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The morning of their wedding, most brides-to-be expect butterflies to be fluttering about in their stomachs before that walk down the aisle. But for one Massachusetts bride, those butterflies were a sign of something much more serious. In fact, newlywed Jill Hawkins nearly died on her wedding day, after dismissing a medical issue for a bout of nerves.
Waking up on the morning of her September beach wedding, the soon-to-be Mrs. Jill Hawkins felt that something was definitely off but simply chalked it up to pre-wedding jitters. "I just kind of thought, something feels a little weird, but it's probably just nerves," she later told WCVB. So she moved on with her day, just as any other bride would do, getting ready with her girls, slipping on her wedding dress, and headed down that sandy aisle. But even after her "I do's," the knots in her stomach just pulled tighter. "I was having a hard time standing up at that point," she remembers.
Turns out, those knots had nothing to do with her nuptials. Instead, they were a result of something much more scary than just saying "I do." As a teenager, Hawkins was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, a chronic disease that affects the large intestines. But after years without a single flare-up, it was the last thing on this bride's mind. "There was no way in my mind that this was all happening again," she explained. "In my mind, I just wanted to get down that aisle."
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Never get in the way of a determined bride and her groom! Hawkins managed to say her vows and snap a few pics on the beach with her bridal party, but she was soon in so much pain that Hawkins had to be whisked away to the hospital where she immediately underwent emergency surgery.
"It actually was very complicated," notes her surgeon, Dr. James Yoo, who says he's "amazed" that this bride managed to power through the ceremony. "She had a twist in her intestines which cut off the blood supply to that section of the intestine. She could have died from that... For this to happen to anybody is a devastating event. To have it happen on your wedding day, it's almost unbelievable."
To this day, Hawkins can still hardly believe that her wedding almost ended in tragedy. "It's really hard to come to terms with the fact that I could have died on my wedding night," Hawkins said. "But that's the reality."
But at least this story has a happy ending. Hawkins now has her health and her hubby. (We just hope someone saved her a slice of wedding cake.)