a life and self I didn’t know how to put back together. " So begins Lindsey O'Connor's new book, The Long Awakening, a personal memoir of near-death in the midst of giving life.
Ove ten years previous, at an author’s conference in Atlanta, Ga, right in the middle of ONE BIG PAJAMA PARTY, Lindsey had begun to cramp badly. In a book on the friendships of women I wrote about what happened next. It was only the prologue to her incredible story…
<<I’m a conference/convention junkie. Just put me in a room with a view and a girlfriend or two, spilling our secrets, throwing ideas like spaghetti on the walls– seeing what sticks.
A thousand miles from home, the convention pajama party is interrupted. Throughout the next day, mother-to-be Lindsey sinks a little lower in her chair. Her bleeding will not stop. In a downtown hospital, Patty and I wait. Two silk-suited aliens in a two-bright emergency room too far from home for anyone to come in time.
After the examination, Patty and I hover near Lindsey’s bed, “She’s losing her baby.”
Lindsey leans on me for the support our years of friendship afford. Even though she’s only just met her, to make it down the hall, she leans on Patty’s strong arms because mine are weak from rheumatoid arthritis.
In a kingdom moment we have the honor of being Jesus to Lindsey. Jesus praying, Jesus mourning. Jesus presenting her half-dead flowers from someone’s desk, coaxing a morphine smile. Jesus smoothing her hair and walking beside her wheelchair to the sonogram that searches her womb and finds…nothing. Jesus wrapping her in our arms with we-can’t-do-anything-else love.>>
Lindsey returned to her home in Colorado, I returned to mine in Texas. When next I saw her, a year later, she was happily pregnant again. A few months later baby Caroline was born. There was celebrating and rejoicing. Big smiles and lots of pink. But then things began to fall apart. Once again…the bleeding wouldn’t stop.
This is a shameless endorsement of Lindsey’s story. I lived it long-distance. Once again I was praying, mourning. As her husband wrote in an email…”we don’t know whether she’s coming home or going home.” As it turned out God spared her life and she went home to be with her family–an answered prayer of the miracle kind.
I remember sitting at a cafe on my next trip to Colorado and she walked in with a big smile. After almost losing her it was such an up-to-the-gates experience to watch her cross the room and give me a hug. We talked about the physical struggle she was having. In many ways her pain and fatigue mirrored my own. But there were other things, deeper struggles that I didn't learn until now.
In her new book The Long Awakening Lindsey pieces together her own story and shares with breathtaking transparency the kinds of struggles that many of us endure in silence. Struggles that are so dark, that good Christian women shouldn't be having.
I have loved Lindsey for years. And I love this book. i'm so proud of her craft and her heroic effort to search her deepest heart and share with others what she discovered…about herself. About God. I agree with Eric Metaxas’ endorsement: "A searingly honest story, beautifully written, of one woman's awakening from a coma after her baby's birth–and her long road back . . . . Unforgettable.” Here’s a peek…
<<The day our baby came into the world was the day I left. A day that began all smiles and excitement and anticipation and joy ended with running and panic and blood and tears. And then coma.
I lay suspended in the deep, my newborn unknown. Nothingness. Layers where dark pulled from below, light called from above, and me, trapped in between, longing to break the surface.
Forty-seven days later when I first saw my husband's face leaning close to me, I knew where, and who, I was. But other things took much longer to know. Learning to restitch life–and love–when everything's changed, and finding who we are afterward, can be the longest journey of all.
I'm Lindsey O'Connor, and this is the story of my long awakening.>>