The Goal Is Heaven

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I have a specific sin struggle. It is a daily battle to not entertain the sin I struggle with. I have boundaries set up so I don’t play with it. There are things I can not do to make sure I do not give sin an opportunity.  Things have been going pretty well for the past two years. I had some falls in that time but, for the most part, I would say I was on the upswing…until recently.

I fell.  I fell down. Hard. I was lower than I had ever been. I had entertained sin in a way that I had not done before. The guilt I felt was tremendous. I asked the Lord to forgive me but still felt dirty. I kept apologizing to Him. I stayed (in my minds eye) in sackcloth and ashes. I knew I was forgiven yet, I needed a touch from Him to know that I was okay.

I kept waiting for the spanking, the punishment, the reprimand. I was praying but I didn’t know what to say execept for how sorry I was and that I knew I knew better. I had my quiet time that evening. No lightening strike.  I was desperate, needy, for a touch from the Lord.  I didn’t care if it was a scolding or love.  I needed to know He was still there and that He still cared.  I longed so to hear from him, any interaction would do for me. The next morning, I had my quiet time. (My quiet time consists of reading a few devotionals and 1 chapter of scripture a day). The first devotional I read was dew on dusty ground. I still have trouble describing the experience.  He wasn’t angry; He understood.  There was no scolding; only love. No spanking but a loving hand to hold me close with.

I did not received what I expected (which is the definition of mercy). He told me to keep my focus on heaven for that is the goal. What I struggle with is real.  The lack of remedy for it is real. But those things are smoke screens to what is important.

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God’s Mercy Part 4

I’m still excited.  Yes, I battled moments where I was overwhelmed, sad, and cried in spurts. I made it through the weekend and enjoyed all the events we RSVP to attend.  I even made it through the Catherine-less needle prick. I was ready to see my babies.

I remember the OB said that if it did turn out to be ectopic, my tube did not have to be removed.  She said they could give me medicine.  In my mind, that meant that there was hope for this pregnancy either way.  Either, last week was too early to see or they were going to give me medicine to get the baby in the right place.

I’m on the sono table and this time I look directly at the screen expectantly.

“I still don’t see anything,” the sono tech Trish says.

“Ok,” I say. Now, I’m sad.  Now, I am trying to hold back tears and think about the logistics at hand.  What’s next, what does this mean, etc.  Those thoughts and questions keep me from sliding into an emotional abyss.  I needed to hear and comprehend right then. I could cry later.

The doctor said it was as she feared Friday.  The could-be-cyst-could-be-ectopic in my tube was clearly ectopic now. It had grown in the past four days but the doctor said the blood test confirmed that my hCG counts did not reflect a viable pregnancy.

Even in that sad moment, God’s mercy was clearly evident and I felt it completely.

I saw an empty circle in my tube.  No body, no “leftovers”, no fetal pole, nothing.  What a blessing!  To me, I had a miscarriage and ectopic at the same time.  In hindsight, I probably miscarried in my fifth week when I was having what felt like ovulation pain.  It took a sono to see that the pregnancy did not implant in the properly in the first place.

I am showered in God’s mercy because I do not have ingrained in my mind a picture of a viable baby growing in the wrong spot.  I do not have to process the pain of having to take medication that will kill of my baby.  Instead of surgery, which used to be the only way to treat an ectopic pregnancy, they first try medication.  Remember when I said I thought the “medication” was helpful? Yeah. I was wrong.  It is “helpful” but not in the way I thought.  I thought the medication was really something like saline and it would flush my tube, floating the baby down to my uterus so it would implant properly.  LOL Go ‘head and laugh.  I had to laugh right there in the doctor’s office while we were waiting for the paperwork to get the shot (yet another needle)  The medication, methotrexate, stops cellular reproduction. If I had seen a baby on that screen, if I had seen life on that screen, if I had seen my precious baby boy on that screen, I don’t know how I would have even begun to process being administered a shot to kill him.  He would have died either way but to live life knowing that the mediation I received was slowly killing him while I went about (or attempted) to go about my daily life….  I can’t even finish that thought.  It’s too unbearable.

God once again, through this hard time, showered his wonderous mercy on us!

God’s Mercy Part 3

Catherine lied.

I show up bright and chipper Monday morning with Jazmine in tow to get my blood drawn. I bought Jazmine because she hates needles too and getting her routine shots and blood drawn are traumatic for all of us.

I was confident that Jazmine would handle her shots better after seeing how Mommy handles it especially since she knows how much I hate needles too. I arrive and sign in.

I only see one phelbotomist. There are four other people in the waiting room.  I have to get my blood drawn that day so leaving is not an option. I kept looking around, trying to peak in the back to see Catherine.   I didn’t see her or hear another person back there.

My name was called.  I check in with my insurance card and ID. I ask for Catherine.  The phelbotimost tells me that Catherine is out all week.

WHAT!!!

I couldn’t freak out.  Jazmine was with me.  I had to put on a good front for her.  So, I immediately gave myself a self talk aloud.  It went something like, “It’s going to hurt and then it’s over.  It’s a prick and then its done.  It will be finished before you know it.”  It was good for Jazmine to hear that.  I felt like a punk at the time because I saw it all going so differently in my mind.

We get in the back. I tell Jazmine to watch and that Mommy will be okay. Jazmine said, “NO MOMMY!  I don’t want to see you get shot.  I don’t want you to get hurt.”  Snot. This is NOT how I wanted this to go down.

I tell Jazmine to turn her head away and not to look and assure her that Mommy will be just fine; that it’s a prick and then it’s over.  I tell the phelbotomist that I was just there Friday and had my blood drawn.  I told her which arm the and where on my arm the blood was taken so she could avoid it or use it, whatever was protocol.  She stuck me in the same place.  OUCH!!!!!!

Gotdogit that mess hurt! It stung and I told her as much.  She had a hint of concern in her voice as she repeated my statement as a question.  I assured her it stung.  Jazmine did not like that I said ouch and that her Mommy was in pain.  It is then I realize how terrible and idea it wast to bring her.

Soon it was over.  The needle was removed and a bandage in its place.  My arm hurt like the dickens and I bruised.  I never bruise. It hurt so bad I iced it to help ease the soreness and stiffness in my arm.

But even in Catherine’s absence, God was merciful.  Because Jaz was with me, I did not freak out.  I handled the pain with a clear focus on calming my daughter. Jaz was able to see Mommy endure something I did not enjoy and tell her that she is not the only one who has to get shots.

My job was done.  In less than 24hrs, I would be back on the sono table looking to see my bab(ies). 🙂

God’s Mercy Part 2

“I don’t see anything in your uterus,” the sonogram technician said.

“Ok,” I said.

I felt so stupid.  Right then and there I felt incredibly dumb.  How could there be nothing in my uterus?  I had  not had a period since April 2! I peed on the stick and it had a plus sign! How could there be nothing in my uterus? My breasts were sore, I peed a lot, and I gained weight so that my clothes stopped feeling comfortable at 7 weeks!  I just knew I was carrying twins!  Granted, a sister has been eating but still! I was pregnant! So why my uterus empty? How can my uterus be empty?

I couldn’t figure out what I had gotten wrong. Was it all in my mind? I went back and checked the stick when we got home to verify that I indeed did see a positive sign.

The doctor came into the sono room and gave me the rundown and the plan of action.  To condense what she said, basically, one of two things had happened. 1. I miscalculated my weeks and ovulated later than I thought and I am too early in my pregnancy to see anything on the sono at this point. 2. Either a cyst or an ectopic pregnancy is in my left tube. I was sent to get blood work that same day and she would compare it to blood work I was to get four days from then.

I broke down in the elevator (albeit momentarily.  I had to get a needle prick and that required my immediate attention.) I didn’t understand. I still felt stupid.  Had I known nothing was in my uterus I would not have made an appointment.  I would expect my period to come when it was ready and gone back to living my normal life free of monitoring everything I do for the sake of my womb passenger.

I hate needles. I was so nervous about getting my blood drawn that I wasn’t dwelling on why I was getting it drawn in the first place. I was so worked up. I told the phelbotomist that I was a crier.  She said,”No. No one cries with Catherine.” I was sympathetic to the pride she took in her craft and did not shed a pre-prick tear but I really really wanted too because I was still scared to death!

I squeezed my hand closed and alternately opened it as instructed. I kept my head turned the opposite way.  I felt her wipe my arm with alcohol.  My heart was pumping like a horse. I was shaking on the inside.  Then I heard the pop of the collection tube. I exclaimed, “You did it already?”  I knew you only heard that sound after the needle was in. Catherine said, “Yes.” I had such a whoosh of relief!  I can’t even explain to you how relieved I was. I praised God aloud right then. That was the best needle prick EVER!  I told her so too and I wrote a glowing review of Catherine on the websites survey.  I also asked her if she was working Monday because I had to come back to get more blood drawn.  She said she would be there.

I truly walked in God’s mercy that day and I knew it as soon as I heard the vial pop.

God’s Mercy Part 1

This is (at least) a four-part series. If you know me personally, and this blog is the first time you are hearing of this, please refrain from asking me questions.  Please let the posts tell the story. Thank you for respecting and honoring my request.

Tuesday, April 20, 2013.  I peed on the stick and I got a faint positive.  I was pregnant!  I wanted to shout it from the rooftop!  I wanted to post it on Facebook!  I wanted to tell all of you!  I am pregnant!

I was ecstatic.

I waited a few days to tell my husband because I couldn’t think of a special way that I wanted to tell him. After searching the web for ideas, I settled on taking a picture of my pregnancy test with his cell phone and setting the picture as his screen saver and wallpaper.  He was excited.

The only other people I told were two of my close friends with whom I had shared that we had been trying to conceive since December 2013. They both were overjoyed with me!

I was four weeks along.

The following week, I experienced what felt like ovulation pain; the kind of pain that if I was not pregnant, I would have taken Motrin for.  At six weeks, I experienced minor twinging, all of which is felt to be normal, according to all the baby community chats I read anyway 🙂

From five weeks until nine weeks, I experienced constant spotting.  At five weeks and five days, we told our parents.  I felt it necessary to solicit their prayers for me and the baby because some spotting, although considered normal to some extent, was new for me because I did not experience that with Jazmine.

I waited until I was 7 weeks along before I called to make an appointment with my midwife.  I know me.  I would have been anxious the whole time from the moment I picked up the phone to make the appointment until I was laying on the table for the sonogram. Because I knew this about myself, I tried to lessen that time by calling later instead of earlier.  Besides, my OB office prefers to see you at 8 weeks and I can usually be seen within the week I call for a normal appointment anyway.

The first available appointment came when I would be 9 weeks so I had to wait an agonizing 1.5 weeks!  I tried to keep my mind occupied but all I could think about was seeing my baby(s) on the sono screen (I told you I wanted twin boys right?)

Five days before my scheduled appointment, my spotting, though same in amount, changed to period blood red in color. I got scared.  I believed in faith all night that my babies would be all right. I choose to trust God, walked in wisdom, and decided to call the doctor first thing in the morning.

The receptionist gave me an appointment 90 minutes from the time I called.

I was so excited because I know, by hook or by crook, I was going to see a picture of my baby that day!

My husband came with me.  The first part of the initial pre-natal appointment at my OB’s office is a sonogram.  I was undressed from the waist down and ready.  The sonogram began.

I did not look at the screen.  I was waiting to hear the sono tech say “and there’s your baby” or something to that effect.

She did not say that.  Actually, she was quite for  a long moment.  Then she said, “I don’t see anything in your uterus.”