Thursday, February 2, 2012

I Am Wonderfully and Fearfully Made

Everyone has a cross that is perfectly fitted to her back. Mine is multiple c-sections. I've got Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) which means that common worries such as breaking down on D.C's Outer-Loop or over-drawing my checking account can sometimes cause me to experience panic attacks. But nothing, nothing causes the blood to freeze in my veins like surgery.

So what does our great God do, He hands me a body that can only eject my pretty, happy babies through C-sections. Multiple, multiple c-sections.

Oh, and for good measure, He throws me into an intense anti-life time in America where most secular MDs are completely freaked out by multiple child-birth, much less multiple c-sections, and casually throw out helpful comments like "don't you know the maternal death statistics for women with your c-section history?" without bothering to review my medical chart.

Those type of random, shot from the hip, comments from visiting obs who have no formal connection to my life are just guaranteed to set off all the panic buttons in my mind. And I always seem to run into these "helpful" second guessing doctors at the weakest times of my psyche.

This time (at number 5!) I was determined to be strong. Thanks to Baby Tessy's dramatic experience in the NICU, I found out how surgeons really talk when "death is one the line." The talk about my newborn's risk of death during her necessary, life-saving surgery was calm, and smooth, and intense, and sweet. Nothing like the "Girl, you are so STUPID for using your uterus again" rant that I got from the "I've got fake concern for your health" obs that I sometimes run into on the multiple c-section question.

All the same, when my OB referred me to a specialist to take an extra hard look my unborn Baby Clare's placenta, I found myself getting some butterflies. The referral talk had some scary parts to it. I got a little scared. I prayed. I asked my husband to come to the appointment with me. I tried to steel myself to experience the worse.

Instead, this amazing doctor walked into our sonogram appointment.

"I'm sorry for wasting your time today," he said right away as he shook my husband's hand and then my own. Wasting our time?

Together the three of us marveled over these beautiful images. We could see Baby Clare's big head and a dark expanse of empty space above her. The was no sign of the worrisome placenta. Instead, the doctor flipped to another image. At the very top of my uterus, as far as possible away from my c-section scar, was the placenta. It looked clean and well-divided, as firm as a line in the sand. There was no sign that it was dangerously creeping past the uterine wall into trouble inside my body.

Then this amazingly kind, competent doctor showed me my c-section scar. It didn't looked hacked up or mutilated. It didn't look like there had been four previous surgeries on that same site. It was a tiny, single line--as thin as a small crack in a robin's egg.

It was as if God knew when he kick-started my little girl's life that her placenta needed to be planted as far as possible from my c-section scar. And when He created my uterus, back when I was as small as a pin in my own Mama's womb, He'd given that organ an extra measure of His healing grace.

I'm used to cooing over God's wonderful creative powers as reflected in each of my newborn's amazing bodies. This was the first time, however, I could see firsthand His healing grace reflected in my own.


  1. Oh that is so beautiful! Thank God for sending you such a perfect doctor who has compassion and is able to calm your fears.

    Our Father is so good at sending the right doctor at the right time, isn't he? For me it happened when Anthony was born. Because Anthony decided to come several days early he was delivered by a surgeon who was attached to the hospital rather than my OB. This surgeon was so wonderful that if she was in private practice I'd totally jump ship to her practice. She gave me a hug every time she visited me in my room and made sure to coo over Anthony. Best of all, though, was that on her own initiative, she told me that she'd spent time cleaning up some of the scar tissue from my previous c-sections and then made sure to tell me that she saw no reason I couldn't have lots more babies. Lots more. After four c-sections. I could have kissed her. So now I have much less fear about number five, when that day comes that God decides to bless us again.

    Oh that picture of Clare is so beautiful! I am so happy for you.

  2. This is VERY beautiful! And so helpful to me - I'm 33 weeks pregnant and really needing to trust that God designed my body perfectly for his purposes!

  3. This is VERY beautiful! And so helpful to me - I'm 33 weeks pregnant and really needing to trust that God designed my body perfectly for his purposes!

  4. Great news, Abigail! I will be praying for you in the coming weeks. Gotta love the way God gives us these crosses so we can trust Him with those things we fear most!

  5. Thank you so much for writing this! I just found your blog. I am in the same situation with c-sections, although I have only had two so far. But, I really appreciated your understanding of anxiety. I experience it in a similar way, how it just perfectly fits my back. God bless you in your pregnancy!

  6. Awesome!! Praise God for a healthy uterus and a mama who wants to put it to good use!

    I, too, have anxiety. And it's funny about me and surgery.. I need it so often that I am ok with the thought of it, but the day of? Forget it. I lose it!

  7. Oh Abby this made me cry!!!

    And you NEED to join us in the ranks at Tepeyac. You will never be called crazy or stupid, or made to feel as if having another baby was not a good decision. Love you!!!!

    Jen (another happy 5 timer via c-sections :-)

  8. LOVE this! I had my c-section #5 a week ago today. My ob was pretty good not being an alarmist (having a huge population of orthodox Jews as patients helped with that I am sure!), but he still was cautious and told me that he would take extra time with the surgery to ensure my safety and future fertility. Instead he opened me up and found almost NO scar tissue. The entire surgery from first incision until final staple took 41 minutes (he said it was the equivalent to a 2 minute mile!). I will never forget the moment when he leaned up over the blue sheet and said, "you're good for #6 if you want!" He said it was almost like a primary section. When I had my 4th section, I remember my then-dr and the surgical team ranting about the poor condition of my uterus and generally making me feel like
    an irresponsible idiot, not to mention incompetent since my body CAN'T give birth the regular way.

    I've often felt the same way about the c-sections being my cross. Not just the surgeries but also having to defend myself constantly against people, both medical and random. GREAT post!

  9. And to that, I can only say, miracles are all around us! Praise God!

  10. Praise the Lord for wonderful doctors and for our bodies!

  11. This is a really beautiful reflection. God is so good! So glad you and baby are healthy. It comforts me to hear that its ok to have multiple sections. I just had my second and am worried I will get the shpeel at my follow up about being limited. But God has no limits!

  12. I love this post! It's so inspirational for women with their first c-section who are scared that this will limit their family size.