In 2016-2017 I was pregnant with our second child. We were greatly surprised to find out we were expecting again while our eldest (Gabriel) was only 6 months old.
My first pregnancy was hard. I had extreme morning sickness that made me very sick, requiring multiple hospital trips for dehydration. I was always nauseous and throwing up, struggled with my liver, and in general, always felt terrible. Of course on March 15th 2016 when our Gabriel came into the world via c-section, everything was totally worth it.
Six months later, I had that familiar nauseous pit in my stomach and didn't fancy the thought of eating. One morning at about 5am, I got out of bed and took a pregnancy test buried deep in our bathroom cabinet. It was positive.
This pregnancy started out like my first, very sick, and extremely tired (especially having a baby to take care of on top of everything). However things escalated quickly and this pregnancy became dangerous. Our little baby inside me was growing normally and healthily but my body was falling apart. I was too sick to get off the couch most days, let alone care for Gabriel. My husband Adrian was home as much as possible to look after both of us and we really learned about relying on God's provision for us during that season.
Of the many hospital trips I had to make during those 9 months, one stands out. I had just passed the halfway point (20 weeks) and woke up vomiting so hard that blood began to pour out of my mouth. I had to get help right away. Thankfully just up the road, dear friends of ours rushed over to watch Gabriel so my grandparents (who also lived nearby) could drop me off at the hospital.
I felt so bad for my sweet grandparents in their 80's to see me in such a state. I think they were a little traumatized, but I was so grateful they rushed me in and stayed by my side until my husband and mother could get to me. I was quickly assessed and scanned. Baby was fine but I had torn my esophagus and stomach lining, my gallbladder was inflamed and my blood pressure was in the toilet. I was sent to the step down ICU at Grand River Hospital and got hooked up to many machines. It was a horrible few days. I had little rest, couldn't eat and continued to be in pain.
They desperately wanted to scope my digestive track to see the extent of the damage, but being pregnant meant using heavy sedation was off limits. I consented to trying the procedure with minimal sedation in hopes they could get even a small picture of what needed fixing. Funny quirk that runs in my family is that I don't respond to sedation or freezing very well. It takes multiple needles at the dentist to do even one filling and heavy amounts of knock out gas to get me even the slightest bit sleepy. So this time, the doctors planned to shove a long plastic tube down my throat into an injured esophagus while being awake.
My mother got as close as she could to me while the nurses and doctors set up. (Adrian had to leave the unit temporarily and he wasn't allowed back in until the procedure was over). I wanted her right near me to try to talk me through it, but the lead doctor pushed her out of the way. The next thing I knew, I was gagging and crying followed by muffled screams as they shoved and shoved. I heard the doctor shout "Hold her!" so the nurses pinned me down. I couldn't breathe or think or shout. I felt like I was suffocating and then everything went black.
I was only out of it for a few seconds but when I opened my eyes, everyone had backed off. My mom was there, drying my tears and reassuring me that it was over. Her eyes red and puffy as well, comforting me with shaky hands. She later told me, it was the worst thing she had ever experienced as a mother, as she watch them seemingly torture me. I glanced at the clock and couldn't believe that almost an hour had passed, and after all that agony, it had all been for nothing.
Over the next several days, my terrible pain was monitored and I was given medicine to heal my digestive track. I also had bouts of contractions and fevers that were being watched as well. After I was deemed stable enough, I got to go home on bedrest, awaiting the next physical disaster I was unknowingly going to face. I wish I could say this was the climax of troubles during my pregnancy but it was not. This story also doesn't have a warm and fuzzy take away message. The truth is, this event shook me to my core. It was terrifying, painful and traumatizing. I was so grateful to have people visit me and pray with/for me. I knew I was surrounded by loved ones and I knew God hadn't left me, but still I felt so alone.
Sometimes we can look back on difficult circumstances with grace-given hindsight and see what amazing things God was doing in all the madness. This was not one of those times. I look back and see pain. I'm learning that we will not always see God's hand in things on this side of eternity, even though I know He is tirelessly working beyond our limited viewpoint.
God says to praise Him in the good and the bad. I didn't do that then, but I choose to do it now. I choose to cling to the Truth that says "He will never leave us nor forsake us."(Hebrews 13:5) I know Jesus stood beside me every second of that terrible week and I know He did not stand there idle. So I praise Him. I also surrender the pain, trauma and even my resentment up to God, confessing I should have done that ages ago. Instead of pushing this awful event from my memory, I choose to make it a week NOT to forget by writing about it here. Not every story is wrapped up nicely in a bow, at least not from our perspective, but I need the reminder that God never promised "pretty" or "easy" or even to give answers. He promises us that His plan is best, and to trust Him, regardless of circumstances or outcome.
What's a story on your heart that's left you with scars and unanswered questions? What's your dark cloud right now? Sickness? Divorce? Death of a loved one? Battling addictions? There's a saying: "God is good, All the time. And All the time, God is Good." An easy mantra when things are going well, and (though slightly less easy) quotable when you can see the silver lining beyond the black cloud. However, it's when we can't see anything at all, that makes this quote so vital to our lives. It may not be a quoted Bible verse, but it definitely comes from Truth, and something to cling to, especially when there seems to be no evidence to support it.
I don't have all the answers to my questions and my life circumstances are certainly not all wrapped up in platitudes and inspirational testimonies. This is just one piece of the jigsaw puzzle, that is my life and it's a dark one. I'm just thankful one day God will show me the whole story, and I trust that although I don't understand everything now, one day, by His grace, I will.
And it will have all been for my good.
Author - Erin
Follower of Jesus, on a journey to glorify God and to advance His Kingdom while battling Chronic Illness in the everyday life. Diagnoses include Lupus, CVID, POTS, IBS, Hemiplegic Migraines and other Autoimmune conditions.