I'm going to skip a few years, for the sake of staying on topic. In yesterday's post, I was in college and learning all about the benefits of probiotics (a fancy word for "good bacteria"). Today, I'm going to pick up the story in China.
What does China have to do with my story? Well, hubby Dennis and I lived there for ten months from 2009-2010. Two months after I graduated from college, we put everything we had into storage and a couple suitcases and headed halfway across the planet to be teachers. We have a lot of precious memories and friends from the China season of our lives, and you can read more about that here, if you feel so inclined.
Living and working full time in China was really hard on me, physically. We were constantly climbing stairs, walking, and biking everywhere. I was only a few months in when I began to feel like something just wasn't right. I thought that my body would get used to all of the stair climbing, but I just seemed to be in more and more pain as the weeks went on. Every day became an exercise in willpower, as I climbed the stairs to get to work, climbed the stairs to get home, and climbed stairs all day each day as I went from classroom to classroom. Eventually, all walking hurt. Everything hurt. I would wake up hurting in the night, and sleep deprivation added to the problems. I began to suspect that I had inherited the disease that my mother suffers from - fibromyalgia. I've never visited a doctor to be offically diagnosed, and I don't like to think of myself as being ill, but as having "starter symptoms" for fibromyalgia. My pain is nothing like what my Mom has been through, and I hope that catching my "predisposition" early will help me to keep things from progressing much further.
So, in the midst of this physically taxing, emotionally draining time of my life, what did I decide to do? I up and got pregnant. I know, I know, what were we thinking? I was in a foreign country and already feeling pushed to my limits. I'm so glad that I got pregnant, though. Not just because I'm so in love with my Isabella that I would do it all again in a heartbeat, but because God's timing is always perfect.
Fast forward about nine months from that morning in China, trying to read a pregnancy test that's all in Chinese. Hubby Dennis and I were living in New Orleans, awaiting the arrival of a little person who would change our lives forever. I had no idea just how much my life really was about to change.
I'll never ever forget that morning on September 21st, 2010. It's the morning that my husband had to sit me down in our little apartment in New Orleans and tell me that, a few hours earlier, my little brother's body had been found in his apartment in Starkville. He had committed suicide. I remember those first few moments as if they were hours. I remember dear friends packing my bags for the trip home, and packing a little bag for the baby I'd be bringing home. I remember those first few days, just telling myself to keep breathing. There was a little person inside of me who needed that oxygen.
I remember six days later, when God allowed a little 8 pound 13 ounce bundle of shining light to arrive and bring hope and reason to celebrate to a community that was hurting.
I was forever changed.
Here's that box of e-tissues I promised you yesterday.
I had originally intended to finish my story today, but I feel like it's best that I break here and conclude tomorrow with how all of this made me even more determined to find a better way. I'll also talk about just what living natural means to me. (Hint, it has nothing to do with spending lots of money on strange and expensive foods....except for the occasional splurge.)