Feeling Nostalgic

Here's something you've probably figured out about me:
I LOVE living in the past!

I absolutely love memories and reminiscing...

My cousin and I used to paint all of our memories from her summer trip to Georgia on a pole in our granny's basement. The next year on her first night in town we would stay up literally ALL night reading our memories from the previous summers, laughing and being way too loud.

Funny, the memories of reminiscing about the memories have ended up being some of my very favorite memories!

Get it?

Here's a throwback just in case:

Hilarious, right?

Anyway... all that being said, I knew this day was coming... I've been anticipating it for, ohh, 365 days... and I'm totally excited about it!

Last year this time I would have thought today would bring nightmares of waking up in the middle of the night itching uncontrollably... of scouring the internet at 4am for answers to this bizarre invisible rash that threatened to take the skin off of my hands and feet from the constant scratching... of reading the most frightening words I had ever read: "stillbirth."

Last December 18th I knew there was no way I would ever look forward to reminiscing about that night.

Hindsight is 20/20, right? 

Turns out it was liver disease that was causing the itching: Cholestasis of Pregnancy. It wouldn't affect my health even a little. Well... other than the constant scratching the skin off of my body with no relief whatsoever, but that was more of an annoyance than anything... a horrible, awful annoyance that I hope I never relive, but just an annoyance nonetheless. 

The danger was to the sweet baby girl I was carrying. Mercy was 26 weeks at that time and this disease threatened to take her life.

We decided with our doctor that we would deliver early, at 36 weeks, to avoid the chance of stillbirth after that point.

Still... I feared. I feared every day that I would lose her. If I didn't feel her kicking for a little while, I feared so much that she was gone. I feared I would never hold her alive, or hear her cries or laughter, watch her grow... I feared so hard, I trusted so little. It was a dark month for me.

The worst part was the two weeks I waited to be diagnosed. I had pretty much diagnosed myself the night after the itching started, fearing the worst knowing the possible outcome of this disease, and knowing I needed to be monitored but couldn't be, I just had to wait for confirmation and scratch... and scratch some more. 

Then, on January 3rd, the call came... It was cholestasis. Oh, I cried. I cried and cried and cried. The fear deepened, the trust crept further and further away...

Good memories, right? Looking for the hindsight part?

Little did I know, there was a group of people back in Georgia praying. They prayed that if there was even the slightest chance that we could lose baby Mercy before 36 weeks, that something would happen to bring her into the world even earlier.

Exactly one month after the itching started, that something happened. Several things, actually. Several things I would not have known about if I hadn't been at the hospital being monitored for a disease that had absolutely nothing to do with the somethings that happened.

  1. Preeclampsia. People, you should have seen my feet. I have pictures but I'll spare you. Craziness.
  2. ZERO amniotic fluid. That's right, zero, absolutely no fluid whatsoever.
  3. IUGR, intrauterine growth restriction. That means baby Mercy was measuring small. We were 30 weeks along, but only measuring 28.

The sweet nurse who I'll never forget expressed her gratefulness that I was there. If I hadn't been there that day, we would have most certainly lost little Mercy, and possibly her mama too. They were going to have to get her out. Immediately. They shot me with some last minute steroids and started preparing me for the emergency c-section. 

It's funny because I have such terrible memory, but every detail of that day is SO vivid. (oh, except for where I left my flip flops... sad.) That sweet two pound baby girl came into the world with the most precious whimper I've ever heard and ready to fight... and fight she did for seven weeks before she came home to be held and loved on, to cry, to laugh and grow.

That's the hindsight, friends. One year ago today, I developed liver disease. And I'll be honest, I've probably never been so grateful for anything. I know I've said this before, but there is not a single doubt in my mind that I was given liver disease to save Mercy's life. Best. Christmas. Gift. Ever.

...and now I'm picturing Santa coming down our chimney to deliver some ice packs, Gold Bond anti-itch lotion and a hard bristle brush for the moments of weakness.

He didn't deliver Cholestasis though... I will never stop praising God for what He did December 18, 2012. He set into motion the events He would use to save my baby girl and to renew my trust in Him a thousand-fold.

Ever think that the trials you're going through might just lead to something more beautiful than you could ever imagine? Place your trust in the One who is sovereign over all things, and keep in mind that He promises to work all these things together for your good. (Romans 8:28)

So I'm enjoying the memories today. LOVING the events that have unfolded in the last year, looking forward to reminiscing about all of them each and every day!

I hope you all have the Merriest of Christmases! We love y'all so very much, thank you for being such a pivotal part of our journey and our memories this past year!

"I thank my God every time I remember you.
In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy!"
--Philippians 1:3