I am able.

My resolve is being tested yet again with lack of sleep, poor Ruby being sick keeping me up all night, Miles doing his three year old thing, tons of spring projects, and being unable to do all that I normally do this time of year. Some days I’m not sure I’m strong enough to “do it all” anymore. I’d just like to sleep for the next six months and wake up when it’s all over. On a positive note, I do love going to work every day now; the people are awesome and I get to do what I enjoy.

In addition, I’ve come to learn this week that when you have prodromal labor once, it’s most likely to happen for subsequent births as it’s “just how your body does it” – oh man, if I am an unhappy pregnant person as it is, this news surely is sending me over the edge. When I found that out, I couldn’t help but shed a few tears. Nothing like knowing that prodromal is a likely future to make one say – yep, our family is complete.

If you haven’t heard of prodromal labor, basically it’s when the real pains of labor start and stop (mine never seemed to fully stop) for days, even weeks on end. The pain is intense as if in active labor, but the timing never sets up to progress to the end with delivery. Most people who end up having prodromal labor finalize with a c-section, for after days of no rest and constant stress, one can no longer take the pain or have energy to deliver. If they get an epidural, they are more likely to get surgery.

For my previous experience, I labored for 4 days (yes, literally) with contractions anywhere from 5-20 minutes apart continually even if I walked. I never could sit down or sleep. I was threatened with a c-section and barely made it happen in time to avoid one since I did not get an epidural.

I didn’t know I had prodromal labor until right after Miles’ birth, when the midwife said, “You had prodromal labor honey. If you had an epidural, you would’ve had a c-section hours ago.” I never heard of it, but I knew what I was feeling was not Braxton Hicks. Now, I’m trying to learn more about it, so if/when it does setup shop in my body I’ll have some understanding and ideas to try to help get through it. Oh man, the dread.

– – –

On Sunday, while running around getting a billion things done before Miles arrived home, I stopped at Walmart to pickup groceries. I hadn’t eaten in a few hours, was hungry, and tried my best to do a supermarket sweep zipping as quickly as a huge pregnant lady could. I was just about finished when I turned a corner and a woman yelled to me for help. Sigh.

She was in an electric shopping cart, unable to reach her juice in the very back of the bottom shelf. I stopped, said hello and asked what she needed. My initial reaction was, “God, please, I am starving, I want to go home, and the last thing in the world I want to do is bend over or get on the floor and dig around a lower shelf.” Bending over is such a chore right now.

I got down, dug around the whole bottom shelf which was practically empty, calling out the few juice names that were hidden in the back and none of them were what she was looking for. I got up, winded, and suggested she check with a clerk in the back. That’s when she asked me what sport I play.

I was wearing a softball sweatshirt (I hate to play softball) and I responded, “oh, I just run.” Thinking to myself, “I’m huge right now, how can you even think I play a sport? Don’t you see this gigantic thing in my way? Do you not hear my breath from bending over? You’re too kind to think I play any sports right now.”

She was very nice, and went on to tell me she used to run before getting MS and now can’t do much at all. She told me about her therapy dog (which I didn’t even see sitting on her cart at first) and then asked if I would run a race for MS one day. I said I would and then a clerk came by and we stopped him to get her some help. We said goodbye and I was back on my way running to the checkout to get home.

On the ride home, I started to think, while I feel disabled, I am able. I was able. I could still bend over to reach the bottom shelf, still carry 1/2 cord of wood with Chris to the backyard (and carry it again to move it when the whole pile fell over yesterday), still walk and do for myself and my family. This disability is temporary with a beautiful result.

I am able.

It hit me like a ton of bricks after our brief encounter. Maybe I’m too deep of a thinker, but I love moments when God points out a reminder – – “you are able” – – is all I kept thinking. And so, I’ll continue on to push through this season, and focusing on the time period after when I’ll not have to experience this disability and can take control over my body and mind once more. I’ll focus on that future race for MS, where I can prove to myself the strength that lies within to keep going no matter how dark the days may be.

“You are able.”

I am able.

– kate –