Monday, October 31, 2016

A Story of Grapes, Giants, and Homebirth (Part 3)

"Devin, if my glucose challenge comes back positive, what do you think about doing a homebirth with Carly's doctor?" 

I remember exactly where we were, crossing the street near the Jerusalem's Shuk (market). 

My husband was silent. 

"Ok.  You don't have to answer right away.  Think about it and let me know." 

I had not thought much about our birth plan much until it was time to do the test.  Early in the pregnancy, I contacted a homebirth midwife, and she suggested waiting until I got my results before coming under her care, so that I would not be disappointed if I could not birth at home with her.  At that point, I decided to lay the issue aside until later. 

Going in for the test was quite disappointing, in itself.  In the time since Aviel was born, I had been studying and found an number of sources that questioned the accuracy, and even safety of of Glucose Tolerance testing.  Since Aviel was born with such great blood sugar, and a normal size, I honestly wondered if I had been misdiagnosed and was open to alternatives, such as the A1C, or checking blood sugar for two weeks, even substituting jelly beans for glucola.  I went in prepared to talk to my doctor about other options, and was shocked to learn that since I had a previous diagnoses on my records, I'd actually have to jump straight to the 3 hour Challenge.  He was not willing to write a hafnaya (order) for anything else. 

We weighted options - refusing all together, fighting and trying to find a doctor who would world with me...  In the end, I was still sick from the hyperemesis gravidarum, which (for me) is aggravated by stress, and it was not going to improve my birth choice options to refuse the test.  The only benefit would be not drinking the nasty and not good for us glucola. 

So I did the test. 

While I was sitting in the lab, I remembered the day Carly told me about the homebirth doctor and had hope that my options might remain fairly open if I "failed" the test.

And failed - did I. 

My numbers were higher this time, than they had been with Aviel. 

I was frustrated, and my husband still wasn't sure about the homebirth option. 

Lord, why do you let this happen to my body?  If I didn't have this condition, we could go to the natural birthing center at the hosptial, and not have tension in the marriage.  It would be so much easier.  He whispered... 

Because I have something so much better for you.The Lord's response to me was clear, so I clung to Romans 8:28, trust that he would work all of this to the good of our family and our baby! 


Being third trimester, it was time to start making some plans.  With Devin's agreement to at least have a meeting with the doctor, I made a phone call - and one that circumstantially held two confirmations that we were headed in the right direction. 

"When are you due?" The doctor asked on the phone. 

"November 15."

"You are exactly 30 weeks today.  That's when I usually first start working with my patients."  That was number 1.  And number 2.  "I'll be in Jerusalem tomorrow, how about if I stop by?"  Said my out of town doctor.   

I was elated.  And that much more so when Devin returned from the Shuk (market) that day with these babies:

On Sep 15, 2014, I posted this caption with the photo on my Facebook Status:  "Devin brought home grapes yesterday and I had not seen them until I packed Aviel‘s lunch box this morning. When I opened the bag and saw these huge huge grapes, it did something in my spirit... Joshua and Caleb style... I am full of belief and hope today!"

Its hard to tell exactly how huge the grapes are, but they are certainly the largest we had ever purchased.  I was awed.  What I didn't share with the world is that I had been praying over this baby's birth, the grapes gave me a great deal of hope that we'd have a wonderful homebirth. 

Following along with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth's series on Joshua at that time, I also had an indication that if the Lord was good to grant grapes, then we might also face giants.  As the giants arose, so would my faith, as I trusted the Lord that this was His plan. 

Related Posts:
A Story of Grapes, Giants, and Homebirth
Part 1
Part 2

Something Special (Aviel's birth story)

A Story of Grapes, Giants, and Homebirth (part 2)

Waiting for Lydia to form in my womb was a much longer, and dramatic process than we could have ever imagined.

Falling pregnant by happy surprise with Aviel, I never once thought I'd face infertility, but when Aviel was three years old and had well since weaned,  I was still not menstruating and I knew something was wrong with my body. 

It wasn't just the lack of cycle, but a number of strange changes to my quickly morphing appearance that caused me to wonder. 

I embarked on research and learned of Cushing's Disease, a condition caused by a tumor either on the adrenals, lungs, or pituitary gland, which seemed a perfect explanation for the problems I was dealing with.   Most notably, my face swelled up round and full, but I was also loosing hair on my head, growing body hair, developing a hump on my back, and gaining weight in my upper body and stomach.  After seven months of tests, we finally were able to determine that I did, in deed, have a pituitary tumor.  It was a Beauty Theif, that secreted a hormone called ACTH, which in turn stimulated an over production of cortisol in my body.  The excesses of cortisol  halted all ovulation, but with the removal of the tumor, fertility was likely to return. 

My surgery was successful, and three months later, my endocrinologist cleared us to start trying for another baby. 

It took a little longer than I expected, however. 

On one particularly disappointing day, when we had learned naturally that we did not have a baby from the month before, the Lord blessed us with hope.  During Shabbat services, our pastor was speaking from Acts 16.

One of those listening was a woman from the city of Thyatira named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth. She was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message. (v. 14)

As he read through the passage, and spoke the name Lydia, I remember thinking...

Lydia...  our daughter.  I need to tell Devin.

No sooner had the thought passed through my heart before Devin leaned over and whispered in my ear...


I knew my husband had heard the same!   He then showed me how lovely the name presented itself spelled in Hebrew - as the two words L'yad Yah, meaning next to God.
Exactly 4 weeks later, we learned that we had a new baby on the way!  Joyfully our news was confirmed on Aviel's 4th birthday.  We were blessed to share with our little son that the Lord has placed a baby in my belly for his birthday present!  All three of us were thrilled.

The pregnancy was medically confirmed at my 6 month post-opp Endocrinology appointment a few days later.  I'll never forget the look on my Endo's face when he saw my numbers!  Lydia was celebrated all around, even as pea-sized womb baby! 


It was only a matter of weeks before joy gave way to discouragement, even some depression.  If I had thought the nausea and vomiting was hard with Aviel, this was a new giant to face.  I had a severe case of Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG).  This is nausea on steroids.  I could barely eat and nothing stayed down.  I vomited at least three times a day, if not more.  The vomiting continued on until week 36, and by the end of the pregnancy I had only gained 12 lbs. 

Besides the physical strain on my body, I was plagued with constant mom guilt, knowing Aviel was not receiving the care I felt he needed.  

On top of the HG, again, I received a Gestational Diabetes diagnosis. 

This was a severe disappointment because I was hoping that the neuro surgery I had to remove my pituitary tumor would have corrected my body's glucose intolerance, since Diabetes is a secondary symptom of Cushing's Disease.  The Lord would soon turn this disappointment into a blessing! 

Related Posts:
He Gave Me Lydia - Kindred Grace (for more about Lydia's Name story)
Beauty Thief - Kindred Grace (about Cushing's Disease)

A Story of Grapes, Giants, and Homebirth (part 1)
Something Special (Aviel's Birth Story)

A Story of Grapes, Giants and Homebirth (part 1)

Lydia's birth story has been slow in coming.  That's the struggle of two children, lots of writing adventures, and a year of 4 hours worth of daily bus rides.  As I'm preparing for the birth of number three, the Lord has laid it on my heart to write it out, remembering the sweetness and the love. 

Her story really begins years before she was born,  in the Lord's provision for her birth plan, healing my body of Cushing's Disease that caused secondary infertility, and prophetically downloading her name four weeks before I knew she was in my womb. 

I remember the day I was sitting on Carly's couch (yes, the same Carly from Aviel's birth story, my brand new friend at the time, due a week before me, who graciously threw our baby shower), when the Lord began moving my heart toward a homebirth.

Carly had planned for a natural birth and due to "Failure to Progress" ended up in a cesarean.  I will not tell all the details of her story here, but unconvinced that this took place for no unknown reason, she set out to get answers, and answers she found.  Not only answers, but also a man whom she referred to as "the homebirth doctor." 

We sat and talked, as she shared her heart over her disappointment that the surgery could have been prevented through a few changes prohibited by hosptial policy, and that she was planning a HBAC (Home Birth After Cesarean).  This doctor was willing to take her on as a client. 

My eyes swelled with tears.

While I was happy for her, the tears were pouring from a place in my heart much deeper.  I felt she had found something for me, as well. 

My first birth went amazingly well, but having gestational diabetes, my options were limited.  Being granted a high risk status (more on that later) was devastating.  It was scary news for a first time mom.  God was so good, however, and whispered that He would give me Something Special and that He certainly did, which is why my own strength of emotion was so surprising at the news Carly had shared.  The prospect of this doctor caused me to feel quite safe and free, and as if the Lord might have something different for us next time.    Little did I know it would be a few more years before I'd even carry my next child, due to secondary infertility (find a series of posts about my story of Cushing's Disease here). 

Carly went on two have two babies at home with the homebirth doctor during the time span that I waited....  and waited....  and waited... 

Related Posts:
Something Special (Part 1) Aviel's Birth Stroy