Weight: Part 2 of 4--Provision

"Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory . . . . " --2 Corinthians 4:16-17


My blood.

It was everywhere . . . . on the floor, on the walls, on the dog's bed, on my clothes, on my legs, on my feet, filling up the toilet.

My brain was shooting shock waves of alarm into my limbs, and I was trembling all over. When I had started bleeding the day before, I knew it might come to this. Brandon was already moving when I said, "It's time to go!"

Only four days out of the hospital since we left with our new bundle of joy, and I was going back just in time to celebrate the beginning of her second week of life.

For those of you who don't know, bleeding after childbirth is natural. It's the pouring, gushing, passing of super-sized blood clots that make an audible whooshing sound loud enough for my husband to hear that isn't natural. This is what I was experiencing.

I barked orders to Brandon, telling him what to do, who to call, what to say. I had to think of something . . . anything . . . but the bright red splatter. When there was nothing left to say to Brandon, I made single word panicked pleas to Jesus, asking Him to help me keep it together and be with me no matter what horrors awaited me at the hospital that day.

You see, I may have just had my second child and experienced the worst pain I had ever felt in my life, but the fact remains that I am (always have been and always will be) the biggest chicken who ever lived on this earth. I hate needles. I hate blood. I hate pain. The very snap of a latex glove against a doctor's wrist sends shivers up and down my spine. I didn't know for sure what was wrong with me, and the internet is a scary place to seek medical advice. Three fearsome letters kept flashing across my vision in the bright red I was already seeing all over the bathroom floor--DNC. More immediately, I was afraid of passing out. I wouldn't be much good to anyone, especially my breastfed infant, out cold on the floor. In the blood. I had to stop imagining the worst scenario, which is my bent, and pray. So, that's what I did.

My Nona came to the house in the early morning to get Micah. I get my chicken tendencies pretty honestly from her (even though she is WAY tougher than me), and she had been battling breast cancer since September, so she understood what I was feeling. Before Brandon, Sara and I left for the hospital, she prayed for me, and reminded me of the Bible passage that had given her the courage she needed to get through each procedure--

"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." --Philippians 4:6-7

Mom met us at the ER. I was so weak, I could barely stand on my own. I was frightened bringing my young infant to such a place, but I didn't know what else to do. I prayed for her safety. I prayed for courage. I prayed for toughness. But mostly, I just told Jesus not to leave me because I could do whatever I had to do as long as He was with me, but I couldn't do a thing a without Him. I prayed while they drew my blood. I didn't like to part with it as I wasn't sure how much I had lost already. My laboratory scientist mother assured me that I had plenty left. (Thanks, Mom.) I quoted the Philippians passage as my IV was started. It really did help.

A lot of waiting had to be done that day because my doctor was steeped in surgeries. I was eventually admitted to the hospital, and brought to my own room, where I waited some more. After a uterine massage, which I personally find to be somewhere between extremely uncomfortable and painful, and the passage of time, my bleeding slowed. It began to look like my fear of having a DNC may not be realized. I had texted several friends asking them to pray for as much.

My doctor came to see me after 5pm. She explained that she believed, based upon my two blood counts and the fact my bleeding had slowed, that a large blood clot had been left behind in my womb. She explained that she had checked my placenta to be sure no pieces had been left behind. After passing that clot, it was only a matter of time before the bleeding would have stopped on its own. She saw no reason to keep me at the hospital overnight. I was told to walk the halls a few times to be sure the bleeding wouldn't start back up. If it didn't, I could go home.

I felt several things---relieved, thankful and a little silly. But there was no way I could have known I wasn't going to slowly bleed to death without medical attention, especially considering the amount of blood I had lost. There had just been so much of it. After a day of being treated like a pincushion and losing what I thought must have been at least half of my blood supply (it wasn't, by the way), I was able to leave.

On the way home, I was still a little afraid that I would start bleeding again. I tried not to think about that. Instead, I thought about how God had answered my prayers, and what it had felt like to spend a day with Him, leaning on Him entirely for each experience. I hadn't experienced many days where God was my constant rock, and I was constantly leaning on Him. I had been praying for awhile that God would teach me to walk with Him moment by moment, and I guess that day was the beginning of an answer to that prayer. In obedience to the passage from Philippians I had quoted earlier that day, I thanked God--for taking care of me, for allowing this thing to happen to me.

Sleep deprived, weak from blood loss, still recovering from an intense labor, a little down from the drop in pregnancy hormones, and still a little fearful that I could start bleeding again, I went to bed in pretty bad physical and emotional shape. But I knew something for sure-I wasn't alone, and I did not have to operate alone. I remembered the words of the anesthesiologist--"When you feel the pressure, don't jerk away. Lean into me." I had definitely felt pressure that day, but instead of jerking away from the Lord, I leaned into Him. And He had provided everything I had needed.

One week after the incident, I recorded this in my journal:

"The Lord is faithful.
The Lord is good.
And I trust Him more today because of what happened a week ago."

That, in and of itself, makes all the blood, fear and needles worth it.

This day was the beginning of a habit that would become very important to my survival in the days that followed: exercise . . . . of my spiritual muscles. And God was good. He allowed me to start slow so that I wouldn't be crushed or obliterated by the weight of my troubles.

. . . . to be continued in Part 3 of 4: Sara Elizabeth