Monthly Archives: March 2013

17P

Water…

Hey there readers. Sorry I have been absent for a while I have been struggling with some health issues regarding this pregnancy and I thought I would let you in on my experiences.

I am pregnant with our second child due July 6th, 2013. Today marks 24weeks day 5. About 8 weeks ago I had my mid pregnancy ultrasound which revealed that my cervix was shortening. A “normal” pregnancy warrants a 4cm cervix to hold the baby in the uterus. At my 17 week ultrasound, my cervix was already at 3cm. It might not sound that bad, it didn’t to me at the time. The utrasound doctor ordered me to return in a week. My cervix shortened to 2.5cm.

My OBGYN issued a vaginally inserted progesterone that was a gel form called Crinone. And what do you know I had a terrible reaction to the medicine. Not only did I get a terrible yeast infection 3 days in to taking the medicine but I also experienced a dermatitis around my butthole.

Called my OBGYN, she confirmed both side effects and issued me to stop taking the progesterone  and issued a yeast infection medicine that I took orally. During my first pregnancy I experienced a yeast infection that also resulted in dermatitis.  When I had taken the vaginally inserted medication for the yeast infection before my dermatitis turned in to a nightmare that ended 24 weeks later when I gave birth. So that’s why we avoided the compound medication and went with an oral.

After a week my OBGYN issued a 2nd form of progesterone that was a specially compounded progesterone also in a vaginal compound form that is inserted at bedtime. 4 days later, Dermatitis. And voila, my insurance decided to issue me Progesterone shots issued from a company called Allere.

Allere called me to set up my injections. A nurse called me to set up the appointment time when she would personally come to my house. All my medication was Express Fed Ex’d to my house. I received my first injection 3 weeks ago at 22 weeks pregnant. I have been given my shots on Tuesdays around noon. The side effects that I have experienced have been the following:

Nausea

Fatigue

Irritability

Exhaustion

Soreness at the site of injection for up to 3 days

Lightheaded…enough that I have slightly fainted or needed to lay down quickly

Lack of Appitite, I have to make my self eat I think because of the Nausea

Headache

Cramping, very low like PMS and also gas-like Cramps

Contractions, not rythmic but strong enough to make me want to lay down, so I do.

All of my listed side effects last generally 3-5days after my injection. Which yes, means most of the week I feel weak and icky. I would say to anyone else struggling with any form of progesterone’s side effects, hang in there. It is totally worth being nauseous and in pain to keep the baby with you in your womb instead of months early suffering to survive in NICCU. Laney was in NICCU for a few days and that was awful. I pray we can make it to 37weeks and stay out of the NICCU this time.

I received my third shot this week and I would say this week the side effects have been the worst. I woke up last night and had my husband bring me some Zofran. I have been issued two different kinds of anti-nausea medication. Both work great but they increase the severity of my headaches. I do take Tylonol if my headache is too strong. I am also taking Magnesium Glycinate.

I have only taken medication issued by my OBGYN or approved first by her. Over the last 8 weeks my cervix went from 3 cm to 1.48cm. I have been getting weekly ultrasounds to check cervical length. Our baby is really growing well and everything looks great from a development standpoint. After my ultrasound I head upstairs to the OBGYN to talk about side effects and questions.

I have not been instructed that bed rest is a solution as bed rest is comonly used to lessen the effects of contractions and braxton hicks-like muscle movements. I have had my activity level challenged. I am not supposed to lift much of anything besides Laney, so I use my stroller a lot. And Pete gets to help carry in things like groceries.

All this to say that I am frustrated, nauseous, tired and able to wait for a baby to get here if it means their safe and healthy arrival 12ish weeks from now.   I do pray that the side effects would subside and that the baby would continue to grow and mature as God knits it together in my womb. Also that the Progesterone injections would be effective in sustaining my cervical length.

Oh and we moved in to a new house during all of this craziness and Laney my 10 month old daughter started walking. Anyways enough from me for now. Just pray with me where ever you are.

-A

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Heavy Burdens

Tea ~ Jasmine Pearls

Anyone who knows me well would probably describe me as a passionate, hard-working person. Most would say how great those qualities are and what a strength it is, but in recent months & years, God has revealed what a weakness it can be and what a temptation to take on too much can do.

With the work that God has called me to do with Traffick Free and the issue of human trafficking that I think about on a daily basis, it doesn’t take much for me to feel overwhelmed because the topic itself is overwhelming. I sometimes find it hard to allow myself to experience good or pleasurable things because I know that there are people in the world that have nothing, face disease or oppression constantly, have no home or family or that someone will purchase them for sex and abuse or exploit them later that night. It pains me. Just last week, Greg & I watched The Whistleblower, “A drama based on the experiences of Kathryn Bolkovac, a Nebraska cop who served as a peacekeeper in post-war Bosnia and outed the U.N. for covering up a sex scandal,” as recommended by a friend. *WARNING:  GRAPHIC CONTENT* I was not mentally or emotionally prepared for a scene in which a young girl is sexually violated by a metal pipe because she ran away from her pimp and got caught. And even worse, was to make the other girls held captive watch in horror while they made an example of her. They didn’t even show any part of her body during this scene, the terror and reaction to this act were enough to get the point across.

I had to turn it off. I spent the next 20 minutes sobbing on my husband’s chest while he held me. How can I sleep at night when there are women out there being treated this way at this very moment? I wanted to ask Rachel Lloyd of GEMS in NYC (an amazing organization and program that Traffick Free hopes to incorporate their model into ours when our housing gets up and running) a similar question last year when she came to Chicago for her book release party and our expert panel event. “How do you do this kind of work everyday without taking the weight of it onto your shoulders?” The real challenge is that she lived it. She wrote about her time in “the life” as well as the work she’s doing now to end human trafficking in NYC in her memoir, Girls Like Us, which I am in the middle of reading, and it’s wonderful so far.

The truth is, a year ago I had to really pray about and think through coming on staff with Traffick Free because I know that my temptation is to take the weight of the world on my shoulders. We were involved for 10 months before I made a commitment to a director role because I had to be sure that this was what I wanted to do. It wouldn’t be fair to dip my toe in, have others in leadership rely on me, only to be wishy washy about the whole thing. So how does one deal with heavy issues that can easily become heavy burdens?

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”   ~ Matthew 11:28-30

If you are reading this and are not a follower of Jesus, I don’t know how you do it. I am unable to do life on my own strength. These words in the book of Matthew are a comfort to me as I seek to rest in the Lord. If I wasn’t resting in Him, I wouldn’t be resting at all. I am a work-aholic and my default mode is to carry the burdens of others on myself. In this interview with Moody Radio that I was asked to do this week, I talked about the one and only time I’ve felt compelled to call the National Human Trafficking Hotline (888-3737-888, save it in your cell phone right now and report any suspicious activity) in a small, rural town called Bridgman, Michigan, last fall (not far from where I grew up). One woman commented later on our Facebook page:  “I can’t stop thinking about the story of the woman & child in the back seat.” Please listen to the interview to hear the story as well as how I heard about human trafficking 2 years ago and what I’m doing about it. I would love your feedback!

What heavy burdens do you carry that you could give up to the Lord? Please be praying for me about this area of my life. We are not meant to carry and bear the weight of this broken world when Jesus already has. And we are made perfect in weakness. By admitting this weakness, I am made stronger and whole again. Join me in doing the same with your burdens so that we might find rest. And my birthday is next Thursday, support this ministry with a donation as I donate my birthday to Traffick Free!

Be encouraged!