Have you ever had one of those days that just needed to end? Have you ever had one of those days turn into a week or a month of days needing to end? That’s how it has been for me lately.
Please don’t get me wrong, there have been bright spots (how can there not be with my kids and husband I love?), but there has been pretty much a non-stop drain on my energy and joy over the past month. The pipes burst, several friends were hit with hard news, I needed to get an unexpected ultrasound just to check on things… There were fears to be faced over and over, prayers to cry out, and things that had to be seen in the light of truth. Most of the truly crazy crises have passed, but I’m still drained.
After the boys were born, each pregnancy has felt a little like walking out on a frozen pond. Sure, I’m probably going to be fine, but I’m always waiting for the ice to crack – for tragedy to strike. It started when I was pregnant with Brontë. (I was also battling panic attacks about our finances during this times – as I talked about here.) My midwife reassured me that this was classic behavior for a 3rd pregnancy. I’d already had two healthy, uncomplicated pregnancies and deliveries with 2 very healthy boys – it just seemed like I was gambling with the statistics. So many friends had experienced heartbreaking miscarriages, some had stillbirths, some had developed life-threatening complications while pregnant, some babies were born with various problems… it seemed inevitable that we would face that too. I had ultrasounds and more tests than I ever had agreed to before, and everything was fine. I ended up having a perfectly healthy pregnancy and delivered a perfectly healthy baby girl. The Lord gently worked on my heart about those fears, and I was able to let go of most of them, but some fears came back with Stella, and once again, I had a completely healthy pregnancy and another very healthy baby girl.
This time around, on the day we found out I was pregnant, I felt a hard lump in my belly. It was the size of a clementine orange (one of those “Cuties”), and I could move it around. I thought it was really weird and wondered if it was related to the pregnancy, but I wasn’t too worried. Two days later, I listened to a podcast about How HeLa Cells Work. The beginning of the story starts with a woman discovering a hard lump in her stomach while she was pregnant and it turned out to be cervical cancer. You can listen to the rest of that story if you’re curious (it’s the link in this paragraph), but suffice it to say, that’s all that stuck with me from that podcast. It was the beginning of the holidays, and I don’t plan to see my midwife earlier than 12 weeks anyway, so I just waited and tried to push those fears to the side. (She would have seen me sooner, but I really didn’t want to face that shadowy fear over the holidays.) My midwife was pretty sure it was fine, but she asked that I get an ultrasound to check it out (which means I also saw an OB/GYN so that he could order my ultrasound).
From the moment those fears arrived until I finally got to hear that everything was okay, it was about 2 months. Two months of reminding myself that I can trust the Lord, that He cares about me and my baby even more than I do. As I’ve said already, turns out I have a fibroid. Not cancer. It’s large, but totally benign. It is in a good spot (not encroaching on the baby at all), and it should shrink when I’m not pregnant. Whew. And the baby is perfect, developing right on schedule, healthy and active.
The ultrasound tech told me that it was normal to worry, that everyone has fears in pregnancy. I hadn’t told her any of my fears (maybe it was obvious), but she was talkative and shared how she had even seen a mom pregnant with her 13th child (all healthy pregnancies, no complications) who was nervous that this time might be the time that something went wrong (it wasn’t). I guess it makes sense. When you see others go through such terribly hard times, it seems naive and foolish to expect everything to be fine every time. Stepping out on that frozen pond again seems like we’re taking a gamble, playing the odds once again.
What am I afraid of? Afraid that our baby will die? Afraid that our baby will be born with some kind of health challenge? It’s crazy when I really think about it. You see, even if I knew those things would happen, I would still choose to be pregnant, to have this life growing in me. Not because I love pain and sadness and want it for my child, but because I love life. Life is not about avoiding pain and suffering. I deeply believe that all life is sacred, and that is not something I would take away because of a fear of a possibility.
So, honestly, I’m still out on the ice tonight. I heard faint cracking when I found that lump, but I’m still here and I could very likely be out on this ice again in a few years (no promises!). I love my children more than my fear, and I love each precious life that we have been privileged to take care of, but that doesn’t mean it feels safe and comfortable. Once again, I can only place my trust in the Lord, knowing that He cares for our kids more than even this fiercely loving mom does. And if the ice should crack, I will still put my hope in Him.