Being a woman it goes without saying I like to plan ahead. I want to be prepared for what’s to come, and what will happen.
What happens when our plan isn’t His plan? It’s not even close?
My husband and I prepared our hearts, minds, and bodies for starting a family. Kason and I were married for 8 years before I finally felt “ready.” He had been ready for much longer, but was patient, as he knew it would be my day-to-day routine that would ultimately change the most.
Once the Lord changed my heart to become a mom, I immediately dove into all things pregnancy and birth. I researched my Texas-sized heart out. I even started my birth plan before I got pregnant, true story!
Kason and I prayed for an alternative birth. We wanted to give birth in a birth center under the care of midwives. We wanted delayed cord-clamping, immediate skin-to-skin, breastfeeding, the whole bit. I prayed and believed with all my heart that our birth would be glorifying to the Lord. I created a play-list of Christian music, laminated scripture cards, and even started a script that Kason could read aloud to me in moments of weakness. I also wrote blog posts and blew up social media proclaiming in His name what I believed.
However, God had a different plan. At our 32-week appointment with our midwife my blood pressure was elevated, I was very swollen, and had protein in my urine. Blood was also drawn and results showed elevated liver enzymes, all of which are symptoms of pre-eclampsia. A week later after being referred to a maternal fetal specialist in Houston, Texas I was immediately admitted to the hospital for severe pre-eclampsia. We were told the only cure for pre-eclampsia is delivery of the baby. The admitting doctor spoke with our midwife and knew and respected how badly we wanted a natural birth. After a 24-hour urine test was ordered and completed, the nurse came in to give us the results and told us that a diagnosis of pre-eclampsia starts around 300 grams of protein, and mine showed 6,800 grams of protein. It was by the grace of God that our baby and I were still healthy. The doctor still allowed me to labor after being “gently induced” only because my blood pressure had seemed to level out. The next day, however, my blood pressure spiked far too many times for the comfort of our doctor and he communicated he highly recommended a c-section to ensure we both stayed safe.
I was heart broken, angry, and scared. I did not understand why the Lord would give us such a desire for our birth to be vastly different than what He was unfolding. Why did other women get to have natural births when it wasn’t even that big of a deal to them, but I did everything right through my pregnancy and I didn’t? I felt like a failure because my body couldn’t keep our baby safe until she was ready to meet us. They had prepared us that she most likely wouldn’t be able to breath on her own, nor would I get to see her. She was six and half weeks early, and her lungs should not have been ready for the outside world.
The moment she was born I felt His grace wash over me; she was born screaming, all three pounds and twelve ounces of her! She was only in the NICU for nineteen days, when we were prepared for six weeks. Praise Him.
Now that I am six months post-partum my heart is healing, my scar no longer makes me angry. I do still combat feelings of jealousy and what if’s, but that is part of the grieving process.
So mama, it’s OK to be upset if your birth didn’t go as you planned, and it’s OK to grieve for it. But it’s important to trust God’s plan because He wrote it specifically for you, just like He wrote mine just for me. He knows you by name, and your baby by name.
The last six months I have been blessed to share my testimony via social media, with our families and friends, through blog posts, and even been invited to speak. I have also been able to personally reach out to other mamas who have gone through the same diagnosis with similar outcomes, or whose births didn’t go as they planned.
I knew God would turn my pain into something beautiful and each time I get to share our story I know why He wrote it so differently than what I planned.
“As for God, his way is perfect: The Lord’s word is flawless; He shields all who take refuge in him.” Psalm 18:30