A Story of Stillbirth- Rest

When my second dose of medicine was administered, the doctor found that the first dose hadn’t dissolved completely. So, I got the equivalent of one and a half doses at once. An hour after, there was no more card playing, and I was in so much pain that I couldn’t sit still. I had hoped that I would be able to deliver Cora without an epidural, because of the potential side effects it could have had on her, but that didn’t matter anymore. Emotionally, I was already devastated, and your emotional state during a delivery greatly affects pain. And when you’re being induced medically, often your contractions don’t have a break between them. Mine never stopped. I got no breaks. Eventually, after lots of back rubbing and quite uncomfortable wiggling (and crying, let’s be honest), the doctor can in to give me my epidural. She had some trouble with it, and I still have a sore spot on my spine as I write this. It took her four tries to get it in, over an hour of me sitting as still as I could on the bed, trying to not move. It was not a comfortable experience, especially because I had to sit still for such a long time through contractions.

But, once it was in, I felt like I could relax. We had had such little sleep all week, first from worry and then from grief, that after I got the epidural, I slept. Even though I was in labor, I slept (sort of). When Mom and Husbandman were out of the room, my nurse stayed with me. I cried with her, and we discussed God’s goodness, and how I wouldn’t be able to handle this without God’s grace.

I woke up about every two hours, and my medical staff were merciful enough to let me sleep, trying be as quiet as possible when they came to check on me every hour though the night. God quieted my thoughts as I waited, and I’m thankful for the mental rest that He gave me. I couldn’t think past a few minutes from what I was experiencing right then, and if my mind had wandered further than that, I think I would have been consumed by fear and anticipatory grief.

That night, when I woke up, all that filled my head were hymns. Old hymns that had been sung at my childhood and teenage years, hymns that I’d sung with people that have been absent in body and present with the Lord for a long time. Although my voice to sing was choked with grief, my heart sung praises to the Lord when I didn’t know what else to do.

My nurses changed shifts at about 7:00 AM, and by that time, I had a feeling that delivery wouldn’t be long. My nurse that day reminded me of my girl friends from college. I was thankful to be in good hands that felt familiar that day, because things were about to start moving much more quickly than planned.

Throughout the month of October, I’m writing a series titled “Hopeful Grief” with a fabulous group of writers, doing the Write31Days challenge. To catch up, or see new posts, click here. Interested in last year’s Write31Days posts? Click here

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Small Spaces

So, remember how I sprained my wrist? I alluded to the humorous side of that story in my last post, but there has been a bit of learning intermingled in that humor. 

After I sprained my wrist, I couldn’t give it complete rest. My job consists of working primarily on the computer, which includes typing and keeping my wrist at a funny angle at almost all times. So, right when I injured my wrist, I thought if I just rested it some, it would be okay. It got better for a time, and then it started to get worse. It began to ache to the point where I couldn’t push anything with the wrist. I had to practice getting out of bed in the morning like a ninja without using my hands. I also learned how to brush my teeth with my left hand and how to cut my food up with my opposite hand. 

After a month of getting worse, I finally broke down and asked for an x-ray. I was so scared I’d broken my wrist. Husband-Man had to ban me (at my request) from looking up pictures of what corrective wrist surgery is all about. The x-ray came back fine, and after another few weeks of pain, I was sent for an MRI. 

Now, I’ve had an MRI before. When I was a senior in high school, I had what turned out to be a month long stress headache, and the doctors wanted to make sure I didn’t have any visible brain issues. I had to lay in a small tube for about half an hour that day, with loud noises, no movement, no ear plugs, and a crippling headache. I tried to forget that experience. 

I wasn’t as worried about going through this MRI. I didn’t have a monster of a headache, and I was more concerned with the results than the test itself. And then, as I was taken back into the MRI room as posed for the MRI, I started to lose my cool. I was told to stretch my arm out (Super Man style) and to lay with my arm extended, with my wrist held in place with a heavy cushion to reduce movement. I was told several times that I could not move, or we would have to restart the test. And then I was slid into the machine. I felt like a torpedo waiting in a torpedo bay. It was small and loud, and although I normally don’t get stressed in small spaces, I was not comfortable being shoved into that little tube with my arm fully extended. 

Now, as you can imagine, I was okay for about five minutes. And then, I started to panic. My shoulder started to shake because I am not physically conditioned to hold my arm still like that for so long. My head was wringing with the noise of the machine. I was so worried that I would move involuntarily and mess up the test. And time felt like it was standing still. I was sure that the test would never be over. 

And then I remembered the story in Acts 16 about Paul and Silas and their reaction to being thrown into jail. 

25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, 26 and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone’s bonds were unfastened. 27 When the jailer woke and saw that the prison doors were open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped. 28 But Paul cried with a loud voice, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here.” 29 And the jailer called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas.30 Then he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”31 And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” 32 And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. 33 And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their wounds; and he was baptized at once, he and all his family. 34 Then he brought them up into his house and set food before them. And he rejoiced along with his entire household that he had believed in God.

I realize that I wasn’t in jail. I was receiving valuable medical care, that I was privileged to receive. But, I was panicking. I didn’t think I could make it through the entire test. I didn’t feel strong enough, mentally or physically. So, I sang songs in my head. I sang hymns to the rythmn of the machine. And I prayed for each and every person that I could think of. I prayed for my family, my friends, the MRI technician, the nice greeter at the welcome desk.

And eventually, the test was over (after about thirty minutes). What are you panicking about? Your job? Your health? Something else? How is God calling you to respond? Focus on the goodness of God, and keep Him at the forefront of your mind. Be encouraged, my friends. To borrow Husband-Man’s expression, it’s okay.