Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Down the Long Dusty Road

I have two heavy subjects rattling around in my brain and will take today to share one. Since my “baby girl” turned 4 this week, it seems fitting to reflect on how she came into this world. She was planned. Intricately planned in every detail. Around the holidays in 2002 I cut out caffeine. I started on Weight Watchers. That Christmas I sang about Mary and her pregnancy and the virgin birth. I prayed to be connected, in a small way, to Mary and all other mothers out there and to be given the gift of being able to have a child.

During the “two week wait” I was infinitely good – no caffeine, no alcohol, ate right, exercised, everything. In May, I hit my Weight Watchers goal. I was skinny and allowed my husband to take pictures of me in a bathing suit. A week later we found out I was pregnant.

Immediately after the two lines turned blue, we hit the floor and prayed. The pregnancy went smoothly. Very few, and only minor, problems. I was happy and overjoyed. I prayed all the time, read my Bible multiple times a day. My husband and I would gather in the soon-to-be nursery and read out loud while I rocked in the chair. We would read our Bible, tell stories, read about what was happening inside of me. We read every book, planned every detail and were happy and joined together in a common goal – to have a healthy child.

Betrayal and shame are two “key” words in abuse. You find them in every book on the subject that has been published. Abuse victims often suffer with eating disorders, self-injury, poor self-image and other body-related issues. I know I did. I have a very poor body image. My body is just a vehicle I travel around in. I don’t like it. My body betrayed me during the abuse. Self-injury became a way to “cut out” that bad part.

During pregnancy, I began to see my body differently. It had a purpose and a plan. My body did what it was designed to do. It reacted the way it was “supposed to” react. Pregnancy brings on a whole host of body-related symptoms, but they didn’t worry me or seem strange. Because what happened to me was part of the pregnancy plan.

I was a much different person while pregnant. I was relaxed. I was joyful and optimistic. I giggled and smiled. I prayed. I felt connected to my body, the baby, my husband and God. My friends commented on how serene I appeared.

When my daughter was 6 months old, I needed to be put on anti-depressants. Those serene, peaceful feelings didn’t last far beyond pregnancy. When my daughter was a little less than 2, I noticed that I was not happy, was disconnected, didn’t like my body and was just not doing well all around. My husband and I have always wanted 2-3 children and so we began thinking about another one. I became convinced that pregnancy would give me back what I was missing. I wanted the serenity and connectedness I had experienced while pregnant.

God has different plans than us sometimes. We didn’t get pregnant in 4 months like we had before. Actually we tried for a year and nothing. Around the same time, we began to have issues in our marriage. We started marital counseling. I started with the resurfacing of panic attacks and into individual counseling and started dealing with the abuse issues. And so, here I am years later. Having worked through a whole host of body issues, including self-injury.

This time the pregnancy was not planned. Actually it was a huge surprise. In the 5 weeks before the “two blue lines,” I attended a few holiday parties and at some had a glass of wine. I took antibiotics and pain medication. I took lots of other medication. I ate way too much junk food, drank a ton of coffee, and am 32 pounds heavier than I was when I got pregnant with my daughter. We just moved into a new house, stretching our budget. We paid off our two vehicles, which is a great feeling, except that neither will accommodate two car seats. We were gearing up for only one more year of daycare, and now will have two in daycare next year. Our medical insurance just changed and this pregnancy will cost triple what the last one did. My husband and I’s marriage is not serene and wonderful – we’ve been struggling.

This was not in the plans. This was not how I, the control freak, plan everything out to the last detail, need to have it all lined up in advance, wanted to do this. It’s okay though. I’m happy – overjoyed really – to be pregnant. I can see the advantages in spontaneity. But I’m scared. Because this time I feel out of control. I feel overwhelmed. I have no idea of the answers to all these questions. My body is not reacting perfectly this time. It’s causing me great worry. This is not a textbook pregnancy. There are complications and issues.

Pregnancy hasn’t answered all my “issues.” I’m more disconnected from my husband. We both handle stress and worry differently and have gone to our own corners to deal. I’m not doing my Bible study. When I started bleeding, I got mad at God. My husband and I both discussed how it wasn’t “fair” to find out we were pregnant at 10:30 am and start having fears of losing the baby at 7 pm. We would have preferred not to know at all. My husband called it “cruel and unusual punishment” and then he told me a short time later that he felt at peace with whatever happened. My husband is over his anger. I’m not. I’m distancing myself from God. I know I’m doing it and I know why. Because if this ultrasound on Thursday (or later) reveals a miscarriage, I’m going to be pissed. I’m going to feel as if my prayers were ignored and I’m going to feel betrayed by God, my body and everything. Maybe those aren’t rational thoughts or feelings, but they are mine. I don’t want to have that closeness to God and then be “stabbed in the back” – especially by a Father figure. (I do hope that God understands this, and will be patient with me).

Pregnancy sure hasn’t helped the body issues. I don’t like starting out pregnancy this overweight. I’ve struggled off and on with weight issues and gaining weight on top of being overweight is going to be difficult for me. I wonder when the first medical professional will notice my legs and the scars and ask. I wonder how I’m going to deal with triggering things like doctors and dentists and orthodontists, without anxiety meds. Coming off this medicine has done weird things to my body and I feel “out of body” and disconnected a lot.

I don’t know what the next days, weeks, months hold. I know I’ve got a long road ahead of me. I just hope there is a “pot of gold” at the end.


Tina said...

Unfortunately, I know first hand and all too well that seeing that + HPT does not always mean a little one will be born 9 months later. However, I also know that bleeding or spotting does not always mean miscarriage either. You do have many prayers coming your way from so many places...especially here. I hope your mind can rest a little bit knowing that.

As you know, I am a planner too - overly so, which has caused me so much pain over the past few years as I saw three babies leave us and didn't know why. When I found out about this PG, there was so much shock - and so, so much fear. It was not part of our plan... But, someone else - who I have been disconnected from for a very long time - had a better plan, even though it was not the "right time." And, I have to try to trust in that as best I can. My faith is minimal right now...but, with each passing day and each passing check, it gets a little bit better.

I hope that this unplanned pregnancy is what finally brings you back to you... It is a blessing, and I am praying that blessing holds on for you.

Kahless said...

Many hugs from me.

Anonymous said...

It's tough when things happen which just aren't fair, no matter which way you look at them.

This weekend I got together with a friend I hadn't seen for a long while. She asked about Tim; I told her how much progress he's made, but that his doctor said that however much more progress he's made in 6 months is probably how he'll be the rest of his life.

I've held up throughout this whole ordeal, from the moment I had word that he'd been in an accident, by assuring myself God wouldn't let him die, or have the result of his accident be a totally different Tim than the one we've all known and loved.

My friend said to me, "You have to believe there's a purpose in all this. You may never know what it is, but knowing God's character, you can trust that he wouldn't have allowed this if there wasn't a good purpose involved."

Of course that's not what I longed to hear. But the truth is often painful, and fighting it more painful still.

I don't know the purpose of Tim's accident. I don't know what would be the purpose of your having a miscarriage, if it comes to that. I do know we don't always get the answers we want to prayer, no matter how fervent and sincere they may be.

Having said all that, I also believe prayer changes things.Tim has made more progress in the last 8 months than the doctors predicted. They don't know everything. Your pregnancy may very well be difficult all the way through, but that is no sign that you've been deserted.

Not very encouraging words, I suppose, but I mean them to be.

One last thing: God can handle your doubts, fears and angers.He already knows all about them.


Anonymous said...

I want to echo Beauty's last words -- absolutely God is big enough and safe enough to handle your anger and all of your other emotions and thoughts. He is not subject to manipulation, to fear, to shock, to angry reactive outbursts, etc -- he is and always will be your loving, safe, good Father.

Jacob needed to wrestle with God, and in his mercy God came down and wrestled with him.

Wrestling is a form of intimacy.

Stay in touch with God, even if you have nothing nice to say to him. He can handle it.

lawyerchik said...

Hey, Enola:

Just stopping in to add my comments to those already here. I've been having some similar conversations with my mom (and myself) about what ifs.

What if something I've trusted God with turns out badly? What if something I fear happens? What if, no matter what I do, my life falls apart? Some of my questions were hormonally-based - some of them weren't.

Each time I ask these questions, even if I've had them answered 1000times before, I end up at the same place I always do: God is faithful and He goes with me in and through whatever He allows to happen to me, so that I am never alone.

He gives me His strength to handle things that would utterly destroy me if I tried to do them on my own. Even if my only feeling at the time is that of being forsaken, I know He is there - He said He would never leave me or forsake me, and He never does.

Wish I could stop in and say something comforting, and we could have lunch or something!! You're dealing with a lot right now - hang in there!!

Lynn said...

Enola, I've been pregnant three times. There was a complication each time. All of them included cramping, one (the twins) bleeding, and ALL made me feel like my babies were in danger. The twins were born two months prematurely. They all made it and turned out normal, even with the few delays that came with prematurity. It might be okay, Enola. It really might. Maybe it will actually help in the long run to be aware of your issues while pregnant? Sometimes I wonder if my NOT being aware caused me more problems than I would have had otherwise. Of course, I can't know the answer to that. I can't have any more kids. Even one more would break the bank over here! Not to mention... I kind of have my hands full. And I wonder about the whole 'older eggs' issue. Yup. I'm done. But YOU... you're not done. Mommy. It really could be just fine.

Tink said...

I've been praying for you. I am a control freak too. We planned every last step with Son. I wonder what it would be like to have a "surprise" pregnancy. I think it would be so nice to have such a special surprise.

I believe you and the baby will be fine. You are just going throughthe anxiety that every pregnant woman goes through. You have to stop thinking you are not good enough- because you are more than good enough. You are one of the best Mommies I know.

Marj aka Thriver said...

Holy cow! This is a lot to handle. *holds Enola's hand*

I'm not sure what to say, but I'm here, holding your hand, sending safe cyber hugs and keeping you in my thoughts and prayers.