God is real, angels are real, and miracles still happen: my labor and delivery story

“For He will command His angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways.” – Psalm 91: 11.

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I want to share my labor and delivery story with you. Not to say “Wow, look how strong I am!” or “Hey, here’s a crazy story about labor.”

This story really isn’t about labor, and it’s really not about me.

Though it is crazy – I’ll give it that.

My story is really an illustration that God is real, angels are real, that God performs miracles, and that He does in fact hear and answer our prayers.

 

The day before my due date, I was deep in the throes of labor, which had been going beautifully for hours – just like my whole pregnancy. Beautiful, clean, nothing to worry about.

Then it was time to push. At this rate, said the midwife, Thomas would be born in just about five minutes. Despite the discomfort of labor, I was beside myself with excitement. Michael was there, cheering me on, I had my Office episodes rolling…this whole scene was my dream-come-true.

Then everything shattered into a million pieces, the only hope of being stitched back together were the hands of God.

The next few minutes were the worst minutes of my entire life. I’m choking up right now, remembering.

Machines started beeping. In a matter of a breath, about ten nurses surrounded my bed. They poked me, prodded, yelled orders to each other. One held my hand and never lost eye contact with me. One flipped me into different positions, moment after moment.

And I didn’t know why.

As the seconds ticked, orders grew more tense. Phrases like, “We need to get this baby out. STAT.” were suddenly being thrown around.

Confused, shocked, and in lots of pain, I looked over at Michael. Helpless as me, he gazed back into my eyes.

Then I was lifted onto another bed and before I knew what was happening we tore out of the room.

Like in the movies, we screeched down the hallway, literally taking turns on two wheels while yelling for people to get out of our way. Nurses on all sides of me were yelling “Get a doctor! Get a doctor! We only have a few minutes!”

Tears pooled in my eyes.

“Is my baby okay?” I choked out to no one in particular, wincing with contractions.

“We’re doing everything we can,” said the midwife, not daring to tear her gaze away from the path she was blazing.

I closed my eyes and let the tears roll down my cheeks as the chaos continued around me. So much noise, so much everything, but in my head it was just me and baby and Michael in some kind of surreal nightmare.

My baby. What’s wrong with my baby?

Where is my baby?

What’s happening?

Is my baby okay?

Will my baby be okay?

Is he…alive?

More tears. More yelling.

My baby. My baby.

My baby, I prayed. Jesus. My baby.

Someone poked my leg. “Can you feel this?”

We were in a room with bright lights now.

Nurses were still yelling. “Are we ready to cut?” someone yelled.

“No!” My tears flowed more. “I feel you. I feel you.”

A man took my face in his hands. “I’m going to take care of you,” he said, a mask covering his mouth.

 

The next part of my story takes place while I was under, proving absolutely true the verse “The LORD will fight for you, you need only to be still (Exodus 14:14).”

During our flight to the OR, the on-call doctor had apparently still been ten minutes away.

But we hadn’t had ten minutes.

Enter miracle number one.

Another doctor – apparently one of the most highly-respected doctors in the entire hospital – happened to get to work early that day and literally ran into our brigade on accident while strolling the halls, reading emails on her phone.

She was the one who got my baby out in a matter of minutes and saved his life.

What had happened, I found out later, was that my baby’s heart rate had dropped dangerously low in a matter of seconds, and it had continued to drop at an exponential rate.

What we didn’t know – couldn’t have known – at the time, was that my body simply doesn’t like labor. Over the course of just a few hours, I had developed blood clots in response to the stress of labor, and possibly shot one of them to the placenta, blocking my baby’s air. The other theory is that my body was so stressed by labor that it flat-out stopped sustaining him the way it was supposed to.

Either way, as soon as the doctor got Thomas out and saved his life, he’s been the most beautiful, healthy, strong, perfect baby in the world.

He’s strong.

But mostly, God is strong for him.

 

After they got Thomas out, next came about three hours of reconstructive surgery to my uterus. Since they did the emergency c-section when I was already nearly finished with labor, my uterus was so stretched out and tired that it was shattered by the incision.

The LORD had fought for Thomas. This is where the LORD also fought for me.

I had also been ravaged by a terrible sinus infection only two days before labor, and when they put me under and laid me flat for so long, mucous had gotten into my lungs. When they tried to remove the ventilator I was on, my airways closed, and they had to work to get me to breathe again.

This was miracle number two.

If the ventilator had successfully come out, I would have never been transferred to the ICU.

I needed to be in the ICU.

Because only hours later, I hemorrhaged. Badly.

I lost a dangerous amount of blood.

Had I been anywhere other than the critical care of the ICU staff, I don’t know what would have happened.

But God knew.

And He took care of it.

This was in the middle of the night.

Enter miracle three.

A family friend was woken up at this time, miles away, and heard the LORD tell her to pray for my uterus – that I would get to keep it. That I would have the choice to bear more children.

And so she prayed.

Another family friend who’d had contact with my mom was already awake and praying for me, and while she prayed she received a vision of angels filling my room in the ICU. She saw them calmly doing their jobs – guiding the doctor’s hands, stopping the bleeding, protecting me.

Then, just a week ago, two weeks after this all happened, a woman who had prayed for me but who I’ve never even met before called us to tell us she’d gotten a word that the angel in charge of me that night was a very important, commanding angel – a Commander of God’s angel armies.

None of these people had talked to each other, just talked to God.

My favorite verse has always been “For He will command His angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways.” – Psalm 91: 11. I have prayed this verse over myself and my family daily for years.

And God heard. Every prayer I ever uttered, He heard. And He answered.

 

The bleeding was still dangerously thick when the doctor came to Michael. “We have one more thing we can try,” he explained. “But if it doesn’t work, we’ll have to do an emergency hysterectomy.”

Michael didn’t bat an eye. “She wants to be here for this baby hands-down. If you need to take it, she’d tell you to take it in a heartbeat.”

The doctor left, and Michael prayed that if God wanted to grow our family in other ways, that He’d take my uterus and give us peace.

God did give us peace. But He did not take my uterus.

He saved my uterus.

God not only called His people to pray for me, but He had heard their prayers.

Enter miracle four.

The surgeon who’d come to Michael, who’d worked on me for hours – who’d fought gallantly and WON the battle to save my childbearing uterus – was the most skilled surgeon in the entire practice, nurses informed us later.

We couldn’t have planned our rescue any better.

The last-ditch effort worked beautifully.

The bleeding stopped; my uterus was saved; my body can bear more children.

Praise the LORD. Praise the LORD. Praise the LORD.

Enter miracle five.

The ICU nurse who was taking care of me used to be a labor and delivery nurse.

“Does she want to breastfeed?” she asked Michael. (I was out of it for about 36 hours. Michael made all decisions for me. He is amazing.)

“Yes. Very much so,” Michael responded.

“Get that baby in here and put him on her chest ASAP.” the nurse commanded.

And they did.

I will not share the picture of the time I met my son here, because it’s sacred and personal, but man. It is the most beautiful picture of two children of God rescued in full – one battered and bruised pretty bad, but not dismayed. One young and perfect and safe and sound. Both victorious.

My first memory after coming-to was this same brilliant nurse wheeling my baby in to see me again.

“We have a visitor!” she sang cheerfully.

I was fully aware that I was in tons of pain and had tubes coming out my nose and throat, rendering me unable to talk, but I also had no idea what had happened.

Then I saw my boy and cried through my tube-filled smile. He was so healthy, so perfect. I didn’t care about anything else.

“Skin-to-skin,” I wrote down.

“Don’t be discouraged if he doesn’t nurse, honey. We just fed him,” said the nurse.

I didn’t care.

They placed him on my chest and instantly he nuzzled into me, his mama, not caring one iota about the tubes or my lack of voice, and latched onto my breast. We both melted.

I cried.

The nurses cried.

And my baby and I have had the most special, amazing nursing experience together ever since. Despite all the trauma we both went through – our bodies and hearts knew what to do. Nursing him at midnight is still one of my favorite times with my boy.

Enter miracle six.

A mere two days later, I was off the ventilator. Apparently, most people don’t get off a ventilator for two weeks – I only took two days.

This was not my strength – this was God’s mercy.

Then we were moved into a family unit room with our precious boy.

My vitals continued to improve miraculously.

Doctors and nurses visited our room, one after the other. “I just wanted to meet you,” each one would say. “I’ve heard your story. You’ve literally been through hell and back…and you’re doing so well. It’s incredible.”

With Thomas in my arms, I would just smile. “It was awful. But…we’re good.”

Only four days after being off the ventilator, I was well enough to go home.

The surgeon visited me before we left. “I want you to know, you have nothing to be afraid of,” he said. “If you want more kids, you can have ‘em. This fiasco will never happen again. Your uterus is recovering as from a normal c-section at this point, and next go-round, we’ll do a scheduled one. It will all be fine.”

Then he smiled. “Go live your life.”

Michael and I left the hospital, buckled our baby into the car, and stared at each other with tears in our eyes.

We’d been in a battle of epic proportions.

And God had won it handily for us.

“Let’s go home, little buddy,” Michael said, kissing Thomas on the head. “Let’s go home.”

 

Enter miracle seven.

I was supposed to be anemic for two months after my hemorrhage.

A mere two weeks later, at my blood count check, I was informed by my very surprised doctor that I already had the blood count of a healthy female who hadn’t even gone through a normal labor.

Not only was I no longer anemic, but my vitals were stronger than ever.

Then, at Thomas’s first pediatrician appointment, his doctor scanned our hospital file and then stared at us. “Wow.”

We nodded. “We like to do things with a bang.” (Ha.)

He shook his head. “You are rock stars. Not only that – but this is one of the most beautiful, healthy newborns I’ve ever seen.”

We smiled.

Praise the LORD. Praise the LORD.

Praise the LORD!

 

I know I’ll be processing these events for a while, but I also have a very contented peace. YES – there are times I still break down and cry, remembering the trauma and heartache. I still get angry that it happened this way.

But, enter miracle eight, there are MORE times that I smile at my baby while holding him, that I complain like all new parents about lack of sleep, that I sing baby lullabies at night, that we go on family walks.

We are healthy. We are here.

We are not afraid.

We have the choice to bear more children. Like the doctor said, this will never happen again.

But mostly, if God can fight for me so powerfully while I am at the weakest I’ve ever been, barely hanging on, how will He not also continue to be faithful in the future?

If God is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:31).

I’ve learned firsthand that prayers are powerful. That angels are real. That God has not stopped performing miracles in our modern day.

And I know that I know that I know in my deepest of hearts that God is the realest reality there is.

Be still.

He will most assuredly fight for you, Beloved.

I’ve seen it firsthand. It’s my story.

I pray His mercies and faithfulness over you, too.

Abundant blessings and healthy, safe, labors and deliveries to you,

Robyn

 

Robyn

the nursery’s ready, so all that’s left is to do is…freak out

It hit me when Michael and I were at Ikea buying furniture for baby boy’s nursery. Picking out a bookshelf to hold all his baby books? Awesome. Picking out his diaper caddy? Yay! Picking out drawers to hold his pacis? Adorable!

Then we got to the bathroom section.

I literally stopped short in the middle of the toothbrush holders and nearly peed my pants which, let’s be real – isn’t that abnormal these days. The urge to pee, I mean.

Anyway, I stopped short.

Michael looked at me. “Hm?” He asked, eyeing me with concern. He was probably also afraid I might pee.

“It’s just…” my voice got quiet. I stared at the little plastic bathroom caddy I was holding. “He’s…he’s going to have his own…toiletries. And stuff.”

Michael blinked.

I raised my eyebrows and shook my head. “I mean…our kid will have his own toothbrush. And his own shampoo. And his own life. And…he’s like, he’s a real person!

He laughed. “What’d you think we were having? A cat?”

I laughed, we moved on, and I didn’t pee my pants, but I haven’t been able to stop thinking about the fact that my baby is his own person. Really though, he’s God’s person.

The point is, he’s mine – yes, such a gift – but mostly he’s God’s.

And so I have no control over basically anything. Like his personality, his likes or dislikes, his taste in food, his taste in music, his taste or disdain for *gasp!* books

Y’all. What is this new member of mine and Michael’s little family going to be like?

And then…even scarier… cue the urge to pee again…HOW AM I A MOM?

The fear inside yells, I can’t be a mom!!! I’m just Robyn! I still sleep with a stuffed animal at night and I still hate grapes and I’m still working on my temper PLUS I’m already a writer and a teacher and a tutor and a sister and a daughter and a wife and a friend…and so now, I add mom to the list?!

It all just feels really big.

Really big.

Like I’m five years old again, playing dress up but my feet don’t fill my mom’s high-heeled shoes – and I try them out anyway to see if they work.

I suppose this just reminds me why it’s so important that my true identity is Jesus. I’m His. I love all those other roles I get to be a part of this side of heaven, too, but I suppose even when I have little baby resting in my lap I’ll still be…Robyn. God’s Robyn. That won’t change.

Sleeping with a stuffed animal probably won’t change either.

I don’t think God will mind.

But change is scary, I think.

Which is probably why, when my freshman roommate and I were left alone for the first time after our parents dropped us off at UGA, we looked at each other like, what do we do now? and then just sat on the floor of our dorm room and ate an entire bag of dove chocolates in one sitting.

While I was telling God how afraid I am of this upcoming ginormous change (even though it’s the best change I can imagine after getting married to Michael), I felt like He was chuckling.

And He probably was. Because for some reason the fact that I’m afraid was shocking to me. 

But I suppose God knows me better than that. I don’t think I shock Him.

I was there in the moments you were joyfully excited, I felt Him whisper. I was there when I chose him for you and Michael. I’m there with him now. And I’ll be there every step of the way for you. That is the one thing, Beloved, that will never ever change. I have always loved you. No change in your life will ever surprise Me. I’m your True North – your Constant in every change.

It’s calming to think that right now, He’s there alongside me while I watch videos about breathing through labor and how to clean a pacifier, He’s there while I try on nursing clothes, and He’s there when I wake up from the dream where I accidentally feed my baby saltines rather than breastfeed him and the doctors yell at me.

When our identity as God’s children is simply and profoundly Loved By God, change will never shake us. Because then, I supppose…what’s there to shake?

So, here it goes: bring on the change!

And maybe definitely absolutely a bag of dove chocolates.

 

Blessings to you,

 

Robyn

p.s. – feel free to pray for my labor, and that everyone involved will keep saltines far away from me 😉

tell me i look amazing, feed me a block of cheese, and show me to the bathroom: confessions of a pregnant lady

The florist smiled at me as I waited for her to finish trimming the bouquet I’d selected.

“Are you having a boy?” she asked.

I beamed. “I am! We’re so excited.” I cocked my head. “How did you know it’s a boy?”

The florist raised her eyebrows. “Well, moms pregnant with boys tend to look…tired and drained. Moms pregnant with girls look bright and energized.” Her facial expression was that of someone who just told me she ate the last of my ice cream and wasn’t that sorry about it.

I wish I could have seen my own expression at that moment.

 

There are lots of emojis I could pick to accurately describe my reaction, but Word won’t let me use emoijis. Alas.

I did laugh, however. Because what do you say to that? “Oh wow, you look tired and drained, too!”

No clue.

I’m chuckling as I write, because people are funny. And I’m assuming she didn’t mean it to come out that way.

Right?

Right.

Totally 😉

But for real, I am thankful and awestruck to be pregnant. Our journey wasn’t the easiest to get here, and I truly experience each day of pregnancy as an incredible gift.

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photo by Joseph Wood

And yet, no matter my overall attitude, pregnancy has also been a tidal wave full of awkward moments and emotions.

 

There are a few things I’d like to laugh about:

 

1. The lady behind the counter at Staples told me an epidural will ruin my life. However, I am not deterred. Give it to me.

 

2. Sometimes…I get stuck in the cushions of our couch. Like a wobble-weeble, if you will. I am okay with this! Because when else can I experience a day in the life of a Tellytubby? Hashtag blessed.

 

3. Our bed is tall. These days Michael hoists me into it, like we’re cheerleaders and he’s the base and I’m the fly. Unless of course I choose to instead grab the mattress and roll myself onto it with an adorable grunt like…yes, a Tellytubby. A Tellytubby who grunts.

 

4. The last time Michael went to the grocery by himself to do our weekly grocery shopping, the cashier asked him if he was stocking up for the whole month. “No,” he said. “Just for the week.” Apparently this confused her. “Wow. How many kids do you have?” she asked. “Uh…my wife is pregnant…” was his response. (P.S. – that haul lasted me five days.) Hashtag YOLO.

 

5. Everyone knows your belly gets bigger when you’re pregnant. But why doesn’t anyone warn you about your butt? Asking for a friend.

 

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Michael holding his own “bump,” naturally

6. I was awake for two hours last night because for some reason it hit me at 4 a.m. that I will be going through labor in a few short months. HOW DO YOU DO LABOR? Also asking for a friend. I’ve heard you can’t eat during it. I should probably sign up for a birthing class. I will add that to the list of things I keep forgetting to do…

 

7. I have lost the capacity to remember anything.

 

8. I have also lost the capacity to eat without burping. Hashtag sorry not sorry.

 

9. All I really want is for you to tell me I look amazing, feed me a block of cheese, and direct me to the nearest bathroom.

 

10. And, last but not least, these have been some of the sweetest months of my life. I love the way God has slowly been introducing me and Michael to our baby boy through sweet times of prayer and little baby kicks. I love nesting. I love talking to my baby. I love that he kicks when I’m falling asleep. I love that God hand-picked him for us, and us for him. I love that his nursery is blue. I love his heartbeat. I love my big belly. I love the way strangers go out of their way to hold the door for me. I love that baby is totally in God’s hands and not my own. I love that Michael is the daddy. I love that we have no clue how to be parents. I love that we’re learning it together. I love this gift of life in my womb.

 

So, ladies. Let’s laugh with the “florists” we come across, because we know the very breath we are breathing is the most wonderful gift.

And maybe…just maybe…when your “florist” gets home from work…someone will have eaten all her ice cream.

KIDDING.

Mostly 😉

 

Blessings to you,

 

Robyn

when being “happy” isn’t as hard as we think

Recently I’ve been reading a book called “Lord, I Just Want to Be Happy” by Leslie Vernick.

YES, it sounds totally weird and self-helpy. But it’s great – it could be better classified as Jesus Awareness and titled “Practical Ways to Actually Live Like the Gospel is Reality.”

It’s great. I recommend it.

Vernick talks about negative thought patterns, identifying the ones to which we particularly fall victim, and then goes to scripture and gives doable strategies for claiming the thoughts and actions Jesus came that we might claim in abundance.

Wa-bam. It’s awesome.

 

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Anyway, last week, I babysat for a family.

When I got to their home and walked in the door, I was going over the list in my head of things I need to get done before my own baby comes.

Finish book revisions, send requested material, paint nursery, fill nursery, read a book or ten about how on earth to take care of a baby, organize that bane-of-my-existence junk drawer in the living room, learn how to apply fake eyelashes (I don’t know. I just want to!), figure out how to schedule writing time with a baby, tour the hospital, sign up for a birthing class, try not to freak out about labor on a daily basis…all the things.

All the things!

After babysitting and reading books with the little nugget for a very enjoyable hour and a half (that’s all he wanted to do! Really!), he went down for his nap and I took out Vernick’s book to read.

Here’s what I read:

“Why has our doing overwhelmed our being?” ( Vernick p. 45)

Oh.

I don’t know.

“We live in a world that defines a person’s value and worth by his or her productivity and efficiency. How much we get done and how well we can do it are benchmarks of a good day…[but] God defines personhood and success very differently than our culture does.

From Christ’s perspective, success isn’t measured by how much we do, how much we earn, or how much we have, but by how well we love and by what kind of a person we’re becoming in the midst of life’s activities.” (Vernick, p. 46).

 

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I read these words and instantly thought about my own to-do list which, up until this moment, I hadn’t realized was being played on repeat in my head. I honestly didn’t even realize my mental to-do list existed – I was so used to waking up to it and going to sleep with it and working for it throughout the day.

So then I wondered, Does God really need me to do all these things right now?

I mean, my list is full of good things, but does He care more about me enjoying Him and just being rather than doing?

Suddenly I felt like I’d gotten rescued from a hamster wheel.

And it’s not that I won’t do all the things on my to-do list eventually, because I will. They’re important. (Well, most of them are. But I maintain the need to learn false eyelash application is important, too. Because makeup.)

It’s just that suddenly, there’s no imaginary person named Pressure standing over my shoulder and checking the things off my list, giving me a gold star for each one.

Vernick challenges us to allow ourselves to be silent before God for a time – not reading, not watching TV, not even studying the Bible, just being with God and listening.

So I tried it while the nugget was sleeping.

And suddenly, I saw the whole room differently.

Wait.

Let me rephrase that.

I saw the room.

The room I’m sure the mom wishes she could have cleaned perfectly all of a sudden showed signs of life. Of being. Of little ones growing and being, too.

Here’s a little bit of what I had the eyes to see when I got off my own hamster wheel:

 

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I would encourage you to take just 5 or 10 minutes to be silent before Jesus. It’s amazing what you’ll see, what you’ll hear, and how refreshed you’ll feel coming away from just being in His presence…just being with Him.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to Target. 

To buy some fake eyelashes.

 

Blessings to you,

Robyn 

Identity: You Are More Than a Writer

Guest post by Michelle Vandepol

 

I heard a keynote at a recent online conference I really appreciated. This author, who had reached the goals many of us are currently setting for ourselves, was saying that he now enjoys his writing more than ever precisely because he hasn’t made it the sum of who he is. This wasn’t always the case. He had to be intentional about expanding the other aspects of his life so he wasn’t talking, breathing, and living only in pursuit of his writing. This is especially important in the digital age when building a writing platform takes time and can quickly overshadow things that are actually of more importance. Not to worry.

 

Here are 5 easy ways to move forward on your goals while not losing yourself in your ambitions.

 

1.     Keep a sense of humour about the climb

Between aiming for growth on word counts, book sales, and social media followers; hyper attention or discouragement are both risks. Adopting self-deprecating humour and knowing that it will happen when it is meant to keeps the writer productive as well as happy. If our identities are not all wrapped up in whether a review is stellar or less so, whether a book takes off or needs a follow up to draw attention to it, or whether someone follows or unfollows us; pursuing the writing life is enjoyable. Humour lets us step back and gain perspective. Check out the hashtag #writerhumor or others like it to indulge.

2.     Think about the expanse of a lifetime and beyond

When the day feels like a write-off  because the words are not coming quickly or if they’re arriving, but you don’t feel like they’re ones you can rave about, know that there are still days ahead in which to polish and have flurries of writing happen. There is an oft quoted adage about examining whether something will matter in a week, a month, a year, or ten. The farther we go out (I recommend thinking lifetime and beyond) the more we realize that it is our small attempts pieced together for bigger use, our relationship building, and keeping our eyes on the real prize that builds something of legacy and purpose.

3.     Nurture hobbies and interests outside of writing

Other interests can complement your writing life (think book reviewing, bookstagramming, journal art, or a side craft business that builds on your bookishness), but it can also be something completely unrelated like a sport, nature, spiritual practice, your day job, or volunteer work. All of the pieces together make you a more interesting multi-dimensional human and in turn lessen the stakes of any one thing in your writing life. This, ironically enough, is what allows the emotional angst that prevents productive writing sessions to fall away and get replaced by something much healthier and much more enjoyable.

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photo by ashley mckinney

4.     Bond with your writer friends about more than who they are as writers

We may meet our writing friends primarily because of our shared interest, but if the friend chemistry is there, it will still be there when we are focusing not only on writing. It is a heart affirming thing to learn more about your writing friends, celebrate similarities and differences, and move forward with intention to be a part of lives beyond word count and market recommendations.

5.     Spend some time appreciating who you were created to be

It takes courage to out ourselves as writers so it makes sense that sometimes our writer identities take on lives of their own. To only celebrate one aspect of oneself though, is to limit greater joy. There are many ways to fill your bucket and thinking about what you’re good at, enjoy doing, want to learn, and would like to make more time for is a good place to start. You were created for more than one purpose. Live like it.

 

 Michelle Vandepol is a writer, editor, and bookish Canadian who loves connecting with other readers and writers on instagram at @michellevandepol. For more articles on the writing life, visit her website www.michellevandepol.com

So we do not lose heart…

“So we do not lose heart…” 2 Corinthians 16.

 

I didn’t know how to weep – I didn’t know what weeping meant.

Not until my (mercifully short) season of infertility.

I quickly learned.

The carpet floors of our sweet townhome have known well the salt of my tears, my cries of ache, anguish, and fear, and my whispered prayers of mustard-seed hope.

I’ve learned what it is to simply get out of bed because I can do all things through Jesus, Who surely carries me through.

I’ve learned what it is to full-out wail for a child not yet.

I’ve stopped judging Sarah from the Bible for throwing her husband at another woman just to get a baby. Infertility is an ache like no other.

And yet…there’s this: Infertility also leaves space for a holiness, a sacred intimacy with Jesus like no other.

I have experienced the love the Father has for His daughters…the special nearness He gives to his daughters who ache.

I want to share my story here, not to give anyone an “answer.” Not to say “If you do ___, then ___ will happen.” That’s not at all what I’m saying. I don’t think God works that way, as frustrating as that is at times.

But I do want to share what God has done for me and for my family.

I want to point us to Perfect Love who heals, Who works miracles, Who does more than we can imagine.

I am here to share my story. Glory be to God.

“I am my Beloved’s and He is mine, His banner over me is Love.” This is the song I played to and from every doctor appointment, beginning with the one when Michael and I heard my doctor sigh and say, “Robyn, you have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. It’s a disease. It can be managed, but it cannot be cured. Your hormones – even for this disease – are very uneven. They make it so that your body doesn’t do what it’s supposed to. This makes it…very tricky to conceive.”

Michael held my hand on the way home from that appointment. It was a bright, sunny day. A beautiful work day, cars whizzing by, people going to lunch.

And I felt so alone.

No one knew.

No one knew what I was going through.

It was too personal. Too raw to write about.

Too raw for anyone but Jesus.

You know those trials we face that are so tender to the heart that if you tell even one person who speaks a careless word in response, you might just break?

Those trials where if ONE MORE PERSON gives you a contrite Christian saying, trying their best to make an uncomfortable situation feel better, you might (not so)accidentally punch them in the face?

This was one of those.

In her book “Every Bitter Thing is Sweet,” Sarah Hagerty writes, “While mothers cradled their babies at night, I cradled my barren womb.”

Oh, the pain. The pain.

I can’t describe it.

But in the dark, in the pit, in the nausea from medication trials, in the endless, quiet appointments, in the aching emptiness of my womb, in the heart-stabbing dig that was every baby shower invitation, Jesus was not only there, but He whispered a different tune.

Hear me, Beloved. I am bigger than doctors. I am bigger than your body. I am bigger than disease. I AM.

all bundles by Erica Zoller

photo by ashley mckinney

Michael came to me one day, strolling in the warmth of summer. “I get the feeling we’ll have a baby in 2018. I even…” he paused. “I think we’ll be pregnant before this year is over.”

I narrowed my eyes. I’m the one with all the “feelings.” He’s the one with very mature, rational thoughts.

“Why?” I asked. “Why do you think that?”

He gave a small smile, raised his eyebrows, and shook his head. “I don’t know. I just…I just do.”

“Do you think…should we, like, pray for that?”

Oh, gosh. I can’t pray for something that may or may not happen. I can’t open myself up to disappointment. Shouldn’t I only pray for God’s will? Because then I can’t ever be disappointed…

(I TOLD you. I had mustard-seed faith. Not the big, giant kind of faith. I had the little, scaredy-cat kind that wanted to pray “correct, A+” prayers.)

Michael nodded. “Heck yes we should pray!” (I love my husband.)

And so we did.

At first it was hard to pray. I didn’t want to ask anything of God that He might not want to do.

But then, as the days turned into weeks and the weeks into months and as the tears fell one by one into His hands, the praying got easier.

Because I knew Him more.

I loved Him more. Trusted Him more.

And yet, by the fall, my body still didn’t do what it was supposed to do. The medicine still hurt; my body still didn’t “work.”

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photo by ashley mckinney

I yelled at God. “Why me? Why? What have I done?”

God simply held me. Rocked me. Comforted me.

And by the grace of Jesus Christ who strengthens me, I forged ahead, continuing a trial of different medicines.

Fall leaves drifted to the ground, and Michael and I fell to our knees, eyes on the calendar.

We prayed fervently for our baby. Every night. In the hushed quiet of longing, we held hands and prayed.

Snow fell and winter rolled in.

And suddenly, gently, I felt strange.

Peaceful.

And…weird.

Hope against hope, praying silently “Can it be, Lord?” I drove to the doctor and took a blood test.

A few hours later, back at home, I got the call.

The smile in the nurse’s voice was unmistakable.

The miracle had happened.

I was with child.

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photo by emily youngo

 

I fell to the ground and cried. I couldn’t believe it.

What happened next, I couldn’t tell you. I don’t remember.

As I pen this now, fatigued with pregnancy hormones, full of baby in womb, I am still teary-eyed and at a loss for words.

“Wow…look at what your hormone levels were,” another doctor said, looking back over my file. She handed me the ultrasound of my baby, heart beating loud and strong and full of miracle in my womb. “How did you…?”

“Yeah,” I said, looking at Michael, shaking my head. “I know. It’s…it’s a miracle.”

Beloved Sister, this is my story. It will not look like yours, and yours will not look like mine. But something is the same in all our stories.

God hears. God heals. God is able. God provides. God does miracles.

Sister, I don’t know what your miracle will look like.

I don’t know. I wish I did. I wish I could comfort you and balm your ache and tell you it’s going to be all right, but only Jesus can do that.

Beloved, pray for what’s in your heart. Don’t ever stop. Don’t be afraid of disappointment. Let the salt of your tears be the fragrance of your prayer and rest assured each tear is held close to His heart in the quiet.

My prayer for you, Mother-to-Be:

I pray that the God of miracles Himself would bless you with abundantly more than all we can ask or imagine. I pray for healthy, strong, beautiful babies filling your wombs and homes. I pray for safe pregnancies and for anointed adoptions. I pray for healed bodies and for blessed marriages. I pray that you would soon receive the desires of your heart. I pray that you might know intimately the God who loves you, the God who heals, the God who is so, so pleased with you. May you know fruitfulness in every area of your life. May your family and your children and your children’s children be a lineage who rock the generations with His love. May you be a beautiful story of His faithfulness. May you quickly and safely have in your arms the perfect baby God has for you. May you know intimately His love.

 

In Him,

Robyn

 

P.S. – If you or a loved one are diagnosed with PCOS, it would be my privilege to share any information I have with you, and to pray for you. My email is rfieldwriting (at) gmail.com.

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photo by emily youngo

Ten Things I’m *Loving* Lately

It’s time for another Ten Things Tuesday

 

Here are ten things I’ve been *loving* lately (starting, of course, with the all-important coffee category):

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photo by Elah Tree

  • Nestle Coffeemate Chocolate Toffee Truffle Creamer – Do I really need to elaborate more than this name implies? I think not.
coffee

image via coffee-mate

  • Dunkin Donuts Caramel Coffee Cake Ground Coffee – All I’m going to say here is, “You’re welcome.” Plus, this coffee doesn’t have any sugar in it! Just delicious flavor. Also, side note: I get the impression it’s seasonal (as if we needed another reason to love fall), so get it before December!
ground coffee

image via walmart

  • Fall decorations via the Target dollar section – Tucker ate our last fall centerpiece which was a plastic pumpkin. I didn’t know cats liked to eat plastic but…I mean, I can’t really explain Tucker. Anywho, I bought a very cute ceramic pumpkin centerpiece from Target for just $5. Pretty sure Tucker can’t chomp into ceramic. Although…I wouldn’t put it past him. I’ll keep you updated.

 

  • Going on walks just for fun – And I mean the kind of walk that isn’t for exercise. Don’t get me wrong – I love a good run. But separate from running, I’ve really enjoyed taking work breaks by stepping outside for a minute or two, putting in a podcast, and enjoying the fall air (while killing it on my fitbit…because, let’s be real, why walk at all if your fitbit doesn’t give you virtual fireworks at the end of the day?
spring landscape

image via SheWorksHisWay

  • Taking my iPad to the gym – Okay, okay. I know. This one is so millennial of me. But it really does make the elliptical/bike/treadmill much more entertaining! And now that Netflix lets you download certain shows onto your device, you don’t need wifi to watch while you’re at the gym! Just download an episode or two while you’re at home (may I suggest Parks and Rec?), and then watch it at the gym!

 

  • The Glorious in the Mundane podcast with Christy Nockels – I didn’t know her speaking voice could be just as soothing as her singing voice, but it totally is. This is a podcast I love to listen to when I’m doing mundane chores like dishes or laundry. She uploads about one podcast a month, and each one is full of encouragement, entertaining small talk, and feel-good deep talks.
  • On that note…Be Held, a lullaby album by Christy Nockels – Pretty sure this came out less than a week ago. It’s an album full of lullabies, and one of the songs, Pitter Patter Goes the Rain, features her children and husband singing, playing the ukulele, and drumming. It’s adorable and refreshing.
  • “Surprised by Joy” by C.S. Lewis – Now, to be totally honest, I haven’t yet finished this book. But here’s the truth 100 pages in: it’s fascinating. This book is basically Lewis’s autobiography of his childhood/early adult life, and it’s been quite an interesting read. Disclaimer: it’s not for kids. Lewis, a strong believer himself, is pretty frank about certain things that young eyes don’t need to read.

 

  • Lularoe Butter Leggings – They are what they sound like. Leggings that glide over your legs like butter. You will never wear real pants again. Never! Just kidding. Sort of. You should probably wear real pants. BUT when you are in the mood for leggings, look for a retailer on Facebook who sells lularoe, or find a friend who sells it (yes, I know. It’s one of those, but it’s a great product). They’re $25 each. I have three pairs. I would have more, but Michael keeps mentioning this bizarre concept to me called “a budget.”

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  • Homemade Sweet Potato Fries – Y’ALL. They’re so good. Like, this one time, Michael and I just made a boat-load of these fries and ate them (plus some cookies) for dinner. Literally all you have to do is cut up your sweet potato into little fry-looking strips (warning: cutting through a raw sweet potato is like cutting through brick. But it’s totes worth it!), toss them in olive oil, spread them on a cookie sheet, salt and pepper them, then bake them at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes or until they’re crispy to your liking.

 

Enjoy, and Happy Fall, lovely friends!

 

Blessings,

 

Robyn