Well, early Friday morning I had quite the scare. Bethany (our middle child, feisty daughter) had woken up with a fever and was laying in our bed, as was our youngest who has been suffering from asthmatic coughing spells. Trying to end this cycle of sickness, now in its seventh week, I asked Matt to take Bethany back to her bed, because even though I wish I could comfort both baby and Beth at the same time, I did not want whatever the cause of the fever was to spread to Nicholas. I lay awake in bed, praying for peace for their bodies, praying for wisdom on how to begin yet another round of sickness, when I myself am exhausted. My back had been hurting the day before, and I was having trouble getting comfortable so I got up and took three advil and got a little middle of the night snack, because sometimes ibuprofen upsets my stomach.
I must have just dozed off around 3:40, when Nicholas whimpered in his sleep and began coughing. I reached over to elevate his head and experienced excruciating pain. I screamed and yelled for Matt who had apparently fallen asleep while settling Beth down. When he came I couldn’t move and he began to help me get out of bed, saying he was going to take me to the emergency room. It took 10-15 minutes to get out of bed. I stood, as close to paralyzed as you can be while standing in the living room, as Matt called friends to find someone to come stay with the kids. When my dear friend, Johanna arrived I began giving information about the kids, medications, school, etc. as best I could and then Matt asked me if we could head to the car. I moved a little, and some of what transpired over the next several moments I remember.
Johanna told Matt that I didn’t look good; that my color was draining from my face.
Matt was asking me questions that I could kind of hear, but not really.
I was in more pain than I had experienced during my three labors and deliveries (that’s saying something especially since I didn’t have epidurals).
The room began to close in on me and got really narrow and shiny (I know that sounds crazy, which is why I began to believe I was in the process of dying from who knows what.)
Matt called 911 and his conversation seemed to last a long time.
I kept saying “I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe …” but honestly I don’t know if that was audible because Matt never repeated it.
The pain continued.
I continued to believe I was dying and told Lucas and Nicholas how much I love them and was thinking about how I wished Bethany was awake so she would know too.
I was bargaining with God about how I know I rarely slow down and take things and people for granted, but if he would just take the pain away I would slow down.
The pain worsened
When Matt got off the phone I felt nauseous and asked him to get me a bucket or something (again I couldn’t move).
Matt came in and I was able to hold it together until a pitcher arrived.
I then got sick and collapsed on the floor, which was the first bit of relief I had since the whole episode began.
When the paramedics came I had to be lifted onto the gurney by four men in order to keep my back as still as possible and me in as little pain as they could. (side note: the firemen in Eagle Rock are awesome!)
Now, I admit I did hyperventilate in my labor with Nicholas, but this was different. Maybe an anxiety attack? I’m not sure. All I know is I am here to write this so obviously my suspicions of dying were inaccurate (hey, I’ve been told I’m dramatic my whole life, and I guess that doesn’t end during what you think is a near death experience).
One of the hardest things about the experience was that the last time I was at this particular hospital was during my miscarriage. After several hours of waiting to be seen by a doctor, I was taken right past room 5 in the ER of Huntington Hospital; the room where I was told that our third baby was gone. I’ve had mixed feelings about driving past said hospital several times, but being right there was something else. In the next several hours of my time in the ER, I experienced more than tremendous pain and interesting guesses as to what caused my immobility and discomfort. I experienced sadness because of memories of March 21, 2009, but I also experienced great peace accompanied by confidence in the God I serve.
See if anyone had told me on that day nearly two years ago that I would live through the pain of losing a child, I wouldn’t have believed them. If I could have seen into the future, and witnessed myself loving life I would have been dumbfounded at the possibility. Again, if I had been told that God would bring Nicholas (victory) and that I would praise (Judah) him because of it; if I had known I would ever love a child so much and be able to love the two I already had without continuing to wonder why I can’t tangibly express the same love to a child I’d never held, I would have balked at the idea. Although the care I received at the hospital on Friday still leaves me with questions as I continue to have immense pain, I think God had another reason for bringing me back there.
In the Old Testament, the Israelites would set up ebenezers or remembrances when God brought them through trials, and when future generations encountered the ebenezer they would remember and be encouraged. Like I said, I don’t know why I am having this issue with my back. I don’t know why I am unable to care for my own children and home because of it, but one thing I do know is God will not forsake me. He is trying to teach me something and he’s got me as still as I can be during this learning process.
It’s part of who I am to question. In my character is it to sometimes feel alone (even when I’m not). I find it unavoidable to attempt to do it all. I am a persistent achiever whether I can get everything done I want to or not. So having to leave my children Friday morning was tough. I had to trust that my friend had it under control and wouldn’t judge my messy house (when the paramedics moved the recliner to get me, I saw what needed to be swept). I had to let others do for me, to get Lucas off to school, Bethany moving throughout the day without worrying about her mom, Nicholas fed (even though he wouldn’t take a bottle). All the while I was laying in the emergency room, being ministered to by a God of grace, who knew there would be pain while laying in an all too familiar room; who understood that I had been questioning my worthiness to be called friend; who gets that it’s hard for me to depend on anyone; who absolutely knows that in this season of health trials at the Price house I had been doubting our location so far from family.
Into such a mind diseased with doubt, he granted answers to questions and reassurance of his plan, even though I can only see through a glass dimly. The diagnosis on my back is yet to come, but the resolution to my mind’s wanderings, granted.
So thank you to our friends and family who called and texted.
To Johanna for giving up time with your kids and husband in the middle of the night to care for mine.
To Jeff for being willing to take care of your family’s morning routine without Johanna and for running out to get formula, just in case.
To Grace and Albert who took Lucas to school and watched Lucas and Bethany in the afternoon.
For Stacia who came up with other child care possibilities just in case.
For Tom being the kind of pastor I wish every other pastor could work under (in many little and big ways over the past 8 years, God has used you to restore my faith in church)
For Allison, Mary Robin, Johanna, Nikki and Robin for always being willing to lift me up in prayer.
Again for Mary Robin, for the amazing lunch in the hospital, arranging for meals to be brought, offering to have the kids come play and much more
Again for Allison, for the amazing meal on Friday night and knowing me well enough to minister to my sweet tooth as well.
For Nikki knowing that I have a hard time sitting still but love to read … my sweet gift from Nikki kindle has kept me in my bed or chair for the last couple of days.
For Scott and Esther, who brought an amazing meal even though your home hasn’t been filled with wellness either … still praying friends.
For the many friends on Facebook who have sent words of encouragement and have prayed.
For my parents and their prayer chain
For my father-in-law who willingly sent my mother-in-law out to be all I can’t be right now.
For my mother-in-law who has done and is doing more than I could list here and for being the mother-in-law every girl hopes they will have. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!
For those friends who are bringing meals and continue to pray.
I am amazed at His goodness to me (and us) through you.