“Alright, it looks like we are all ready to go, Dad you get dressed and we’ll head down to the OR.”
Shawn started to put on his blue scrubs over his street clothes, and we proceeded through the hall down to the OR. We got to a simple room with a bed, nurse’s station and some medical supplies along the wall. The nurse explained, “OK, Dad, you’re going to stay here while we go to the operating room and get her set up. We’ll see you in a few minutes.” We gave each other a quick kiss, and I followed the nurse out of the room toward the operating room.
Entering the operating room, I took in my surroundings. An overwhelming feeling of things being wrong grew in my head. There were two huge bright lights over the bed. Tables with surgical tools and bowls lined the walls. The room breathed sterility. Nothing hinted at the idea of comfort. Perhaps because this room had been referred to as an “operating theater,” I thought it would feel cozier. Or perhaps because my first birth was in water with dim lights, the comparison to the surgical side of the spectrum shocked me.
This is surgery! I am not ready for this. The thought kept racing across my mind. I desperately wanted Shawn’s reassuring presence.
The anesthesiologist interrupted my thoughts with a peppy directive, “OK, Mom, go ahead and get up on this table and scoot your bum to this side.” I got up on the table, my butt and back exposed to the door and the anesthesiologist, Margret. The other nurses were trying to make small talk, as Margret examined my back for the spinal block.
“So mom, is this your first?” one of the nurses asked.
“No” I barely responded.
“What are you having, a boy or a girl?”
“Another girl,” I whispered out.
“What is this one’s name?”
What is this one’s name? Her name is Shalom, which is the opposite of my feelings right now. How can I have Shalom in this place and in this way without feeling your shalom, Lord?
I burst into tears as these thoughts came to mind. Alarmed at my tears, the nurses wanted to reassure me, unaware of my internal processing.
“Are you OK, Mom? What’s going on? You got this, you can do this,” their rapid-fire questions and statements fell flat as they attempted to console and understand. I choked down my sobs, trying to hold it together to not stall the surgery.
All I could manage was to nod and say, “I’m having some big feelings right now.”
After that utterance, the Holy Spirit reminded me about being called to worship in all circumstances, because Jesus was with us in all circumstances.
I didn’t feel like worshiping, yet in the core of my being, I held on to a few truths. That He was with me in this vulnerable and overwhelming moment. This was how the Lord had ordained for Shalom to be born. That his ways are life and peace to those who walk in them.
Then somehow, supernaturally, I made the choice to worship, to choose Him and this way of birth over my plans. I said to myself, I worship you Jesus—a statement of surrender and faith.
I kept repeating that phrase in my mind as I went inward. Trying to block out the reality of what was going on around me and chose to worship instead. I worship you, Jesus.
As the spinal block was put into my back and my legs began to become warm and tingly. I worship you, Jesus.
As I was laid back down on the table, totally exposed from the bra line down to my feet. I worship you, Jesus.
As my arms were strapped down onto extenders so that I couldn’t touch my belly. I worship you, Jesus.
Peace came to me at this moment, but it didn’t feel like a warm blanket of fuzzy feelings. The peace I felt as I worshipped Him was just surrender, release, and rest.
No longer burdened by my environment and surroundings, I was lifted to a place above it all. Fear and unease left my mind, and I was able to move forward with the surgery.
Things seemed to be almost ready to go as the doctors did inventory and roll calls. “Can Shawn come in now?” I voiced my concern.
“Yes, I was just about to go get him” someone responded.
He walked into the room and saw me. Seeing my face he asked, “Are you OK?”
I nodded yes.
“Are you sad?”
I nodded no. “Hold my hand?” I asked, and he did and looked deep into my eyes giving me the reassurance and comfort I needed.
I breathed, remembering my birthing mantra—I worship you, Jesus.
As the surgery began, it felt like they put a bowling ball in my body cavity, and rolled it around as they maneuvered to get baby Shalom out. A suction machine whirred as they removed the amniotic fluid and I knew that seconds later she would be out.
Her cry cut through the suspense held in my breath. Shawn and I looked at each other as tears sprang forth from our eyes and rolled down our faces. He hung his head and tears rolled down his cheeks. Gratitude overwhelmed me as the tears streamed down my face and my smile went wide. I couldn’t see her yet, but I imagined her being held, as her cries continued to fill the room.
Shawn was able to see Shalom and he narrated to me all that was happening. He went over and took a peek at her and snapped a picture to share with me. Finally, they brought her over, and I kissed her tiny little cheek. I tried to hold her but it was cumbersome and difficult with all the wires on and with my arms strapped down.
“Dad, let’s take you to the recovery room with baby so you two can do skin to skin while they finish up with Mom?” one of the team suggested.
Shawn followed them out, and I was left on the table as the doctors put things back together.
Time passed simultaneously fast and slow.
I wanted to yell at everyone to hurry up so I could go feed my baby, but I also didn’t want a tool to be left in me, or my stitches to be rushed. They finished soon enough and transferred me to the recovery room.
As I entered, I saw Shawn cozied up to our little girl. She was nestled in his chest and covered with a blanket. He brought her over, and she quickly latched on like she had been doing it all her life.
Shalom, little one.