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My Story

It’s July, 2003. I’m on vacation on the coast of Maine, it’s a gorgeous day, and my husband and I are watching our two adorable young daughters frolick on the beach. I’m in my third trimester of pregnancy and feeling happy and grateful. Suddenly, without warning, I start hemorrhaging.

I know this means something’s really wrong, and I’m terrified. 

My husband rushes me to the nearest hospital, but because my baby is viable and they have no neo-natal intensive care unit, they send me by helicopter to my hospital in Boston.

They tell us that my life and the baby’s life are in danger and this is an emergency.

Strapped into a mobile hospital bed, I’m quickly wheeled out onto the tarmac and into a helicopter with a pilot, a paramedic and a huge box of donor blood, just in case hemorrhaging gets out of control and I go into shock. 

I’m in a daze. The whole thing feels surreal. I’m scared, I’m vomiting, it’s all happening so fast, and I’m too out of it to think straight. An hour later, we land on the rooftop of the Boston hospital and they rush me in to stabilize me and try to bring things into control. I’m terrified that our baby will die.

Fast forward 10 days… I’m ok, the baby’s ok. I feel weak but fine, tests all look ok, and they’re going to let me go home on strict bedrest for the remainder of my pregnancy.

But that night, the sh*t hits the fan again.

I spike a high fever, I’m drenched in sweat. My head feels like it’s literally going to split open. The pain is unbearable. I intuitively know something’s really wrong.

Doctors and nurses start running around poking me with needles, inserting tubes, looking nervously at electrical monitors, doing more tests on both me and my baby. I hear whispered but hurried conversations outside my hospital room, as many doctors gather and try to figure out what’s wrong – and therefore what to do.

I start to go into labor, so they give me very strong drugs to stop the contractions, since the baby is viable but only 28 weeks.

The pain in my head is excruciating. My body feels like it doesn’t belong to me. My gut tells me this might be the end.

Between contractions, my husband feeds me ice chips. Knowing things are bad, he’s worried.

I look up into his eyes and think silently to myself, “Maybe this is my time to go.”

I’m not scared. I’m not angry. In fact a deep, peaceful acceptance comes over me. I know in my heart that if I die, my family will be okay. Yes they’ll be broken-hearted but they’ll be okay, and our little girls, ages two and four, will be okay… my husband is an amazing father. I have lived a great life.

And then, as if coming from somewhere else entirely, out of my mouth comes a scream…

“NO! I have to help raise our daughters! I have to be there!”

At that point, something deep within in my body just sort of takes over. And my contractions, despite the doctor’s best efforts to stop them, suddenly get stronger and more determined.

And our little girl is born. So tiny, so fragile, so beautiful. 13 inches, 1.5 pounds.

We name her Liza, we hold her, we talk to her, we tell her how much we love her.

A few hours later, she’s gone.

I’m absolutely devastated. Losing your child – a living, breathing part of you that you carried and nurtured and got to know for almost nine months – words cannot convey how excruciatingly painful that is.

But deep inside, I have this knowing. Within my unborn baby girl, I believe there was a Divine Light that wanted to save my life.

I truly believe that deep inside her tiny little being, her spirit knew that her mother’s life was in danger.

I believe that she sensed what the doctors didn’t realize until later…

that there was a massive infection exploding in my uterus, enveloping her. If she didn’t resist the doctors’ wishes and the very potent drugs to keep her inside, the infection would enter my bloodstream and I would die.

I believe Liza gave her life to save mine. She gave her life so that her sisters could keep their mother.

That day I made a vow to Liza…

…that from now on I would make Every. Day. Matter.

…that I would live full out with passion and purpose, vibrancy and vitality.

No more waiting for “someday.”

No more holding back out of fear or self-doubt or excuses.

No more passively reacting to life, but proactively going after my dreams and making the most of each day.

Life can be cut short in an instant, and I had been given a second chance. I promised Liza and myself that I

would Truly LIVE all the days of my life.

For the next 12 months I committed myself to inner growth, deep introspection and self-actualization.

I devoured personal development books, attended seminars and spiritual retreats.

I learned the art of creative visualization and began meditating for 30 minutes every day.

That year of introspection and personal growth was one of the most powerful – and empowering – times of my life.

I wanted to help everyone experience that gift! So I went to coaching school and then became certified as a professional life coach.

Helping others find their superpowers

within, overcome challenges, and truly live all the days of their life – that’s what drives me.

Liza did that for me. Now I’m using my life to do that for others.

Rena Hedeman Bio

Rena is a business and life coach, lifestyle entrepreneur, and award-winning speaker with 30 years experience in personal and professional development.

With a BA from Yale University and PCC certification from the International Coaching Federation, she has personally coached thousands of men and women from a variety of backgrounds since 2009.

Rena’s superpower is helping women discover their superpower and purpose, create their next chapter, and level up in the areas of health, wealth and personal fulfillment.


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