EN 101/W 6:30pm
Dictionary.com defines control as a verb (used with an object) to exercise restraint of direction over; dominate; command. I have spent most of my life seeking control, up until October of 2003, that is. Sure, I wanted to control other people, like family members and friends, but mostly I wanted control over my own life. I had a house, a good job, a good husband and, finally, a child on the way: everything I had ever wanted. I thought I had command, that I had made all those things happen. I was wrong. Patricia Grace Henry (“Gracie”) was born at Victory Memorial Hospital in Waukegan, IL on October 23rd, 2003 at 7:03pm. At 8:35pm her heart stopped beating.
My husband and I married at a very early age, two days short of his high school graduation, actually. We knew we wanted to start a family right away so we tried to get pregnant. I charted my cycle by taking my temperature every morning at 8am. After two and a half years of trying on our own we sought the help of a reproductive endocrinologist (a fertility specialist). The doctor assured us that he could get us pregnant. He prescribed me Clomid, a common fertility drug. I continued to chart my temperature. Around the 15th day the doctor would do an ultrasound to see if my follicles were ready to drop an egg. He would send me home with a syringe and a bottle of HCG (a pregnancy hormone) with instructions to inject it into my rear end on a specified day (which depended on the size of my follicles). Two weeks later I would go in for a blood pregnancy test. Everything was regulated, consistent, controlled.
On the fifth month, though, the doctor prescribed a second shot of HCG, a booster. Two weeks later the nurse called to tell me the test came back positive! I had finally done it! I had gotten pregnant! I felt successful. By then it had taken me three whole years to conceive that baby. I had made it happen. I was the one who took medication three times a day. I was the one who gave myself a shot in the rear once a month. I was the one who drove to the doctor's office at least three times a month. I, I, I, me, me, me. I thought it was my power that made it happen. The events of October 23, 2003 changed my thoughts.
The first 23 weeks of my pregnancy were absolutely normal. I saw my baby for the first time on an ultrasound at five weeks, just a little flicker of a heartbeat. At 12 weeks it looked like a gummy bear. At 18 weeks I could see it's hands, feet, spine, and profile. That's the day we found out it was a girl. We prepared for our new baby by buying a crib, clothes, and diapers. I had plans to buy a baby movement sensor which sounds an alarm if the baby makes no movement for more than 20 seconds. I was a worrier. I read every book on pregnancy, child birth, and parenting that I could get my hands on. I wanted to make sure my baby was as safe as possible.
Being my first pregnancy I had no idea what labor pains felt like. However, because I was lactose intolerant, I was very used to general stomach pains, which is what I thought I had that morning. I woke with my husband at 7am. After he left for work I laid down to watch television. I was still having pain every once in a while. I began to think that maybe it was false contractions (Braxton Hicks) so I tried to time them. They were not coming in regular intervals. I decided I would call my doctor when her office opened at 9am. At 7:30am I got up to use the restroom. When I sat down I felt something slip out of me. I panicked when I realized it was by baby's feet. It was the scariest moment of my entire life. There I was sitting on the toilet, 23 weeks pregnant, with my baby's feet sticking out of me and I was alone in the house. No one to hear my scream for help. I had no control over my situation. I had no idea what to do. Although I considered myself a Christian I did not have the faith required to ask God for help. I took control. I pushed her feet back as far as I could, got up, put my shoes on and walked next door. The neighbor drove me to the hospital.
I lost total control when I arrived at the hospital.
This is where I've ended so far... I'm not quite sure where to go from here. I need to finish out what happened at the hospital, then her death, and maybe a little after her death. But what I really need to do is get in how the event changed my need for control. God has numbered every living person's days. He knew exactly how many days Gracie would live. It was His plan from the beginning to limit her life. Gracie lived her full life in the hour that she lived. It's because of Gracie that I realize I have no control over the things that happen in my life. Gracie was my wake up call from God. It's God who controls life, not me. I am not the one with the power. It was God who decided when to allow me to get pregnant with Gracie. It was God who decided to bless me with my subsequent children.
I also want to get in this little bit about Naaman because I feel like it fits. In 2 Kings Chapter 5 it talks about a man named Naaman from Syria. Naaman was a respected and successful army commander but he was also a leper. He realized he needed God's help, but he wanted to dictate the terms of his healing. He wanted to stay in control. When Naaman finally humbled himself and obeyed God by bathing seven times in the Jordan River, he was healed.
Any comments or ideas?