A Texas lady who almost died after giving birth was reunited with her now 4-month-old daughter and 2-year-old son this month.
Krystina Pacheco, 29, of Pleasanton, Texas, had her daughter Amelia on October 24, 2022, in what she described as a routine C-section.
Pacheco claimed she began feeling feverish two days later, on the day she was released from the hospital, but felt it was simply part of her post-C-section recovery and was given ibuprofen by a nurse.
Pacheco said that when she continued to feel ill at home, she went to visit a doctor, who sent her to a nearby emergency hospital.
Pacheco was then transported to a hospital in San Antonio, where doctors determined she was in septic shock.
Septic shock is the most hazardous stage of sepsis, which happens when your body’s immune system reacts violently to an infection. Without prompt treatment, it may lead to tissue damage, organ failure, and even death, according to the National Institutes of Health.
Septic shock causes dangerously low blood pressure. Recent infections or surgical operations are risk factors.
Sepsis is the second-largest cause of pregnancy-related mortality in the United States, after only cardiovascular disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
According to Pacheco’s husband, Jacob Pacheco, the disease started to impair her heart, lungs, and kidneys.
Jacob Pacheco said that his wife was placed on dialysis to assist her kidneys as well as an ECMO machine, a lifesaving piece of equipment that removes carbon dioxide from the blood and returns it to the body with oxygen, giving the heart and lungs time to rest and recuperate.
They didn’t want to tell them how close she was [to death], but one could see it on their faces every time he asked, Jacob Pacheco said, adding that physicians had offered his wife a 20% chance of survival at the time. That was terrifying.
Jacob Pacheco, a coach and teacher who met Krystina as they both work in the special education area, said he relied on family and friends for help while caring for his wife’s newborn baby and his young son.
Jacob Pacheco said he and his mother-in-law and father-in-law took turns sitting at Krystina Pacheco’s bedside for the two weeks she was in the critical care unit, on dialysis, and on the ECMO machine.
Krystina Pacheco started to heal in mid-November, and doctors were able to remove her breathing tube so she could talk.
What happened to her? It was the first thing she asked. Did she almost die? Jacob Pacheco remembered. Then they had a moment of tears — tears of loss, tears of delight—and a slew of emotions washed over them.
Krystina Pacheco was finally awake, but she still had to deal with what she now characterizes as the toughest things she’s ever experienced.
Doctors informed her just before Thanksgiving that they would have to amputate both of her feet and hands due to the damage they had incurred while she was in critical care.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, which was not engaged in Krystina Pacheco’s medical treatment, one of the risks of an ECMO machine is insufficient blood supply to the limbs, which may result in the need for amputation.
She claimed that her hands and feet were completely black. They seemed to be frostbitten, and she added that her medical team did all they could to prevent having to amputate.
She was just breaking down and being utterly saddened that’s where they were at that moment, Krystina Pacheco said after discovering that amputations were required and grieving with her family, crying with Jacob, and just being devastated that her life would never be the same.
Krystina Pacheco claimed she had about a dozen skin transplants over the following few weeks since the skin surrounding her amputations was so damaged. She had an initial operation to amputate both arms below the elbows, followed by a second procedure days later to amputate both legs below the knees.
She expressed that every day, she woke up thinking about her kids, and every time she went into surgery, her idea was that she had to go home to be with her babies, so if that meant going through one more operation, then she had to go through another surgery. They were, hands down, her number one motivator.
Krystina Pacheco was released from the hospital and sent to TIRR Memorial Hermann, a Houston rehabilitation clinic, in late January, three months after she was hospitalized.
Krystina Pacheco, who formerly taught group fitness courses in addition to her full-time work, spent many weeks there treating her amputation wounds and learning to live as a double amputee, as well as restoring her strength after a three-month hospital stay.
Krystina Pacheco’s self-motivation helped her grow swiftly in treatment, according to Dr. Vinay Vanodia, medical director of the amputee and limb loss rehabilitation department at TIRR Memorial Hospital.
He had gotten a communication about this young girl who came in with these awful amputations after pregnancy, and her kid was at home when she was here, Vanodia said. But, when they went to visit her, she was such a brilliant light that it simply transformed the whole attitude.
He went on, saying that she was capable of overcoming whatever hurdle they threw at her. She just gave it her all and was able to make significant improvements while she was with them.
Krystina Pacheco was allowed to come home on Feb. 11, more than 100 days after being hospitalized and separated from her newborn daughter and son.
Krystina Pacheco said that her fear of septic shock didn’t affect her health in any way other than the amputations. She is presently doing home exercises to restore her strength and will soon begin outpatient therapy so she can become stronger and be self-sufficient in things like shifting from her bed to a chair and using the shower.
The Pachecos said they’ve been amazed by the support they’ve gotten from friends, family, and their community over the last few months, from offering to take care of their kids to donating money to assist them in paying medical expenditures and the price of making their house wheelchair accessible.
More problems have occurred as Jacob Pacheco’s wife has settled in at home, but they are going ahead, seeing each new difficulty as a new “chapter” in their journey.
Krystina Pacheco aims to return to work as a qualified expert in school psychology, and she wants to share her experience in order to encourage others and promote awareness of limb differences. According to Vanodia, she will soon be able to utilize cutting-edge prostheses for both her hands and feet.
Her children are “resilient,” she says, and her 2-year-old son Owen is often at her side, happy to assist his mother with mundane duties like putting up her sleeves and opening her cosmetics.
Amelia, her 4-month-old daughter, is now making up for the bonding time she lost with her mother in her first months of life.
Krystina Pacheco said that the mother guilt of not being able to be with her kid every day for her first three months of existence is something that still breaks her heart a little bit and that she is working through. But now that she is home again, they’re making those adjustments as they go, adapting, and being a small family again.
Inspiring Texas mom reunites with family
After undergoing a quadruple amputation of her arms and legs, Krystina Pacheco shares her inspirational story of fighting to get home and reunite with her family. Pacheco refused to let anything stand in her way. Whit Johnson reports. https://trib.al/qo5neoIPosted by ABC World News Tonight with David Muir on Saturday, 25 February 2023