I wrote the following on 1/15/15:
Today I drove past the hospital where I had a C-section and met my beautiful daughter for the first time. As the doctor performed the C-section, she told me that my uterus looked so thin that it could have ruptured if I had gone through labor. My water had broken 3.5 weeks early and even for being premature, our tiny baby girl was underweight, but she weighed just barely enough to avoid going to the NICU. She did not have to spend any additional time in the hospital. We were so grateful.
It was the same hospital where I had been told, about 7 months prior to meeting my darling firstborn daughter, that I was having a miscarriage, later thought to be an ectopic pregnancy. I remember feeling so sad and asking the Lord if He felt sad, too. Immediately I felt that the answer was certainly “yes.” I thought of the story of Lazarus, when Jesus wept for his deceased friend, even though he must have known that he would raise Lazarus from the dead. I knew that regardless of the outcome, Jesus was heartbroken right alongside me. Less than 24 hours before I was scheduled to have surgery, the doctor had been looking at my chart and thought “the dates weren’t adding up,” so I had one last sonogram. Miraculously, our baby was there, alive and well. We were shocked and so very thankful. We knew the Lord did not have to create or save our beautiful baby, but He did it anyway.
At this same hospital, I did have a miscarriage, for real, almost three years after the Lord gave us Jane Elise. I had a large ovarian cyst, emergency abdominal surgery, and a scary-high, stubborn pregnancy hormone level that just would not drop after the miscarriage, requiring me to have two shots of a chemo drug. The next step, if the second round of injections wasn’t effective, was to make an appointment with an oncologist. To my great relief, my pregnancy hormone level dropped dramatically after the second injection, rendering the appointment with the oncologist unnecessary. I felt so very thankful.
I have experienced lots of extreme emotions at that hospital, but for some reason when I drove by, this time, the memories that came to mind were the numerous trips we made–that same drive–to take Janie for appointments to see a GI specialist because she was having great difficulty with eating, sleeping, acid reflux, colic, and food allergies. One memory in particular came flooding into my mind. I was driving this same route home with Janie when she was maybe 4 or 5 months old and she was crying and screaming with what I had begun to identify as the “colic cry,” which is distinctly intense and inconsolable. That was one of many moments during the months after her birth when I began to fall apart, overwhelmed with anxiety mixed with looming depression from the fear that it was hopeless, that nothing could be done, that she would never get better, that we would never get any sleep.
Tears stung my eyes with the pain and memory of that feeling when suddenly, the Lord gently reminded me that my memory was not quite accurate. There was a car ride when I was gripped with anxiety as I listened to my daughter screaming inconsolably, and a moment when I was panicked because of my concern for her well-being but also so self-conscious as I walked into the hospital building and got on an elevator with another adult who doubtless wondered what on earth had happened to make my child scream that way. However, this had not happened on the way home from the appointment. We did have that car ride on the way to the appointment, but on the way home, the Lord quietly reminded me, I was in a quiet car by myself, rattled but able to have 20 minutes of driving time to calm down and gather myself. Ah yes, I remembered, I was enjoying a quiet car ride home with no screaming baby in the back seat because the Lord provided me with a loving, kind, engaged husband who left work to come to every one of many doctor appointments and who, seeing how frantic and distraught I was after hearing her scream all the way to and through the appointment, offered to miss even more work in order to take our crying baby girl home in his car so that I could have a desperately-needed few moments’ peace. I thought about how the Lord provided for me in that way, at that moment when I really needed it, and I know I have experienced many other such moments. I wonder why it is that when I remember those extremely difficult, painful times, I remember the pain of it so much more than I remember God’s provision.
As I look toward the future and think about my hope to have another child, after a miscarriage and a year of delay, I feel so afraid when I recall how hard those months following Janie’s birth were. I feel afraid to hope again after having a miscarriage and some serious complications. I feel anxious about my current physical health, as well as worried about my future mental health post-partum if we do have another baby. I’m afraid I won’t be able to have another baby, and afraid of what it will be like if I do. And yet, if I read my journals and blogs and search my imperfect memory, I know I will find, over and over again, instances of the Lord’s blessing, presence, peace, help, and provision as He lovingly cared for me in those difficult seasons.
Father, forgive me for having such a selective memory, for forgetting or downplaying the ways that You helped me and took care of me in such desperate times. I praise You because You are worthy to be praised and I praise You for loving me so lavishly, in good times and in bad. Thank You for being faithful, for the work You are doing in me, and for loving me too much to leave me the same. Thank You for giving Your only Son that I might have abundant, everlasting life with you. Thank You for “the present risenness of Christ,” as Brendan Manning calls it, for the power of the resurrection that lives and works in me every day. May I continue to praise You in every season and trust in Your provision for the unique demands of each different stage of life. Thank You for loving me and for walking with me through every difficult moment, watching over me and protecting me, comforting and encouraging me, pointing me to Your truth, and providing for my needs to be met through my family and the church. I love You, though I know the best I have to offer is as filthy rags, and pray that You would help me to love and trust You ever more.
In the powerful Name of Jesus Christ, who saves, heals, redeems, and restores,