The Grief That Engulfs
As I prepare to write the next part of my story, I look at my previous entry in my journal and the last line says “God has been reminding me that He is in control.” How fitting for the start of my next journal entry.
A few days after I gave birth to my second son, my left leg started hurting really badly. All of my muscles were sore from birth so I figured that was why I was experiencing pain. Almost one week to the day postpartum, the pain was so excruciating that I couldn’t walk on it without crying. Convinced it was extreme muscle soreness, I had my husband massage it and I tried to tearfully “walk it out.” As I was resting it, I heard these words in my head: “blood clot.” Assuming it was a fear tactic from the enemy, I rebuked it. But, then I was talking to my mother-in-law about my leg pain and she mentioned to make sure it was not a blood clot. This was the second time those words had been spoken to me. I decided to research it and found that it was, in fact, a possibility after childbirth (I’m not sure why I had not known this previously). I decided to call the midwife...just in case. She had to call me back because she was delivering another baby at the time, but when she called back she recommended I visit the ER and have an ultrasound done....just in case.
We dropped both boys off with my in-laws and went to the ER. I was terrified. A year ago, we had a neighbor a few years older than me die of a blood clot that started in her leg and traveled to her heart. I watched the EMT’s carry out her limp body to the ambulance. That image really stuck with me. She had young children, as well. Logically, the chances of a blood clot after childbirth were minimal, but I knew in my spirit what they would find.
I remember trying to read the sonographers face as she was performing the ultrasound. I tried to look for any signs that would indicate what she was looking at, whether good or bad, but I couldn’t read her. When the doctor came in, I tried to read his face to see if he was about to give me good news or bad news. After all, he told me chances are it’s nothing because my leg did not look red or swollen. After reviewing the ultrasound, he came into the room and the first words out of his mouth were, “Well, there actually is a blood clot.” I was both not shocked and surprised at the same time. Within 10 minutes they were performing an EKG, drawing blood, injecting me with blood thinners, admitting me to the hospital and telling me I was no longer allowed to nurse my one week old due to the medication I would have to be on for 6 months. That was a lot to process in just 10 minutes. I was told to not massage my leg or else the clot could possibly dislodge and travel to the heart, lungs or brain. The doctor said that blood clots only become dangerous when they are above the knee because chances are they are larger and can travel to the heart brain or lungs, resulting in death. I asked where my blood clot was located - at the back of the knee, quite extensive – was the answer I was given.
I remember a lot of weeping. I cried most of the night. I would break down anytime someone visited to pray for me. The nurses kept asking how old my baby was...you know, trying to take my mind off things. I would simply say “one week old in 10 minutes and I’m not with him.” I began to fall into a dark, bottomless pit. That’s the only way I can think to describe it. I didn’t mind people praying for me, but I didn’t feel like praying myself. I wrote in my journal a few days later that I was not angry with God; I was just indifferent. That’s not a good place to be. I guess you could say that we weren’t on speaking terms.
"Despair surrounded me and sucked away my strength and my fight."
Grief hits in different ways. It’s different for every person, and from person to person it’s different every instance you encounter it. When I experienced the miscarriage four years prior, I wept, I was openly questioning of God; but, in the end I turned to Him. In the end, I trusted His sovereignty even though I couldn’t understand it.
This was different.
Maybe it was because it was my own life being threatened or maybe it was because I had more to lose with having two kids now. But, whatever the reasoning I did not turn to God. I turned inward. I remember staring for hours at the picture of irises on the hospital wall. I remember not eating. I remember being despondent and hopeless. I remember flipping my hair tie back and forth in my hand over and over and over again. I remember looking down a lot, not wanting to come face to face with the reality that my life was at risk.
In February of 2017, my sister lost her best friend to cancer. We had grown up with her and I considered her like a little sister. She was a couple of years younger than me and left behind a 2 year old and a 2 month old - both boys. Since that time, the thought of me dying and my boys never knowing or remembering who I am became my greatest fear. It was an event that shook me and shaped me in many ways. As I lay in my hospital bed for days, despair surrounded me and sucked away at my strength and my fight. I came face to face with my worst fear. I didn’t know if I would make it out alive or if I, too, would leave behind two sweet boys who would be too young to remember my voice and my embrace.
To be continued......
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