BY THE TIME I WAS TEN YEARS OLD, I HAD CHECKED WIFE AND MOTHER OFF MY LIST of things I wanted to be when I grew up. Why so soon? Well, I had a front row seat to entirely too much family drama in real life, and all I could see in my future were reruns of the same episodes.
Eight years later, I met the man of my dreams, and my viewpoint on marriage and motherhood evolved, as we grew closer. About four years afterward, we got engaged and then we married the next year. Our plan was to wait two years to have children. But within three months of our marriage, we found out I was pregnant. The surprising fact resuscitated the apprehensive feelings that I thought had been laid to rest. I was not ready to be a mother. For goodness’ sake, I was just learning how to be a wife! I spent the majority of my days crying and thinking of all the ways I would fail as a mother. All the while, the family melodrama from my past replayed in my mind one scene after the other.
At 32 weeks of my pregnancy, my blood pressure spiked and triggered several health complications. The doctor put me on bedrest immediately. During the 35-week routine checkup, the doctor found our baby to be in distress and ordered an emergency C-section. She told my husband and me to rush over to the hospital so I could be prepped for surgery. I grappled with anxiety, realizing I hadn’t paid attention to the C-section videos in Lamaze class since I had planned to have a natural birth. I think the doctor could tell I was a little worried, so she reassured us she would work diligently and quickly to deliver our baby.
As I lay on the operating room table, I shed tears while pondering what was going to happen in the next scenes of my life. Mixed emotions of fear and excitement overwhelmed me. I thought, “Will our baby make it? Will I make it?” Then, I prayed to God to see us through. The anticipation escalated, for we hadn’t found out the baby’s gender ahead of time. I wondered how our baby would look and what it would be like to hold our baby for the first time. On top of that, I felt so disconnected from the delivery. Not only was I numb from the anesthesia but also a sterile blue surgery veil blocked our view of what was going on. All we could do was wait.
Within about an hour, the doctor announced, “It’s a girl!” I felt an unspeakable joy yet the sedation kept me from showing my true feelings. With orders to keep still, I shifted my eyes around to see if I could get a peek of her. I knew they were getting her cleaned and swaddled, but strangely she was not making any sounds. All of a sudden everyone in the operating room stopped talking. I heard whispers and shuffling feet. I couldn’t see or hold her because she had to be rushed for immediate care. The doctor allowed my husband to escort her in his arms (actually I was told he ran, holding on to her for dear life) to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) alongside the nurses. Although I was sedated, my mind raced as the doctor stitched me up. Then, I was moved to recovery.
For the first couple days, I was heavily medicated and totally out of it. My husband and family updated me on our baby girl, seeing that she had to stay in NICU and I couldn’t get around yet. A couple more days went by before I was cleared to get out of bed and go visit her. Not stable enough to walk, my husband pushed me in a wheelchair to see our little angel. It seemed like the longest trip ever. All I wanted to do was hold her and let her know her mother was there. As we were pulling up to the unit, my husband told me we had to scrub up and put on protective wear before we could go inside. When we entered the room, the first sight of her was nothing liked I’d imagined it would be. Her little premature, underdeveloped body was surrounded by an incubator. Tubes and wires overlaid her fragile frame. Thank God for the two small openings on the side of the incubator which allowed us to rub her tiny head, hands, and feet. I looked around and saw more babies of all sizes holding on for dear life. Thinking back on the delivery, a shift happened inside of me as I fathomed how different the outcome would have been if one or both of us hadn’t made it through the process. The fears I had about motherhood took a backseat to the deep yearning to take care of her, to be her mother. And I knew the longing was from God. My husband and I dedicated our daughter to the Lord right there while she was fighting for her life. We thanked Him for her and promised we’d do all we could to raise her the way He wanted. And we talked to her and prayed over her every time we were with her. Although it became harder and harder to walk away and leave her there, we continued to trust God.
Eleven days from delivery, our daughter was cleared to come home with us. I couldn’t help but to gaze around the room again at the other babies who had to stay. Come to find out many of those babies had been there for several months or longer. I prayed to God for them and their families. Knowing how hard the journey was for us, I felt for all of them. As we carried our little girl to the car, a profound sense of purpose and destiny infused my soul and heart as the Spirit of God sweetly revealed my life was unfolding how God perfectly planned. I asked God to forgive me for thinking I knew better than He did regarding my life plans. Had things gone according to my adaptation, I would have missed out on this precious part of my life. I thanked God for choosing me to share in this amazing miracle and bestowing upon us this wonderful gift. On that day, I clearly understood that motherhood is one of God’s greatest callings. I welcomed the role and was delighted to take on my part. Six years later, we had an exciting delivery of a baby boy (of which I’ll tell you another time). Throughout my motherhood journey, there have been tests and trials. However, it’s been more heartening and rewarding with God as my guide!
In view of it all, I couldn’t imagine my life without my children. They are a blessing! I have learned so much from them about life, relationships and, consequently, more about who God has called me to be. I am humbled and honored that God has chosen me to serve as queen to my family. I know I am a better person because of them!
This post is an excerpt from Regal Heart Magazine, Issue 3. Read it here
November is Prematurity Awareness Month and November 17 is World Prematurity Day.
Praying for preemie babies, families & NICU caregivers around the world!
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Read about my second experience with our son, My Journey to Supernatural Childbirth here