Mom looks forward to next step after amputation

May 26, 2010 4:57:25 PM PDT
A Kingwood woman is beginning a new life, learning to live without arms and legs. Katy Hayes almost died from two lethal infections right after the birth of her baby. But when Katy tells her story, you realize she has turned her heartbreak into a story that inspires all those who hear it.

Katy was an athlete, and that, doctors said, helped keep her alive.

"I had a home birth, so pushing that baby out without any drugs, you gotta be in shape," she said.

But days after, her husband, Al Hayes, took pictures of her holding her 9-pound, 13-ounce newborn, Arielle, Katy contracted a rare, invasive form of strep A. And that evolved into flesh-eating bacteria.

"I didn't leave the house. I was in my bed with my baby, and this thing came on me," Katy said. "Where the heck did I get it? I have no idea."

Al asked doctors with 11 different specialties the same thing.

"None of them knew," Katy said.

"Countless doctors," Al added.

Katy's organs began to fail, and her limbs began to die.

"It's not something you ever want to see someone you love go through," Al said. "It was very graphic."

"I started to get black on the end of my fingers and toes, and it just moved up quick," Katy said.

Katy went into a coma, and Al was asked to make the hardest decision of his life Should he allow doctors to amputate Katy's arms and legs in hopes of saving her life?

"If she was gonna die, she was gonna die trying to save her life, not laying there letting her die," Al said.

When she awoke, she had only enough of her limbs for prosthetics.

"It's just a big change for me," Katy said.

"I miss my toes, walking in the grass, walking in the beach," she said.

"As much as I wish it wasn't the case, the loss of the limbs, it's nice that we spend a lot of time together," Al said.

"Yea we do. It's been really good for our marriage," Katy added. "I hardly ever saw him when we were working."

She is alive for the baby, their teenage daughter, Amber, and her 6-year-old son, Jacob -- and for each other.

"He was there kissing me, encouraging me even though I don't remember half of it. All of March I don't remember, and he says, 'You were talking; you were kissing me; I've got pictures,'" Katy said.

Katy is ready for the next step, rehab and prosthetic limbs. And she is grateful her husband made the right decision.

"He's been my rock, my hero," Katy said. "He's the reason I'm here."

Click here for more on the Hayes family, you can read Al's blog and find out about upcoming fundraisers.


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