Wednesday, February 3, 2016

A Birth Story of God's Faithfulness Part Seven

  I was thinking that it is often true that the first child in a family receives the most in the way of baby books and things of that nature, and the subsequent children do not get nearly as much done for them.    In the case of Ella Ruth, however, she is the only baby I have birthed who is getting a whole series of blog posts written about her.  :)  Actually this is not about me or Ella Ruth, but my desire for this series is to shine the spotlight on the faithfulness of the Lord to our family during a time of crisis.  As I write these accounts I am praying that I will record just the write things that will fortify the faith of those reading.

In way of review, in the last post I was telling how Matt took me to the ER due to the severe swelling in my feet and legs.  When the nurses called me back to check my vitals my blood pressure was around 50/85, and my heart rate was around 140 bpm.  After that I was taken to a room in the ER and an ultrasound was done to rule out blood clots in my legs.  The good news was that I did not have blood clots, but the bad news was that I was being readmitted and Matt had to take Ella Ruth back home.  I tried to nurse her before she left and then Matt took her home.

The next nine days are some what of a blur in my mind.  I remember the suffering, the fear, and the pain, but remembering the details of each day chronologically is hard.  It feels like it was an endless cycle of diarrhea, tests, pain, weakness, doctor visits, fever, blood transfusions, moving from room to room, being starved, various scans, scary moments and severe heartbreak over being away from my family and my new baby.

Even as I cycled through those hardships day after day I also cycled through the great mercies of God on a daily basis.

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;

    his mercies never come to an end;

they are new every morning;


 great is your faithfulness. -Lamentations 3:22-23

  The Lord was with me in my sufferings moment by moment.   I have shared how my playlist of hymns and sacred music was an ongoing friend to me throughout my stay and even during recovery after I returned home.

  I was also blessed by so many encouraging texts and Facebook messages from friends and from my husband coming to the hospital and reading Scripture to me and of course praying with me.  Also, I was getting reports of all people were doing on the home front to step in and bring food and to watch our children.  One couple from our church came over just to pray with our children.  All of these people drove long distances since we are so far out in the country.  One day I would hear about groceries being delivered, and another day I would hear about a Go Fund Me Account collecting money to help pay our bills.  I would hear about all the many people cycling through a rotation to watch our children and so many other amazing things people did for us.  It is so humbling to think about all the love and support that was poured out on us.  Here are pictures of some of the people who came to visit me, who prayed with me and read Scripture to me.  Below is my sweet friend Sarah who prayed, cried, shared her nanny with our family, brought food and groceries and more.  She is one of the sweet, godly christian sisters the Lord has blessed me to enjoy fellowship with.

  There were many points of suffering during those days that really put ordinary life struggles into perspective.  I remember thinking again and again how that my most stressful and frustrating days at home are glorious compared to the suffering and uncertainty I was walking through.  All I wanted at that point was to resume my normal life and to relish the simple ordinary joys of life.  I remember thinking about life outside of the hospital.  Right outside my window was a busy freeway with cars zooming by, people rushing here and there and being caught up in the rat race life often is.  Surrounding the hospital are shopping areas and a mall, and I just thought of all the times I have been racing around with the rest of the busy crowd and not appreciating my health or the day the Lord had given me.  I thought of all the hustle and bustle going on right out side my window while I lay there penned down by cords, machines, and a body that was too weak, sick and in in too much pain to even sit up without a huge struggle.  It struck me how much we often take for granted when we are strong and healthy, and it also struck me how fragile our bodies are and how easily our health can fail us.  We truly are in our Master's hands, and every breath is a gift from Him.  Something like this really brings home the reality of how desperately needy we are before our Creator who sustains us and supplies our next breath.   
  One area of suffering I cannot forget is being starved at different times during my hospital stay.  There were times when my food was taken away and I was only allowed liquids or nothing at all.  Sometimes I could not even have water.  At one point the doctor wanted to have a nutritional IV made especially for me.  It took time to prepare that specially formulated IV, and I was left starving for a long time.  I had never experienced that kind of hunger, and it became maddening.  I had a hard time focusing on anything but my desire to eat.  This gives me a new compassion for the starving people in the world.  Here is a picture of me receiving a liquid diet after that long fast.  Broth had never tasted so delicious in all my life!  

In recounting the details of these days in the hospital it is not my desire just to state how hard it was but rather to share the struggles we faced and how the Lord met us in our despair and carried us through.  Additionally I want to share what the Lord was impressing upon my heart through these experiences.  

During these days I had no shortage of needles and medicine.  I have good veins and usually have no problem with having my blood drawn, but due to the frequency of the blood draws my veins began caving in and not cooperating.  A nurse would try to draw my blood and fail and then call for someone else to come try.  During those times I would pray quietly that the Lord would please let it work.  I became bruised from the needles, and this became just one more stress.  There was also an interesting kind of shot that was given in my belly.  That was a first for me, and I was not thrilled with it.  This shot was to prevent blood clots.  Sometimes it had a real sting and other times it wasn't too bad.  Along with all the needles there was medicine coming every few hours, and some of it was not to my liking.  One was in a drink form and tasted like I was swallowing chalk.  The worst was the protein powder I was asked to drink. It was a horrible tasting substance that was very clumpy in liquid.  I felt like I was swallowing cat food.  It just had this awful smell and texture, and I admit that by the end of my stay I wasn't always drinking that powder.  I just couldn't.  Back to the needles........I was eventually given a PICC Line (Peripherally Inserted Central Catheter) in my arm which was hard to insert but gave me so much relief once it was in.  The man who was called to insert the PICC Line was a big guy.....think biker type.  His size and mannerisms were a bit scary to be honest.  He came to my room and explained what he was going to do and that it would be a cinch and we would be done.  Unfortunately it was not an easy process and I was distressed.  I could taste this saline taste as he ran this tube up close to my heart, and it was not a comforting sensation. Once it was in it was great, because it had two ports so that I could have medicine given through one and blood drawn through the other.  It really offered me much relief in the end.  I'm sure I prayed through most shots and needles, and Jesus was right there with me.  As Hebrews 13:6 says, "The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?"  To be continued..............

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