30 July 2009

Dear God, I'm Sorry

"The thing is," I said to Hippomanic Jen as she sat in the passenger seat of my car, both of us unready to get out because we were so deep in conversation, "the thing IS ..."

She sat and waited, listening. She's good at that.

My voice dropped to a whisper. "The thing actually is - how am I not going to resent this baby?" Tears poured down my face.

"I mean, " I hurried on, "I know the placenta previa is not the baby's fault, and it's not my fault, and it's not my husband's fault, but ... it's just been so hard.

"I guess my main gripe is with God. Of course I know all the cliches: that He's in it with me and He is keeping us safe and He thinks I'm strong enough to get through this, blah blah, blah. But really?" My voice dropped to a whisper. "Really, if I'm honest, my main question is this. Wouldn't a deity worth his salt have been on duty the night the egg implanted down low? Where was He? On a coffee break? I've read Psalm 121 - 'He who watches over you will not slumber' yeah, I get it. But seriously. He's got his work cut out for Him with the risk to the baby and to me and with me going off the deep end all the time ... if He'd just fixed the Egg Implantation Problem first up, it would be a lot less work all round, especially for Him."

Hippomanic Jen thought, considered her words and took a breath. She started to say something very wise and comforting, but didn't get a chance as my tirade continued.

"I know, I know, He's not in the business of making life cushy for Himself, He's in the business of taking us through times when we can grow and change, yada yada yada. Well, I just don't feel up to it right now. I grew and changed through the bed bugs and the tests to diagnose the high blood pressure and the burglary and the move - oh the jolly move from there to here while pregnant for heaven's sake. Now I've grown and changed enough for a few years. I'm done with it."

Poor Jen sat and thought. I'd run out of complaints, so I allowed her to speak. She did indeed have some very deep and helpful things to say, and I let her. She is the absolute best person to have beside you in a crisis.

Over the next few weeks, I learned more about the peril that Joseph and I were in. I'd been thoroughly frightened by the upsoming caesarean, the probability of bleeding, and the possibility of complications including the slight possibilty that we would lose our capacity to choose whether to have another child or not.

It was stupid. It was childish. It was just about a little girl running blindly from something frightening that she had no control over, and giving herself every freedom to fall apart as much as she needed to. Many emails were sent back and forwards to friends like Jen at 'Buried With Children', who, interestingly, eagerly anticipated and embraced her two caesareans with such joy that I just had to talk about it with her. There were many other friends who sent emails and chatted with me at length.

I needed to do that. It meant that for the final week before Joseph was born, I ceased to be upset and anxious. I actually looked forward to his birth, I even started calling it 'birth', a step I was unwilling to take earlier.

The night before Joseph was born, Mr de Elba and I went out for dinner. Nat and Anna-Lucia were at Grandma's house. We were relaxed and excited. We were ready for this very different birth.

On the morning, we woke up with the alarm clock and kissed in the darkness. We got ready and drove to the hospital, amazed at how different this situation was to Anna-Lucia's birth two years ago. Although I'd bemoaned the necessity for a planned caesarean, claiming it gave too much time to get worried, the planned nature of the thing meant the morning was relaxed, and everyone took their time. Nobody was stressed: not us, not the doctors, not the nurses, not the hospital staff.

The birth was an amazing experience - not one I'd voluntarily go through again, but one that I'd never have experienced at all but for the praevia. At the end, the obstetrician said that there was another complication with the placenta - it was inserted a funny way - and I made a mental note to follow that up and learn more.

It wasn't until just before we left for home that I asked a midwife to find out from my file what this other complication was.

It was a velamentous insertion of the placenta. I did some ressearch while I was waiting for my family to come and pick us up. I only looked at medical sites - I gave the forums and non-professional sites a miss.

What I read shocked me. The blood vessels supplying Joseph all these long months were not in a good position and in addition, they were unprotected and in danger of rupturing. As I learned, "these unprotected vessels may rupture at any time during pregnancy, causing fetal exsanguination and death."

After reading that, I looked at Joseph's little body. So pink, so warm, so alive. And so deeply, wildly LOVED.

Tears pricked my eyes, so I took a box of tissues and went into the bathroom. I cried. I cried hard. I cried long. I cried for every single day he was growing inside me and the blood vessels to my precious son didn't rupture. I cried for every single moment that God was watching over him, protecting him and growing him, 'neither slumbering nor sleeping' on His job. I cried for every time I'd questioned God's wisdom in the care He gave over this pregnancy. I cried for all the women and babies and fathers and siblings whose lives are affected by similar obstetric problems, but who live in countries and conditions where such medical care cannot be given in order to save the lives of mothers like me and babies like Joseph. I cried and I cried and I cried.

I cried as I thought back to that day a few short weeks ago as I sat in the car with Hippomanic Jen, asking "How am I not going to resent this baby?"

And as I looked once again into Joseph's tiny, perfect face, I wondered how I was not going to spoil this baby rotten.

I still don't know why these problems should occur in the first place, but given that they do, I am overwhelmed by the knowledge that God was protecting us every step of the way, whether I was raging against Him and His judgment, or not.

Dear God, I'm Sorry.


Hippomanic Jen said...

You are a very dear, sweet girl and both God and I love you very much.

Swift Jan said...

GReat post KAte xx

Femina said...

Clearly I am NOT God, but if I were I reckon I'd say something like this:

Dearest Kate, I love you so much and I am totally okay with you raging at me. That's why I gave you the Psalms - so you'd not only know it's okay to be angry but you'd have the words to express it just like the Psalmists did. I completely understood your anger and your terror and your resentment and I never loved you any less through any of it. There'll probably be other times when you're angry and confused and that's okay too. I promise I'm big enough to handle it all; and I'll still be right here when you're feeling better.

Love from your Father.

Jen said...

Oh Kate, this is such a sweet, sweet post. I am crying right along with you. It gave my goose bumps. Thank you for sharing it and I know that God knows that you meant no harm in anything you said. I know he forgives you.
Oh and I am so glad that I could help you with this. Any time, my friend. Any time.

Tracy P. said...

This is so beautiful. SO beautiful! As are you, and your sweet family.

Crazy Sister said...

What a powerful story. One day Joseph will be wrestling with God issues, and you'll say, "Let me tell you about my pregnancy with you and what God did and how I felt at the time..."

sewfunbymonique said...

What a wonderful, honest story! I forget that God is in control at all times and He never leaves us- stories like yours show us that His hand is always upon us. Thanks for sharing!!

The Accidental Housewife said...

You've got me crying too.... I had the funny feeling you and God would sort it all out ;)

Rachie-Rach said...

You know I dont comment very often, so you know that this blog post really has me in tears. You wonderful woman, I learn so many things from you. Love Rach

BGSydneyside said...

Thanks so much for your post Kate. It made me cry and was exactly what I needed to read.

Joy said...

God knows your heart and He has heard it. Joseph is a precious gift. I thought of the scripture as I read this...
Isaiah 40:9
He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.


stefanie said...

oh. wow.

~Taz~ said...

you are so brave sharing this with us.... love you heaps! and praying for you always :)

Caitlin said...

Beautiful. xxx