Wednesday, October 16, 2013

How I got here. Part 2.

So, when I last left off, it was roughly October of 2006.  We had move to Winston-Salem and were living with my parents while we were building a house.

Peter was almost 4 and Sarah was almost 2 1/2 and I was 37.  We really wanted another baby and I just felt like time was running out.  I was still off the Betaseron but I felt like I was pushing my luck.  I knew I needed to start taking that medication again but you can't have any of that in your system if you are trying to get pregnant.  And I was still having the pain and dizziness.  Another reminder that I probably should get back on the Betaseron.

But we still really wanted another baby. Dan is from a family of 4 siblings and I am one of two.  We felt like 3 would be the perfect number for us.  (Although honestly, I think Dan would have taken 4 or 5 or more!) 

I talked it over with my neurologist.  Even though I was still off the Betaseron, I was still taking Carbatrol.  My spells where somewhat under control as long as I took  the Carbatrol. (And I was taking a lot of Carbatrol.  It wasn't until later that I learned I was taking more than I should have been. But I needed it for the pain and was under the mistaken impression that I could take as much as I needed.)

My neurologist told me that I could go ahead and try to get pregnant even though I was still on the Carbatrol. (And, in hindsight, this was not a good decision.)  So we went for it and in November of 2006, I was pregnant!  We were thrilled.  Our family was finally going to be complete!

But a couple of weeks later I had a miscarriage.

And knowing what I know now, I blame the Carbatrol.  Carbatrol, as I mentioned before is used as a drug to control seizures.  Because of this, they actually have a substantial amount of data on pregnant women who take Carbatrol because some women with Epilepsy have to be on the Carbatrol at all times even though there is known risk to the fetus.

The Carbatrol can cause birth defects such as head and facial deformities, spina bifida and  heart defects.  However, they have also found that the risk of these go down if the pregnant woman is taking large doses of folic acid along with the Carbatrol.

I don't think my doctor realized how much Carbatrol I was actually taking or maybe he didn't think the risk was as great as they now know it to be.  But I am convinced that my miscarriage was caused by the large amount of Carbatrol I was taking at the time I got pregnant.

Dan and I were both upset but we had to keep on going.  We were about to move into our new house, we had two healthy, happy little ones and Dan had a new job that he enjoyed and I was able to stay home with the kids.  What more could two people ask for?  On paper, we were living the American Dream.  But in my heart, I just felt like something (or someone) was missing. 

So we kept trying for a few more months.  But I knew that I needed to get back on the Betaseron.  This is the medication that prevents MS from progressing and as much as I absolutely hated taking those shots, I knew I needed to get back on it.   I had a responsibility to my kids and my husband to be as healthy as possible.  But I also knew that I couldn't be on the Betaseron and be pregnant.  Back and forth I went. 

I continued to pray to God asking for clear guidance about whether or not to start back on the Betaseron and he answered me.  My spells which seemed semi-under control for the last few months started back up with a vengance.  I was in a lot of pain and felt like God was telling me to take care of my health and family and not worry about having another baby.

In April of 2007, I officially went back on the Betaseron shots.  My OB/GYN (who happens to be a practicing Catholic) recommended that I go on birth control to prevent becoming pregnant since I was on medication that could be harmful to a fetus.  He said he talked to several priests and they all agreed with him that in instances like mine, birth control would be okay.

Dan and I talked it over and we felt like this was wrong.  What's the point of trusting God and being open to life if it was going to be on your own terms?  That  a possible miscarriage or a sick baby meant you could say you were going to take matters into your own hands and play God and use birth control anyway just because of your particular situation?  That didn't feel like right to us.   It felt like abandoning our beliefs. It felt like the easy way out.

So we declined the birth control and I began tracking my fertility so that I would not get pregnant.  A far cry from all the previous months of tracking my fertility to try to become pregnant.

We were leaving everything up to God.  And while it was hard to let go of the dream of a third baby, I knew deep down that I was doing the right thing for my health and for my family.  And in the meantime, I took comfort in the following poem...



Wait
by Russell Kelfer
Desperately, helplessly, longingly, I cried;
Quietly, patiently, lovingly, God replied.
I plead and I wept for a clue to my fate...
and the Master so gently said,"Wait."
"Wait? you say wait?" my indignant reply.
"Lord, I need answers, I need to know why!"
Is your hand shortened? Or have you not heard?
By faith I have asked, and I'm claiming your Word. 


My future and all to which I relate
hangs in the balance and you tell me to Wait?"
I'm needing a 'yes', a go-ahead sign.
Or even a 'no,' to which I'll resign.
You promised, dear Lord, that if we believe,
We need but to ask, and we shall receive.
Lord, I've been asking, and this is my cry:
I'm weary of asking! I need a reply.

Then quietly, softly, I learned of my fate
as my Master replied again, "Wait."
So I slumped in my chair, defeated and taut,
and grumbled to God, "So, I'm waiting...for what?"
He seemed then to kneel, and His eyes met with mine...
and He tenderly said, "I could give you a sign.
I could shake the heavens and darken the sun.
I could raise the dead and cause mountains to run.

I could give all you seek and pleased you would be.
You'd have what you want, but you wouldn't know Me.
You'd not know the depth of My love for each saint.
You'd not know the power that I give to the faint.
You'd not learn to see through clouds of despair;
you'd not learn to trust just by knowing I'm there.
You'd not know the joy of resting in Me
when darkness and silence are all you can see.

You'd never experience the fullness of love
when the peace of My spirit descends like a dove.
You would know that I give, and I save, for a start,
But you'd not know the depth of the beat of My heart.
The glow of My comfort late into the night,
the faith that I give when you walk without sight.
The depth that's beyond getting just what you ask
From an infinite God who makes what you have last. 

You'd never know should your pain quickly flee,
what it means that My grace is sufficient for thee.
Yes, your dearest dreams overnight would come true,
but oh, the loss if I lost what I'm doing in you.
So, be silent, my child, and in time you will see
that the greatest of gifts is to truly know me.
And though oft My answers seem terribly late,
My most precious answer of all is still "WAIT". 



5 comments:

Colleen said...

Wow. It would have been so easy for you to justify going on birth control. You are so good to have listened to your gut, and inspiring! I am loving this story and discovering this side of your life.

Mari said...

I'm really enjoying your story - it's really a testimony! I can't wait to hear more.

Grandma T said...

Beautiful testimony!

Busy Bee Suz said...

Wow. I'm so sorry about your loss...that must have been heartbreaking for you. So glad to see you've been able to persevere through a lot.

Jenny said...

Your commitment to your family and to the Faith is so inspiring, especially considering the fake 'easy out' your doc dangled in front of you. You are amazingly strong.