Two years ago I gave up on a little dream. I gave up on having a third child. I was not desperate to have another baby. I was content to be the mother of my two wonderful daughters, if that was what the Lord had planned for me. But I had always thought I would have more than two.
I blame stress. We throw that word around lightly, but my bloodwork consistently showed that the stress hormone, cortisol, was out of balance in my body. And no wonder: I dealt with anxiety, grief of losing my mother, helping raise grieving siblings, a career in family law that was difficult not to take to heart, not to mention normal stress of child rearing, in laws, lack of sleep, etc. My hormones have been out of whack for over a decade. I had an early miscarriage in between my daughters. My second daughter required progesterone supplementation early in the pregnancy. Then, several years later, during my next two pregnancies, progesterone supplementation did not work. The miscarriages themselves further exacerbated my hormone imbalance. I developed a host of other symptoms: fatigue, muscle weakness, weight gain, short cycles, and no one could tell me what was wrong with me, which only added to my stress and anxiety. I had to stop looking up symptoms on the internet. Surely not every symptom indicates a brain tumor?
My very nice doctor was at a loss. I visited several specialists, just to rule out some things. I was relieved to find out all the things I didn’t have. But I was no closer to a solution for growing weakness. Chronic fatigue? No. Fibromyalgia? Not likely. Another miscarriage. I stopped trying supplementation. We were not trying to having a baby. We just let the whatever was meant to be, happen. I finally saw an integrative medicine doctor that had been recommended to me some time back. The problem was that he did not take insurance. He did expensive food intolerance testing. He did extensive bloodwork. At least that was covered by insurance. He recommended pricey supplements. He restricted my diet based on what he saw and encouraged me to exercise as much as I could. And slowly my aches, fatigue and muscle weakness disappeared. He could not tell me for sure what was wrong with me, but his goal was to help me get to optimum help. My IGe food intolerance testing told me that my body reacted poorly to meat, mostly beef and poultry. He tweaked my regimen every six months, based on bloodwork and symptoms. He treated me for leaky gut. We tried bioidenticals for hormone balance (second try for me). My fifth miscarriage occurred. We settled on pregnenolone and a natural cream to boost my progesterone and DIM Detox to metabolize estrogen. I began to deal seriously with my anxiety.
For me the root was a spiritual one. I felt out of control. Of course I was never in control in the first place. I wanted to control so many things that are out of the scope of human control. Brennan Manning’s book Ruthless Trust made a huge impact on me at that time. I needed to get to the place where I could say with Job of the Old Testament, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.” (Job 13:15). I discovered Neil Anderson’s book Freedom From Fear and devoured it. I worked through every part of it and the Lord used it to heal me of anxiety. It was no small thing. I had struggled since I was 14. The freedom from anxiety was glorious. I took up running. I made great time in a 5k. My kids were old enough to watch themselves while I ran. I began to discover all the great things I could do with two older, responsible kids. We decided that after I turned 40 we would not try for a baby any longer. I could ride all the rollercoasters with my kids. I could SCUBA dive again. I began to embrace the freedom older children provided. I thought how compact and travel ready a family of four really was.
I got pregnant just before my 40th birthday…