Part two: Gastroparesis involves paralysis of the vagus nerve. This nerve is critical to the function of the entire body and originates in the brain stem. Damage to it causes problems all over the body. One of the things the vagus nerve does is control contractions of the stomach. Your stomach contracts to pulverize food and push it through to the intestines. Mine was broken, no contractions, no pushing out food. Because of this, I fully anticipated that I would not have typical morning sickness.
Sure enough, I never had morning sickness. I suffered severe nausea for a few weeks, but I never threw up. People would tell me I was lucky, but I was thinking, I wouldn’t call this luck. Things started to feel different as my pregnancy progressed. I could eat more foods and not suffer. My appetite was back, I was actually experiencing hunger, a sensation I had long forgotten.
I found myself loving pregnancy, because for the first time in nearly a decade I felt like a normal person. Each month I felt more and more like a normal person. I had forgotten what “normal” felt like and it was revolutionary to feel what everyone else felt. I loved it. I loved every moment of it. Pregnancy suited me.
Of course you all know the struggles I faced during my pregnancy. And physically it was difficult, but nothing compared to what I had dealt with for the past nine years. But even though I felt better, I would still get sick and could still induce a gastroparesis episode by consuming certain foods.
Throughout my pregnancy we all prayed for healing. We prayed that Brielle would live, survive, a complete and full healing. And we were all heartbroken when she didn’t survive. And while I want to talk about that more in another post, what I do want to share is a strange healing that did happen.
In rare cases pregnancy can cure gastroparesis, for reasons unknown. Of course I hoped for this, but I didn’t expect it to happen. After Brielle was born I fully anticipated that the pain killers they had me on would cause problems and that I would be sick. The smallest dose of Motrin (ibuprofen) would make me violently ill, it had been that way for years. I was taking 800 mg of motrin three times a day and percocet four times a day and had no adverse effects. I thought this was odd, but attributed this to my breastfeeding (pumping) or the hormonal effects of pregnancy.
Yet, more and more time passed and I didn’t have any GI problems. I began to eat foods that caused flare ups. Nothing. No problems. I was hungry two hours later. A normal stomach empties in ninety minutes. My stomach was behaving like it should. Odd. What about my intestines? Strangely, pain free. I did experience bloating around Christmas (one of the more annoying side effects of GI problems), but I noticed I was bloating when I ate highly processed and sugary foods. That’s really not that abnormal. Cut out the junk food and my mild bloating was gone.
While I want to wait until the six month mark to declare myself cured, I find myself marveling at this healing I’ve experienced. Here we had all been praying for Brielle and instead it was me who was healed. Me who has spent the last decade struggling to survive, is normal. Perfectly and wonderfully normal.
At first I felt guilty and it pained me. I didn’t want to be better, I wanted Brielle to live. The healing should have gone to her. She should be the one who gets better, not me. But as time passes I find myself more and more thankful. And completely moved. She fixed me. Her beautiful little life fixed me. All of her love fixed a decade of horrible damage. Nerves that were broken in both of us were cured. And the only slight problems I have are with my intestines (a whole other set of nerves).
And who do I give the credit to? Science? God? Brielle? Could they not all be one and the same? Could not all of our prayers healed me? And could not God have used Brielle and science to accomplish that goal? He is the creator, he did create science. Can I not understand the how, but also give credit to the one who created the how?
I’m still piecing all of this together in my mind. But I’m so thankful. I have a second chance. I was given the opportunity to live, because of Brielle’s life. Brielle’s sweet love healed me. I have a chance now. I might get to grow old now. And maybe I’m not 100% and maybe in a few months I’ll start having problems again. I don’t know. But I do know that right now, I don’t have any problems and that is a miracle.