“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” (John 14:27, ESV)
As we headed into the long night yesterday evening, I was afraid. I had heard so many worrying stories about the procedure that I knew was coming today. I held that fear loosely as if it could be a defense against the unknown. Bad idea.
I did not rest thoroughly last night because I was periodically taken down to the delivery ward for cleaning and medication that would soften my cervix and induce labor. The delivery ward itself was quiet and dimly lit. At one point, I realized I could hear the soft whooshing sound of a fetal heart monitor from where I sat in the hallway, but the laboring mother—and all others present—were very quiet.
The cleanings were painful. The second visit to the ward resulted in me shaking uncontrollably for about twenty minutes following. My third and final trip down to the ward (at 6:00am), I began to recite from my favorite book and felt the beginnings of perfect peace come over me. As I waited for the doctor, I heard the first squalling cries of a baby delivered in the ward and felt such joy at the sound. I’m sure that the doctor thought I was delirious at that point when I said how wonderful it was.
I began to feel periodic contractions after this visit, and my water broke at about 7:30am. At this time in the morning, I felt peace come over me. I still felt uncertain about what was to come, but there was comfort as we moved forward. The nurse wheeled me down to the operating ward shortly thereafter with a sleepy Eric in tow. As they hooked up another IV and monitored my vital signs, the contractions were almost constant but manageable. I tried to recall Psalm 23 in its entirety, but the pain made it difficult to remember more than disordered fragments.
Eric was a step behind me as they wheeled me into the operating room, but he was kept waiting in the hall instead. I should have been afraid when I was suddenly alone without my support system in place, but I still felt that unshakeable peace.
The anesthesiologist walked me through a questionnaire—I was able to be fully sedated for the procedure—and then patted me on the shoulder and said, “Don’t be afraid. It’s going to be ok. This is a bad circumstance, but you are young and will have more children.” Then he folded his hands, glanced upwards, and added, “God blesses young people with children.” Soon, I was only conscious of the beep of my heart monitor.
In the recovery room, one of our friends joined us as I pulled out of the anesthesia. The doctor had asked Eric after the operation if he wanted to see the baby, but he said no at the time. Our friend went in our place and took pictures for us to view when we can emotionally handle it. At that time, the doctor said that she was 60-70% sure that the baby would have been a boy.
We are now twelve hours distant from when I went into the operating room this morning. I have had minimal physical pain and have been able to carry on through the day with that same peace hovering all around me. We are so grateful for the many people who have been lifting us up today all around the world. Your emails, calls, messages, visits, and online comments have been blessedly encouraging. You are precious to us.
The doctor will keep me in the hospital until at least Monday morning in order to continue giving me antibiotics to fight the infection in my body. If lab tests on Monday come back positively, we will be able to go home then.