Monday, June 17, 2013

Confession (and bump update!)

For the past six weeks I've been struggling with intense pain (numbness, tingling, burning, aching) in my arms, wrists, hands, and fingers. While that hasn't been a secret, the part I must confess is the guilt I feel when talking about the pain I've been in.

This is the dirty flip-side to struggling to get pregnant and then getting pregnant: I don't want it to ever seem like I don't want this, every second of it - painful or not. Add to that having many women in my life whom I love trying to get pregnant (or having struggled in the past), and I've found myself afraid to be honest about how I'm doing when people ask.

To be clear, I would never trade the pains related to pregnancy for not being pregnant. I wanted this so badly, and everything that goes along with it. But - I would like to trade in the guilt for the freedom to be open about the experience of being pregnant - even the painful parts.

That begs the question though: how does one talk about the physical pains of pregnancy without sounding ungrateful, or worse - seeming to be unaware that there women out there that would give anything to be experiencing the pain I have been in? I'm not sure if it's possible, but if it is, here goes.

The reason I bring this up is because I feel compelled to share what I've taken away from this experience. Mid-way through the whole ordeal, instead of thinking about the pain itself, I began thinking about God's comforts in the face of pain. His comfort has come in the form of those who have tried everything in their power to alleviate my pain, and those who have surrounded me in encouragement and lifted me up in prayer. God was there through Kyle at 2:30 AM in the morning when I was crying in pain for the 12th night in a row. God was there through my dad when he drove around town to pick me up a heating blanket, bring it to me on the couch, plug it in, and tuck me in it. God was there through my community group, and my mom's community group, as they were praying constantly for relief for me. God was there through my girlfriends when they texted me repeatedly to see how I was doing. God was there through both my employers as they were gracious and sympathetic when I had to miss work because I hadn't slept, and couldn't use my hands even if I had slept.

And most importantly, God was there to make all of this clear to me in the wee hours of the morning. Instead of wallowing in my situation, God pulled another one of His "here I am - right here with you" maneuvers that I've come to expect from Him. I could feel the desire to whine, complain, mope, or cry out "it's not fair!" And I could feel God ushering me to turn away from that, and look at what He was trying to show me: that His actual promises are way better than the promises I make up for myself. Never does God promise a life on earth without pain (He promises that for heaven, not earth). My initial frustration in my pain was a direct result of me demanding something of God that He never promised me.

Instead, He promises something much better: His comfort for me, during this life on earth. 2 Corinthians 1:3-7 says: "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ's sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort."

While this scripture uses the word "comfort" abundantly, there are countless additional verses in scripture that subtly indicate God's comfort is always evident and available. The only thing that bars us from it is when we decide to define comfort in our own personal way, instead of looking for it in God's promised ways.

Now - without further adieu, bump updates! You'll see in the pics below that we gave up on fruit and veggie comparisons. The pregnancy websites are surprisingly inconsistent on what fruit/veggie comparisons go with each week, and we made the mistake of bouncing back and forth between two websites not realizing they would overlap. Also, I couldn't feel my hands/fingers during most of these photos so the chalkboard "art" is more like chalkboard...nothing.

I hadn't slept the night before this picture, and had spent much of the past
24 hours before it crying. As much as I like to "keep it real", I gotta draw the line somewhere! 

Giving it grace: So how does this update end? Kyle and I tried the following to ease the pain in my arms (in this order):
  • Tylenol 
  • Me sleeping our bed, sitting up
  • Pregnancy aerobics
  • Me sleeping on the couch, sitting up with no cushion on either side of me (so my arms could extend down perfectly straight)
  • Sleeping pills prescribed by my OBGYN; these worked for about 3 nights until I started waking up despite them. A drowsy, crying pregnant woman at 1AM in the morning should be every husband's worst nightmare.
  • Physical therapy (they had no idea what was wrong, but tried lymph nod massage...?)
  • Water aerobics 
  • Acupuncture (nothing like a needle in your forehead when you can't feel your hands!)
  • Me sleeping on the couch, sitting up, with wrist braces on to keep my wrists perfectly straight
You get the idea - we tried everythinggggggg. Then, I was reading in one of my pregnancy books one night and came across something I had read about many times: pregnancy carpel tunnel. Having had wrist surgeries before, I called up a well-known wrist and hand doctor and made an appointment. Sure enough, I had "advanced" pregnancy carpel tunnel that had been wrecking havoc on my circulation for weeks. I was given cortisone shots on the spot (safe for baby but boy do they HURT!). Once the soreness of the shots faded, I began feeling relief by the next day. 

Now, I'm in a place that's bearable. I'm still experiencing numbness that requires me to sleep sitting up for most of the night, and the numbness also often prevents me from daily activities I used to take for granted: writing, using a toothbrush, doing my make-up or hair. Clearly, typing is manageable, but in small doses (it's taken me a week to draft this blog post! But overall, the intense pain has subsided for now, and that makes me thankful. 

Would I change this experience? Never. God used that pain to get my attention. Had I not been giving my attention, I would have missed Him working in the lives of those around me, and I would have missed His comfort. And I would much prefer His comfort to any comfort on this earth, because His comfort is surrounded in grace and will never disappoint!

No comments:

Post a Comment