HOUSTON, Texas — It's an incredible story of recovery after a Texas mother nearly lost her life after giving birth to her baby girl.
But in saving her life, the mother of two had to have both of her hands and her feet amputated. She finally gets to go home Saturday after getting rehabilitated in Houston.
Just 29 years old, healthy, excited and expecting, Krystina Pacheco was ready for her second child, a little baby girl.
“A picture of health all leading up through the pregnancy. Never had any alarming concerns," Pacheco said.
She says Amelia was born back in October with no complications. Two days later, they were headed home.
“I did have a low-grade fever," Pacheco said.
At home, she quickly realized something was wrong.
“That’s when I started experiencing shortness of breath, vomiting, difficulty with stomach pains, couldn’t even lie down," Pacheco said.
Krystina was hospitalized in San Antonio with septic shock from a bacterial infection. Sedated for two weeks, she nearly died.
“They put me on an ECMO machine that basically did the job of my heart and all my organs were starting to fail," Pacheco said.
It worked, and even with a 20% chance of survival, she lived.
But she said the medication doctors used to save her life cut off the circulation to her hands and feet. When she woke up, the damage had been done.
“My hands and feet both looked like a person's would when they get frostbite. So they were very blackened," Pacheco said.
With no other option, doctors had to amputate. They took her hands first, and a week or so later, they took her feet.
“It’s a rollercoaster. I'm not going to say that I don’t have my bad days. It’s an emotional thing to experience. It’s a hard thing to experience," Pacheco said.
Moving forward with nothing but positivity, Krystina is taking it day by day, gaining back her independence.
“I’ve gotten to put on my makeup by myself. I put on my contacts by myself now. I can brush my hair," Pacheco said.
After spending the last two weeks in rehab at TIRR Memorial Hermann, Saturday, she’s heading home to Pleasanton, south of San Antonio.
“We saw she made significant gains in every aspect, her limbs look wonderful. She’s ready to move to the next step," Dr. Vinay Vanodia with UT Health Houston and TIRR Memorial Hermann said.
Life may look a little different now than she had planned, but that won’t stop her from living it.
“Everyone says you’re here for a reason. God kept you alive for a reason. And you’re meant to do something in this life," Pacheco said. "My babies are my number one motivation. I'm here for those babies. They’re my number one priority going home.”
Soon, she'll be fitted for prosthetics for both her hands and legs.