I am excited to move onto happier thoughts! Thanks to everyone who is reading along. I pray you are encouraged by God's loving faithfulness throughout even the dark times.
Years went by. I still couldn't tell my story without tears. The thought of not having more children saddened me, but I was unwilling to accept the possibility in my current state. Not until my back heals completely, etc. What if I injure myself worse? Who will be there to parent Elizabeth? I wanted to trust, but I wasn't even sure if that's what God wanted of me. Maybe He wanted one to be enough.
Not long before I got pregnant with Samuel, I was walking the mall with a friend. I was trying to loose weight (as I just about always am!) so that my body would be better prepared, just in case God did want to bless us with more children. She was talking to me about how God was challenging her to trust Him with the size of her family. Don't worry--I've heard it all before. I gave her (ahem--God) my really good excuses. My back is injured. My body may not be able to handle the stress of pregnancy in this condition. She just smiled and said something about how He could handle those things, too. I couldn't speak. I went home and prayed. And prayed and prayed and prayed. Wasn't she right, my soul shouted? God could handle anything. Didn't he want my trust instead of my fear?
Over the course of a few months I prayed through all my fears related to birth. Over and over I felt God's comfort, and reassurance that He could and would bless me, if only I'd be open. I shared all this with Josiah, and he felt the same way. So we started trying for our next little blessing, and it wasn't long before I woke him at 4 am to show him a positive pregnancy test! The most amazing testimony of God's goodness in this pregnancy was this: no more back pain. Up until the point I got pregnant, I still had sporadic pain. I would know when I had overdone it by the familiar throbbing and soreness. But even though I weighed exactly the same as when I had gotten pregnant with Elizabeth, and gained the exact same amount of weight during my pregnancy, I never experienced pain! It was as if God was supernaturally showing me what He could do with my trust.
Now the big question: was this pregnancy fear-free? And the truthful answer: no. I cried over and over about the delivery and post-partum period. What happened before simply could not happen again, right God? I spoke more openly with my friends about my fears, and asked them to pray. Though many people loved and encouraged me, two conversations stand out to me from the rest, because of their uniqueness. One, a dear friend who had watched my pain helplessly the first time (there was so little anyone could have done) told me toward the beginning of my pregnancy that she was praying, and asking others to pray, because she did not want to see me suffer like I did before. I had said so little. I didn't even know that she knew. Her knowing, and her praying, meant the world to me. Later in my pregnancy, my dear non-confrontational friend listened again as I cried over the possibility that I would be forced into another c-section by circumstances out of my control. She was quiet for a second and then said something like, "I know what happened last time was really terrible, but there are no guarantees it will happen like that again. You need to trust God." Perhaps I was quiet for too long, because she rushed on to say that she wished could have said that face-to-face, and with a big hug. I couldn't speak, though, because I was smiling so big. She was right! She had just given me a great gift! Even after that, it was hard to trust and not be afraid, but I knew then what I needed to do.
I worked hard to correct every "mistake" I made the first time. When I was pregnant with Elizabeth and I went for walks if I experienced pain, I thought something was wrong, and would rest. Now I knew that pain was normal (within reason) and walking was the best thing I could do. I took a Bradley Birth Class with Josiah. We both enjoyed those once a week outings just the two of us. It was a great time to heal from the first birth. I was able to finally look back and see some of the things that had gone well the first time around. For example, I had second guessed my choice of hospitals (among so many other choices), but the pediatrician I met there was the best one Elizabeth had ever had. We have yet to find as caring, patient and natural a doctor. Breast-feeding went well. Many women struggle, but for us this was a joy (not that it didn't have it's hard moments)! Some of the things happened because they were standard procedure/hospital policy/etc. It does not mean they have to happen again, and it did not mean that it was all my fault just because I didn't know it all or know which questions to ask. God was healing my heart, too.