Houston-area family finds renewed faith after head-on crash ahead of Mother's Day
HOUSTON - This Mother's Day will be more special than ever for a local family, after surviving a terrible car crash in Brazoria. They've been in recovery mode since it happened.
On December 4, 2021, Chad and Megan Homniok were driving home from a Christmas parade with their 3-year-old daughter, Macy, in the backseat. That's when a vehicle swerved into their lane, smashing into them, head-on, reducing their vehicle into a pile of rubble.
"I was looking down at my phone and I heard my husband scream and the next thing I knew, he was yelling at me because it knocked me out, but only for a few seconds," explains Megan. "When I woke up, he was shaking me, please wake up, please wake up."
Then Chad slipped into unconsciousness. His loving wife thought she had lost him.
"It was a blur of cops, sirens, and a helicopter," recalls Megan.
Paramedics rushed her by LifeFlight from Brazoria to Memorial Hermann in the Texas Medical Center. She was relieved her oldest daughter, Macy, was okay, but her husband was a different story.
He had multiple broken bones, he had lost a lot of blood and suffered a traumatic brain injury. She found out he was actually alive when she heard his voice in a nearby room in the emergency department.
"His head was split open and he was yelling for me! His head injury had him on a loop," says Megan. "Every 5-10 seconds, it would restart. We were pretty nervous about that! Just over and over, he would say - what happened to my wife."
Chad couldn't remember anything longer than ten seconds at a time. He was also dealing with severe trauma to his leg.
"They came in and told me, 'We don't know if we can save his leg, but we'll do everything we can to save it, but at any point during the surgery, can we have your permission to amputate it?' I said 'No, you can wait until he wakes up because I can't say that,'" Megan continued.
They were able to spare Chad's leg. He doesn't remember anything about the accident or anything during the first month of his recovery.
During those scary moments in the emergency room, Megan was distracted by her husband's severe injuries and had no idea what was brewing inside her body.
"They came in and told me, I had an aortic aneurysm in my heart, the aortic arch, and they needed to take me to surgery immediately and repair it, and I was like, ‘what?’" questions Megan.
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She goes on to say that Dr. Rana Afifi with UTHealth Houston and Memorial Hermann saved not only her life but her unborn daughter's life.
"She absolutely did, she was amazing," exclaims Megan.
Dr. Afifi is a vascular surgeon, with a specialty in treating pregnant women. She works with a team of doctors who collaborate to create the best-case scenarios for patients through UTHealth Houston's/UT Physicians' Women's Vascular and Cardiac Health Interdisciplinary Center.
"There is a tear in the wall of that big vessel and the risk of it is that if it completely ruptures, then more than 50% of the patients who have that will not reach the hospital, so it is a life-threatening injury," explains Dr. Afifi. "What she had is what we call a grade three injury, meaning that we see definitely that there's an injury to the wall, but it's still contained. So, it hasn't yet burst completely, which gives us the time to be able to offer her treatment and basically save her life without her completely bleeding out."
Their goal is to minimize risks for both mom and baby.
"Of course, it's even more complicated during pregnancy," Dr. Afifi continued. "A lot of what we do, such as imaging and other things, are usually concerning things that we want to be careful with how much we utilize them, because above a certain amount, it might also lead to complications in the future of the development of the fetus."
She performed two different procedures to repair the damage.
"We did a minimally invasive approach, so we didn't have to do a big surgery to open her chest to fix it," Dr. Afifi explains. "We went through a puncture in her groin and accessed the blood vessels from the groin. We go inside the blood vessels, take pictures and eventually deploy what we call a stent graft. It's a device that covers the blood vessel from the inside and covers the area of the tear and prevents it from tearing and bleeding out. We ended up fixing her with what we call TEVAR, which is a thoracic endovascular repair."
Megan worked through the pain with minimal medications to help protect her unborn child. Dr. Afifi explains the second procedure.
"In order to fix her tear, it was very close to the origin of an artery that goes into the left arm," she states. "So, in emergencies, we can cover that, but in certain situations, it has implications where the left hand has now weakened and so she needed an additional intervention to secure blood flow into that hand, so we have to do a bypass to that, and she recovered well from it."
Megan was now going to have to deal with what was considered a high-risk pregnancy and her caring husband did what he had to do to be by her side at delivery. After seven surgeries and hours of physical rehabilitation every day for months, he pushed himself as hard as possible to walk again.
"They weren't going to let me in the delivery room unless I could walk on my own, so I was like, I'm going, just got to get it done!" Chad says. "They weren't expecting me to recover that fast, either!"
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Little Maybree was born at 38 weeks without any complications!
"She's our little miracle baby," says her proud and thankful dad.
Megan only got to take one photo with her own mom and newborn Maybree, then her mother passed away.
So, as she celebrates this special Mother's Day and her children, she will take time to honor her mother's life. Meanwhile, Megan is cherishing her newly refreshed faith after the accident.
"I'm young, so I question things, but not anymore," says a smiling Megan. "My husband has always been a believer, and he reminded me after our accident, that something bigger than us made us survive that wreck. I look at things differently now."
For more info about how Megan was treated by clicking here. You can also learn more by going here.