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Monday, March 31, 2014

Fear, The Truth & Toxoplasmosis




Eight weeks from tomorrow (if all goes as planned) we will be meeting our new baby boy.
I couldn't be more thrilled for several reasons. Obviously to meet him and finally hold him in my arms and kiss his little face.
I'm excited to have a summer baby too. My first 3 are all winter babies, so I went right from the hospital to bundling them up in the frigid cold of Wisconsin winters. Bundling kids up is one of the worst things about winter I think. By the time you get them all wrapped up, you're good to go for a nap.
Our plan is to deliver on Tuesday, May 27th...the day after Memorial Day. After 3 csections, we will be scheduling this one at 38 weeks, because of a high risk condition called "your skin and muscles have been stretched and cut too many times and we don't want you to burst."
Ok, I don't actually know what it is called, but my doctor told me he was out of town one time and one of his patients wanted to wait to deliver until he got back in town and she was 40+ weeks and you could actually see the baby's head through her skin. Eeeeesh. Don't want that. So 38 weeks it is!
With 2 of my 3 kids, I developed high blood pressure and preeclampsia so I ended up delivering one at 36 weeks and one at 37 weeks...I'm not completely opposed to go slightly earlier if I have to, but I'm not banking on high blood pressure. I'm keeping an eye on it though. I went in today because of some unusual swelling and it was slightly higher than normal, but nothing dangerous at this point.
Obviously the longer he bakes his buns in my oven, the better.

This pregnancy has been a journey of faith from the day I found out I was pregnant. Having 2 miscarriages behind you always can cause a slight array of emotions when you find out your are pregnant again, but I've also had 3 healthy full term pregnancies so I know the faithfulness of God. Then last summer, I had another miscarriage (or chemical pregnancy) so again, fear wanted to jump in the moment I found out.
There is the weird place of trying to contain your excitement and trying to control your fear when you have a sad  and uncertain history behind you. And I was just trying to remain calmly in the middle. The day after I found out I was pregnant with this little guy, I started bleeding. And I continued bleeding on and off through my 17th week of pregnancy. I have never had happen that before and the only times I did have it, I miscarried. But each time I went in for another ultrasound, they couldn't find a reason for the bleeding. I remember my Aunt Carolyn telling me "Don't base your faith in your history, but in what God is able to do in your future."
That stuck with me. My faith isn't based on what has happened before...

By the 3rd-ish ultrasound, I was getting tired of dealing with this feeling of being up in the air all the time, not really knowing why this was happening, but at the same time I was like "well I guess it's just one of those unexplained weird pregnancy things."

Between dealing with the continual bleeding and also severe ulcer pain, horrible nausea, a wretched eczema breakout covering my entire body, an injured back where I had to bend over to walk and just feeling sort of too old & decrepit in general, the beginning of this pregnancy was really a rough season for me.
So much so that it took me that long to tell people I was even pregnant. I finally asked for prayer from several people including confiding in the gals from Thrive Moms in on what I was dealing with and then my whole facebook friends list. I didn't really give the detail what was going on through facebook, other than I was going through a lot and it was one of those moments where I didn't have the strength to fight this on my own. I craved the prayers of others to stand with me. I'm not usually one to ask for prayer. I like to stand in faith and trust God on my own. But I was really at the end of myself and I needed someone...
anyone to agree with me.



At my 24 week appointment, I was feeling much better. Every other symptom I was previously dealing with was gone thanks to everyone's prayers, but something new came to my attention.
Right before I got pregnant we bought a pixie bob kitten. And despite all the warnings from books and people, I was the main person to take care of the cat and change her litter box through the first half of the pregnancy. I started getting frustrated, that when I asked for help from my family I felt like I was nagging constantly and if I didn't just do it on my own, the poop would sit for days...
So I just did it.
I knew there were dangers in it and I tried to be careful, but in the back of my mind I was wishing I wasn't the one doing this.

Finally, I broke down crying one night after seeing a mouse in our house and watching my cat sit for days in front of the area the mouse had made it's original appearance, just waiting for it to return. Generally, I don't always like to find out what google has to say about everything, but for the sake of being careful, I looked it up and learned that toxoplasmosis is a parasite that cats can get and shed in their feces... if they kill an animal or eat raw meat. It does little to no harm to children or adults, generally nothing more than flu type symptoms. But if a mother gets it during pregnancy, it has a 30% chance of being given to her unborn baby and can cause anything  from learning disabilities to blindness to seizures to still birth.

I broke down in frustration because I just wanted someone to take this seriously as I was...
I wanted someone to offer to help.
But in that moment of frustration, the Lord reminded me of a scripture...
In Mark 16:17-18 where Jesus says "And these miraculous signs will follow them who believe...and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not harm them..."

I thought surely that goes for if they touch any deadly thing, it shall not harm them, as well. 
Knowing full well, I wasn't purposely testing or tempting God, but if for some reason Nova (our cat) did kill an animal and I did somehow catch some sort of parasite from her, that it would not affect me or my child.
I would not let it. Because after all I believed. And I am heir to all of God's promises.

I went into my doctor appointment soon after this and I told my doctor about our cat and the mice we saw her chasing and I asked him to test me. The next day I received a phonecall from his office and the report I received was that I, in fact, tested positive for currently contracting toxoplasmosis.
In that moment, I could have freaked. I could  have feared all the possibilities of what may happen and there was a part of me that wondered why I was so calm. I let the nurse finish telling me that they would retest me at my next appointment and see what happened and we would take it from there. I turned around to my husband and told him point blank "I tested positive."
A few hours later I went to my mom and dad and started crying. It was weird, the scare and shock of it had me in tears. I'm an emotional person to begin with, so anything will make me cry. But at the same time, I told them "I still have peace. And I believe at my next appointment that everything will come back negative."

My parents listened and agreed with me in prayer. We took the scripture from Mark 16:17-18 about how any deadly thing will not harm me or this baby and we took God at his word.
I was also aware of a high rate of false positives with this test.
Either way, I was done playing around with all this fear and worry garbage throughout this pregnancy.
I had had enough, to be honest. I wasn't going to let the devil destroy my joy. I wasn't going to spend the next 4 weeks worrying about what my next test results would be. I'm not saying the thoughts didn't solicit me, but when they did, I would change my thoughts to something else. I would tell myself, Nope. You are not dwelling on fear or worry or the negative. You have a promise from God far greater than what some test says. You have the truth.

I even started getting the flu and started wondering if those were the signs of toxoplasmosis finally showing up. Seriously, it took everything in me just to remain calm and at peace during those four weeks. I didn't tell ANYONE because I wanted to remain confident in what I knew to be true. God's truth is the only truth I know. And absolutely didn't want anyone speaking words of doubt or fear over my situation to me or behind my back. I only wanted words of life spoken and I felt responsible to make sure that happened.   I can't control other peoples tongues, but I can control mine. And I continually thanked God that 'the same spirit that raised Christ from the dead, gives life to my body (and my baby's body)' -Romans 8:11

God is so good though, you know.
He reminded me of another time, 13 years ago when I got a false positive of a fatal disease. Yes, this has happened to me before during my very first pregnancy 13 years ago with another disease.. It was the scariest week of my life I think, but in the end after seeing a specialist, my results came back negative. And remembering back to that gave me an additional boost of hope throughout this current situation.

Anyways, last week I went in for my 29 week appointment and we originally had to go in to do an ultrasound to check on the baby's stomach, because at my anatomy ultrasound at 21 weeks, the tech said it looked small so they weren't sure if he was swallowing correctly. And we also did a blood test for toxoplasmosis. I checked my website eagerly and hourly for the next two days waiting for the test results.
I am happy and ever so thankful to report & testify that it was a lie! It came back completely negative. Whether it was a false positive to begin with or whether whatever parasite that was growing was killed, I had complete peace and confidence that it would be negative despite my then current positive status. I wasn't even expecting a positive test result whatsoever the next time I went in. I kept telling myself that everything that has a name HAS to bow to the name of Jesus. He is the name above all names, afterall.
That includes parasites and diseases, right? Yep.

Not only that but, the baby's stomach looked good and healthy. Nothing scary to report there. Even if there was, I wouldn't report anything but what God says in his word.

Our little guy is measuring in the 79th percentile at this point,so we are doing one more ultrasound to track his growth. My babies were always in the 5th percentile, so that's a big baby for me. I remain confident in the character and promises of God concerning the remaining 8 weeks of this pregnancy, our baby's health and mine.


I'm excited to finally reveal our little guy's name:
We are naming him Wyatt Cash.
Wyatt was a favorite name of Jeff's since Wesley was born. Those two names were a toss up when we were thinking of names with our first son. At the time, I wasn't crazy about Wyatt, but I do have a deep place in my heart for the movie Tombstone. Haha. Seriously, I love the Wyatt Earp story, so yes, that is where his name came from. And as for 'Cash' I wanted something cool and "westerny' or 'country' to go with Wyatt, so we were going over famous cowboys or famous country singers and we think Johnny Cash totally rocks, so his middle name is after Johnny Cash himself.
Nothing sentimental from family or scripture, just a name we love and think is pretty cool...
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Eight weeks to go, people, until our final baby is born. I can't wait!
After that, we have discussed the possibility of adoption of one more older child, believe it or not.
We will see where that path leads us in the coming years. Yikes!

On a side note: Yes, my husband has taken care of the cat along with some help from the kids every single day since that first result. I haven't gone near it. =)

8 comments:

TicoTina said...

aww I love his name! and I identify so much (as usual, haha) with this whole post. it makes me so happy to read of you living in victory over the fear and doubt, the taking control of your thoughts. YES! God rocks!

Traci said...

Perfect Name :)

Kayla Gerard said...

Wyatt is an awesome name, its in my top ten boy names for sure. Awe little baby Wyatt cash smith...I absolutely love it! Love you Julie!!!! ♥♥♥

Nicole said...

In tears reading this after having many personal, emotional, and physical challenges regarding my pregnancy.
She was all worth it in the end!
Wyatt Cash-I cannot wait to see you!

Sheri.J said...

That's a powerful story Julie! Though different circumstances, I love to hear people of faith overcoming!
Bless you!
~Sheri

Sheri.J said...

What a powerful testimony Julie! I love to hear when people of faith overcome through the grace of God.
Bless you!
~Sheri

Très bien Gambino said...

Beautiful story!! Praise Jesus! He is so good and faithful. Thank you for sharing! :]

Brooke @ Covered in Grace said...

LOVE his name. =) I love Tombstone, too. Julie, you are such a rock star. Love you!!!!

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