Healing

It’s been a long time since I’ve updated, and we’ve been through a lot as a family.

Birth Story:

I woke up at 3:27 am with contractions.  I pulled out my phone and started timing contractions.  I didn’t wake my husband because I wasn’t convinced I would be giving birth anytime soon.  By 6 the contractions were coming every 7-8 minutes.  My husband was up getting ready so I decided to take a shower.  While in the shower, my husband decided to start timing my contractions because he said I was moaning pretty close to 5 minutes apart.  As I showered, the contractions started coming every 2-3 minutes.  I was told at my previous appointment that I should call when they were 5 minutes apart, lasting longer than 1 minute, for at least an hour.  By the time an hour had passed, I they went back to 8 minutes apart.  I called the doctor and they told me to lay down drink some water and take it easy.  Things continued every 6-8 minutes for the rest of the day.  My husband decided to stay home just in case, but at this point I still wasn’t convinced I’d be having him anytime soon.  At around 7 pm the contractions started to get pretty intense.  They were 5-6 minutes apart but they were lasting about 90 seconds.  I called the doctor around 8 and was told to go ahead and come in.

We left around 9 and we made it to the hospital around 9:30.  We made it to the delivery floor and a nurse checked me.  She asked me if I had dialated any at my last appointment and I let her know I was 1 cm a few days before.  She then told me I was 2 cm (she later told me I was really only 1 cm, but she didn’t want to discourage me as I seemed to be in a lot of pain).  I was so upset to hear 2 cm.  After being in pain all day I had made no progress.  When she saw my disappoinment she let me know that I was completely effaced so the pain wasn’t in vain.  She decided to have the on call doctor check on me and see if I needed to be admitted.  So we waited about 30 minutes for the doctor and the contractions kept coming.  At this point they were coming every 2 minutes and they were really intense.  I didn’t know how much longer I could make it if I had gone all day and only made it to 2 cm.  When the doctor finally came in, she checked me and I was 4.5 – 5 cm.  So we were definitely making progress to go 2.5-3 cm in 30 minutes.  So I was admitted and we waited things out.  After another 90 minutes, I couldn’t take it and asked for the epidural.  I got the epidural about 10 minutes after I asked for it.  The doctor checked me again and I was 8 cm.  So things were going quickly and at this point I was just hoping that the epidural wouldn’t slow things down.  That’s when things started to change.

My son’s heart rate was dropping with each contraction.  They had me roll to my left side, then my right side, then all fours.  His heart rate dropped to 50 something and by now there were a ton of nurses in the room.  The doctor came in and either broke my bag of waters or my bag of waters broke on its own.  The doctor informed me that there was meconium in the amniotic fluid so that plus the lower heart rate meant I should probably prepare for a c-section.  She checked again and I was 10 cm and ready to push.  I was allowed to push for about 15 minutes or so and then they made the decision to do a c-section.  At this point I was so worried about my son that I didn’t care how he got here.

They wheeled me into the operating room and by now I’m shaking uncontrollably.  My husband comes in and I feel the tugging.  At 1:50 am they pull him out and I hear a faint cry.  Nothing loud at all.  Poor thing sounded like he had been through a lot.  They quickly showed him to me and rushed him out of the room.  My husband went with them and I was left shaking on the tabling praying that God would take care of my baby.  My husband came in the room and told me our son was fine and that he’d be in the recovery room with us and I could start breastfeeding right away.

E’s First Days:

At some point I was told that his breathing wasn’t normal so he would be in the NICU for a few hours.  I wake up from recovery and they wheel me to see my baby.  He had an oxygen dome over his head but I could tell he was the same baby I got a glimpse of while I was on the operating table.  I was wheeled to my room and went back to sleep.  I woke up a few hours later and we went straight to the NICU.  I was convinced that he was okay and the hospital was just trying to get more money.  I got to breastfeed him and almost everything was great, but his breathing was still irregular.  They decided to admit him for the night.

The next morning we went to the NICU so I could feed him again.  While I was holding him skin to skin he started jerking.  I thought he had the hiccups but he kept doing it.  We decided to ask the nurse if these were hiccups because something about it didn’t feel right to me.  I didn’t know it at the time, but that was the Holy Spirit.  That’s when the nurse told us he appeared to be having a seizure.  The episode soon ended but I was distraught.  Doctors were soon next to us and he started having another ‘episode’.  The doctor confirmed that it looked like a seizure.

After many tests, we learned that he was having small strokes and seizures.  He had a very large clot in his liver that broke apart and went to his brain.  He had lots of small areas of brain damage and we would basically have to wait and see how things turn out.  For the next two weeks I prayed like I’ve never prayed before, and after a few days I made the choice to believe for E’s complete and total healing.  He spent a total of 2 weeks in the NICU and was finally able to come home.  He had to get a shot of blood thinners twice a day and seizure medication 4 times a day.

Three Months Old:

Here we are now.  E is 3 and a half months old, and all appears normal.  His brain is healing though there is still scar tissue from the strokes.  His last two EEGs have been normal and his blood work has been basically normal.  The final word from the hematologist is that he may have had acquired dyfibrogenemia from the trauma of birth, but we probably won’t know definitively what happened.  I know what happened though.  God healed our baby.

Thoughts:

I really wanted a natural birth.  I didn’t want to have any medication and I didn’t want a c-section.  I had a plan, but God had another plan.  If we would have had a birth at the birth center that I wanted to, we would have been at home when he had his first seizure.  If I wouldn’t have had a vaginal birth, he may been in the recovery room with me when he had his first seizure.  If we wouldn’t have asked the nurse if he was having hiccups, who knows how long he would have gone before someone told us he was having a seizure.  If we were at home or alone in the recovery room, we may have just rationalized it as normal newborn behavior.  No use living in the what ifs though.

I thought our testimony would end with us finally getting pregnant.  That first pregnancy was not successful.  Then I thought our testimony would end with us having a successful pregnancy.  Now I see that I need to quit looking for the testimony to be over so I can breath a sigh of relief.  I must keep the faith.  I must not get complacent or take any of this for granted.  God has given us a wonderful blessing and it has taught us more about God’s grace, mercy and love than anything else I’ve ever experienced in life.

Calm My Anxious Heart: Chapter 1

I finally sat down to read chapter one today.  I’ll admit, I peek at it last week and saw that it was about contentment and I put it down. I told myself… “I can start learning about contentment tomorrow.  Right now I’m happy to be pessimistic about everything.”  Sounds weird.  How can you be happy to be pessimistic about everything?  It’s easy.  It’s what I’m used to, what I’m comfortable with so it’s easy.  There’s no challenge here.  Just keep seeing the glass as half empty that way you aren’t too disappointed when the rest of the contents of the glass spill and you have nothing.  

Yesterday, I was reading in a pregnancy forum and saw that a woman just experienced at stillbirth at 36 weeks.  I felt horrible for her.  I can’t imagine carrying a baby for this long only to lose him before you even got a chance to meet him.  

I started thinking about my son.  Sure I could feel him moving around in there, but so could she at 34 weeks and 6 days.  Then I decided I would be vigilant about counting kicks and making sure he’s moving in there.  Well sure enough I woke up this morning and went almost a whole hour of not feeling him move.  I took a shower, brushed my teeth, put on lotion and still nothing.  I started to worry.  Then the Holy Spirit told me to give it to God.  In all of this I hadn’t truly given it to God.  I prayed and gave it to Him while still being conscious of any movement.

After I ate breakfast he started moving around in there.  I’m sure he was just sleeping, but my mind automatically went to the worst case scenario.  At that moment, I realized that the stress I kept putting myself under was not good for me or the baby.  Yeah, the pessimism is comfortable, but I’m tired of living like that.  

Today at church I purposefully focused on the good things.  My son was moving around making me uncomfortable and I praised God for it.  That meant my son was in there and he was alive.  I have been blessed to carry this life for the past 8 months.  I thank God for that.  I’ve gotten the chance to experience what it feels like to have a baby moving inside of me.  That’s an amazing experience.  So instead of constantly worrying about how he was doing in there, I was rejoicing for making it to this moment.  

This afternoon I picked up the book and read chapter 1.  It was so absolutely what I needed to read at this moment.  The biggest thing I got out of this chapter was that contentment is learned.  It’s not something that’s innate in everyone, and it’s definitely not the default for me.  It’s something I will have to learn.  You would think I got this concept a few months ago when I wrote about contentment, but obviously I didn’t drill it into my heart.  I can learn to be content in all things because Christ gives me the strength to do so.  I just have to remember to let the Holy Spirit be my guide.  It won’t be comfortable in the beginning, but it will make life a lot less stressful. 🙂 

Calm My Anxious Heart

I follow a few people on twitter and one person in particular was posting a lot of great quotes.  I asked her what book she was reading and she said she was reading, ‘Calm My Anxious Heart” by Linda Dillow.  I kept saying I wanted to read the book, but I kept putting it off.  Well, today I pulled out my Kindle and bought the book.  I figured this would be a great place to share some of the things God reveals to me through this book.  I didn’t read what it was about or anything.  Just purchased it based on the quotes from the book.  

So, if anyone is reading this book or you’ve read it, I’d love for you to join in with me.  There are 12 chapters and they are relatively short, but I’m thinking I can read a chapter a week and make my way through the book like that.  Let’s see what God teaches us!

It’s time to come back

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Today I read a blog post about a woman’s struggles with her miscarriage.  From that post I saw a link to another blog post from a woman entitled, “From Miscarriage to Miracle: This is My Testimony.”  I read it and it touched my heart.  She said some of the things I’ve been feeling recently.  I’m terrified about this pregnancy.  I’m not enjoying it as much as others have said I should.  I worry when his ultrasound pictures don’t look like the others.  I worry when I don’t feel him kicking much while others talk about how their babies keep them awake at night with all their kicking.  I worried when my belly looked too big, and I worry now that I’m not gaining much weight.  I don’t share the details of my pregnancy on Facebook because I’m afraid things won’t turn out well.  I worry that there will be something wrong with him.  I just worry.

Before I got pregnant the first time, I told myself that I would stand before the Bible Study crowd at church and give my testimony of infertility all the way to baby.  I got pregnant and began thinking about when I would share my testimony and what all I would say.  Then the pregnancy ended and as I’ve written in previous posts, I was angry with God.  I made peace with things and we were able to get pregnant later.

I sit here now six months pregnant, but I’m not sharing my testimony.  To be honest, I’m really afraid of sharing my testimony only to have something bad happen.  I don’t want others looking to my testimony for their faith in God only to have things turn out bad.  I don’t want someone to read my blog and come and say, “See, I knew God wasn’t real.” I keep telling myself, I’ll start really blogging again once my son is born.  I think it’s important for people to see the good along with the bad.  Some people can live their life full of faith and hardly ever let the bad things get them down.  That’s awesome for them.  Some people struggle with their faith.  They have good days and they have bad days.  This blog is for those people.  We need to know that bright days can out number the grey days.  We need to learn how to see the bright days.  I’ve been away, but I’m ready to come back and share my struggles.  All of this is part of my testimony and that’s what this blog is about.

Faith

It’s been a while since I’ve been written on this blog.  In my last post, I was anxious about the two week wait and I posted a song that helps remind me that He is all I need.  Well, three days after that post I decided to take a home pregnancy test.  I was about to start training for a 5K and the literature says you shouldn’t start an intense workout regimen when you’re pregnant.  This was going to be intense so I decided to test just in case.  I was only 9 days post ovulation and it was the afternoon so I wasn’t too hopeful.  I peed on the stick while my husband chatted with me from the bedroom.  Once I finished in the bathroom, I went to get my workout clothes.  Before I finished, I decided to go take a peek at the test and I saw a faint line.  I ran out and told my husband, “I think it’s positive.”  I had already warned him that it would probably be negative even if I was pregnant because it wasn’t first morning urine (when you supposedly have the highest concentrations of the pregnancy hormone in your system).  He just looked and said, “Okay.”  I felt like he didn’t believe me so I went back in and the line was a little darker. Still faint but darker.  I called him in there and explained to him that a line, no matter how faint or dark it is, means you’re pregnant.  I could tell he was excited but he was a little cautious considering our previous loss and the months after when I thought I was pregnant (got positive pregnancy tests) only to have my period come. 

I took more and more tests and they kept getting darker.  My husband finally started believing and so did I.  We praised God and remained excited about our new addition, coming May 2013.  I found out I was pregnant very early on.  In fact, I was only 3 weeks and 2 days pregnant.  Most people don’t find out until 5 weeks or so.  So we were excited and I kept looking forward to the point where we passed 5 weeks and 1 day pregnant.  You see 5 weeks and 1 day is when I started spotting with my first pregnancy.  The pregnancy that turned out not to be.  So, I felt like if I could get past 5 weeks 1 day, then I had further proof that this was a viable pregnancy.

Guess what happened at 5 weeks 1 day.  That’s right… I started spotting.  I was devastated.  I was at work and I sent my husband a text and I’ll never forget his response.  “Noooooooooooo.”  My heart sank at that text.  While I was the one to witness the spotting, to see his reply helped make it all real for me.  The pain and heartache this would bring.  I then started telling myself okay everything’s okay maybe you’re just one of those women that will spot during pregnancy.  This soothed me for a while and then I went to the bathroom and the spotting had gotten worse.  I was devastated.  I didn’t think I could take another pregnancy loss.  It was too much to handle.  And two times in a row after we had been trying for so long.  This time I didn’t get angry with God.  I turned to Him like I hadn’t before.  I didn’t ask Him to save my baby.  I asked Him to make it okay with me and my husband.  I learned before that we can’t question why God allows certain things to happen.  We will just drive ourselves mad coming up with excuses that may or may not be the real reason.  So I didn’t want to pray for something God wasn’t going to allow to happen.

So this time I had faith, but I had a different kind of faith.  I had faith that God would get us through this.  I prayed for strength and I accepted that the pregnancy was not the blessing God had for us.  It sounds like I was not being a good Christian.  Shouldn’t I be praying that God save our baby?  Shouldn’t I be praying that our baby is in there doing just fine?  I couldn’t bring myself to do it.  I couldn’t get my hopes up again only to have them dashed at the ultrasound.  I could only trust that He would get us through it.

I went to the doctor and had blood work performed.  My levels were no longer doubling and were pretty close to the same numbers they were during my first pregnancy.  This further helped me to cope with the fact that this was not going to work out.  I went on with life waiting for my first ultrasound.  The spotting got worse and then tapered off.  It was minimal by the time my ultrasound date rolled around.

At 7 weeks and 1 day, exactly two weeks after the spotting started, I laid down on the ultrasound table preparing myself for the moment when the ultrasound technician looked at me and said, “I’m sorry.”  I waited and she rubbed the probe over my belly.  She was quiet.  I tried to peek at the screen, but saw nothing.  I sighed and began to try and deal with things on my own.  I didn’t seek God in a time when I needed Him most.  Then she turned the screen to me, and I remember thinking how cruel is this woman.  Why would she turn this screen to show me an empty womb? 

She said, “Okay, there’s your baby and if you look closely you can see the heartbeat.”  What?!  Heartbeat?  There’s a baby in there?  Oh my gosh.  I can’t believe it.  Actually I don’t believe it.  I looked and sure enough there it was.  I told myself, don’t get too excited plenty of women have seen a heartbeat only to be told later the baby didn’t make it.  She took the heart rate down.  I was expecting something in the 150s but it was only 129.  Uh-oh.  This isn’t good.  Everyone else’s heartbeat was 150s or higher at this point.  There’s something wrong.  I knew not to get my hopes up.  The tech told me it was difficult to see so she would get some better pictures with the transvaginal ultrasound. She did the transvaginal ultrasound and I could see the head and the body very clearly.  At that moment, I felt like things were going to be okay.  She measured the heart rate again and this time it was 146.  I felt much better about that. 

I got pictures and went to the waiting room to my husband.  I showed him the ultrasound and the first thing he said was, “Praise God!”  Praise God is right!  He has given us a precious gift.  We will forever praise Him.

Sometimes I beat myself up about how everything started.  How could I not believe God during the two weeks wait?  How could I not believe God to save our baby?  What kind of Christian am I?  What kind of mother will that make me?  I will not allow those thoughts to consume me.  I believe that sometimes the only faith God wants us to have is the faith that He will make the situation okay with us.  No matter how devastating that situation may be. 

I know the worst of the worrying is not over.  I won’t breathe a sigh of relief until I am holding my baby in my arms, but I also know that time will come with a whole new set of worries.  I know what this will teach me (and I hope someone  else that may be reading this blog).  This will teach me how to have faith in Him through it all.  His Word says that He will never leave us or forsake us, and that is the truth!

Why I’m Here

To make a long story short, I grew up going to church.  It wasn’t always willingly but I was there.  I made Jesus my Lord and savior at an early age, and I faked things for several years.  I didn’t feel close to God but I knew all the right things to say.  I graduated college, got a job, and got married.  Everything was was moving along until we had problems getting pregnant.  After several tests, one minor surgery, and 11 months of trying to conceive we became pregnant.  I truly believed God for that baby.  I stood on Exodus 23:26; and was confident that the pregnancy would continue for nine months, and in November of 2012, I would be holding my bundle of joy.

The pregnancy failed at just shy of 10 weeks.  I was depressed.  I was angry with God, and I began to loose faith in Him.  Since I couldn’t understand how a God who supposedly love us could allow something like that to happen after I faithfully prayed for it every day, I quit talking to God.  I quit praying, and I stopped wanting to go to church.  God seemed so cold to me at that point that I wanted nothing to do with him.  I told myself that I would spend a little time away from God and see how things went.  I didn’t really need Him to get pregnant because as I looked around so many others were seemingly getting pregnant without God.

My husband and I went on a vacation to the beautiful island of Barbados a couple of months after the pregnancy ended.  While sitting on the balcony of our hotel room listening to the beach, a thought came to me.  I now believe that voice was the Holy Spirit.  It said, “Grace, what if you never get pregnant?”  Never get pregnant?  Me never be a mom?  Oh my gosh, no I couldn’t handle that.  I would be miserable.  I’ve been waiting on the day I would become a mother for years.  I didn’t know how I could keep living like that.

Let me back up for you.  I’ve always lived my life for the future.  I’ve never really lived in the moment.  While in high school, I couldn’t wait to get away from home and be on my own.  While in the dorms, I couldn’t wait until I could get my own apartment.  Once I got my own apartment, I couldn’t wait to be done with school.  When I started working, I couldn’t wait to buy my own home.  When I bought my own home, I couldn’t wait to be married.  When I got married, I couldn’t wait to have children.  Do you see it?  Always living in the future, but never truly enjoying the moment.

So, as I sat on that balcony listening to those soothing waves, I thought about how my life would be miserable without a baby because I would be in this constant state of anticipation waiting for that pregnancy test to become positive again.  And that’s when I decided that I would need to learn how to be content with exactly where I am.  I had never lived my life like that.  I wasn’t sure I even knew how to live like that.  So that’s where this blog comes in.  I want to document my journey as I learn how to be content in all things no matter where I am or how my life is.  I know that will only come with a deeper relationship with God, and I have embarked on that journey.

James 4:8 says, “Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you.  Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.”

So that settles it and it’s really simple.  To develop a closer relationship with God, just come close to Him and He will come close to you.  I am so excited about what God is about to do in our lives.