I asked Andy and my folks to go get me dinner, knowing full well I didn’t intend to eat. I needed a minute to pray, to process, and to cry if need be without an audience.
I really try to be objective and boil things down past emotion to roots and functions. It has served me well in special education and in Biblical studies. On a scale of 1-10, 10 being the worst, how was I feeling? Solid 8. How afraid am I? 8 to 9. Is my fear based in reality or probabilities and possibilities. Both—reality was deserving of fear, as were the possibilities. Acknowledging the circumstances, how do I feel in my spirit? At peace. Totally at peace.
I very much understood the gravity of the situation and I very much felt at peace. My doctor came in and sat beside me on the edge of the bed. He was a kind, Christian man. He asked how I was feeling about things. “Fine,” I said. “I don’t think there will be a pacemaker tonight. I don’t think there will be time. I think the baby will need to come first.”
We had been waiting on the last round of labs to see if any other levels were crashing. While the doctor was in, the results came back. Things were crashing indeed. They needed to do an emergency C-section immediately. The doctor and I prayed together and then I called my husband and family and told them to head back.
When people say they have felt carried by peace it is not hyperbolic. I can’t think of a better way to describe it. I was aware of all the things—I could see the panic on faces, I could sense the urgency around me. My word, I signed a living will that night. But it was like being in a storm and observing it but feeling none of the wind, none of the rain.
I remember humming “Come Thou Fount” in the O.R. and I believe we prayed again. Berkley was delivered around 8:30 the Friday before Thanksgiving. I had seen little babies before, preemie babies before. And I gasped aloud when I saw her. She was so painfully tiny. It was the first time all of the scary possibilities seemed very near realities. How could one so small survive?
“Let thy goodness like a fetter, bind my wandering heart to thee.” Bind it again, Lord. Tie it down tighter still. Don’t let Berk go. Don’t let me drift away, don’t let me go to sleep and not wake up.
Fifteen years now He has allowed us to rise and shine.
Here is why I am telling you this. When God gives you a gift you receive it differently, regardless of how it was wrapped or whether or not it was on your list. God gave me a gift through that experience, multiple in fact. Faith, trust, peace, clarity, confidence, life…a child. But it was wrapped in trauma, uncertainty, frailty, fear, impossibility, unmet expectations, changed plans, and even financial debt.
And I had a choice, receive it gladly or bitterly. Bitter seems foolish, right? But we can become bitter when the story we thought we were in changes or the end we envisioned is not the one the Lord writes. Do you know every single thing I thought or hoped would be part of the miracle of childbirth passed me right by? The beautiful delivery, the family and friends waiting and celebrating, the pictures I thought we would have taken…the ability to nurse and sustain a child? Nope. Those things were not allowed for me. And I grieve them none.
Those were not in my story. And the second I realized they would not be, I released them. The Lord decided to give a different gift and though I couldn’t have imagined it, He picked it out just for me.
I shouldn’t be here. My children shouldn’t be here, not healthy and whole anyway. But we are. Because the Lord has allowed it. Best gift ever. Not just being alive, lots of people are alive and miss it. I mean being alive and knowing with certainty that your life is not your own, knowing your children are not your own. All are borrowed. Clarity about this breeds good stewardship.
Friend, regardless your circumstance today, whether you are in the midst of victory or defeat, living or dying…the same is true for you. Your life is not your own. You are entitled to nothing but have been gifted everything. What will you do with this gift?
There would be no more children for me. I was told with certainty that having anymore children would kill me. A terribly inconvenient fact, especially when I found out I was pregnant again just a few months later. I’ll tell you that story next. In the meantime, here is the link to my best pro-life argument, gleaned November 21st, 2008. Click Here to Read!