Peace Like A River (My Birth Story)
there is a river
its streams delight the city of God,
the holy dwelling place of the Most High.
God is within [him], [he] will not be toppled.
God will help [him] when the morning dawns.*
Pregnancy is a delicately complicated thing. In today’s society, we have access to so many resources designed to help us better control the circumstances. Apps, procedures, diets, birth control—all heavily researched to provide women with top notch predictability and precision in their motherhood journey. Yet and still, I am reminded where the real power lies. Because at the end of the day, the miracle of birth was never really in my hands, and that was made clear a little over seven months ago.
On a chilly morning in March, fighting first trimester nausea and fatigue, I woke up to a sharp pain in my lower abdomen. Trying not to think much of it, I sat up and began my morning routine. Then it hit. I rushed to the bathroom, praying I had just wet the bed, only for my greatest fear to be confirmed by a sea of red. Matt was working out in the studio when I sent him the text, “I’m bleeding”.
When he reached the bathroom and our eyes made contact, we just stared in stunned disbelief. Could this really be happening? Matt and I let our colleagues know we wouldn’t be in for work and drove for thirty minutes in silence to the doctor’s office.
often the most imperative moments for our own souls are in the uncertainty
The shock that came as more of a surprise than the blood was the sound of a heartbeat breaking through the ultrasound machine. Matt and I looked at each other in utter confusion and were instructed to wait another hour before my doctor would meet with us and explain what was going on. I had what I would soon find out to be a subchorionic hemorrhage. A condition that affects roughly 1% of pregnant women where there is essentially a blood clot on the outer lining of my uterus.
For the next few months I would be restricted to no exercise and instructed to call the doctor in the case of any more bleeding. My baby was alive, but I wouldn’t be out of the woods for almost four more months when another ultrasound finally indicated full healing of the hemorrhage.
Sometimes life is scary, plain and simple. Sometimes we find ourselves in situations that hit us like a ton of bricks and we are left trying to catch our breath. We think in these situations that the critical moments lie on the other side of the diagnosis or the answer that we are seeking. But the truth is, often the most imperative moments for our own souls are in the uncertainty.
One week ago on a cold October morning, I held River for the very first time in my arms. As much as I wish the uncertainty ended there, I know my experience was merely preparation for the daily surrender of motherhood. I am reminded that the unknown is only the enemy when control becomes our god. And if I allow myself to see the waiting as an opportunity to surrender bits of that control, there is freedom on the other side.
*Verse reference: Psalm 46:4-5