"Miracles are everywhere to be found when priesthood callings are magnified, when faith replaces doubt, and when selfless service eliminates selfish striving. When these things happen, the power of God brings to pass His purposes. Whom God calls, God qualifies." Thomas S. Monson
As far as I can tell, this miracle of our healthy little Luke started a couple of weeks ago. I was having a rough time with some intense feelings of inadequacy, fear, and depression. I had been praying for relief and had been trying to fight my way out of this hormonal dark place when I got the distinct impression to ask Ross for a priesthood blessing to help me. Of course, he agreed, because that is what amazing husbands do.
I was disappointed. I tried not to show Ross, but I was really put out about what had been shared in that blessing. Now, don't get me wrong. I knew that what had been spoken had come from the Lord. I can always sense in the blessings I get from Ross the moment he switches from his own mortal opening to the dialogue being given him straight from deity. There is a different tone in his voice, a clear reverence for the the moment, an added weight to his hands on my head, and other such markers that I could never adequately describe with words. I always know when Ross is currently the mouthpiece of the Lord for me, and this blessing was very much filled with that power. It just wasn't what I wanted to hear. It seemed full of things I didn't need at the time.
I had come to Ross with a need for emotional calming and spiritual comfort. What the Lord sent to Ross was a whole heap of physical blessings. I was given strength, endurance, rest, and physical flexibility. Luke and I were told that we would make it through the strains of child birth healthy and intact. I was told that the Lord would have his hands in my surgical process and that everything would go well. At the time I felt that these were all good and well, but I didn't have any worries about the physical status of my body. I was worried my heavy heart would drive me insane and take away a lot of the joy of this blessed time. I was looking for guidance and direction in this area, and I was a little upset to not have heard anything along those lines in that blessing.
Flash forward to Wednesday. **WARNING- uncomfortable terms like uterus and placenta are about to be thrown around. Proceed with caution!** The introduction of very serious and previously unknown condition happened when my doctor, who had just been chatting about a golf game with his assistant, suddenly stopped that direction of conversation, said, "Wow. Will you look at that. I haven't seen one of those in a long time." He then furiously worked with no words at all for a few minutes while Ross and I exchanged some very worried glances and I tried to control my worried heart rate. Once the urgency in their actions abated a bit, my doctor poked his head around the drape and said, "How many more kids were you planning on having?"
Dr. B.: That probably isn't going to happen.
Me: Why? Is something wrong?
Dr. B.: Yes. Your uterus was open along the old incision. We saw a large piece of the amniotic sack poking out. If that sack had broken, your baby would have died within 5 minutes. Chances are, your water breaking would have opened this tear farther and opened a blood vessel which would have killed you in about 15 minutes.
Ross: What?! Is she OK now?
Dr. B.: Yes. The danger is gone now that we are here. It was only a huge risk while she was pregnant.
With this, they pulled out Luke and he came into this world beautiful and screaming.
Basically, we went from being terrified to overwhelmingly grateful to devastated about not having any more children, to being thrilled that Luke was here and clearly healthy with a head full of strawberry blonde hair. This run through the full gamut of emotions left us both very confused and shaken.
They wanted us to make a decision about having my tubes tied right that second, and both my doctor and his assistant seemed to endorse this idea notwithstanding the permanence of such a decision at my fairly young age. We opted against it. We just weren't ready to close the child bearing chapter of our lives. We are leaving the option open, although when the risks were again enumerated in detail after the surgery, we know it will take a pretty significant sign from God that we are to have another before we tread that path again.
~I do want to add, however, that I am not at all upset with how my doctor handled this situation. Some have been upset with his apparent lack of sympathy, but I don't see it that way at all. This took him by surprise as well and made this very routine procedure (hence the golf chat while elbow deep in my lady parts) quite risky and much more complicated than normal. His urging of the tubal ligation was warranted due to the risk of any future pregnancy for me, and because if that is the choice we make, it would be a million times easier to have gotten it done right then without having to schedule another very invasive surgery. I am grateful for a skilled physician who knew how to handle a stressful situation, and who was more than willing to explain every detail of the condition once he had gotten my son and me out of danger.~
While they were wheeling me back to my hospital room after the surgery, the words from that blessing a few weeks back came into my mind. The words from the blessing I had been disappointed in! The words from the Lord promising to uphold me through the physical struggles I was about to face. The words that kept me and my beautiful new son safe from the harm I was completely unaware of. Ross was inspired. The Lord was with me. That priesthood blessing will always stand out to me as one of the sweetest reminders of God's love for me, and one of the strongest proofs that flawed as he is, my amazing husband truly holds the Priesthood of God and knows how to use that power. I am so blessed.
The final bit of this complicated miracle happened the morning of Luke's birth. Ironically, it was something I was also upset about at the time of occurrence. I think the Lord is trying to teach me something with this trend. . .
Early that morning I donned the ever so flattering and modest hospital gown and got settled in to monitor Luke's heart rate before the surgery. Luke has always been a mover and a shaker in-utero, and his heart rate has always been easy to register since the very first time we got to hear it at 12 weeks. This morning was the exception. The nurse, try as she might, could NOT find the heart beat. I tried not to panic because I could feel him kicking and having hiccups, but how can any mother not worry when 20 minutes of this hide and seek game go by without getting the blasted machine to find his heart beat. The nurse tried poking him, buzzing my belly and getting me to change positions to find it. Finally, in one of the most uncomfortable positions for a 9 month pregnant and stressed mama to be in, we caught a slight trace of the heart beat. It was strong and fast like always, just distant. Luke was curled up in a particular spot and was not moving from there.
Later that day when my doctor was explaining everything to me, he said that we were very lucky that Luke's head was in the position he was because it was plugging up the tear in the uterus, and this kept too much of the amniotic sack from seeping out, and supported the tissue there to keep it from tearing more.
In other words, had the nurse's efforts to move Luke to a different spot in my belly that morning worked- we would have had much more to mourn right now than the strong possibility of not adding anymore children to our family.
I am still reeling from the shock of all this, and I have been dealing with a lot of fear over what could have happened (which is silly, because what will my fear do to change any of that?) and of what could happen. I am worried about making these big decisions in the future. I am confused about how this new reality conflicts with the plans I had already made- plans which I felt had been made with the Lord's input.
However, amidst all these emotions, the strongest of all is gratitude. I am grateful for the Priesthood that kept Luke and me safe. I am grateful for this sweet little baby with his chubby cheeks, skinny legs, and red tinted hair. I am grateful for the overwhelming sense that God is truly at the helm of this ship, and He knows what He is doing.
I am struggling right now- that can't be denied- but I am also grateful!