Thursday, February 20, 2014

Lord, my faithful God

"Into your hands I commit my spirit; deliver me, LORD, my faithful God." -Psalm 31:5

I wasn't really dreading the doctor's visit but I did feel apprehensive.  I brought Emi with me to relieve some of the tension of waiting for results and hearing the news again.  She proved to be a great companion.

I looked around the waiting room at all of the other women with their bulging bellies, some of them most definitely further along than I, but others with just a hint that life was growing in them.  There is something so comforting about being in this waiting room, knowing that all of the women know, or will know what you are going through.  No one stares at you with pity because of how life will be radically different.  No one uninvitingly touches your belly or says things like, "You're huge, are you having twins?"  No, we all glance in each other's direction, half-smiles, because we all share the same secret love for a child that we have all been hoping for.

When they called my name after waiting an eternity, I drudgingly stepped on the scale.  Up another two pounds.  I'll never get used to that.  Emi charmed the nurses sitting at their desks and going about their daily tasks.  Three Dora stickers, just for being cute.

We walked the long corridor and turned into a dark room with the awkward OB table and it's scary looking stirrups.  I stared at the blank screen, wondering what news it would reveal today.  As I clumsily got up on the bed, I whispered a quiet prayer and held a strong face so Emi wouldn't worry.  Today we would come up with a plan for our little guy.  We would do our best to decide his safest entry into our world.

Sitting there, I wondered how many women received devastating news on this bed, watching dreams shattered on a black and white screen.  I'm wired to minimize the situations in my life, compare them to the heartache others suffer that are greater than mine.  But as I lay there, without my husband -- my rock -- I couldn't help but turn my attention to the fact that I felt so alone, so scared.

As the ultrasound tech swished that blasted, warm goo around and the scanner touched my child's temporary home, I took a deep breath.  She was silent, with no expression.  She didn't smile or make eye contact with me.  She just kept moving it around on my stomach, clicking on the keys and taking measurements.  Does she even know why I'm here?  Does she know that this Mama is dying inside, waiting for more bad news?  Couldn't she just spit it out, tell me the truth quickly?  Knowing is better than wondering, right?

As soon as these words were jotted in my head she began to point to the screen, there was my little boy's profile.  My heart swelled.  What a handsome little thing.  As handsome as white lines and gray nothingness can be.  There is his heart, pumping well.  Emi ran to the machine as she heard her brother's heartbeat in surround sound.  "This is the cord..." she said, "...let me just...hmmm."  Is it wrapped two times now?  Three?  Is he not getting the oxygen he needs?  "I'm not sure how," this twenty-something bearer of news, says, "but the cord is no longer wrapped around his neck."


Are you sure? I asked in my head.  And almost as if she had heard my thoughts, she responded with, "You have a healthy, baby boy in there.  And a cord that is completely out of harm's way."

I've learned to guard my emotions, somewhat, living on the mission field for eight years.  But tears streamed quietly down my face.  Only Emi noticed them and she rushed over to ask if I was alright.  That little thing has a sixth-sense, I swear, she knows when someone can use a comforting touch.

The tech printed off a plethora of photos and Emi squealed with glee as she glanced through them all.  "That's my bruhver," she would say.

Yes, it is, my sweet girl...our miracle baby.  And our God has been faithful once again.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Waiting Patiently...

I am not a patient person.  Although becoming a mother thrust me into "patience training" whether I liked it or not.  I am happy to report that I am a much more patient person than I used to be but my natural default is still to take things into my own hands, handle it myself and take control of the situation.

But there are some things in life we can't control.

Around week 27 of my pregnancy, Mike and I went in for a scheduled appointment with our OB in the Dominican after a routine ultrasound just to make sure all was well.  Come to find out, it wasn't.  As Dr. Santillan began spouting off some explanations in Spanish I struggled to understand a phrase I wasn't familiar with.  I kept nervously looking at Mike hoping that he would cut her off and calm my panicked look with a simple explanation because surely I had misunderstood her when I thought she said the cord was wrapped around our baby's neck.  But as she finished her explanation my fears were confirmed and she moved right along with when we would schedule our next monthly appointment.

I left the doctor's office with nothing more than the instructions to keep track of our little guy's movements and if anything changed to get to the hospital right away.  I held it together until I was in the comfort of our van and then the floodgates opened.  Did my "perfect pregnancy" really just change that quickly?

Over the next couple of days, Mike and I had some decisions to make.  Many phone calls and texts were made to my sisters in the States, who are both in the medical field.  Trying to get the best information I could get my hands on.  I avoided the internet and researching this "condition" as I knew I would find way more tragic stories than good ones.  The last thing I needed to do was add gasoline to a fire that was already brewing.

The day after we received the news, a scripture that I had read so many times before spoke quietly to my heart:
"We who have this spiritual treasure are like common clay pots, in order to show that the supreme power belongs to God, not to us.  We are often troubled, but not crushed; sometimes in doubt, but never in despair; there are many enemies, but we are never without a friend; and though badly hurt at times, we are not destroyed." - 2 Corinthians 4:7-9
It would be easy, and maybe even expected or "normal" to doubt God's plan for a situation like this.  Too often, Christians have been brainwashed into thinking that because of our adoption into God's kingdom we are somehow exempt from heartache, pain and disappointment.  If we love God enough, obey His commands and live a good life, all will be well.  But I have learned over my lifetime, and especially over the last four years which have been exceptionally difficult, that we are not exempt.  In fact, we will more than likely experience extra doses of difficult circumstances.

As I meditated on the scripture I felt an overwhelming sense of God's peace rush over me.  Not the kind of peace that said, "My child, everything is alright.  Everything will turn out fine.  Your baby will be born, alive and healthy."  In fact, the comfort was just the opposite.  I felt at peace with whatever the outcome was.  I have walked the path of worry, disappointment and loss, with my Savior before -- experiencing His rejuvenating peace, love and comfort even in the midst of trials.  The peace I felt, and still feel, comes from knowing and trusting a God that has had my heart in His hands before and has my heart in His hands now.

So I wait patiently.  Waiting for God's story to unfold.  Waiting for a baby to be born.  Waiting for the ways that God will glorify Himself through this situation.  A lesson in patience that I would have never asked for myself, but will surely someday look back and be blown away by the ways God carried me through these times.