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After being thankful for the safe arrival of our baby girl, we left the hospital ready to be home where we could begin our days as a family. I loved being at home and in my own bed. Adelaide was nursing and sleeping well! I couldn’t have asked for a smoother time. I hadn’t experienced a bit of “baby blues” or postpartum depression, the weather was sunny and warm, and after such an emotional week, was happy to settle in.
But at two days postpartum, things changed again.
After an early morning feeding, I got up to grab a snack and chat with my husband who was already awake and at his computer.
I noticed my legs hurt—they both felt like I was experiencing mild charley horses, so I ate a couple of bananas and went back to bed. When I woke up, the pain was so bad that I could barely walk. A couple of days later, my right leg was fine but the left wouldn’t work. I couldn’t even straighten it.
The nurse said it could be from the long labor or it could be a lack of potassium, since I wasn’t experiencing swelling or hot spots. So my husband brought home every single pack of dried apricots he could find at the store, and I ate the contents of two entire bags! Over 500 grams of dried apricots!
That evening I was able to straighten my leg, but I needed an ultrasound to be safe.
I followed all of the instructions—I drank water, I walked up and down the street, I did leg stretches, everything I was told to do, but the ultrasound revealed that I indeed had Deep Vein Thrombosis, which can be life threatening as it causes a Pulmonary Embolism.
I’ve never smoked, I’m not overweight, I’m not sedentary, and the only real risk factor I had was being postpartum. I tried to understand how this happened, all while taking care of a newborn, beginning the hormonal roller coaster, learning how to give myself shots, frequent dizzy spells, and educating myself on the risks of DVTs, PEs, and blood thinners. Plus new lab work showed my liver enzymes were increasing and my blood pressure was still elevated.
At two weeks postpartum and one week after going on blood thinners, I was back in the ER for heavy bleeding and passing large clots. At this point, I pretty much lost it. Everything came crashing down. I thought the blood pressure spikes, the prolonged labor, and the emotional birth were enough, but this was something I couldn’t handle.
While I wasn’t experiencing depression, my anxiety level was at an all-time high.
I began worrying about my family. If something happened to me, what would they do? Would my husband be able to homeschool the children? What about the boys’ therapy schedules? What about the company? What about the baby?
For nearly two decades, I trusted God with my Salvation but not until then did I realize that I didn’t fully trust Him with the here and now. I also understood even more how precious life is and how thankful I am to be here and present with my family. Yes there are hard days, yes there’s chaos, yes there are moments when I want to scream and eat my weight in chocolate, but that’s OK! I’m honored to have the opportunity and blessing to be a mother to these little ones. I treasure the dandelion bouquets, the stick people drawings in which my head is three times bigger than my body (or vice versa), the hand prints on the wall, and the crayon and marker that refuse to be remedied by a magic eraser. I appreciate each day that I have to influence them, hoping to fulfill whatever purpose God has for me, them, and for our family.
Looking back when this story began during the winter storm, my world is different. I’m different. I understand that I’m here by the grace of God, that it’s OK if my house isn’t always organized, if we don’t complete every to-do item and homeschool assignment, or if I don’t have it totally together. These are all tiny specks within a much larger portrait–a portrait that I’m unable to fully see and can only trust the artist as He creates a work of art that will bring Him glory. My desire is to continue living, understanding that the best I can offer Him is my faith and the resulting obedience.
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