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Friday, February 23, 2007

A Warning

What I am about to say may step on some toes, and while it is not my intent to tell anyone what should happen because I am not in that place, my desire to share these experiences stems from the hope that I can prevent others from making the same mistakes.

I love my parents. I was the oldest of 4 children, and after #4 my mom had her tubes tied (tubal ligation). In our church this was perfectly acceptable. My father's sisters, though, were from a different church and did not believe in birth control. They also wore skirts and kept their hair long, as well as many other ideas my parents found to be foreign (homeschooling, wives submitting to husbands, etc.). My father's parents had raised them all catholic, and those who came to a different faith, including my dad and these sisters, did so as adults. I do not wish to name denominations as it will seem to be picking on others, and Christians should never attack one another.

So I remember my mother making her astonished faces when something would occur such as someone having a baby at home, a six year old boy who could not yet read, and a woman asking her husband for permission to go somewhere. My mother was also raised in the church I was, but my grandmother raised 6 girls on her own after her husband's suicide. So my mom was part of the women's lib age as well as from a household of women only. She married my father just shy of her 17th birthday, and attended her senior year of High School as a married woman. I came along two years later.

I remember being pulled toward God from a very early age. I don't know if I was more in tune spiritually or just a more sensitive person, but I was very aware of Biblical truths. At least truths as I understood them. It was confusing that certain Bible verses were to be adhered to strictly, and others were not. And I grew into an understanding that a Christian could continue to sin because of the safety of salvation, though I knew better in my heart and gut. I spent several years of my young adulthood sinning openly and not feeling great about it, but not changing it. I met a man and decided to marry him, but had that nagging feeling in my mind because he was not a Christian. So I asked him to be baptized. But I knew that wasn't enough. I decided to take the 'wait and see' approach.

When we married, we were running a dairy farm and had no helpers. We spent all our time on the farm. I felt we should be in church, but chalked it up to God understanding because he made the cows that had to be milked twice a day. Then I became pregnant. I made an appointment with a midwife who worked out of a doctor's office. I had by this time come to see some things in a different light, and thought this would be the best of both worlds. What I did not know was that these midwives answered to the doctors for everything, and therefore I was being cared for by one person while someone I did not know was overseeing it. I was at this time on medication for an under active thyroid, and I felt completely exhausted much of the time. I spent one night in the hospital for dehydration and was later put on bed rest for toxemia. Two weeks before my due date I was to be in my best friend's wedding, and on the way to the rehearsal dinner, I was side-swiped by a teenager. I spent the night in the hospital hooked to a monitor, was released in time for the wedding, and then went home tired and scared. A week later the midwife checked the baby's approximate size and found it to be at about 8 pounds, and because of my continual swelling, she asked the doctor to induce me. He said no.

A few days later I ended up in the hospital because of swelling again, and this time we got the OK to induce. I was given Prep-i-dil to dilate my cervix, and I lay awake all night wondering what would be next. At 6:00 a.m. my water broke. Throughout the day I was given some kind of narcotic drugs, and then finally an epidural so I would sleep since I had not had any rest. About 11:00 pm I started to push, and pushed with all I had for an hour and a half. Nothing happened. Then I felt something snap in my back, and I was in agony. My blood pressure shot up and I started to black out, so I was taken to the OR for a C-Section. As they put the gas on my face and I started to fall asleep, I could hear the anesthesiologist yelling for something, and I thought to myself that I was not going to wake up. But I did. In recovery with a searing pain in my bladder. I had been given a catheter that was inserted wrong. The doctor came over and told me it was no wonder I couldn't get that baby out- she was 9 lb. 11 oz. I spent some time in recovery and then was taken to a room. Several hours later a woman came in and handed me a baby that she said was mine. I thought to myself that she could be wrong.

During my hospital stay, I was constantly plagued by migraines. When I get one, I go blind. How was I to care for a baby when I couldn't see? I also developed PUPS, which is some kind of pregnancy hives. I talked the doctor into letting me go home after 2 days because I had spent so much time in the hospital already. The nurse forgot to give me a prescription for iron pills, so by day 8, I was horrible weak and dizzy all the time. And then I spent the winter alone in our tiny house with a baby because my husband was working 18 hours to keep the farm going by himself. I felt guilty, but I couldn't do anything about it.

After all of that, and my husband's fear of more kids to care for without anyone to help on the farm, I started to think of having my tubes tied. I asked the midwife, and she agreed to it. Then the doctor agreed to it. My husband didn't object, so I thought that must be the way I was supposed to go. The surgery was done in June. Because we did want more than one child, we began to look into fostering and adoption. We got our license and a new house, and started taking in kids. We had a group of 4 for two years and then the county got permanent custody, so we adopted them. It was around this time that my husband mentioned wishing we had had one more baby. My heart sunk. The more I thought about it, the more I realized I regretted it, too. I was envious of others who were pregnant. We had picked out boy names and never got to use them. And then I stumbled across the Duggar Family. And from there the Quiver Full Ministry. And then Unless the Lord magazine. After just one article, I realized what I had done was no different than abortion. I took away the control of my family from God because I did not trust him to know what he was doing. I cried out to God and confessed my sin. I asked my husband to forgive me. And I started to tell people. Not in general announcements, but in private conversations.

I prayed for guidance on the idea of a reversal surgery, but because of the debt we are in (I didn't know what a sin that was) and our not having insurance, I do not feel God is calling me at this time to have the surgery. But I know God can heal me if he so chooses. I also know he can take even our sins and use them for His glory. Were it not for what I had done, would we have adopted those children he planned for us? So my prayer is two fold: One, that God will heal my body and allow me to have at least one more child, not only to show His great power, but also to settle in my heart that I am forgiven. TWO, that no one else will ever make the mistake I did.

So I cannot tell anyone what is right for their situation, but for me, what I chose to do was a sin against God. There are endless possibilities to what might have happened. If I had found an independent midwife, would I have fared better? If I had been allowed to eat and walk instead of being pumped full of Pitocin, would I have fared better? If I had followed God's commands to be bold and not lukewarm, and therefore married a man who was a believer instead of trying to bring him to it afterward, would he have stopped me from the surgery? These I cannot know. At least not this side of Heaven. All I can do is begin right where I am and go forward.


runningtothecross said...

Hi again Amy!

What a touching "life" story! God has big plans for you! I know toxemia can be treated with vitamins, minerals and herbs, but most doctors don't give natural healing much thought. Most will tell you to stay away from herbs, but actually they are really helpful for many pregnancy related issues.

I have had two children by midwife in a birthing center, 3 in the hospital, and my last was born at home with a midwife. Each of my pregnancies have been uncomplicated and I haven't needed any meds, except for the pitocin the dr. gave me for my 4th baby. My dr. was in a hurry to get home, I think.

I have a friend who had a baby after a tubal ligation, I don't think she had a reversal either. It was God's plan for her to have another child.

I will probably write a post about my convictions regarding modest dress, children, etc. soon. Although I struggle with the long hair issue as my hair usually begins breaking off at the ends. I wear it as long as possible (right now it's down to the bottom of my shoulder blades in the back), and I've been trying to grow it longer than that but that is proving to be nearly impossible. I have to get it cut (or trimmed) every 2 months or it begins breaking which may be due to the fact that I have been pregnant or nursing most of my married life.

This is my 10th pregnancy in 10 1/2 years of marriage. I have lost two babies due to miscarriage & one due to an ectopic pregnancy (this last summer). They removed my left tube and left ovary that was larger than golf ball size from a cyst, but they found no baby. God amazingly brought us through this time and blessed us with another pregnancy.

I have a dear sister in Christ that is desperately trying to get pregnant, but so far has been unable to for 1 1/2 years now. It makes me mourn for her, but very thankful that God has chosen to give me the children that I have.

Thanks for sharing! It blessed me!
Have a great weekend!

Anonymous said...

My husband and I doubly took the "precautions" and my heart has ached almost from day one.I would not admit it to myself or anyone else because we "already have 4,why would we want anymore" mentality everyone tells me.My husband has bought into it,but I would give anything if his heart could be changed by our Lord.All this to say that I completely understand.

alicia said...

There are ministries out there that help women pay for tubal reversals, did you know? And there is a book that is full of stories about sterilization reversals, you can find it on the One More Soul web site.
is the link to the book. It is written from a Catholic POV but I think you would still find it inspiring. The one more soul site also has links to places that do sterilization reversals.

Cajunchic said...

I could not agree with you more. After three very difficult pregnancies I had my tubes tied. Not only did I take away God's will for my life in the area of Children but I suddenly became plagued with horrible periods. I went from having normal menstrual cycles to being put in bed from loss of blood and excrutiating cramps everytime that time of the month came. I now tell everyone who will listen what a bad decision it was.