Saturday, I cried – I already told you about that – and my husband prayed over me and God was kind to me.
Sunday, God continued His kindness by doing an amazing work in my spirit, tranquilizing my usual worrisome tendencies. Our prayers that night were more worshipful than self-centered and it is a night I will always remember and cherish. Instead of continuing to plead with Him to flip our baby girl, we were just so thankful that He had given us peace. But after our “amens” we laughingly remembered to add, “Oh yeah…and please still flip her if you want to!”
Monday?…Monday, May 30th, 2011 was…BIG. I guess I should just start at the very beginning.
As we drove to the hospital to begin pre-op at 9:30 a.m., I was astounded at the calmness that still sat over me like a big giant blanket of dumbness. I told Mr. Gore “I feel like we’re just going to the grocery store or something, not to my first surgery!” I didn’t know whether I should thank God for my indifference and count it as grace or try to work up some kind of understanding or anxiety over what was about to happen to me. My wise Mr. Gore instructed me to accept the gift and be grateful.
Before long, I was completely prepped for the c-section; an ultrasound had proven that our stubborn little girl was still breech. Both doctors were there, the anesthesiologist had given me the run-down, I even had my sterile hairnet on, and, while excited that I would finally get to hold my baby in the next hour or two, I felt my heart begin to sink just a little that our prayers about having another vaginal (I promise that’s the only time I will use that word) birth would not be answered.
It wasn’t as if I didn’t understand the benefits of what was about to happen. I truly wanted what was best for our baby, and I knew that I was in good hands and that a c-section would pose little threat to either me or my child. Neither did I feel like I had the right to self-pity while so many women out there would have given anything to be in my place, looming surgery and all, and when so many babies have real health issues and simply being “upside-down” would be a coveted position indeed.
Still yet, my disappointment was acute…
Here’s why. While I don’t really adore being pregnant, and I could well do without the messiness of labor and delivery, there is nothing I love more than that final moment of pushing a baby from the quiet recesses of my womb, hearing its protestant cry split the air, feeling the seven or so pounds of human flesh exit my stomach…I feel so incredibly blessed to have experienced this miracle two times, but I just couldn’t help but be sad that I might never get to experience it again.
And so when Dr. Tramonte came in with news we did not even expect to hear, that there was a doctor on hand who was willing to try an External cephalic version, a procedure in which he and another doctor would place their hands on my abdomen and push and maneuver the baby around with the desired result of flipping her into place for vaginal (oops, promise that’s the last time) delivery, I was more than willing to give it a try. If you are interested in hearing more about this, it really is fascinating: http://www.webmd.com/baby/external-cephalic-version-version-for-breech-position.
And it felt as archaic as it sounds. Meaning…I should have said “yes” to the offer for drugs. It was like my stomach was a ball of dough that they were kneading into bread. Underneath, it felt as though they were scrambling up my organs like a jigsaw puzzle…I would not have been surprised to see my gallbladder next to my lungs and my liver somewhere close to my ear. But, praise God, it worked. The roomful of doctors and nurses – some just interested to watch a version for the first time, some on hand in case of emergency – sent up a sort of cheer as she flipped into place right there on the ultrasound screen for all to see…and on every wall of my stomach for me to feel.
The only problem was the foot that remained by her head. She was in an awkward, one-legged diving pose, completely bent in half. The Ecv-performing doctor recommended that I go home and wait to go into labor and hope that she would eventually draw her foot back up and refrain from flipping back into her preferred upside-down pose. My heart sank yet again. I was ready to meet her today. My bags were in the car, my other children were taken care of, and most of all, my niece Abigail, celebrating her 7th birthday, was counting on me to have her cousin before the day was up.
It just goes to show how important it is that your family doctor also be one of your greatest advocates. Dr. Tramonte, who had already given up his Memorial Day to see to it that we had a surgeon he recommended and then chased down the doctor and set up that miraculous Ecv at the very last minute, now began doing all he could to see that we could be induced on this day. He’s a fast worker. Within minutes, we were in a delivery room, waiting to begin inducement, now just praying that that little bitty baby foot would move out of the way! Just one little foot! If it presented itself before the head come delivery time, it would be back to surgery for us, back to the c-section we were all trying so hard to avoid.
And I was torn…should I go ahead and praise God for the successful Ecv and claim victory over the threat of this c-section? What if I counted on Him to see us all the way through this and we still had to be rushed down to surgery in a much more hurried and uncontrolled fashion than we would have that morning? What if I trusted Him all day only to be disappointed at the end of the night?
Over the next several hours, I thanked Him, I questioned Him, I pleaded with Him, I thanked Him some more, I begged Him…
And as my body began to go into serious labor, the doctor who performed the Ecv came to take a look at our baby’s position. Her foot was still there. He calmly reached in and tweaked those little toes. Her foot withdrew to find its mate. He broke my water. He nodded at me with a twinkle in his eye and assured me that all would be well…
Two hours later, I pushed my baby girl from the quiet recesses of my womb, I heard her protestant cry split the air, I felt her seven or so pounds of human flesh exit my stomach…
And my heart screamed the following words from the rafters: “WHY are You so good to people like me?!” A sob left my throat and I knew again, for the 10,435th day in a row, that God is no puppet-master in the sky. He is no distant “man upstairs”…
He is a master story-teller, taking each moment of each day and weaving it into a reflection of His glory and goodness. Our day could have ended a thousand different ways, tragically even, and it would not have changed His goodness or the fact that He cares for us. But the way He did choose to end it completely and absolutely knocked my socks off, sealing something deep and eternal inside this faithless woman.
There is so much more to share about our Baby Betsie and the time leading up to and following her birth. But this post isn’t about Baby Betsie or her Mama or her Papa. It is about the God who creates little babies and gently cares for their Mamas and Papas every single step of the way.
You can trust Him. Trust me.