Emerging again from the shadow of the valley

Seven. I have four children here now, a constant source of joy. And three in heaven, just a dream and prayer when they went home to Jesus. After phone call after phone call yesterday, I finally found a doctor who shared my beliefs about stopping the beating heart of my own child. That doctor was able to reassure me that my baby had stopped developing weeks ago, and probably never had a beating heart at all. Which meant another on my rather short list of worst fears was coming true: I had a persistent ectopic pregnancy consisting only of placental tissue that my own body could not get rid of. Growing inside me and causing the 8-9 out of 10 pain I suffered for almost 24 hours.

The girls and I sat cross-legged on the front room floor as I explained to them that our baby - the miracle baby we were celebrating just weeks ago - is now dancing in heaven with Jesus, Grandma Fern and Caleb Glover (these are their childish reference points for heaven - the people they want to see most when they get there themselves). The anguish in Rosy's sobs was breaking my heart. Searching for a way to help her through this loss, we named the baby together: a boy name from our long list of unused boy names - Theodore, "gift from God", Teddy for short.

Drying our eyes, the children set out for our neighbors welcoming home, and I set out with my mom to the E.R. for the second time in 12 hours. There I was (thankfully!) medicated for pain and vomiting, and began to feel better and wonder if that stabbing pain was perhaps just a figment of my imagination in the long dark hours of the night at home. An ultrasound showed nothing that could be causing my pain, but an astute, cautious Christian obstetrical surgeon - head of the practice here - wanted to explore further with laporoscopic surgery. It was a hard choice, but the methotrexate medication wasn't a very good option for me, either...not with potentially still active cancer lying waiting in my neck. Methotrexate could be the key that unlocks the deadly potential of those currently stable cancerous nodules. So off to surgery I went at 4 p.m.

I don't know all the details yet, as they have blurred somewhat into the post-surgical fog of pain, vomiting, sedatives, and tears. I do know I had a large pregnancy with no living baby in my tube, and that my tube was literally poised for rupture and had already started bleeding. I probably escaped a massive, life-threatening hemorrhage by mere minutes or hours. I had that tube, along with a large section of the other one, removed and re-burned to prevent future pregnancies. Although there is still a one in a million chance that I could become pregnant again, we've done absolutely everything possible prevent it: for the sake of the four I have, it is so imperative that I avoid this type of complicaton in the future. My fertility - or lack thereof - is, as it always has been, completely within God's control. Having exercised my will and intellect to protect my body in the best way I know how, I am now prayerfully placing that aspect of my life again in my Savior's hands.

So tonight Teddy dances in heaven - or perhaps is cuddled in those Everlasting Arms? And I sit uncomfortably in a hospital bed, recovering from a painful day pre-surgery and a painful surgery. The two weeks ahead of our family are once again further complicated with Amelia's neurological status and increased care needs, and now lifting restrictions and pain on my part, as well as a hectic end to a very harried semester in school.

As usual, I am begging for your prayers!

My hope will always stand,
for You hold me in Your hand.
Lord, I'm amazed by You,
How You love me!
~ Amazed, Jared Anderson