6.23.2011

The Body Remembers

There are so many fun things I've been wanting to share with you this week {rain, organizing like a crazy lady, drapes hung 10 months later, food and wine...and yes, Grand Canyon photos!} but because writing helps me process, I know I have to write about this today: my fear of hospitals.

After a long day in the ER and a very late night in the hospital with my 93-year old grandmother yesterday, I'm very aware that the body remembers.

Holding my grandma's hand yesterday.
She doesn't remember who I am anymore,
but her body remembers how to hold my hand.

My body remembers that it hates hospitals. In a big way. I still freeze up and hold my breath. Remember the ambulance ride in November? God showed up, but it was a HARD day for me emotionally. Brought back all kinds of trauma. And yesterday, I was so frozen that I forgot to eat, drink or even use the restroom...until I got home at 1:00 in the morning!

And so it's time to face this fear...to unpack it and let the Lord free me from it. If it would bless you to know more, read on. If not, I'll be back soon with pretty things.

The first time I remember being afraid of a hospital {or even in one at all} was when my grandpa was sick and dying. I was 10. I remember the smell, the beeps, the coldness. I practically held my breath and stood frozen that day. And decided hospitals were the last place on earth I wanted to be.

Other than a few visits to welcome the new babies of very close friends {because hospitals scare me, I only did this for three friends} and one visit to a teenage girl I love, I managed to stay away from hospitals.

Until I gave birth to my own children. {I seriously considered a home birth because I hate hospitals so much, but it turns out I needed that hospital...especially with daughter number two.}

Daughter Number One: 46 hours of labor. Fetal distress. Exhausted mama. But a perfectly petite and sweet Hallie Cecile made every single one of those 46 hours worth it....and left me certain I'd do it again!

Daughter Number Two: 21 hours of labor. Natural childbirth {as in, no pain relief...ugh!}. Another perfectly healthy baby girl. But 45 minutes after Laura Finley was born, just as I was trying to nurse her for the first time, I was in more pain than I had ever experienced in my life {even more than the natural childbirth part...unthinkable!}.

I clenched my teeth and groaned {I'm not a big yeller or screamer}. I remember the nurse saying, "That's just your uterus contracting, honey. I'll get some Vicadin." With teeth still clenched and about to pass out from the pain, I exhaled with great intensity and force, "It's NOT my uterus! Get. A. Doctor. NOW!"

Turns out, I was bleeding like crazy on the inside...where no one could see. A tiny little vein ruptured silently during childbirth. Thanks to my drug free birth and heightened sensitivity to pain, I was able to feel the hematoma building...though I had no clue that's what it was.

{Looking back on this experience, it's a HUGE blessing that I arrived at the hospital too late to receive an epidural, because had my pain sensors been even the slightest bit numb, I might not have noticed the pain quickly enough...making a silent death very likely. Thank You, Lord.}

I needed emergency surgery...fast. One of the best docs {and one of the most precise, perfectionistic surgeons} was jogging around the Rice University track...right across from the hospital. He sprinted to the hospital and scrubbed in...still in his itty bitty running shorts and sweating when he arrived at my side...apologizing for the way he looked. He looked great to me...confident and no sign of fear on his face.

Maybe because he hadn't seen the size of the hematoma. {I'm told it was huge.} By the time he saw it, I had passed out from the pain and the meds. I still don't really know the details, but my body remembers. Cut in fourths down there, hundreds upon hundreds of stitches...all sewn furiously to prevent me from bleeding to death. Lots of uncertainty even after the surgery was complete...did they stop it all?

He saved my life. Right there at Methodist Hospital in Houston, Texas...the same hospital where I was born...the same hospital where I sat by my grandmother's side yesterday.

I survived, but I was barely living for so many years after that day. I gave birth to this life-loving, energetic, funny and passionate little Laura Finley {we call her our "sparkle and shine"}, yet I was buried somewhere beneath anemia, adrenal issues, chronic fatigue, migraines and hopelessness. I had forgotten the promise of abundant life...forgotten that God's promise was for ME...the broken yet fully capable of being restored ME!

Eight years later, I am LIVING AGAIN...in the present moment, alive to all that God has for me, counting His daily gifts. I am so thankful. Sometimes I'm still a broken thing, but I'm learning to trust that God makes broken things beautiful. 

So while hospitals may not be my favorite place, today I can go back. And I can sing old hymns to my grandma and beg the Lord to take her home soon. Surely He could use a fried peach pie chef in Heaven! She makes the very best!

Thank you for letting me tell my story. I've never written it out before. Our stories matter. YOUR story matters. Words give our stories their place.

I'm glad this story has finally found its place.

Faithfully,


P.S. My mom is flying back home today. Please say a little prayer for her heart. It's not easy to see your own mother slip away for so many years {my grandma has dimentia}...and to feel so helpless despite doing all you can. I think we're all giving thanks for my grandma's 93 years, but are praying that she'll soon enjoy abundant life in a better place.

23 comments:

  1. Amazing. Thank you for sharing your story.

    ♥ sécia
    www.petiteinsanities.blogspot.com

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  2. Praying for all of you during this time. I loved reading your story...we all have different reasons for hating hospitals...I am so out of control there being mine. Must learn to let go and let God! :)

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  3. Dianne, yes...the control part must have something to do with it for me, too. Thanks for reminding me! ;)

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  4. oh, linsey, what a story. such a beautiful picture of you holding your grandma's hand. what a blessing to be at her side, deep down she still knows you and having you there must provide great comfort. i spent a week at my MIL's beside last fall before she passed away. that's still so difficult for me to write and accept. i too hate hospitals (to think i once contemplated working in one!) but after "living" in one for a week, watching someone I love slip away all too soon, "hate" no longer seems a strong enough word for my feelings of hospitals i'm sorry for the scary and painful experience you went through after laura was born. thank you for sharing your story and the journey of how God has mended your heart and healed your fears. beautiful testimony.

    xo,
    tessa

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  5. Will definitely keep you in my prayers. My mother-in-law passed away 3 years ago of the same disease and it was just heart breaking. Beautiful photo and post. xo

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  6. Wow, this is such a touching story...in so many ways. I applaud you for being brave enough to tell it. I always get very nervous to voice things like this, even when I hear the Lord prompting. You are brave, and strong.

    I am amazed by your story of complications after birth and so thankful that God was there to see you through that. I can't imagine. Giving a face and a voice and such a sweet spirit to reveal the pain that is within us and that we have been freed from is powerful and will help others out there with their struggles.

    For your beautiful Grandmother, I am so sorry for her and for your family that has already lost something so precious. I remember walking in to the hospital to see my Grandmother and when I hugged her she said, "Don't get too close honey, you don't want what I've got." Those were the last words she spoke to me as she was soon in a coma and passed a few days later. But, as hard as it was for me, and as hard as it is for you, I am so glad that I was there. Death is as sacred as birth, and we are privileged to bear witness to God's plan.

    You all will be in my heart and in my prayers.

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  7. ugh. i cry every time i read/think about birth #2 (despite the wonderfulness who is tinney who came out of it). i hate that i was in boston. i hate that i didn't ever know until years later the seriousness of that day. thanks to cavalier dad who said you were bleeding just a little bit. but i suppose god was saving me from once again throwing on my pink zip off sleeves vest and racing down here thinking i could do soemthing about it...then collapsing at seeing my sister collapsed. but, supreme champ, you are bit by bit cleansing yourself form these traumas and allowing yourself to become whole! lerv you.

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  8. l can barely see the page there are so many tears. I will pray for you and your mother ,especially Linda. I can read between the lines and know how much her mother has meant to her. There is no substitute for your mother. How beautiful your faith is. May the Lord meet your every need. Psalm 63 says I will rejoice in the shadow of Your wings. I follow close to You: YOUR RIGHT HAND HOLDS ON TO ME. Your hand holding your grandmother's reminded me of how God is always holding on to his children.

    I am glad you were able to write about your childbirth experiences and your fears.

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  9. I didn't even read the post. I just saw the picture and read the caption underneath and burst into tears.

    Prayers for you and your grandma. I can't imagine. My grandma will be 95 this year. I can't imagine life without her in it. :(

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  10. Knowing how hard hospitals are for you, I appreciate even more the time you spent with Grandma until I got here. The picture collage you made to help her remember us, the caring way you were feeding her when I walked in....well, they brought me to my knees. Thank you!
    Eight years ago was a scary time, but never did I think we would lose that battle. God knew you would be needed later and kept you safe.xoxox

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  11. Knowing how hard hospitals are for you, I appreciate even more the time you spent with Grandma until I got here. The picture collage you made to help her remember us, the caring way you were feeding her when I walked in....well, they brought me to my knees. Thank you!
    Eight years ago was a scary time, but never did I think we would lose that battle. God knew you would be needed later and kept you safe.xoxox

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  12. Your story has me welling up with tears Lins. While you've told it to me in person, to read it has a different effect. You're a brave woman in so many ways, thanks for trusting all of us.

    I'm sending positivity and love your way today, for you, your mom, and your sweet grandma!
    xo~
    T

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  13. Sitting her bawling and so happy to say I "know" you, you have taught me so much in such a short time. Your stories are inspiring and your spirit infectious. I'm glad you were able to spend this time with your grandmother and wish you and your family peace. Thank you so much for sharing this here.

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  14. I will pray. For your continued healing, for your grandmother's ultimate healing.

    He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to His heart. Isaiah 40:11

    Love in Him!!!! Amanda

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  15. can't read your story without knowing that God is real and that he cares deeply about making us whole.

    love the part of your heart that knows beyond a doubt that God makes broken things beautiful. amen.

    trusting that God will make your grandmother whole and bring her to her truest home soon...praying peace for all of you.

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  16. after reading your post late yesterday afternoon I had to think. You have been on my heart since..and your mom and grandmother.
    I want to say all the right things to you..risking this sounds crazy..you are very special to me. You are brave and God is making all the broken places whole..with Himself. I see Him in your raw vulnerability..for what you are sharing from your heart is so real..real life and how He works in the midst of our fears and circumstances.
    praying the joy of the Lord is your strength today and the your families hearts are trusting in Him and that perfect peace surrounds each of you during this time. For your grandmother to be truly whole..it takes my breath. Couldn't start my day without writing to you.
    much love always
    xo

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  17. so sorry about your grandma...that's the worst when they don't remember. love that picture of her hand. precious. you poor thing. and i thought 30+ hours of back labor was bad. so right that God takes the broken and restores!!

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  18. such a personal, inspiring story -- thanks for sharing with us! love you!

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  20. Linsey, I caught your mom's post about your grandmother but somehow missed this one. What an ordeal you went through. I can totally understand why you'd be freaked out about hospitals. But I'm glad you were able to confront this fear (though I wish it were under less stressful circumstances).

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  21. I remember you telling me a short version of this story a long time ago at a CTK get together at someone's house [can't remember who?]. It brings tears to my eyes just thinking about how scary and surely traumatizing that must have been to go through. And how amazing the way everything worked out so that you knew something was wrong beyond "normal" childbirth pain. Truly amazing.

    Thinking about your grandma and your fam...

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  22. Just found your blog (by "accident"? don't think it was an accident at all)! I could not believe I was reading about someone else's life...aspiring to be all God called her to be...yet battling adrenal exhaustion, brain fog, post-traumatic stress disorder (as my counselor has labeled some of my fears)etc. I, too, am arising from similar traumatic events to try and "live" again. I also share your faith and trust in the Lord. What the enemy meant for harm, God will restore and get all the Glory...for both of us! Just know I was greatly inspired by the writing from your heart. Love the blog and your style in decorating your home too. May God richly bless you and your family in every way!

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"Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: What! You too? I thought I was the only one." ~ C.S. Lewis

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