26 February 2010

Pregnancy Watched by God: Part 2


So we went to the local ER and they whisked me to the back. A nurse asked how many weeks I was, and looked dismayed when I said I thought I was 9 weeks. Usually, she said, when a miscarriage starts that early, there's nothing they can do.

I forget some details but I remember sitting alone with James in between people coming in and out. In the silent, silent foreign room we mainly stared. It was hard to be intimate when we were still repairing our broken marriage and people were coming in and out. I think we were waiting for an ultrasound tech to be available.

As we went to the sonogram room, a young man put the cold clear jelly on my stomach. When I laid down we could see a little grapefruit under my skin... I was anxious and scared to definitively know if we had really lost the baby. He put the wand down and moved it around. When I heard the swoosh-swoosh-swoosh-swoosh and saw the little moving heart I broke into the sobbing breathing laughing cry right away, and moved so much that the heartbeat sound was overwhelmed and covered by my own noises. Oh, what joy I knew. I had a carefree visit with my baby as the tech looked all over everything, making notes and taking pictures. He said he knew exactly what the problem was, but that since he was only a tech and not a doctor, he wasn't allowed to tell me. He did say the baby measured 12 weeks.

This made me very angry, because then I had to wait for the doctor to come in and explain what the tech found. James found some chocolate somewhere and we ate a few... a small treat to distract us from the wait. The steady fast heartbeat sound had faded from our ears and seemed far away.

The doctor said I had complete placenta previa. The bleeding was from a partial separation of the placenta from the uterine wall. If it loosened further, there was nothing anyone could do and we would loose the baby. If it healed and re adhered, it could do one of two things:

-seem to move upward as the uterus got larger
-stay low and necessitate a C-section delivery

So. He said stay on complete bedrest until you can see your OB/GYN (which I didn't have yet- remember I've always had flawless pregnancies). But... but I had 3 small kids! I had no husband living with me to help me! And my dad didn't even know I was pregnant! How was I going to spend the weekend on bedrest, no steps, no lifting?!

It was a long week. I went down the steps one by one, on my butt. I lifted nothing. I barely raised my hands... I changed diapers on the floor. I didn't push the cart, a bike, nothing. I spent lots of time trying to get in to see an OB/GYN so that I could be reassured by the swoosh-swooshing again. My insurance (or lack thereof) was making it take longer than I wanted.

However, the time was well-spent.

Have you ever fasted? I was fasting when I got pregnant. I learned a lot about it. The goal of fasting is to force our attention off of ourselves and onto God. I learned that each time I would feel hungry, I would say "God, I want you more than I want food. God, I want you more than a marriage." Well, each time I had to scoot down the steps, or roll over before sitting up, or kneel down to hug my daughter instead of lifting her, I was reminded to pray. "God, I want you more than a baby. God, you hold the stars in their places. God, nothing is impossible for you."

When I read up on placenta previa, I kept coming across phrasing that said things like 'the placenta doesn't move; it is attached to a point that is stretching upwards; it seems to move but really the uterus is.' The book "What to Expect when You're Expecting" put it like this: "Now, the placenta doesn't actually get up and move" and it gave me a silly picture in my mind's eye of a caricature of a twisty umbilical cord, untwisted at the ends to make two arms, which lifted up the placenta like a tutu from Swan Lake, and walked over to a new spot. Suddenly that image became my prayer- God can raise the dead! He holds the atoms together! He heals the sick! He sends angels to guard his missionaries! He can do anything!!

After being told by the doctor and the books that if the placenta separated from the uterine wall, that the baby would have no source of oxygen and would die, I began praying for a miracle. I prayed "God, you have the power to lift this placenta and move it, really move it, to a totally new place. God, you have the power. God, move this!" Oh man, I prayed.

I finally got in to see the OB/GYN and have another ultrasound. She had the pictures and file from the ER. She also did all sorts of measurements and pictures and looking, while I relished the swoosh-swooshing again. Finally, she said

"I don't know what that tech was talking about! You don't have anything at all like placenta previa- look, this dark spot is the placenta, and you can see that the wand is way up here at the top of the uterus! He must've been wrong!"

I would like to tell you that I praised God then and there and told her about my prayer, and how clearly it had been answered. But, no, I was so overjoyed and relieved and glad that I floated out of there. It was a day or two later ! that I was suddenly struck, literally suddenly dumfounded in shock and awe that God had done exactly what I had asked him to do: to pick up the placenta and move it! To really move it! And he did it.

I think about why God let me keep my baby Nathan- which is a Hebrew name that means "God has given" and I know.

I was at a point where a miracle, a one-time act, would most bolster my faith. Like a glass of cold water on a long and dusty, winding and rocky trail, my Nathan was a gift to me. I am forever grateful for the big miracles of God on the hard path of learning to glorify God through whatever comes.

I'm honored that you would read New Mercy and
I would love to hear from you through comments!
Teresa (Tracy) Dear


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