I took a wrong turn the other day.
(Not on the road, though I totally made us late for my 7AM ultrasound by having Guy go to the wrong city).
My wrong turn was that I let go of my commitment not to complain
(to be very clear here, I DO express my feelings about what is happening, and even talk about what is hard, but I haven't wanted to go to the "why me?" pity party). I didn't plan on it or anything, but I'd had a really rough morning. I had been bumbling around our ridiculously poorly designed kitchen in my wheelchair, trying to scramble some eggs. Every move I wanted to make took twenty moves to execute. I finally sat right there by the stove and ate, but for some reason afterward I blacked out. I felt my eyes roll up in my head and my head flop over. I was alone with poor Tessa and Jonah, and she was the only help I had. I asked her for water, and she brought me a kiddie cup with about 2 tablespoons of water in it. I drank it and said "more, sweetie, lots more". She gave me more, and then I had her wheel me to the couch. I rolled off the wheelchair onto the couch and then taught her how to call 911 in case I really passed out. She told me later that she ran down to her room to pray for me. My heart broke that she felt so scared.
A while later as I was trying to call a resistant Jonah to me to change his sopping wet diaper, the doctor called to schedule another test. Suddenly Tessa began to wail and came running to me with a large cut on her heal. She had slipped on the old wooden stairs in the garage. I couldn't hear the man on the phone over her sobbs, Jonah ran wild, and Tessa couldn't be calmed enough to get the bandages so I could help her.
I felt like a helpless child.
I called my neighbor/friend Denise to come patch up Tessa, and implored her to change Jonah while she was here. In those moments the seeds of frustration got a foothold. I complained.
Not just to Denise, but to a couple of other people, too. Krista came later to take me to a blood test, and I audaciously vented my woes. My sweet sister-in-law called and I gave her an earful too. I was in full whine mode.
And a very sorry thing happened. I felt all the strength and courage I had been mustering these past many weeks drain out of me like a leaky air mattress. I began to feel like a victim. I filled with darkness. A feeling of despair and shame and embarrassment came over me like a storm cloud.
From that time on for the next few days I felt ashamed at every call and visit that came with offers to help. I understood why I had lost my grip; fatigue and feeling out of control is wearing on a soul, but that didn't take away the feeling of loss that I suddenly felt. I had lost hold of the medicine that has been keeping me afloat; the hope and faith and energy that was keeping my nose above water.
There is a quote from Anne of Green Gables, "To despair is to turn your back on God". I realized I had to shift back to that place of gratitude that has seen me through much harder days than these past few. I had to apologize for willingly letting go of peace and opening my heart to discouragement; to others, to God and to myself. I recommitted to stand in a place of gratitude and to use that as a platform from every interaction, regardless of what might be happening in my body.
It is amazing how much energy I wasted in those few days. It was very draining to be negative. It dawned on me that I had actually undermined my own healing pace, and in doing so cut myself off from the one bit of control I have in this situation; I may not be able to change what is happening in my body, but I don't need to create a nasty chemical soup in my bloodstream for my body and baby to marinade in. The best chance I have at getting better is to hang on to hope and peace and gratitude; to fill my body with endorphins and my heart with the Spirit.
Test results have been coming in the days since. A leg scan that only showed small improvement, but at least no decline. Baby still looks great. A new challenge has popped up, with ferocious muscle spasms in my back that seem to have no explanation. After 6 hours of tazer-like jolts in my back last night I was pretty worn out, but my heart was okay, because I have found my gratitude again. I refuse to let this new challenge change who I can become.
I listened to conference today from the tub, where I spent almost 5 hours today to control the spasms. It turns out the muscle relaxants they gave me aren't very safe with my other medication (of course!) so I may become a mermaid before this baby is born. But that's okay. I am back to gratitude.