While its true that I have been seeking the cause of my health challenges for a long time, it is also true that I have known for most of that time where the true cause lies. Having tried many self help holistic approaches, as well as natural, and not-so-natural remedies to alleviate or at least slow down the progression of disease in my body for years, I have always known that failure was ultimately imminent, and my health in this body would always be elusive.
I knew this because of several factors. The first was the fact that I have never known complete health, even from childhood. I have always been “reactive” and “sensitive” to certain stimuli that goes unnoticed by most. I was prone to sickness and moments of “spacing out” as a child, and especially as a hormonal teen, which was written off as anxiety. This was not a diagnosis I scoffed at, as my body has forever been in an alert state. Finding remedies for that, however, proved pointless. All attempts to medicate this have been a trial in survival, and I do mean suicidal as well as anaphylaxis. I react to medicine as one would to illegal drugs produced by back alley addicts.
When I found having babies to be difficult, I did pray and seek God’s favor, for being a mother was truly all I wanted to be. Ever. He did bless me with not only one, but three beautiful healthy daughters. Most of their birth stories I have written about and also spoken about in great detail, but what I rarely mention is the effect the pregnancies had on me, on my body.
The Lord did not give me a child until I was 23, and that was after I begged for years. That pregnancy proved to be quite dangerous, as this sensitive body that reacted to everything, decided the baby was an invader and began to terminate the pregnancy, along with my own life. By the time they delivered Kayla at 27 weeks, I had severe Preeclampsia and HELLP syndrome, which meant by all accounts, we were dying that night. It took 10 days to get my body out of reactive mode into stable condition, and then 6 months to heal enough to look anywhere near normal again.
The second pregnancy was much easier, at first. I had reached a good balance with my body, and was feeling quite healthy. But by the 30th week, I began to show signs of early preeclampsia, and during that visit, Jessica’s heart condition was discovered. The only treatment for her to survive until birth, was for me to be placed on large doses(lethal by the pharmacist’s standards) of heart medication in hopes that she would not have heart failure before she could reach age of good viability. She was delivered at 36 weeks, and that was the best recovery I had ever had from surgery.
But I herniated my first disc, and the doctors discovered that my spine was in very bad shape. I would forever require surgery to repair what would surely be one disc after another herniating. I had the first spine surgery less than a year after her birth. and my Neurosurgeon told me to never have babies again.
It was during this time in our lives when Jay and I began feeling The Lord’s leading in how we were planning our own future. We began to study the different forms of birth control, and the reasons for them, and although there is much debate and explaining away of the issue, we were convinced and convicted that any method of birth control, outside of timing (rhythm method), would be saying to The God we promised to serve, NO. Every form of internal birth control stops the development of a life that could have begun at different stages. For The Pill, it makes the uterus uninhabitable for the fertilized egg (the baby.) For the IUD, it blocks the fertilized egg (the baby) from getting to the nourishment of the uterus. There are other methods that we could have used, but we felt that saying No to God was where we personally had to draw the line.
“Has not the one God made you? You belong to him in body and spirit. And what does the one God seek? Godly offspring. So be on your guard, and do not be unfaithful to the wife of your youth.” Malachi 2:15
Baby number three was not a surprise then, and neither was the health challenges that came along swiftly. It would be nice to say “God honored our sacrifice and gave us a healthy pregnancy” but then where would the sacrifice be in that? Makenzie was born at 35 weeks in the most dangerous surgery of all, which forever rendered our baby carrying days over. I required a hysterectomy in that birth, and I don’t mind telling you that we were both very glad about that. God had said “Three’s Enough.”
There was the “follow up” spinal fusion surgery required a year after her birth, but we hoped life and health would soon get back to normal, now that we were no longer taking any “chances.”
Funny thing about “normal” is it never seems to look like what you thought it would.
“Normal” since the birth of our blessings(and I mean that) has been one mysterious illness after another, sometimes completely debilitating, others “You wouldn’t believe me if I told you.” While many symptoms point to one disease classification or another, they all have common threads about them. Inflammation. Auto Immune in nature.
Kinda like Preeclampsia…
So, while I seek to live as well as I possibly can on any given day, I know deep in my heart a truth. What little bit of “health” I had, I gave it away, and I am okay with that. I prayed that God would give me the desires of my heart, to be a mother, and He granted that request knowing what it would cost me. I am so thankful for my girls I would do it over and over again.
In this age where life is devalued and children are only a blessing if we get to number them or design the timing of their birth, I do not feel like a martyr. But I do cry when I see the effects of our choices on our society and our girls who are told to be anything first, and maybe then a mother. I saw it when people pitied my girl who was having her first at “only” 22. I do not mean for this to be a sermon for those who are otherwise convicted. I only mean to answer the question I get the most out of concerned hearts, “Have they found out what’s wrong with you?”
I know what’s wrong with me. Jay and I chose to give life, and in that, one must be emptied, poured out. We had no idea of the sacrifices it would take for our future. Its possible we would have made different choices if we had. So, we are both thankful that The Lord took us at our word, and that He promised to see us through this time in our lives when the way is not so clear.
The Lord brings this Truth to mind to comfort and sustain me:
Luke 9:23-25 “And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would Save his life will lose it, but whoever Loses his life for MY sake will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?”
“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20