Have you ever really stopped to think about all of the near misses that we are protected from? Pulling out of a parking spot and narrowly missing a car that you did not see. Running late and pulling up on the scene of an accident that’s just happened. Both of these are things that we are aware of missing. But have you ever thought about the things that you don’t know you’ve avoided? We don’t typically give a whole lot of thought space to the “things that could’ve happened but didn’t. “
Just recently some pieces from my past fit together and made me realize how lucky both my son and I are to be alive.
In the two years since my Takayasu’s arteritus (TA) diagnosis I have had countless doctors appointments and each time I learn a little bit more about the disease, treatment, side effects, etc. In a recent appointment I learned that one of the trickier elements to manage in a patient with TA is blood pressure during pregnancy. A lightbulb went off.
Almost fifteen years ago when our son was born, the doctor that delivered him (not my regular doctor) said “Yep, he looks like a high blood pressure baby.” I had no idea what she was talking about other than she had just called my beautiful first child scrawny and gangly. (He was but that was beside the point. There was nothing plump or chubby on this 6lb 3oz baby.) Plus the fact that (to my knowledge) I had never had high blood pressure.
Here’s why the doctor said it…my chart indicated possible preeclampsia, a potentially fatal pregnancy condition. They had thrown that word around at one point but I had never been treated for it because while I had all of the other symptoms including vision loss (then attributed to migraines) and excessive weight gain and swelling (I was put on a low sodium diet) I never had the key indicator, high blood pressure. That was until the day I delivered my son, two weeks early. High blood pressure was the reason they induced delivery and also the reason, just hours after he was born they wanted to take him from me and place me on a magnesium sulfate drip.
I could never figure out why he would have been a “high blood pressure baby” though until this recent conversation. My normal left arm reading is 60-70/40. (Yes, I should be dead according to those numbers.) So a “normal” blood pressure reading for me, because of the TA, is at least 50 points high. So take what is considered normal, add 50 points to it, (170+ possibly at times) and that’s what my blood pressure was as I carried out my pregnancy complete with vision loss and edema which first showed up very early on. I was a essentially a ticking time bomb and we were blissfully unaware.
How long have I had TA? No one can say for sure but I would be willing to bet it has been at least 15 years. In that time, God protected me, and during that pregnancy, He protected my son, without us having any idea what we were up against. Until now…
There is hope, for me yet,
Because God won’t forget,
All the plans He’s made for me
I have to wait and see,
He’s not finished with me yet.
-Wait and See, Brandon Heath
For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11 NLT)
There will be days in our lives where we will have to see this promised good veiled through death and disease, and hurt and struggle. It is in these days where my faith has had the opportunity to grow. There will also be days where we don’t necessarily see the good because it is veiled in the ordinary. But it is there all the same. Stack a couple bad days up and you will realize what a true gift the ordinary is.
Jeremiah 29:11 is a promise. God has a plan and a purpose for your life. Sometimes, we are blessed with a peek into how wide and vast his mercy and protection are in carrying out this promise. But many times we have absolutely no idea what we have nearly missed. I can’t think of a better reason to thank God this afternoon.
Today if you’re struggling, if you’re looking for something to be grateful for, here it is. You are still here. God has brought you to this point and it may not have been an easy journey. You may find yourself beat up and bruised but He has a plan. It may seem that His protection has failed. I have been there. My second pregnancy ended in tragedy at 34 weeks and we buried our second son. The question in those moments becomes will you let Him use you, use your struggle for good? Will you let Him use your hurt for someone else’s comfort?
I am here for a purpose, His purpose….He’s not finished with me yet.