The steady beeping that gave me a pat of assurance with each utterance was beginning to lag. The beeps that I was attached to as proof of my daughter’s life slowed and my heart dropped lower as more time passed between each beep. Another contraction started to creep up and my surroundings felt fuzzier as the beeps slowed. Nurses began speaking with a more staccato tone and started pushing and pulling at me; I assumed to help my little girl find her heartbeat again. The beeps were at a snail’s pace and I looked at my husband’s hopeful and reassuring face; he silently promised that everything was going to be alright. But what if it wasn’t? What if her heartbeat didn’t come back up?
I’ve always been a realist. Honestly, not a pessimist, but I don’t want to be shielded from real possibilities of harm. It’s something I have struggled with in my faith. Reconciling that God is good and bad things will happen to me. Jesus promises, “In this world, you will have struggles (John 16:33).” I have had struggles, but I know there are degrees of heartbreak I have never known and I can find myself terrified at the possibility. That fear rushed to the forefront of my mind and heart as those beeps slowed and pain crashed through my body in growing waves. Then, in that moment, there was an undeniable blockade around my heart and mind, something that wouldn’t allow the fear to grip me. It was the Holy Spirit with this understanding, “God is good.”
This is something that the Holy Spirit has been impressing on my heart, our marriage, and our family this entire year. It has been our unintentional theme of the year. Little did we know that this was preparation for bringing this child into the world. We set up the car seat, washed the baby clothes, talked with our big kids about helping with baby, but these were a drop in the bucket compared to this preparation that our hearts needed. God is good.
The reconciliation is the same that is required in any relationship; an alignment of expectations. “God is good” does not mean that this child will be the picture of health. It doesn’t mean I won’t have a painful labor. It doesn’t guarantee that we will always have a bounty of health, money and security. It guarantees that God is good. He is the same yesterday, today and forever, and He is good. God’s goodness has less to do with my own earthly situation and more to do with Him; He is good.
It became my anchor for the next 48 hours. Something solid and true outside of myself.
My beautiful baby’s heart rate remained down for 7 minutes; “God is good…God is good…God is good…”
Her heart rate returned to a healthy rhythm and my eyes filled with tears as my husband and I reveled in wordless relief and joy.
The contractions came faster and stronger; God is good. My entire body starts shaking and trembling (something my body does during labor). My husband holds my hands, puts his forehead on mine and whispers words to strengthen me. God is good.
2 hours and 4 pushes later, our daughter entered the world. There was that moment that all women who have borne children know. “She’s here!” Then you listen, for what feels like a long and thick moment, to hear your infant’s cry. I listened and knew this moment was lasting too long. “She seems a little blue…” I look to my husband’s face for an indication of the situation and see an urgent lack of understanding on his face. They hold her up for me to see and she looks grey. They sweep her over to that little newborn table with the hot light and 7 nurses and doctors seem to contract out of thin air. My husband joins them, and I can’t see anything.
Laying on the hospital bed, trying to see what I can, I’m not done working with my doctor through this birthing process (as all women who have borne children know).
“Am I still going to lose my precious baby? Even after she already came back? Is this what is going to happen no matter what?” Then, the same blockade comes up around my heart and mind. “God is good.” I don’t know if my daughter is going to be alright. I don’t know if my body is going to be okay. I know that my God is good.
Through this my doctor is encouraging me that she is going be alright and she is looking better. I still haven’t heard her cry.
My husband comes to my bedside. He has his signature calm, steady and reassuring face, he is going with our baby to the nursery; she needs some extra checks, but she is doing alright.
The process is complete and the room is quiet and empty, aside from my kind nurse. My heart races, my blood pressure is dropping and my muscles begin to tremble again. I have no idea how my beautiful baby is doing and I’m falling further into a fuzzier relationship with my surroundings. I had an infection from labor and delivery; nothing antibiotics can’t fix.
I’m starting to lose my anchor; God is good. Then I realize that through this entire process, I have had a song in my head. It has been playing in the background and now I need to hear the words float into my ears, Cory Asbury’s “Reckless Love.”
“ Before I spoke a word, You were singing over me
You have been so, so good to me
Before I took a breath, You breathed Your life in me
You have been so, so kind to me
Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God
Oh, it chases me down, fights ’til I’m found, leaves the ninety-nine
I couldn’t earn it, and I don’t deserve it, still, You give Yourself away
Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God, yeah”
I don’t know what is going to happen next. I know that God is good. This song becomes my anthem for the next 48 hours. I can’t always tell whether I’m hearing it in or outside of my head.
My fever starts to calm and I call the nursery to check on my beautiful baby. She is breathing well on her own, but she still doesn’t move or cry; her blood sugar is too low; they are transferring her to the NICU.
It takes several hours for medication to stabilize my body enough to move me to the women’s care unit. On the way, the nurse says, I can stop at the NICU and see my girl.
My heart fills up like a balloon with hope; I get to meet my daughter in the flesh.
She wheels me into a dark room with little green and red lights on different monitors and screens. It is cold and serene. I see my tiny and precious girl laying on the table, completely still, with various wires coming from her body. Sitting in the wheelchair, I reach out and touch my girl’s arm. It is soft and warm and oh so tiny. Then I wept. I wept because my arms were aching and screaming to hold my child and I couldn’t. I wept because I was exhausted and uncertain. Mostly, I wept because this isn’t where I was supposed to be right now. Then, my anchor, God is good.
That anchor seems to naturally manifest gratitude that is like oxygen to the soul. I’m so grateful that she is alive. I’m so grateful that I’m well enough to see her. I’m so grateful she has such a caring nurse. I’m grateful my husband is there. God is good.
The next two days are filled with check-ins and so many little things that are richer for the circumstances. Hearing her cry fills my entire body with warmth, because she is strong enough to cry. My heart is ready to burst when I can hold her, kiss her and feed her. The little things I was expectant of are that much richer from the circumstances. God is good.
Her blood sugar is steadily gaining traction and as a complete surprise to my husband and I, her doctor says she can be discharged with us. She gets to come home and meet her sisters. I know that when this baby cries in the night to be fed, part of me will smile, because she is strong enough to cry. God is good.
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