“For He will command His angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways.” – Psalm 91: 11.
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?
Is my baby okay?
Will my baby be okay?
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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,