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The best and the worst of times
by Rosie Godfrey
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Last year changed my life. Nothing bad or unexpected had ever happened to me before so I approached the birth of my second baby with excitement and peace. I had my hands full anyway with my 2 year old, Evan, so time moved fast. In the last few weeks of my pregnancy my midwife spotted I had pre eclampsia, so kept an eye on me. It got a bit worse but nothing to worry about, but after an episode of very high blood pressure and other symptoms, they sent me into hospital to be induced. I was thrilled because it meant I'd get to meet my baby sooner! It wasn't nice feeling ill but it didn't compare with my anticipation of meeting Simon.

Simon came just 12 hours after being induced, which felt a lot but isn't much for an induction two weeks early! I had to stay in for nearly a week, Simon needed help feeding and some antibiotics. My blood pressure was very high but there were no other signs of what was to come.

Two days after I left hospital with Simon I was eating dinner and suddenly became very dizzy, the room spun and wouldn't settle. I excused myself and went to lie down and found that walking was hard aswell. I lay there worrying all evening with a bad headache, and a numb left side. Was I just worrying for nothing? Was it eclampsia? I eventually rang the local birthing centre and spoke to a tired midwife who told me to go to sleep, I was just anaemic. I slept badly, eaten up with worry, and my husband, Pete, took me to the hospital the next day. The doctors tested me for lots of things but concluded it must have been a migraine as the symptoms were wearing off. I was relieved but also a bit alarmed. I had never had migraines, and I didn't want to have that happen again!

A week later I was sat on the sofa with my boys when it happened again, but this time I couldn't speak properly and my eyes wouldn't focus. I was terrified and shouted for Pete, who came and took the boys from me. I didn't know what to do, but if this was a migraine I didn't want to over react. A few hours later I was back to normal, though pretty scared.

The next morning I was brushing my teeth and again the room span and my whole left side went weak. I was so scared, what was happening to me? I couldn't ring an ambulance though when I'd already been diagnosed so I struggled through the day, waiting for it to lift like before. It hadn't lifted by bedtime but I wasn't worried, it would be gone by morning.

I woke up to the same lack of sensation and was very alarmed, but thought I'd best not fuss and get on. My mum and sister came that day and we tried to laugh about the fact I kept biting my mouth when I ate and couldnt walk properly but we were all worried. My health visitor came in the afternoon to check on Simon and rang an ambulance once she saw the state I was in, and I was taken straight to A and E, and taken to a ward full of old people. I was really baffled but they didn't explain until the morning that I had had a stroke, and two TIA's the days before.

The few days following my diagnosis I was cheerful and positive, focusing on getting better. As the days wore on, it hit me what had happened and I grew very low. I would fear it would happen again at any moment, every twinge in my head filled me with fear and I cried before sleep very night. I believed I could die any day, and that my body was packing up. I dreamt about finding a new wife for Pete and grieved that I might not see my boys grow up. Where was God? I knew he was with me but I felt totally lost in a dark place of despair with no way out. One night he showed me a picture, that he was holding my hand and leading me. It was such a relief, I clung to him and decided to totally submit to his leading to heal me of the trauma. Every time I cried I knew he was walking me forward and as the months passed I cried less. Fear still filled me at times and every now and then I would feel despairing again. Until one night I went to a prayed meeting and held up my hands to seek God. Everyone else was joyfully singing and worshipping but I started sobbing uncontrollably. I got some funny looks but I couldn't stop it, it came from my stomach and I didn't know what it was about. I submitted to God once again and ignored the looks and let God do what he wanted. He showed me that night that he was healing me up. Amazingly, that was the last time I needed to cry over the trauma of my stroke. He walked me to freedom, I held his hand and he lead me out of that dark place.

During that time of thinking I might die, I realised I desperately wanted my friends to know God and if I only had a short time left, I wanted it to count. God gave me a new boldness to share what he was doing in my life with my friends, and a desire to pray for salvation like never before.

I learnt God can always be trusted; even though he had allowed it to happen, he changed me and drew close to me and showed me his heart for the lost in a way I dont think I could have learnt another way. That is more precious to me than an easy time; looking back I wouldn't change what happened. I know now that he will always be with me and together we can get through anything. I don't believe it was his will for me but he used it for his glory.

I'm fine physically now, I forget most of the time that my left hand feels a bit odd, and my mouth gets a bit numb when I'm tired; amazingly everything else returned with time. The legacy God has left me with from that time is so precious; he changed my trauma into something beautiful, and from my despair he brought a hope I now know is true and never fails.



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