This time five years ago, I was expecting our first child. My pregnancy had been normal as I slowly watched my feet disappear under my expanding belly. Nausea in the first trimester gave way to butterfly-like feelings in my abdomen. What a miracle! My body had become a home for this tiny person that I did not know yet, but whom I loved intensely. Each month ticked away with a visit to the doctor. “All is well” was each report…that is until the first week of March.
The week started out terribly. I got a speeding ticket. How could a State Trooper give me, a pregnant woman, a ticket? Sure I was speeding, but who could blame me as distracted as I was? It did not even bother him that I cried as I squeezed out from behind the steering wheel to find my registration. This could not be happening, we did not need this extra expense with a baby coming.
The week only got worse. I went to my normal check up, expecting the same “all is well” tag, but when my doctor came in, the expression on her face spread panic through my heart.
“What’s wrong?” I implored. I had not even been officially checked yet. They had only gotten my weight, blood pressure and made me pee in a cup.
“You are showing the early signs of preeclampsia, otherwise known as toxemia.” she almost seemed to whisper from the other end of a tunnel.
“What is that? How can this be? Things have been going so well. What is going to happen to me and my baby?”
“Preeclampsia is basically where your body is rejecting the baby. Your blood pressure starts to creep up and protein shows up in your urine. We are going to write you out of work until delivery and put you on strict bedrest. We don’t want you to even walk outside to check the mail. Rest, stay put as much as possible, for your sake and for the sake of your baby.”
I could not be written out of work, I had only trained my back-up for one day. She was not prepared. What was my boss going to say? Josh was not with me at this visit. What would he say? I could not even talk to him when I called, so I had to get the doctor to repeat what she had said to me. “It’s going to be okay.” He assured me, but my emotions were telling me otherwise.
The next six weeks are kind of fuzzy to me. People of the church fixed meals for us because if the meal planning were left to Josh, we would have cereal, Chef Boyardee and eggs everyday, although he would have meant heartily well. I had days that I spent in fellowship with my Father and felt His love assure me that no matter what happened, this was all part of His plan. Then I had days that I could not feel His presence and I cried…anxious over what would happen to my baby, starving for fellowship outside these four walls, and from just plain boredom (how many times can you watch the PBS lineup before getting sick of it).
Baby shower time came and I feel into deeper depression. I could not even properly register for the things we needed and wanted. We started the process, but had to quit because I could feel my feet swelling from the rising blood pressure. This should not be so hard to accept; it was just a luxury and I knew our family, friends and church members would make sure we had what we needed. But I longed for everything to be as it should have been. Even then, God assured me that this was part of His plan.
April came before long, and the doctors had made me their test subject. I had to do a few 24-hour urine samples and store them in our fridge, yuck! Then on April 21st, the doctors ran several tests and sent us out to wait closeby for the results. We headed over to Barnes & Noble to peruse their new selection of books. After what seemed like hours, they called us to come back. “Are you ready to have this baby?” they asked. I had not even packed my bags yet, oh great! “We have a room ready for you. We will induce your labor and since you are only 3 1/2 weeks early, all should be okay.”
We got settled in our room, called the family and prepared for the night. They gave me the medicine to induce and at 5:10am the next morning my water broke. Luke Christopher was born at 9:09am on April 22nd, just one minute shy of a 4 hour labor. He was amazing! This little life that we had been praying for was finally visible!
Luke had his normal up’s-and-down’s as an infant. Maybe a few more down’s because his lungs were a little underdeveloped, but now he is a healthy, happy, lively little boy. I look back on those days and I can see how God protected us, provided for us and used it all to teach me about His faithfulness and His friendship. All of this was in His plan.