Thursday, May 09, 2013

My Triathlon

My pregnancies are very challenging physically and mentally. The losses have challenged me to refine what I believe spiritually and have given me an incredible avenue to minister to hurting women. The hyperemesis gravidarum (which is like a cuss word to me) has required endurance and strength in each area as my body, mind, and faith have been taken to the limit. I have grown spiritually and have gained compassion for other's suffering, but my mind and body have taken a beating. Both recover, but it takes time. 

A friend of mine compared my pregnancies to the marathon she was running. I guess in many ways, there are similarities: pushing through, overcoming fatigue, concentrating on one step at a time, battling the mind, enduring for the sake of the goal, recovering from the race, satisfaction in your accomplishment, and the confidence that having survived it gives you.

If my other pregnancies were marathons, then this one was a triathlon. 

After two miscarriages and being told it was unlikely I'd conceive again, I did the mental and heart work to accept it and set a course to refine some skills and gain new ones to prepare for a future ministry to serve those God has placed in my life. 

Then I got pregnant. Wow, OK. Life changed again.

Then we had the Vanishing Twin which made us both think we had miscarried. So we planned for the womb cleansing that would follow.

It didn't happen, but I became very sick. I felt pregnant, but I had seen evidence of a miscarriage. I thought I was crazy. 

Then, a living baby was confirmed and Vanishing Twin explained.

Then, the hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) hit very hard. I had to give in to the toll it was taking and stay in bed to survive. For four months, life stopped and a battle ensued. It was only weeks, but it seemed like years as I watched my family and friends going after one thing after another. It was worth it for the life in my womb.

The HG made tears in my upper throat which led to bleeding and laryngitis. Even today, my voice is hoarse, and my throat sore.

I got a tonsillitis infection when the vomiting forced food particles into that area. 

Our entire family caught a virus. Because I was already so worn down, it hit me hard and lingered. 

Then I got bronchitis secondary to the flu.

A bad vomiting episode led to Mallory Weiss tears and the worst bleeding I have ever seen. Where normally, I could get it to stop, the coughing from the bronchitis made it keep bleeding. I was spitting up 15-20 mouthfuls of bright red blood at a time. (You can't swallow it. It will make you vomit.) That necessitated a trip to the ER.

Then Emily's flu turned into cellulitis caused by a drug resistant bacteria. That caused a lot of concern. 

I had made strides in recovering from the bleeding and bronchitis when we went to the OB and could not find a heartbeat. 

And then, we entered into the medical systems crazy maze of red tape, tests, and procedures to complete the loss so we could lessen risks to me and lessen the time it affected our children. This happened during the same week as our adult children's graduations and the meetings and all of the many things it entails. 

And, there is still some redness and swelling around Emily's eye, even after the 10 days of antibiotics, so we have taken her back to the doctor today. She is there now.

All through this, I have felt the Lord asking me: 

"Do you still love Me? Will you still follow Me?" 

And my answer is a weary "Yes, Lord. You are my Father. No one loves me like You do. You have fearfully and wonderfully knit me together. I am so precious to You that You know the number of hairs on my head. You know every detail about me and nothing in my life escapes Your notice. You gave Your own Son for me. Knowing the depth of Your love, I know that all of this heartbreak and pain has served a purpose that will bring glory to Your Name. I am broken, bruised, battle weary, and begging You for a break, but I am still a willing vessel for Your work in my life."