Up Close and Personal: My Experience with Pregnancy, DVTs, and Birth Control

I know this is pretty off topic for me, but as a mother to 11 children, I felt it was important to share.

(This is from the Patreon archives. It was recorded at the end of May.)

Sorting Things Out: This Christian’s Thoughts on Birth Control

Image courtesy of BrandonSigma / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of BrandonSigma / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Yesterday I scheduled an appointment to have a tubal ligation, and I’m not sure how I feel about the idea. I’ve been repeatedly told by my doctors not to get pregnant again because of my history with blood clots. In this post, I talked about how my nurse practitioner had basically lied to me by omission by placing an implant in my arm that she knew was an abortifacient, despite the fact that I’m pro-life. I had it removed a few weeks ago after I discovered the truth, and I was basically told you shouldn’t get pregnant again because you could die. You need to do something.

After many, many prayers, I decided to go ahead with the doctor’s recommendation, and schedule the surgery, which brings me to today.

I’m still not thrilled about this idea, and I keep going back and forth between two things: God’s sovereignty and the fact that God gave man the intelligence to intercede in situations like this. There tends to be two camps among Christians- the nothing beyond natural family planning faction and the birth control is okay as long as it is not an abortifacient faction. Of course, I have to be difficult and jump back and forth.

Here’s what I think:

Most of the people who are completely against man-made birth control believe that trust in God’s will trumps all, and I completely agree with that. But, what if…

We were created in God’s own image. Not only did He give us the intelligence to manufacture these products, but He also gave us all the resources we would need. Think about it. Plastic is considered to be a man-made product, but it is still made from products naturally found here on Earth. All man-made products are. What if He gave us this technology for a reason?

Now on to my bigger point- the NFP faction is probably reading this post, open-mouthed and wondering what I’m thinking. But I’ve got some honest questions for those people, and please keep in mind that I am alluding to the use of birth control as a life-saving medication/surgery, not to actually control the amount of children I’m blessed with. (That should be obvious. I’ve got eleven kids.)

– When you have a headache, do you take ibuprofin?
– If a family member would fall seriously ill, such as a heart attack, would you allow surgery?
– When your child has a fever, do you give him/her Tylenol?

Do you see what I’m getting at? Most people who are against birth control would probably admit that, yes, in those circumstances, they would use those medications/procedures. Those are man-made, aren’t they? I don’t understand what the difference is between using birth control because of valid health issues and getting an angioplasty for a heart attack. Why is one okay while the other is not? I’m on blood-thinners for a DVT I had over the summer. Am I failing to trust God by taking these everyday? No, I am trusting that He knew what He was doing when He gave man the intellectual capacity to create these things. Are they all good? Of course not, but that’s why we have to exercise discernment when choosing to use them.

Now on to the other side of the argument. God is sovereign and omniscient. He knows what’s going to happen already. He also has a plan for me and my children. What if He has a plan for a child I haven’t had yet? And, as a good friend pointed out to me- God already knows when your time is up. Regardless of what you choose to do, He will take you when it’s your time. Period.

And now I’m back to where I started from. I may have scheduled the appointment, but I’m far from sure that I’ll go through with it. I’ve got three weeks to decide.

Have any of you been through this? I really need to get this sorted out.

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When God Answers…Make Sure You’re Listening

#discerningGod’swill

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     Last month I wrote a post called ”When God Answers.” It was, in essence, about a question I had posed to God and how he answered it…or I thought he answered it. I was having second thoughts over a birth control implant, called Implanon, that I had gotten. After having a DVT in my tenth pregnancy and being on blood thinning injections throughout my entire eleventh pregnancy, my doctors sufficiently scared me into it.
     I prayed that God would give me a clear answer regarding whether I should have it removed. A week later, I went to the ER with pain in my right calf. There was no DVT there, just some superficial clots, but they did find a newly formed DVT behind my right knee…a place where I never experienced any pain.
     I took this as God’s answer to my prayers- I still do- but I know now that I was completely wrong in my interpretation of it. You see, I so wanted, out of fear, for His answer to be, ”Yes, Shelly, you did the right thing,” that I believe I took His response and conformed it to mean what I wanted it to. Here is what I assumed: God had led me to the hospital as soon as this clot had formed to save my life and to warn me that this is what would happen in any future pregnancies. I truly did believe that, so I was at peace with my decision.
     Until someone pointed out that one of the effects of Implanon is that it prevents implantation. I don’t know about you, but, to me, that’s abortion. I denied it at first. I told myself that the woman who told me this was misled, but I decided to research it anyway.
     Not only was she right, but a rare side effect of Implanon is blood clots! I got another DVT two months after I had it implanted! I told myself that this was God’s way of telling me that I did the right thing, but I now know that this blood clot was probably caused by the Implanon! That was my answer, and I got it completely wrong!
     To make matters worse, the reason I agreed to get this implant was because a. The doctor told me this would not increase my risk of blood clots and b. I had told my doctor that I didn’t want an IUD because they prevent implantation, and I’m pro-life (obviously, I have 11 kids), but she conveniently omitted the fact that Implanon does, too!
     I’m furious that my doctor lied to me and put something in my body that goes against everything I believe in, and I’m furious with myself for not seeing this situation clearly from the beginning. I guess discernment is something I still need to pray about.
     Next week, I have an appointment to have this thing removed. I was literally sick to my stomach when I found all this out and waiting this long makes it even worse. I’m not looking forward to going there because I know that my doctor is going to give me a hard time, and she will badger me about alternative methods. Suffice it to say, this will be my last appointment there.
     The point of this post is to plead with you to listen objectively and wholeheartedly when you’re waiting for an answer from God, and never, ever, assume your doctor will voluntarily give you information you haven’t specifically asked for. Unfortunately, we can’t even trust them anymore.
     On a final note, if you’ve decided to peruse my archives to read the original post, I’ve deleted it. I don’t want to mislead anyone else into thinking that this was God’s will for me. It was mine.

Have you ever misinterpreted God’s will, only to discover it later in a big way?

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