Princess #3 and a Panic Attack

Today, on Princess #3's second birthday, I was reminded of a blog post I wrote a while back and never shared...honestly...out of pride. I didn't want to be seen as weak. If you listened to the recent radio show I was on, you'll recall that I said something like, "I don't get much out of a relationship when people aren't real. When we open up and get really honest, then we can encourage and inspire each other." It was something like that. Anyways, I stepped on my own toes with that one! So, here it is...my story of weakness exposed in hopes the Lord can use it to help one of you!

Just the other day, I was as still as I could be as my upper chest passed through the open tube of the massive machine. Alone, in that cold room, with my heart racing and unexplained pressure in my chest, I quoted scripture one after the other after the other. I prayed desperately that this wasn’t “it” for me. The ER doctor had ordered the CAT scan about an hour earlier, after blood had been drawn and other tests performed. My precious husband and mother were waiting back in the examining room, their own emotions running wild as they tried in vain to quiet my very hungry 5-day-old baby girl.

Fear had enveloped me months before as a doctor coaxed me into voluntary house arrest due to the H1N1 virus spreading through our community. “Pregnant women are dying from this flu and we don’t know why” he had said. Then, as time inched closer to my third c-section, all I could think of was the last c-section when my epidural had not worked. What if it didn’t work this time? What if they had to put me to sleep again? Last time, I was blissfully unaware of the risks. This time, I knew them all too well.

Thankfully, our baby girl entered this world on a blustery-cold November morning, beautiful and healthy as can be! During my c-section, the epidural had not worked, but thankfully the “spinal” did. Our little princess was precious from the start, but also about as cranky as they come! So, after arriving home, more fearful thoughts began, “How in the world am I going to handle a baby that cries constantly along with two other young children at home?” I tried to push those thoughts out of my head and told myself the continual crying was temporary. Surely things would be better by the time my parents went back home (they had come to help out for a little over week).

On top of all of my apprehension, while trying to heal, some nasty complications developed from the surgery…things I hadn’t experienced after my previous c-sections. I had noticed pressure developing in my chest, but with so much going on, I brushed it off. Then, a few heart palpitations started and I began to take notice a little more. Within hours, I was getting short of breath, so I finally called my doctor. “Get to the ER!” she said…along with something about the possibility of blood clots.

I had tried for weeks to get a handle on the fear growing within me. I even called on friends to pray for me. Still, the comforting peace that I was accustomed to could not be found, and that was confusing! I was tempted to take it as God’s answer that this was “it” and soon I’d be seeing Him face-to-face! Looking back, that thought seems so ridiculous, but I can assure you at the time, fear caused me to waver.

Ultimately, after over four hours in the ER, it was determined that I had just suffered my first, and prayerfully, my last, panic attack. It was not a fun experience to say the least. I struggled with what to do with the news. I wish I could say that all of my feelings of anxiety vanished immediately, but unfortunately they didn’t. For weeks after that, I would begin to feel the pressure in my chest and then cry out to the Lord for help. Thankfully, I never had another attack. I feel certain that my raging pregnancy hormones had a lot to do with it. It was unlike anything I’d ever experienced before.

So why didn't peace come immediately for me? I can't tell you. Sometimes answers come easily, sometimes they don't. I do believe that it was some sort of a test for me. It’s like God was saying, “You know I love you, baby girl, but this time I want you to stand on your own spiritual two feet and fight. You may not feel me, but you KNOW I’m with you. I’ve told you in my Word and proven it to you over and over again. Trust me.”

I felt like fear was like a blanket of darkness covering me and trying to smother me. I may have stumbled around in the darkness a bit, but Praise Him, I did not fall! The unseen hand of my Father was grasping mine the entire time. His Word says, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10) Also, Psalm 37:23-24 says, "If the LORD delights in a man's way, he makes his steps firm; though he stumble, he will not fall, for the LORD upholds him with his hand."

I know that many times the Lord does indeed comfort and guide by His peace. However, there are times when, for whatever reason, that "feeling" doesn’t come. Are we to be led by our feelings? Absolutely not! He’s still “got” us even when we don’t feel like He’s anywhere around! The Word says, “Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.  If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.” (Psalm 139:7-10) 

The Lord also speaks of those who are His in John 10:29 when He says, "My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand." Did you read that?! We are His and He ALWAYS takes care of His children. He is ALWAYS with us, whether we “feel” Him or not. When He seems to hide, we are to stand firm in what we KNOW. It’s at those times more than ever that we must stand firm on the promises of His Word!

One of my all-time favorite quotes is from a powerful woman of God named Corrie Ten Boom:

“Faith is believing in the dark what God spoke to you in the light.”


*Linking up at Raising Homemakers, Women Living WellJoy in this Journey, and A Pause on the Path

For His glory,