Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Seeing in the Dark

"Sometimes a devoted Christ follower is presented as one who jumps immediately from tragedy into a melodic 'God is good!' Powerful words indeed, but in most cases they must be spoken from the other side of pain. When the darkness forces us to the deepest recesses of our souls, it is there that we are able to decide if God is good."

Seeing in the Dark - Nancy Ortberg

When I was 8 weeks pregnant, laying in the hospital bed with severe Hyperemesis Gravidarum & 40% of the capillary bed in my right lung covered in clots, I knew God was with me, working in all things...

...but as I lay there, day after day, unable to eat, unable to even tolerate the lights being on in the room, I couldn't sing melodiously of God's goodness.  And I felt guilty.  I felt that if I were a stronger Christian, I wouldn't complain or grumble.

But in those dark days, I felt God's goodness.  And now I can point to those horrific weeks/months and sing/dance/shout/praise because of God's faithfulness.  He never left my side.  He saw me through.  He answered my prayers.  He healed me.

After two early miscarriages, I wondered if it was in God's plan for us to have more kids.  I asked God for this baby.  I begged, cried, and pleaded for this pregnancy. And even while in the hospital I remember thinking, this is worth it.  This is what I asked for! God heard me. He is good.

I knew He was good in the depths of my illness, but I knew the joy of that goodness on "the other side" of that pain.

My doctor recently told me that I was the most sick patient she has probably ever had.  And while I wouldn't want to go through this all again, I 100% look back and say - Yes! You are worth it! My sweet child, you are worth all of it.

A few examples of God's work during our journey:
  • Being Alive - Pulmonary Embolism is a leading cause of death in pregnant women.  Many times there are no symptoms, and can cause immediate death.
  • Fully Saturated Oxygen Levels - My right lung partially collapsed, which left me feeling like I could only take about 20% of a normal breath. The nurses kept checking my blood oxygen levels and seemed baffled that I was fully saturated, when it was apparent I was having so much trouble breathing. (They gave me an oxygen tube anyway).
  • No Hypertension - Because of the severity of the blood clots, the doctors did an EKG and an echocardiogram since they expected it to be putting a strain on my heart.  They seemed quite surprised that my heart was doing fine.
  • Excellent Care
    • The ER doctor and nurse were both very competent and once I made it through triage and into a room, they were fairly quick at figuring out what the problem was.  
    • God also worked it out that an incredible lung doctor was beginning his 7 day shift that day, so I was under his continuous care for most of my hospital stay.  
    • The other 'divine arrangement' was my OBGYN arriving at my ER room during the brief window of time that the pulmonary doctor was in talking to us.  The two doctors were able to consult right there on the spot to choose medications that were both effective and safe for me and the baby.  I am still blown away by this one in a million chance meeting that God worked out, just for me. 
    • My OBGYN has been so supportive during this entire ordeal, but particularly regarding my HG.  My last doctor would never diagnose me with hyperemesis, and was extremely hesitant to give me any medication to help with the extreme nausea.  My current doctor worked with me, trying 7 medications (starting with the most mild) before we found exactly what worked for me.  She has believe me and supported me the whole time. It has been an incredibly different experience.
  • End in Sight!
    • God has already healed me from my hyperemesis.  I will continue to take nausea medication for most (if not all) of my pregnancy.  But one dose a day keeps the nausea at bay 95% of the time.
    • Pulmonary Embolisms can sometimes be hereditary, and cause an ongoing condition know as Chronic Thromboembolic Pulmonary Hypertension (CTEPH).  My pulmonary doctors believe that my clots were caused by inactivity (caused by the hyperemesis) and pregnancy.  Since I do not have a family history of PE and I never had hypertension, even before the clots were treated, my doctors do not expect me to have CTEPH, but I will be tested after the baby is born to make sure.  
    • I am on a daily shot of blood thinner that should clear up the blood clots over the next several months.

I have had countless people praying for me, from many different states.  My church even held a special prayer vigil for me when I was in ICU.  A woman described me on Sunday as a "walking miracle" and I have to say I agree with her.

God is so good.

1 comment:

Karen said...

God is sooo good!! We love you so much sweet Julie, so thankful you are feeling better and able to see all the good in this horrible situation. You are always such an inspiration to your big sister. Can't wait to meet that little miracle baby :)