High Blood Pressure: Celebrate Women Who Tell Their Stories
Amelia Baker Cole. Copyright 2022. All Rights Reserved
Come travel with me through times long passed. A journey from a life-threatening state of high blood pressure to a supernatural pregnancy, and lastly, the ultimate state of healthy blood pressure. I pray that this story encourages you and reminds you of the Goodness of God in your own life.
High Blood Pressure: Let's begin by traveling back to my childhood, growing up in a community that may have been short on money but never short on love. But with every Black community of that time, our family had its share of drama. As a teenager, I had high blood pressure (HBP). I was the youngest of eight, living at home with my second oldest brother, who was an alcoholic. I resented growing up in a home with the responsibilities of cleaning up behind an alcoholic brother. The stress of my resentment, I believe, was the cause of my HBP as a teenager. The resentment of coming home to clean up piss or puke off the floor. The resentment of having to be the one who received the phone call to come to pick up your brother out of the gutter and take him home. The resentment of being called when your brother has been beaten up again and robbed on payday.
After high school, I decided to attend college. I was kind of smart in high school. So yes, I could succeed in college; my thoughts! The first year in college can be your most challenging year. Being successful in college was not easy. The transition from high school to college was an added pressure, and the stress was increased. There were increased responsibilities, a lack of time management, changes in eating and sleeping habits, and no breaks for self-care. None of which helped my blood pressure. I continued to stay home since I was attending the university in my city. So, on top of all of this, I was still my brother's keeper.
I was determined to live on campus in my second year of college. Back then, the Pell Grant was sufficient to cover the cost. As we know, those days of Pell Grant overflow are over. But I digress. Living on campus would mean no more would I receive phone calls about my brother's condition. No more would I smell like either piss, puke, or cleaning supplies. No more would I feel the pain and disgust of looking at my brother at some of his lowest points of life. I could get away from it all! So, on campus, I went, and my body was at peace, or so I thought. The high blood pressure went into remission. There must be a later blog post to tell of my deliverance from the pain of resentment and disgust of my alcoholic siblings.
Fast forward: during my two pregnancies, that old enemy of HBP reappeared. During the first pregnancy, I was so happy! The joy could not be contained as I ate everything under the sun. During that pregnancy, I gained 100 pounds. Wait, let me explain.
Supernatural Pregnancy: We had been married for eight years, and I believed God and tried to get pregnant for five years. I was standing on and confessing His Word daily, three times a day, taking it like medicine. During the last five months, a prophet came to our church. I was home and in prayer, but I knew in my spirit I needed to be at church. My husband was working, and we had no car. So, I called around until I found a ride to church. By the time I got there, the sanctuary was packed. They lined chairs up in the middle of the aisle as an overflow. So there I sat, praising and worshipping God.
During the service, there was a heavy presence of God. The Holy Spirit was moving and speaking through the Prophet of God. Standing to my feet, with my eyes closed and hands uplifted, I loved on God and enjoyed His Presence. Unbeknownst to me, the Prophet of God was moving through the congregation. While standing there with my eyes closed, a heavy hand landed on my head, and down I went under the Power of God! I remember crying and feeling a heavy presence all over my body. I lay there for moments, which seemed like an eternity. The Lord spoke clearly to me a Rhema Word, manna from Heaven. The voice said You're Pregnant. A couple of ladies helped me from the floor and sat me in my chair. I sat there crying and praising God. I felt such joy!
Days later, I began telling everyone that I was pregnant! I was so happy! I went out and bought a pregnancy test. Got home, took the test, and sat joyfully waiting for the results! Then there was a feeling of despair. As I looked at the results, it was negative. Wow! What in the world is going on? But I was not going to be defeated! I was going to stand on God's Word! I know what I heard! I kept telling everyone that I was pregnant! Days later, I took another test. I sat with excitement, waiting for the results. And again, negative. I was so hyped by hearing God's voice clearly, that I was not swayed. The test must be faulty.
I knew what I needed to do. I need to go a step further. So, I scheduled a doctor's appointment to include a pregnancy test. On the day of the appointment, I was elated. I did not mention to them that I was pregnant. I walked in, signed in, took my seat, and waited patiently. The door opens, and she calls my name. I anxiously walk to the back. She takes my weight and blood pressure and gives me the infamous cup to go and pee in. I asked her if they would check for pregnancy, and she said sure. I gladly take the cup and head to the restroom, where I eagerly pee in the cup. After writing my name on the cup and placing the cup in the window, I go to the examination room, get undressed and put on my paper gown as I wait patiently for the doctor.
When the doctor comes in, he states, you asked about a pregnancy test. I said yes. He said it was negative. I'm unsure if he recognized my face's despair, but he continued the examination.
I refused to accept the negative report of the doctor. I would continue going to different health centers for pregnancy tests. I could not go to the same location too often because they would begin to know me, and I wondered if they felt sorry for me. There were many negative pregnancy tests during the next four months. At one appointment, the nurse recommended me to a fertility specialist. She gave me his business card. I took the card, thinking I would never look at that card again. I went home and stuck it in a drawer somewhere.
For the negative pregnancy test result paper, I would take a pen and X out the negative, white positive across the top and post it on my refrigerator. Why? Because I Believed God!
After four months of negative pregnancy test results and no pregnant stomach showing, I finally stopped telling people I was pregnant. I was broken: emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. I cried so much I didn't know what to do. I said Lord, you told me I was pregnant. And He responded, and you are! I felt like it was a cruel joke. But I continued to worship Him through my pain. I scheduled an appointment to meet with one of the ministers at our church. Their schedule was booked for weeks. Before the appointment time arrived, the Lord had ministered to me, and I was at peace. When I arrived at the appointment and explained everything to the Pastor, he asked if I had seen a doctor to see if there were any medical issues. I said no, but one nurse recommended a fertility doctor to me. He said, well, make an appointment and see if you can do anything in the natural. So, I did. I went home, searching through my drawers to locate that business card I thought I would never look at again.
When I arrived at the appointment to see the fertility doctor, My husband was with me. You see, I was so broken spiritually. After so many negative pregnancy tests, I needed him for every appointment. He sat in the waiting room as I went back with the nurse. As she was taking my weight and blood pressure, I asked if she would take a pregnancy test. She looked at me like I had two heads in my mind anyway. She thought, you're here to see a faculty doctor and want to take a pregnancy test? And my thought, yes, ma'am. So, I do the infamous pee in the cup and return to the examination room.
I undress in the examination room to the paper gown and patiently await the doctor. The doctor arrives and introduces himself. He asks, what are you here for today? I said I've been having trouble getting pregnant, and someone recommended you. He says you've been having trouble up until about six weeks ago. You're about six weeks pregnant! The joy, the excitement, and the tears began to flow! I was crying so loud. Between the snot and tears, I said, go get my husband. He later tells me that when he approached the door and heard the tears, he knew what time it was. I cried during the entire examination. This blog started with my blood pressure story, but this story had to be told as a reminder that God's Word is True and His Promises are Yes, and Amen!
Now, back to the enemy of HBP. After my supernatural pregnancy, I also believed for a supernatural delivery. You see, my siblings had to be gutted like a fish with their c-sections for each child. This was not going to be me! Natural childbirth was the way to go, or so I thought. But my HPB was dictating differently. In the later months of the pregnancy, the doctor wanted to put me in the hospital if I couldn't control my blood pressure. When I would go in for my appointments and my BP was high, I learned a trick. I would have the doctor turn off all the lights in the examination room and let me lay on my left side and meditate for about 15 minutes. Afterward, he would return to the room and retake my blood pressure. Success! My blood pressure lowered, and I was allowed to go home.
This trick got me through the majority of the pregnancy. But, as we got closer to the delivery date, things changed. I was home and started having contractions. This pregnancy was my first child, so I went to the hospital when the pain started. Side note: not with my second pregnancy. I waited till the following day before going. That's another story for another time. I was slowly dilating but not fast enough. So they broke my water to trick my body into preparing for delivery. When that didn't work, my BP continued to increase. I was in the hospital for two weeks. They finally had to put BP meds in my IV. When the meds took effect, my BP lowered, and the baby became distressed because he had grown accustomed to a hostile environment. So at this point, it was no longer my choice. The baby's life was at stake, and they had to perform a c-section to deliver him. A girlfriend who had seven miscarriages counseled me and told me to let them gut me like a fish if that's what it takes to get that baby out. At that point, I knew I was being selfish, wanting to deliver my way when having a healthy baby was more important. So, I was prepped for surgery, and the baby was born healthy, all 8 pounds and 15 ounces of him. The doctor said he was not coming on his own with how big he was and the size of his head. The delivery's blessing was that my doctor knew my heart's desire for natural childbirth. So, he performed a fairly new procedure with the bikini line cut for the c-section. There was no gutting me up and down like a fish!
The gestational HBP during this pregnancy occurred again with my second pregnancy four years later. But I could control it and even had a natural childbirth, thanks to the bikini line cut. However, 17 years later, I had a work injury where I fell down the stairs and broke my foot. With that injury, that old enemy of HBP appeared again. This time with a vengeance. It would go so high that I sometimes ended up in the emergency room or minor med. I could not control it on my own. I had to start taking HBP meds daily.
So for the next seven years, I was on HBP meds. I was also obese from the 60 extra pounds I gained during the second pregnancy. At least it was not 100 pounds like the first pregnancy. When the weight began to take a toll on my body, I was diagnosed with diabetes. At this point, I knew I had to do something different. That's when my college roommate introduced me to Dr. Joseph Williams and the 40-Day Turn-Up process. It's a free online process that educates you on healthy living and losing weight. That's another story for another time. You can find more information about the process on YouTube, Instagram, or their website @JourneyLifeTV. With this process, I lost 102 pounds and have maintained 90 pounds for two years since the process. But that's not the whole story! I am no longer diabetic and no longer take HBP medication! I check my weight and BP daily, and my numbers are great! My body is now at peace! No more stressful unhealthy living. I eat healthy and exercise daily. God is Faithful!
APMM Co-Founder & Executive Director
*Please note: Love doesn't abuse. APMM does not condone any form of abuse (physically or emotionally). Please do not distort any of our teachings to justify abuse. If you are in an abusive situation, get out immediately and contact the authorities.