Rapped and beaten, I cried every night. A million showers could never erase the disgust I felt with every glimpse at
my reflection in the mirror. I couldn’t believe that happened. I couldn’t believe my innocence had been ripped away from me in one single moment.
Wretched and dirty I sat in the brown chair with filthy upholstery waiting for the doctor to announce I was
Fear coursed through my veins. A baby, an innocent baby was growing inside me. It should have been beautiful, should
have been made from love, not conceived through ugly violence.
How was I going to tell my mom? I was so scared. I sat down on the couch and waited for her to get home. The seconds
ticked by slowly, and the minutes melted into hours before she finally arrived.
Tears burned my eyes and I couldn’t look at her. I was ashamed. The minute the words “I’m pregnant,” slipped from my
lips, everything changed.
With nowhere to go, I was allowed to stay in her house as long as I distanced myself from her. My mom made it very
clear that I was no longer wanted, that I was no longer a part of her family. I was shunned, practically disowned. I was nothing more than a contagious pariah. Perhaps things would have gone better
had I told her I was rapped, but I couldn’t. I was embarrassed and didn’t want anyone to know.
I’d lie on my bed and cry, praying for death. No one wanted me. I was worthless. There was no way I could be this
Child’s mother. The only thing I deserved was death.
Morning sickness ate its way through me. I was completely debilitated with nausausness. It’s normal to feel that way,
right? I’d thought so too. But the intense pain erupting inside my head was harder to explain. A thousand volcanoes laced lava through my brain. I’d spend most of my time with my head over the
toilet. I’d tell myself, “You’re pregnant. It’s supposed too feel this way.”
February 27, 2002, is a day I’ll never forget. It’s etched in my mind permanently. It was the complete and devastating
end of life as I knew it.
In a matter of days, I was no longer able to do anything. I say “able,” because I became a sad lump that didn’t move
from the couch. Noises, smells, and light anything would set off my uncontrollable vomiting. I was so ill that I stopped doing anything: brushing my teeth (as disgusting as that sounds), showering,
eating, even moving in general.
I’d lie on the couch with my head covered, with the lights and T.V. off. I lived with my mom so she felt like she
couldn’t do anything. I’m sure she felt like a prisoner in her own house. She hated it. She became quite annoyed with my reign over everything, so she yelled at me and told me to quit being a baby.
She thought I was over exaggerating.
It hurt my feelings to hear her say that, because I honestly wasn’t faking and believe me, that is not how I’d like to
have spent my days. I was beyond miserable!
Weeks went by before my mom finally realized there was something really wrong with me and it wasn’t just the usual
symptoms of pregnancy. She forced me to the doctor, but there wasn’t any help there. The doctor said and I quote, “You’re pregnant. Go home and take Tylenol.” I did that, but of course the Tylenol
didn’t help at all.
And I was back to square one, lying helplessly on the couch in insufferable pain.
A week passed before I felt half-way decent. That day was February 26, 2002. That morning, I woke up, showered (I
actually showered), brushed my teeth, and was able to spend some cherished time away from the couch. It felt amazing to get up off the couch and live. I remember thinking, “thank God, I’m finally
I went shopping for baby stuff. I bought bottles, a crib, and some baby clothes. My mom and I ate subway before we
returned home. It was the first meal I’d eaten in almost a month.
I went to bed at about 9:30 that night. Sleep was pathetic. I woke up every hour, because there was a terrible pain
radiating through my left hip. I’d wake and shift my position which only temporarily alleviated the pain. With blurry eyes I’d look at the clock: 10:30, 11:30, 12:30… and so on and so forth until
finally waking at 7:30 a.m.
I had the same nightmare over and over that night. Each time I woke up and fell back asleep, it seeped into my
subconscious and tormented me. In the dream my son was maybe five years old. With tear filled eyes he looked up at me, “There’s a little boy outside, mommy. He needs help.” I let the little boy in
(he too was about five). The little boy’s father knocked vigorously on my door, screaming for help. Reluctantly I let him in. But he didn’t need help. He forced me to the floor and held a gun to my
head. I knew I was going to die, and I laid there helplessly waiting. Precious seconds ticked by before he shot me. I felt the bullet shatter my skull and swim through my brain. It was a revolting
feeling. I woke up as soon as the bullet pierced the tender flesh of my brain; an intense feeling of pain erupted inside my head. I had to convince myself that I hadn’t actually been shot.
My mom usually left for work at 5:30 a.m., so I was afraid she was already gone and I knew something was wrong.
Truthfully, I thought I was just having a panic attack something I’d suffered for many years. I climbed up on to my head board to see if her car was outside. And that is when the panic really set
in. My left arm was so weak it couldn’t hold me up. I fell back down, hitting my chin on the head board.But her car was there. I forced myself off the bed and hobbled into her room, with legs that
felt like Jell-O. I fell on top of her as soon as I reached her.
My mom knew right away what was happening. She tried to keep me calm, but do you think that worked. No. I started to
really freak out when my mom told me to go put my shoes on. Before attempting the shoes, I went into the bathroom. I looked at my face. I saw nothing different. I couldn’t see what she’d seen that
caused her to call the hospital. I thought she was overreacting.
I grabbed my shoes; they were in front of my bed. I had one in my left hand, one was in my right. My fan was on so I
put both in my right and turned the fan off. Only I didn’t, it clattered to the floor. My fingers felt so weak, like they were waking from sleep. I sat the shoes down, picked it up with my right
hand, and turned it off. I walked out of my room crying. I was terrified.
I sat on the arm of the couch and waited for my mom. I overheard her on the phone, “My daughter is having a
What is a stroke, I thought to myself. I screamed, “Mom, what’s a stroke?” She didn’t respond. I thought the worst (I
was right to), and burst into tears. My nose was running so I went to blow it, but I kept dropping the Kleenex.
In the matter of five minutes, I’d completely lost all ability of my left arm. My leg was slowly following its lead.
“Oh, my God!” I cried.
My mom came out of her room and said, “Put your coat on.” I did. Well I tried, but it just fell to the floor. I
attempted that 20 more times before realizing, I couldn’t get my left arm in, it wasn’t going to work. I was so scared, I screamed. Mom helped me, and then we struggled down the stairs, and into
I kept checking my reflection in the visor mirror, there was nothing wrong with my face, but she said my mouth wasn’t
moving. I smiled, it looked normal. I spoke. I didn’t take my eyes off my mouth. I couldn’t see any change.
By the time we arrived at the hospital, I was completely paralyzed on the left side.The nurses all of them came around
to help my mom. The doctor rushed to me. He asked what my name was. I answered, but he couldn’t understand me. I kept repeating, “Don’t let me die.”
CAT scans were taken: they revealed a hemorrhage the size of a golf ball.
I was flown to the University of Iowa by helicopter. On the helicopter, my heart stopped beating. They used paddles to
restart my heart. The nurses and pilot kept talking to me, trying to keep me conscious. It was no use. I kept slipping into the darkness that called my name and welcomed me with open arms.
By the time we arrived at the University, the clot had grown to the size of a tennis ball. They prepped me for
surgery. While we waited for my family to arrive, I was checked by an OBGYN to see how the baby was doing. He was fine. Perfect. They couldn’t believe it. “This is a Miracle,” they kept
When I heard my mom and dad, I was really out of it. I couldn’t see; everything just looked like blurs smeared across
the wall. I thought my dad was the doctor, because he was wearing scrubs. I just saw the blue that I’d seen everyone running around in since my arrival at the University Hospital.
My surgery lasted six hours. While I was in there, the doctor told my family that they should prepare themselves,
because chances of me and the baby surviving were slim to none. I’d already slipped into a coma, and they feared I wouldn’t wake up once the surgery was over.
I was in and out of consciousness during the surgery. I felt the stinging dye they injected into an IV that ran all
the way from my thigh to behind my right ear. I felt and heard the saw as it cut into my skull. I even opened my eyes a few times.
After surgery, waking up was torture. I’d never been so scared. I honestly didn’t know if I was dead or alive. I
didn’t want to be alone, so my mom and dad took turns standing next to my bed as I slept. They were exhausted.
The next day, I was more coherent – not much – but more than the day before. I told a few jokes, though no one could
understand me. My tongue and lips were both paralyzed. I remember wishing I could go back into the void I’d just left. I couldn’t talk and I was still paralyzed. My left leg was so numb and stiff
it hurt. The doctor did things to induce physical pain. I remember him saying, “Sometimes when the body feels pain, the brain responds.” Well, that wasn’t the case for me. Helplessly I’d lay there
as he cut me, pinched me, and poked me with sharp objects.
A few days later I was moved from intensive care to my own room where I started physical therapy. It was torture! I
couldn’t move anything on my left side and my right side too was weak. I was so frustrated, I wanted to give up. I didn’t think I could go on. I mean, there I was, bald (they’d actually shaved my
head), and paralyzed. I felt completely defeated. But there was no way I was going to spend my life using a walker, cane, or wheelchair to get around. And wear a brace, forget about it! So I forced
myself to endure the agony, embarrassment, and torture. There wasn’t any other choice, I was going to be a mother, I needed to be strong.
It seemed like only minutes had passed since my arrival in the new room, when a nurse came in, I believe her name was
Michelle, she said, “It’s time to try to get you up and moving.” I tried to sit up, but couldn’t. It was devastating and almost broke my spirit. I looked at my mom with pleading eyes, silently
begging for help. I thought to myself, “They can’t make me do this. It isn’t fair.”
Ending the agonizing war bustling with heavy combat inside me, they helped me sit. I was very wobbly and had to be
held there. I felt helpless like a child completely dependent on others. Finally when I was standing, the nurse was wonderful as she was, turned away. She lost her grip on me, knocked me over, and
the IV that was in my left hand broke off inside my vein. There was blood everywhere. And it was very painful.
Clearly, I didn’t walk that day.
The fist time I attempted walking was an experience I’d like to forget, but can’t. My mom and the nurse had to kick my
left leg forward. It was awful! I later found out that my mom had to leave the room so she could cry. The doctors actually told her she needed to leave, that she was having a nervous breakdown. I
was helpless. Nothing I said convinced them to let her stay, so I was left alone and scared.
After a week at the University I was transferred to Genesis West in Davenport. There I learned to walk, talk, tell
time, and eat. I was there for a month. I surpassed all of the doctor’s expectations for me. They’d all said I’d most likely never walk. Some even thought I’d be a vegetable. I was NOT going to let
that happen. When I wanted to give up, I’d just think of my baby who gave me strength and encouragement from the inside. His strength was so strong; I found the will to push forward. I fought and
fought until I felt one small movement in my big toe. It was the most wonderful feeling even though it was so slight. It had been there and it was my accomplishment. From that little wiggle, I knew
I went through years of physical and occupational therapy. After six years and gaining no more use of my left hand
than I had just after surgery, I gave up. I still don’t have the use of my left arm – well mostly just the hand – but at least I can walk, talk, and live a basically normal life. And most
importantly my son is HEALTHY, and none of the affects of my stroke affected him.
After I was released from the hospital, my family grew closer. My sister’s actually said they loved me and my mom had
become my friend.
I put the rape behind me, because after all life goes on. My son is the best part of my life. We grow and learn
together. He’s such a wonderful blessing. I couldn’t imagine a day without his smiling face in my life.
© Copyright 2016 Venessa Jinson. All rights reserved.