When Life is Uncertain: A Personal Update

A couple of weeks ago I scheduled my C-section for baby Benjamin. My mom started making plans. It all started feeling real. We were getting excited about knowing his actual birthday. I even had a little bit of that “nesting” instinct.

 July 5 is on the calendar.

Or so we thought.

Last Monday I was in a minor car accident. I was driving to pick up my groceries and we got hit from behind. While it didn’t seem like much, I still called my OB’s office to be sure. Standard procedure is to send any pregnant woman past 20 weeks to labor and delivery for monitoring. I was 32 weeks. It felt inconvenient at the time, but we thought we’d be home by dinner. Then things started changing. My labs came back positive for some form of trauma in my uterus, which meant we had earned a stay at the hospital. Even then we still didn’t think much of it because I felt fine. The ultrasound checked out the next day. The labs showed it all cleared up. And we went on our way with instructions to come back if anything crazy happened (like pain or something).

On Saturday night I began feeling uncomfortable, but thought I had pulled a muscle. I’m sore most of the time, so I thought sleep would fix it. By 3 AM the pain was so severe I could barely walk. The nurse on-call thought going to the hospital was the best option, considering my previous history with pregnancy issues and the recent fender bender. Even then, we didn’t think much of what was happening. I was terrified by the pain, but also in denial. Everything is fine, right? I thought. I didn’t want to be an alarmist, but I also had never felt pain like that before. We didn’t even pack bags. We just left and went to the hospital thinking we may even be back in time to go to church.

Every bump on the drive was extremely painful. Every time my foot touched the ground to walk I thought I wouldn’t be able to take another step. The nurses at first thought it was maybe appendicitis. In hindsight, that would be preferable to where we are now. Within a matter of hours my contractions started and were four minutes apart for a good part of Sunday. Doctors and nurses were more attentive than we had ever experienced before (which made us think something was clearly wrong). And my pain just kept getting worse. Mid-morning our doctor confirmed what had been my worst fear: my placenta had started abrupting. At that point it became a matter of determining whether to deliver Ben immediately or whether to work to get his little lungs ready for life outside the womb. She chose to wait, and so here we are.

It’s Wednesday now. Every day has been up and down, but today we are both stable. The farther we are removed from the scariness of Sunday, the more we are able to reflect on God’s protection of Ben and me. As the days have gone on we have learned just how serious it all was, and could have been. Because of the danger that is posed with a partial abruption I am here indefinitely, likely until delivery. But even then, no one really knows that answer right now. Even though things are better today, every day is a waiting game with new questions. Will I have contractions today? Will Ben be able to tolerate them? Will my placenta stay attached? Will I be rushed into the OR today or will it be a more calm day? Will I see my kids today? Will my baby be in the NICU? Will he even live? In a lot of ways we have no idea what the answers are. That’s hard. But in so many ways we have seen God’s hand of protection over us and our other three children who are outside the womb. We’ve seen him care for us. We’ve seen him strengthen us. We’ve seen the body of Christ step up and serve. We’ve seen his love for us in tangible ways, from doctors and nurses who are attentive and competent to friends who watch our kids and mow our lawn. All of these details are things we don’t want to forget even in the midst of the up and down. It is uncertain, but it is not hopeless. It is scary, but we are not alone.

July 5 sounds like a great day to have a baby. Will I have him then? I don’t know. But I am learning to rest in the fact that I don’t need to know that. It might take me all the way up to his birth to wrestle through my need to control things, but by God’s grace I want to be able to tell him about all that God did in our lives during this long ordeal of waiting for him to be brought safely into our arms.

If you think of it, would you pray for us? There are a lot of logistical things that have to happen for two parents to be away from three kids for an indefinite period of time. And pray for baby Ben, that God would keep him cooking as long as possible. He’s a loved little boy already and we look forward to telling him all about how God sustained him, his parents, and worked through God’s people in these uncertain days.