Well, now that sounds dramatic, doesn’t it? Panic and Tears?? Haha. If you have known me long, then you know I have a flare for the dramatic. I feel like I must have grown up staring at the passenger-side-view mirror, except that my mirror said Objects in mirror are larger than they appear. Plus, I grew up in Texas where everything is bigger, so it seems natural that I would make a bigger deal out of everything, right? Right. Completely natural.
The saga continues, you know. Last week I wrote about my third miscarriage. I’ve lost three babies in the first trimester, and for me that means that (thankfully) I never felt them swirling and kicking and hiccuping. It seems like it would be so much harder if I had. I’m so thankful to all of you who took the time to read my blog and comment and share. I can hardly believe the grace of God sometimes, even though I know His grace is sufficient and abundant! It was so lovely to hear from other mommies who have lost their babies. What a privilege to have that community with one another.
So last week was pretty great. Some more of my church friends blessed our family with a few more meals to help out, and my friend JoAnn came over and cleaned. my. house. Oh my word, y’all. I really like having a clean house, and with a husband AND three boys, that is super difficult to maintain! So I’m sure that many of you can understand what I mean when I say that I was super stressed about the fact that my toilets hadn’t been scrubbed in two weeks, my sheets hadn’t been changed in three, and the floor was sadly in need of being mopped. Stephen helped out tons, but my man was trying to do my job of keeping up with the house and the kids along with his two outside jobs all at once. That’s tough for anyone. My house was clean, and I didn’t have to do it. Haha! Glory!
Friday I was feeling so great after having done practically nothing for two weeks, so I decide to venture out with my three boys to Target just to pick up a few basic groceries. Nothing major, and they were super well-behaved (say what?! when does that happen?). We made it all the way to the check-out line, and that’s when it happened: I was positive that I was about to pass out right there. I still had enough of my wits about me to walk around a line to the cafe that was close and sit down. It didn’t get any better from there, though; in fact, it only got worse.
I called Stephen at work to tell him how I was feeling: very dizzy, lightheaded, and confused. “Why is everything moving so slowly? Why are there so many people here?” And as I was trying to work through these questions and make sense of why there seemed to be a black haze framing my vision, I began to hyperventilate. “I can’t do this, Stephen. I don’t understand what’s going on. It’s scaring me.” Scared doesn’t even begin to describe how I was really feeling–terrified is more like it. I was sitting in the middle of Target with my three boys (who were still behaving amazing, by the way, which is totally abnormal) and I knew that I didn’t have the wherewithal to stand, walk, or drive home. Panic set in.
Would someone have to call an ambulance? What would they do if I fainted? What would happen to my boys? Where would they take my boys? How would my boys get home? Stephen had me call around to some of our friends who were local since he was at work, and I tried to find some help. By God’s great grace, my friend Brittany and her hubs RJ finally called back and came up to Target. By this point I was crying, shaking, and stuttering beyond comprehension. I had to close my eyes just to stammer out the words; that had never happened until this moment. Somehow before they arrived I managed to give my son some cash so he could get snacks for the three of them to tide them over and keep them a bit busy.
Panic and tears, y’all. So many, many tears.
When Brittany showed up, she calmly talked to me and helped me understand what I was experiencing: my first panic attack. I kept asking myself Why do I feel so afraid?
The most frustrating part for me is that it would not be the last time I would have a panic attack even that weekend. I had one in the fellowship hall of our church building on Sunday morning when I realized how many people were going to see me for the first time in two weeks and lovingly ask how I am doing. I knew they felt nothing but love toward me, but I was suddenly overwhelmed. Why? I am perfectly fine with crowds, and I love talking to people. Sunday night while I lay in bed next to my husband, I tried so hard to keep my thoughts focused on praying for others because my mind kept zooming back to thoughts that were full of fear. Why? I’ve laid and prayed for many nights without feeling panic. Monday when I made a phone call that would regard health and finances I felt my heart rate quicken, my chest tighten, and my breathing shallow. Why? I used to make cold-calls for a phone book company when I was in college. I have no issues with talking to strangers. When an attack happens it seems like it is something that I cannot completely control, and I feel small, trapped within my own mind, and completely embarrassed.
As I said earlier, I’m a dramatic individual, but this is just ridiculous. The only conclusion that Stephen and I can draw at this point is that A) the dizziness and a host of accompanying symptoms mean that I have developed postpartum anemia, and B) my hormones are whack, Jack. So while I’m waiting for some testing to be done, I’m bulking up on foods full of iron and vitamin C. As for the panic attacks, I am hoping that they will disappear as my hormones level out. Until then, these gems are helping me to reduce how “massive” they might become…
Yet, I’m practicing gratitude, and I found it much easier in this situation to be thankful than before when I was a practicing Grump all the time. I love that my friends were willing to come and drive my boys and I home from Target, make them supper, and then hang out with me for two hours until my husband could get home from work. They sacrificed their date night to come and sit with a mom and her kiddos. What grace from Jesus!
I’m thankful that of all the times that my kids have acted like crazy monkeys at a store, Friday was not one of them. It was an absolute gift from God that they were so well behaved that night.
My husband has been AH-MAY-ZING. The first thing he did on Friday night was just hold me and let me cry and blab about every last detail that was going through my mind at Target. Then he said words that were so precious to my ears, “How about we just make trips out of the house together for a while so you don’t have to be alone?” Sigh. He got it. He saw my need, and he was willing to meet it. He has been so gentle every time I start to get doe-sized eyeballs and lose all comprehension of reality. He knows I love hugs and that heart-to-heart hugs can help regulate a person’s heartbeat and lower blood pressure, so that’s what he does for as long as it takes to calm me down. When we went grocery shopping as a family on Saturday (and the kids were well behaved AGAIN?!?! who ARE these little people?), he didn’t leave my side, and he often offered to give me a piggy back ride. Haha!
I love him. He is amazing. God is amazingly gracious to supply me with a husband who knows how to help me squash my Texas-sized fears.
We’ve been married almost ten years. I am convinced that our love for one another will grow stronger and bigger and wider so long as we both pursue Christ and one another. I don’t think I’ve ever loved Stephen as much as I love him now. Thank you, baby, for being so patient with me. Jesus Christ is my Rock and my Refuge and my Strength, and so often He uses you to demonstrate those qualities and bring glory to His name. I love you, Stephen. You are my favorite. Forever and always.