Scripture Shield

After the trauma of my daughter’s birth, I dealt with a lot of anxiety. I know that I said I had peace while going through it all, and now know that God has worked it all together for good, but I was a wreck for a good long while afterward. All the hormones and fatigue from having the baby and then round the clock care for a newborn, it was incredibly overwhelming. I replayed the days of labor and the delivery over and over in my head wondering what I could have done differently. You see, it wasn’t just the birth that devastated me, it was the effects after. I didn’t have the rush of hormones that you get from a natural birth that quickly bond you to your child. I didn’t get to hold her right away or nurse her and have those special moments of connection. She was then in the NICU for days and I was unable to feed her on command. While my body was recovering from surgery it wasn’t able to produce the milk needed to sustain my child. Supplementing with formula and wondering if she was getting enough added stress to the situation. Nothing had turned out the way I had wanted. There was a million ‘what ifs’ that swirled through my head every moment of everyday.

There was also the reality that set in of being a mother, wife, homemaker, friend… the list goes on. I couldn’t do it all and do it all well. In those early days, I felt accomplished if I could keep myself and my child fed and clean. I was working on about 1 1/2 hour increments of sleep throughout the night (and sometimes the day). My sweet husband was supportive and selflessly picked up everything I wasn’t keeping up on. This added to my guilt of not being able to care for him and our home. I would meltdown every now and then under the weight of the expectations I placed on myself. After months of attempting to do it all on my own, I finally found the way to get through it. I needed more than moral support or helping hands. I needed God’s help. I told Him, “Lord, I give you control, I know that I cannot do it on my own.” I needed His strength and His promises and His truths. Those words were a turning point for me. I came to him daily with my worries and fears, my failures and shortcomings. Our God and His love for us truly does not ever fail. He supplied me with everything I needed to face the day.

One of the things He offered me was a shield of Scripture. I know that in the “armor of God” the Word of God is the Sword of the Spirit, but I was in no position to be on the offense. I was so weary and weak that I just used these scriptures to shield myself from the attacks. I memorized these scriptures and repeated them over and over as often as I needed.

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I could pull these verses apart and explain how God used so many of these pieces to minister to me. The greatest comfort was having the inexplicable peace of God guarding my heart and mind. The attacks subsided as I fended them off with the holy truth of God. The enemy was sifting me and I was losing the battle for a while, but God drew me back to Him and fought the fight for me. Through surrender, prayer, scripture and faith, God brought me through that rough time. I have been able to use these verses to encourage others many times since then. I hope that when you encounter the attack of worry, fear or anxiety that you remember these words and cling tightly to them. Meditate on these things.

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Control Freak

I never would have thought of myself as a control freak really. Planner, yes. Perfectionist, definitely. But having to be in control? God taught me a lot about this through the birth of my daughter. Let me start by saying that I consider myself a fan of “crunchiness”. As in granola, natural, holistic, hippie type stuff. Notice that I don’t claim to be crunchy, I just like the idea of it. I’m much too conservative and eat way too much bacon to be considered granola. Anyway, when it came to childbirth I really liked the idea of a natural birth. I have friends and family with amazing natural un-medicated birth stories and I wanted to experience that. I had this idea that God made our bodies to birth babies and so I wanted to experience it fully. Then there were all of the health reasons and benefits with bonding and hormones and all kinds of other stuff that I won’t get into. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate modern medicine and I often tell people that if they don’t have any type of strong conviction about having a natural birth, then by all means, do what you gotta do. I just really wanted a natural birth. Looking back, I realize that I was putting much more faith in myself and my body’s ability to give birth than in the Lord’s strength and what his will was for me. The whole birth story is kind of long and ridiculous so I may or may not share that here some time but I’ll give you some highlights of what all we went through.

Week 39 mention of induction from our nurse midwife
Week 40 nurse midwife plans for induction the next week, we refuse (remember, we wanted this birth to be natural, so the labor would have to start naturally)
Week 41 we are assigned to an OB and considered ‘high risk’ because we are now post term
Week 42 multiple Non-stress tests are performed to make sure baby is OK (she’s fine, very comfortable in there)
Week 42 1/2 we decide to induce hoping to avoid complications due to long gestation
12 hours later . . . Nada.
2 hours later water breaks naturally
2 hours later contractions are not starting so pitocin is introduced
Labored for 20 or so hours (5 cm, halfway there)
Decide to get an epidural to conserve energy for pushing
5 more hours haven’t progressed well
I begin to shake uncontrollably (thanks epidural) and my temperature spikes
Baby’s heat rate becomes unstable
Our last and final option (my worst nightmare) we decide to do a caesarean section
46 hours since we entered the hospital our sweet baby girl, Miss Love, enters the world

But wait . . . there’s more

Our daughter’s blood tests come back with an abnormality. Because of my temperature during labor they are concerned that she may develop an infection. She is taken to the NICU that evening and spends the first week of her life there. I spend the first week of her life recovering from surgery and visiting her 8 hours a day.

Talk about devastating. It could not have played out further from what I wanted it to be. That little section there about choosing our last option of a C-section, it was awful and beautiful all at the same time. I bawled the whole time the doctor talked us through the procedure. I can’t even tell you a single word he said because I was a wreck. We had spent hours before that praying and singing worship songs and begging God to move. He did, just not how we had hoped. Once they wheeled me into the operating room I was more calm than I could have ever imagined. My poor sweet husband was shocked at the sight of his wife being cut open, but I was able to carry on conversation and keep from dwelling on the fact that my baby was now being cut out of me.

The one thing that I held onto during all this, including the time my daughter was in the NICU, was this overwhelming inexplicable peace. Never once did I worry that she or I was in danger. I knew without a doubt that God was in control and he was taking care of us. And it wasn’t a fake confidence like I had about my body being able to birth this kid naturally. It was undeniable love from the Father that even though my worst nightmare had occured (and then some) He was still good and he was still God and he was completely in control.

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This is something that I knew God was teaching me soon after Miss Love’s birth, and I have a good grasp on it now, but it has been a long process to see how God has worked it all together for good.

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