Tuesday, February 16, 2016

A Birth Story of God's Faithfulness Part 9


In the last post I was describing one of the hardest days Matt and I experienced in the hospital.  That day of the Sigmoidoscopy showed us just how desperately needy we were before the Lord.  As I was rolled back to my room I was experiencing a huge rush of fear and heartache.  I had just heard my GI doctor explaining to another doctor by phone how severe my situation was.  In recovery the nurses tried to reassure me as I lay there crying and explaining that I had seven children at home with one of them being my newborn baby.  I remember the moment when I tried to adjust myself in the bed only to be made painfully aware of how the procedure had caused increased soreness in my abdomen.  I already had pain from the caesarean, but when the probing was done it left me feeling as though I had been cut open again.  I remember this one nurse who tried to encourage me as she wheeled me down the hall and situated me back in my room.  She stood over my bed trying to exhort me to guard my thoughts and trust God.  I so appreciated all that she was saying, but it was one of those moments when I wanted everyone to disappear so that I could be alone with Matt and talk about all that had just happened.  I just felt overwhelmed and like I had to be able to converse with Matt alone.  It was then that one of the best nurses of my whole hospital stay sensed the need Matt and I had to be left alone and thus she cleared out the room for us.  At this point I told Matt of my fears based on what I had heard the doctor saying as I was waking up from the anesthesia.  He also was able to share with me what the doctor told him.  Matt and I cried out to the Lord for His mercies as we did many times during this whole ordeal.  Matt tried to be strong for me, but he was falling apart inside.  In review the doctor told Matt that I was a very sick woman, that my colon had been decimated by the c-diff, and that my body was breaking down on multiple levels.  I had the immune system of an HIV patient.  He was calling for a special IV diet and no food by mouth as he wanted my colon to have a complete rest.  He was also calling for changes in my medicine, and we were going to give it a few days to see if I would improve.  If I did not start improving then he said I would have to have my colon removed or it could burst leading to death.  It was very clear to us both that there was nothing in all the world either of us could do to bring about the outcome we so desired.  This was totally in the Lord's hands.  One of my favorite quotes from Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth has been, "Anything that makes me need God is a blessing." Well, this was something that definitely made us need God.  There was nothing we could do but follow the doctor's plan, pray and wait to see what would happen.
  The next morning a surgeon was sent to my room.  He introduced himself to me explaining that if my colon had to be removed that he would be the one to do the surgery.  He was very nice, but it was hard to talk about this possibility.  I remember breaking down in tears and telling him how I have seven children and asking how I would be able to be the mother I want to be and lead a normal life if my colon were removed.  He tried to encourage me, but honestly his best case scenarios were not too encouraging.  As I was processing this I was wondering if I would ever be able to go to church or leave the house to run errands, etc.   I visited with him two or three times over a few days, and Matt and I let him know we were always happy to see him in my room but that we did not want to meet him in the operating room.  ;)
  Soon after the Sigmoidoscopy I was given the Picc Line that I described in an earlier post.  This was stressful having it inserted but brought much relief for the rest of my hospital stay.  Since it had two ports I could have meds in one port and blood withdrawn with the other.  It was nice to be done with all the needles that I had previously endured.

  At this point we were in the waiting game to see if my body would respond to the medications and the nutrition.  We were so blessed to have massive prayer support.  People were praying from many different churches, states, and I even heard of ladies in Mexico praying for me.  I remember Matt praying with me and reading Scripture and others coming and reading me Scripture and praying.  
  I guess I had previously had this false notion that maybe if I ever had a hospital stay it would be a time of rest and maybe reading.  When I look back at those days it seems that all I did was a cycle of taking medicine, blood tests, ultrasounds, cat scans, X-rays, talk to doctors, etc.  I don't know where the days went.  I was too weak to even want to read or be on the computer. 
  One morning a man came in my room early in the morning with an ultrasound machine.  It was a rude awakening to the day and hard to endure.  He was pressing hard on my abdomen and really hurting me.  Right after a caesarean is not a grand time to have an ultrasound in this area.  I did not know it at the time, but my infectious disease doctor had seen something on my liver and was having it checked out.  My memory of that ultrasound is just being in so much pain and feeling like I couldn't take it.  
  Following that another infectious disease doctor brought up the fact that this other doctor had a concern about liver cancer.  She said she was not concerned.  I could not understand why one doctor was and the other was not.  I remember the morning when the doctor who was concerned came into my room and discussed the matter with me.  At this point I was not only concerned about c-diff and whether I would keep my colon, but now all of that was overshadowed by the fear of liver cancer.  This infections disease doctor rattled on about the possibility of cancer like it was no big deal.  He said we would get it checked out later after I was discharged from the hospital.  I told him that I had just had my seventh child and that I did not need to carry this concern home with me.  I asked him if he could please schedule an MRI for me that day.  I waited all.day.long hoping a nurse would come and get me for an MRI, but that did not happen until bedtime.  Just as I was ready to wind down the day a nurse came for me and wheeled me to radiation.  I had previously had an MRI, so it was not totally new territory for me but I felt so claustrophobic.  I was really trying with all of my might to cooperate and be totally still, but even breathing made the pictures fuzzy.  I prayed for help, but when the MRI was over the lady taking the images said that they were fuzzy.  I just prayed for the Lord's mercies and for a good report.  The Lord answered that prayer as I received the joyful news the very next morning that the spot on my liver was not cancer.  This was a HUGE relief to me.
  As the days progressed my body began responding to the c-diff medication and I began stabilizing some.  When I was finally able to eat something again I was first given clear liquids, then full liquids, and then a heart healthy diet.  Being able to eat again was so refreshing, but once I was put on a heart healthy diet I was in a conundrum.  I would call the kitchen and ask for something like a potato, and it would be refused because of the salt content.  The things I thought would be gentle on my stomach were being refused because the doctor had ordered a heart healthy diet.  I asked what I could eat and one thing suggested was a hamburger.  I am still baffled over that.  Everyone knows beef if hard to digest, so why could I eat the hard to digest food but not a soft potato???  Sometimes things like that get so mixed up in the hospital.  Due to this confusion I continued to be mostly on the liquid diet until I was released.  When I got home I had to be very careful with what I ate as my stomach was still very sick and needed time to heal.  

  I began walking around the hospital with my IV pole just to rebuild strength.  It is amazing how fast your muscles begin to atrophy when you are laying around for weeks.  I was very weak, so the slow walking in the hallway was needed for me to regain strength.  
  My children sent me many "I Love You" pictures while I was in the hospital.  Matt would arrive in the morning and often had another card for me.  He would hang them on my wall, and some of the cards moved from room to room with me.  These cards would sometimes make me cry as I missed my children so badly.  Matt would also send me pictures or videos that made me long to be back home with my family.  

    Towards the end of my stay I became very antsy to get home to my family.  The day that I was discharged I waited into the afternoon for the doctor who would give the yes or no to my home going home that day.  When she finally walked in and said she would discharge me I was so happy!  Her main concern was that I would walk back into my house and resume my normal activities too soon.  She said I had to find help and that I needed to expect that a full recovery could take months.  There was also a real concern about a relapse of c-diff which is very common.  I agreed to follow doctor's orders and take it easy at home.  I could not get out of there fast enough.  I was going home to my family and to hold my Ella Ruth again!!! 
I remember how everything outside looked so much more beautiful than what I normally take the time to notice.  After being in the hospital for so long I saw beauty in everything around me.  

By God's grace I was on my way home, and the tears fell as I walked into my house where my friend Dianne handed me my little infant daughter and I was finally surrounded by my family once again.  

"Through many dangers, toils and snares
I have already come;
Tis Grace that brought me safe thus far
and Grace will lead  me home." - John Newton


  1. I was glad to find the rest of your story on the Wise Woman linkup...again I want to say how amazing it is to read through your posts & your husband's comments. I think sometimes, the Lord simply gives us amazing stories with good endings. I find myself telling parts of my radical story (helping a depressed & suicidal son) to complete strangers & sometimes (like the book of Esther) I say nothing specifically about the Lord, but as I tell how good it is turning out for my family, it is obvious to me how powerful the simple concept of good triumphing over evil really is. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for giving God the glory, but those words do not have to be spoken necessarily. and He still plainly gets the glory! Sort of an odd ramble from me....I am delighted to read your story & I love how you acknowledge God and His faithfulness. Thanks for sharing this! Love & prayers, in Jesus, Cynthia

  2. Thank you again, Cynthia, for your encouragement. One thing this whole ordeal made clear in my mind is that there is no problem too big for our Lord. How wonderful to hear that the Lord is doing great and mighty things in your life as well. May the Lord give you tailor made grace for each day.

  3. This is beautiful, Ruth, and most certainly how even in the midst of the fear and pain the Lord never left your side. I love seeing these pictures in your blog post and am even more amazed at how far the Lord has brought you today :) So grateful to our great God!

    1. Thank you, Kim! Sometimes I just have to stop and thank the Lord for the life He has restored to me......and ask Him to help me steward it well.