"So do not fear, for I am with you.
Do not be dismayed for I am your God.
I will strengthen you, and I will help you.
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."
Soon after I started praying specifically for this birth, I was reading my Bible and this verse jumped off the page. I don't remember reading it before (though I've read through Isaiah several times). It seemed as though God was bringing it to my attention for this season specifically. I'd be lying if I said I didn't hope that somehow God was going to give me the birth I desired.
The sad news is, that for the third time, God said no to my desires. (He said yes in many ways, too!) For the third time I endured things I hope no one ever has to experience, and it's not all about the c-section, either. It was an extremely painful emotional experience. I really have two choices here. Curse the darkness and relive those experiences all over again, or focus on God's goodness. As a child of God, I choose the latter.
I asked you to pray for peace. Were there moments of fear? Oh yes! But if you looked at my labor and delivery as a whole, I believe you would say that the decisions I made over and over were based on faith and not fear.
I asked you to pray for protection. God answered mightily. Lilyanna suffered no ill affects from the labor or surgery. She was a nursing champ, like her siblings. The nurses were so impressed on how long she nursed immediately post-op. She has been my cuddle bug all along, and also a great sleeper even in the hospital. As for me, I almost needed a transfusion--but I didn't. I almost lost consciousness during the surgery--but I didn't. Thank you so much for covering me in prayer.
I asked you to pray for progress. I made it further than I ever have before. I made it to 6 centimeters before I needed to have a c-section. Again, an answer to prayer. This is also the area where God said no. He loves me, and though I don't understand, it was a part of His plan to allow me to experience some things I would have rather avoided. He has never left me, though at times I've felt alone.
I asked you to pray for my partner--Josiah. He held up great. I'm pretty sure he stayed up all day and night with me, walking with me, rubbing my back, holding my hand. My favorite memory of him during this time was when surgery was imminent and he crawled into bed with me and held my hand and alternately read my labor journal to me or prayed over me. What an amazing gift.
I asked you to pray for the professionals involved. God supernaturally allowed me to develop the best relationships with nurses that I have ever experienced. It took work on my part to see past myself, but I purposefully got to know details about each of their lives and my heart swelled with them as they spoke of husbands and children and upcoming weddings and the like. When I was in the O.R. I had more people helping me than ever before. My midwife was able to accompany me, as well as my doula, and Josiah! All there just to support me. My midwife insisted that as long as baby was healthy she would be with me as soon as she was out. And she was. I remember it like it was yesterday as she ripped open the top of my hospital gown and laid sweet, "goop"-covered Lilyanna on my chest. Oh how I cried! Thank you, Jesus.
All of the above is in addition to the time when Lily was breech and when I called to have a procedure scheduled, the receptionist prayed with me that it wouldn't be necessary (along with many of you!) and it wasn't. There were also many moments of supernatural peace immediately following prayer, and the joy I had sharing my pregnancy with so many of you and feeling your support.
No, things didn't go according to my plan. Even in our happiest moments we sometimes wonder, "Is this it?" The truth is that we were made for more. Solomon says in Ecclesiastes, "He has set eternity in the hearts of men..." God created us for Himself--to be with Him. Often we feel the void in this sin-stained world. The violence, the disease, the heartache and loneliness increase our craving for that which is good and peaceful and filled with joy. Author Brady Boyd captures my thoughts so well when he says, "In my own life, I have known the pain of crushing circumstances and the elation of very good days. But through suffering as well as the joy, I can see how it all has matured me in Christ. I can look back on the journey thus far and see reflected in every step that this place is not my home... God is not a myth, and his power has not waned. There is purpose in our suffering, and thankfully heaven will one day be our home."
Thank you for reading and going on this journey with me. I pray that God will bless you with a satisfying relationship with Himself that will meet your deepest longings.