Friday, January 20, 2012

God, Will You Write my Motherhood Story?

Mommy & Jacob...He was three days old. This was our first official meeting!

Having a larger family was not something that I thought about ever having, before becoming a mother. In fact, after my first husband left, I was quite content with the two children that we had together...never imagining I'd be given the opportunity to not only be a step mom to one, but be given two more biological children bringing my total of children to five at present. As all of my friends and family know, since marrying Darrell, I have become pregnant four times. Two pregnancies were lost. Ella came in between those lost pregnancies, and Jacob followed the last miscarriage. My pregnancies are extremely difficult. My body seems to shut down with each pregnancy, and it's getting more difficult to carry my babies the older I've gotten. Not that I am old, mind you! But it's true. It's become increasingly difficult to carry a baby, in my thirties. Jacob arrived at 36 weeks, despite all efforts to keep him in there. In the last two months of my pregnancy, keeping my bp down was a tremendous struggle. I was on the highest dose of medication that I could be given. I might as well have been eating candy, though. I wasn't eating much, because I felt so sick and horrible all the time. Sitting became impossible in the last month, because my legs would swell two to three times there size, in a matter of fifteen minutes. When I would stand, after the swelling began, my legs felt as though they were full of lead, and I needed help walking. As dramatic as it sounds, I literally had myself convinced that I was dying. It was the most frightening feeling to stand up, and not be able to move my feet, whatsoever. My brain was screaming for them to move, and nothing! It was extremely frightening for my children and husband to see me go through that (I remember my mom coming home from the dentist, after having her wisdom teeth pulled. I was probably eight years old. Her face was swollen, and she talked funny. My grandfather helped her into bed, and told us to leave her alone. They wouldn't explain what was wrong with her, and it scared me silly. I thought she was going to die!). They would gather around me, in bed, and place their hands upon me, with tear soaked streaks going down their faces, offering up prayers. My poor babies. With their fear came my guilt. I felt selfish for putting them through that. I put on a happy face for them, but I couldn't hide what was physically happening to my body.

Jacob was in the NICU for nearly two weeks. Because my body was so stressed from the pregnancy, my doctor had a difficult time stabilizing my blood pressure. Because of this, I wasn't allowed to see Jacob for the first three days of his life. I remember getting angry, and saying, "How do you expect me to relax and rest, when I'm so anxious to see my baby?". Then when I was able to see him, there were so many limitations to what I could do for him. He was fragile & weak, and couldn't breath on his own. There were babies just three pounds, laying next to him, that were thriving and doing far better than he. It was a traumatic experience for all of us.
The older children were not able to meet him until he came home at nearly two weeks old. There were a lot of tears shed, and prayers said. They were so confused and scared. Once again, I felt selfish for putting them through that. After all, I prayed for God to bring me another baby, without considering the consequences and how everyone would be effected.

Because of the circumstances surrounding his birth as well as those last couple of months in pregnancy, I went against something I've felt very strongly about...leaving God and my husband out of the equation. At my three week appointment, I consulted my doctor about birth control. I've never been on birth control. I've never researched it. I never imagined ever being on it, so I felt no need to. This particular day, she asked me if I had any questions. The room was full of advertisements for birth control. As I looked around the room, not wanting to make eye contact with her, as I felt extreme guilt for what I was about to say, I slowly said, "I think I want to know more about birth control.". She discussed options with me, and I decided that the shot would probably be the best thing for me. Less than five minutes later, I was given the shot, and on my way out the door. The second my bottom hit the seat, of my mini van, I felt horrible. I cried, all the way home and apologized, profusely, to the Lord for not trusting in Him. This simple act went against everything I believed in! Everything I've preached to my children about! Trusting in the Lord, and allowing His will to create our path, and not to take matters into our own hands. The fear of becoming pregnant, again, overwhelmed me so much so that I went against my beliefs. I paid dearly for it, too!

The first two months, after having the shot, were horrible! I've never experienced anything like what I did, in those two months. The side effects were horrific. Nose bleeds, continuous vaginal bleeding (seriously, two whole months! That is rare for me, as I nurse my babies, and usually have very light to nonexistent periods while doing so), a ravenous hunger that could not be satisfied...therefore, weight gain, depression, cramping, sluggishness, dizzy spells, headaches...the list goes on. I, literally, felt like a prisoner in my own body. I felt trapped in something that was holding me down. The side effects wore off, slowly, and I began to feel more and more like myself. Looking back, I can't help but think to myself, serves you right! What were you thinking?

My decision was based on fear. I was petrified that the Lord's will for me involved dying during pregnancy/child birth, or losing a baby. I did not want to go through what I went through, again, or see another one of my babies hooked up to tubes and machines EVER again! I allowed Satan to steal my joy and my faith. Ignoring the fact that Jacob and I made it through by the grace of God! Ignoring the fact that Jacob was an answered prayer!

My blog header consists of a verse. In moments like this one, I am reminded of why I included Jeremiah 29:11 in my header. God has a hope and future for me! He is not out to harm me or my family! Struggle will forever be an issue in all of our lives. That struggle is what brings us to our knees! It's what makes us appreciate the precious blessings that come after each struggle!

Oh, Father! I would walk through the fire, a million times over for all you've given me! For you, precious Lord, I would walk through the fire a million times over!

I, quite obviously, did not choose to have the shot again after three months. It was a learning experience for me, however. Spiritually, physically, and mentally. I am sorry that I did it, but feel so blessed at what the Lord has revealed to me through this experience.

Father, I ask that your will be done. Continue to create a path for me, despite my fear and hesitation. I will walk that path, happily, knowing that you are guiding and keeping me in your favor. Write my Motherhood story, precious Lord. Write it for me, because I cannot do it without you. I am so thankful for your grace and mercy. For the fact that you love me, despite my many flaws. Thank you, Father. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

The past two mornings, I've been so blessed to catch Focus on the Family on my favorite radio station. On both mornings, they've featured author and speaker Lysa TerKeurst speaking at a Hearts and Home conference. The Lord has blessed her with a wonderful sense of humor (seriously, she must be an owl because she is a HOOT!!!), as well as the ability to speak His Word. Her personal stories will inspire and encourage, laugh and make you cry. I encourage you to pause my music player, down below, and click on these links, The Blessings of Walking in Faith 1 and The Blessings of Walking in Faith 2 to listen to this wonderful speaker...and enjoy His Word! If the links do not take you directly to each broadcating, click on shows. You will find them in the January 18 & 19 slots.

Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. Romans 5:2-5

The sun going down in our part of the world (1/13/12)...the kids and I were so amazed at the beauty our Father had created. I was pleased to see that a bit of our pals had been blessed by this scene that lasted a matter of just fifteen minutes, like we were, and posted similar pictures on facebook.

Relishing in His goodness...


Rightthinker said...

Oh Christy, I'm so thankful for your journey! I know I've been on it, as well...

As much as we don't like it, it sometimes needs to be done for us to truly submit and have faith in our Lord!

I understand where you were, and where you are, and you and I can be on this journey of unknowns and "risky" by societal views steps in the Lord, along with our husbands, OK?

Love you lots dear sister! I am still pregnant (18 weeks) and wake up nightly asking God to please let me feel my baby again, as the fear of my m/c is still ugly and "unfaithful/unthankful" is that? Yet I know He understands...

God Bless you, and MUST have some updated Jacob pictures! He's such a doll!!

Christy said...

I understand those fears as well! I remember posting, even, my worry and doubt and how ashamed I felt for feeling such a way, during my pregnancy with Jacob. It's so, so hard not to worry. We strive to carry these precious little ones, loving them from the moment we learn of their existence. I'm sure that, like me, your loss is forever a fresh wound. And, well, we are human. Fear will forever plague us, no matter how hard we work for it not to.

I am sooooo thrilled to know that you are 18 weeks along, and all is well! I think of you often, and remember you in prayer.

Thank you for being a constant source of encouragement, support, and light!

Love you, my sweet sister!

Mindy said...

I've been thinking about this a lot since I read it. From a science viewpoint, the shot is pretty crappy. I hated it when I was on it. It made me feel emotionally unstable, and I vaguely remember some physical side effects, as well, though I can't recall exactly what they were. If it hadn't messed with my mind and emotions so much, I would probably recall the physical effects more clearly!

From a spiritual standpoint? I have never really thought about BC as a challenge to God's will or my faith. I don't drive without a seat belt, ride a bike without a helmet, avoid healthcare screenings, or take other risks with my health and welfare. I'm not entirely sure that family planning is exactly equivalent to those things, but they are all (in their own ways) about curtailing some kind of risk in one's life. We've never faced health challenges, but we've tread carefully for financial reasons -- especially when we were uninsured. I've also thought of it as a kind of prayer. As with any prayer, He can answer it with a yes or a no. Considering Ava was conceived while I was on the pill, I think my request was denied.

Of course, it's a very personal choice for every individual to make, and this is only my simple human interpretation of it. Nonetheless, please don't beat yourself up because you had a negative experience!

I hope you find ultimate peace, no matter what you decide or what happens. XOXOXO

Christy said...

Divine intervention! You raised an awesome point, Mindy! God can break through any barrier...including birth control! I hadn't thought of that. Thank you for bringing that to my attention!

For me, choosing not to be on birth control has signified my desire to submit to the Lord's will completely. I viewed birth control as an obstacle. A lack of faith, even. If I can't fully submit to the Lord's will by allowing Him to choose the amount of children I am to have, I feel myself lacking in faith. That's my personal belief, however.

Twelve years ago, I thanked God for making me a mother...I never completely gave Him all the credit, however. Like Lysa TerKuerst mentioned (in the broadcast link I provided), God was simply a religion to me. If I prayed and did good deeds, I was a.o.k. I wasn't able to fully grasp the concept of His blessings until Darrell and I began trying to conceive. Together, we were developing a stronger relationship with Christ, after we were married. I became pregnant fairly quickly. Within a year, actually. I lost that baby two months later. My first miscarriage. Through that, I developed a new understanding of Christ's love for us. I went through the typical range of human emotions from that loss, but I really began to understand what it meant to submit to the Lord's will and allow Him to create human life. To fully trust that He was in control, and had hope and a future for me. Being on birth control, getting a tubligation/vasectomy, and aborting a baby each mean for taking control over what should be the Lord's will.

My doctors and specialist continuously advised me to be "fixed". "It'll be easy, since you're having a c-section.". To each I explained my Spiritual views, "No thank you. My husband and I rely on the Lord's will to direct our paths.". One of my doctors laughed at me, after I told her this. I had been admitted to the hospital, the week before Jacob was born for high bp. She said, "Look where He's led you today!". No faith. That doubt created fear that made me, too, have lack of faith in what the Lord's design was for me.

Because I had told my doctor's and specialist, sooo many times, that we were dependant upon the Lord's will for us, I was quite ashamed to ask the doctor about birth control. I knew, that within my own heart, it was because I had so little trust in the Lord. I didn't trust that He was protecting me, nor did I trust that He wouldn't allow any of those circumstances to happen again...and I just didn't feel as though I could take anymore! I forgot that He would guide me every step of the matter the outcome.

And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm. Matthew 8:26

I can honestly say that this verse couldn't be more true. Each time I've had loss, difficulty in pregnancy, issues with neighbors (which, btw, our neighbor apologized today for being a pain! Woot!), financial difficulties, He always, always calms the sea.

So, I've run on and on. Sorry about that! I'd like to add that I, in no way, judge folks who decide to take birth control, or to be "fixed" (what a lame terminology! Fixed from what? haha)! This is 100% my own spiritual journey, and in no way do I expect for others to follow my way of believing. To each his own, my loves! :0)

Thank you, Mindy, so much for your comment! I really appreciate it!