Lessons From a Hospital Bed I: Experiencing Peace

I have a rare and dangerous pregnancy complication with our fourth child. In a nutshell, our healthy little girl cannot survive even early labor. To ensure that I do not go into labor, my doctors scheduled a preterm c section and recommended I be monitored in the hospital for a full month before delivery. After birth, our daughter will live in the NICU up to two months. If you do not want details, skip the next paragraph.

Details: In vasa previa type 2, the placenta divides into two lobes connected by a vein. The vein is situated between the exit and the baby’s head; her blood flows through it. So, if I go into labor, the vein would quickly rupture and she would bleed to death in my womb within 5 minutes. Therefore, the doctors are taking her out at 32 weeks gestation and have given me steroid shots to hurry her development. When she is born, she may be able to breathe on her own but wont eat or keep herself warm. She should reach her full potential in the long run despite being premature.

When I first heard this news, I was determined to be strong, but throughout the week I wept sporadically and could not focus on anything. Two weeks later, my husband and I went to five hours-worth of doctors appointments with three different doctors and a NICU tour. If you had told me that morning,  “You will cry in bed tonight.” I would have said, “Well of course I will. I will be terrified!”

I did cry in bed that night, but not for the reasons I expected.

Yes, I was emotionally drained. No, I was not sure that everything would be okay. But I did not cry because I was afraid or sad. People were praying for me. And I cannot describe it any other way but that I felt their prayers. That night, I laid down on my pillow so swollen with hope and gratitude that it welled up out of my eyes. I was so full of peace that it tingled. The feeling was inexplicable and not a result of reasoning and nearly overwhelming. It was, I’m convinced, the “peace that transcends understanding.” I thought I might burst with peace.

Laying there, I knew that the road would be hard and that God would give me the grace to deal with each trial as it came: preparing my three kids hearts for my absence, spending a month away from them in the hospital, watching my baby grow and possibly struggle in the NICU, and bringing home a preemie. Then I thought, wow, I know that more people are praying for my daughter than are praying for me and I know that of those who are praying for me, they are praying for my daughter more. If God so completely answered their prayers for my peace, how much more ready is he to answer prayers for her health?

Starting then, I was not afraid. God had provided six miracles and counting already. I could see and feel his hand. I do not mean that I was certain that everything would be okay. I still might not see the outcome I desire, but I was certain that no matter what happens, He is able, He is sovereign, and He is good. He will not forget me. He will not overlook her. And regardless of the outcome, I am confident that He is in control.

I do not feel strong. I feel very weak. But I feel very supported by a very strong God and by the people he sent to encourage me through this season. I know this road will be long and difficult with lots of opportunities for anxiety, but I must hold my thoughts captive (1 Corinthians 10:5), trusting him. When I feel discouraged and don’t feel like lifting my own head, I can ask God to lift my head for me. And I can ask others to pray for me that my head would be lifted. In the most vulnerable scary circumstances I have ever faced, God has given me peace and hope. I can see already that He is refining me through this process.

I am so satisfied.



Lessons from the Hospital Bed II: Gratitude

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Heather is a joy-filled, Bible-believing, justice-seeker bent on the restoration of hearts. She and her husband Chris currently live in northern California with their four children. Heather writes about discipleship and living justly for readers' ennobling, emboldening and enjoyment. Read more about Heather by selecting her ABOUT tab.

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