THE SAMUEL SERIES 4: DARKEST BEFORE THE DAWN
I wasn’t “alone,” but it sure felt like it. There was a steady stream of nurses, doctors, specialists, psychologists, volunteers, friends, and family that filtered in throughout each of my days while on bedrest. But, loneliness often overtook me. Loneliness could not be cured every 6 hours when the nurse came in to monitor our baby. Because this loneliness was something that could not be met by humanity.
It was 1am. I woke up leaking. AGAIN. The leaking was off and on since my water broke at 21 weeks, and at this point, it was becoming a thorn in my side. It was a constant irritant and reminder of something I could not control. I mean, really. It was like peeing my pants for over a month. So gross. I got up to use the bathroom, and clean up, and the fluid was not the normal clear it had been for so many weeks. It was (sorry if this is too much info) …just different. Maybe this was it. Was this change an indication of something serious? I suddenly went from groggy and unwilling to embrace any light, to alert and heart pumping. I had to physically slow my breathing down as I was starting to hyperventilate. In. Out. In. Out. I flipped the light on, felt my body tense up in shock, and my typical response of shaking, begin. It was only 1am, but I flipped every light on in that room. I paged the nurse, and she walked in with her intern, (who I knew from my old soccer days), but had no shame to be fully in the moment of fear. I wasn’t trying to play it cool because frankly, I wasn’t cool at that moment.
She immediately assured me that she was paging the doctor and that she was pretty sure the changes I was seeing was part of the course expected. But this was nothing like the course I expected. The course I expected was like my other two children: full term. I was expecting that at this point in my pregnancy, I would be in my own bed, next to my strong, comforting husband, my belly barely showing, and popping tums, all with a mild case of acid reflux. Not this. Not in Labor and Delivery at 25 weeks. Not in Labor and Delivery by myself.
The nurse was right. The doctor came in, looked me straight in my worried eyes, and said, “This is what we expect to see.” It was so different for me to grasp this being “expected” in this situation, and even though they left the room with full assurance that it was par for the course, I was a mess inside. Even though I pulled it together enough to stop shaking, to recognize that I had no labor pains or any other signs of progression, being there in that room by myself was unbearable. I sat down and mulled over who I should call. I was convinced that I needed someone. I needed someone there in that very moment to hold me, to sit next to me in my bed. If I had that, then everything would be okay. I had high expectations. Probably too high. It was 1am, I was not in active labor, Steve had the kids by himself, my sister had her 3 kids, and my parents lived fairly far (in island perspective) to be here for just a momentary scare. I chose my parents. I remember to this day; the phone couldn’t have rung more than twice when my mom answered quietly.
It was a turning point in my journey that night. It was where I went from leaning on and feeling desperate for people to being forced and spurred to lean on the only one who could give me what I so badly needed. My parents didn’t come that night. And if I’m honest, I was angry about it. I expected my trauma to be everyone else’s calling in life. I expected the tragedy before me to be met with a no limit "request granted" stamp. But the truth of the matter is this: humanity, people, friends, and family are not God. They cannot replace His goodness and faithfulness; they cannot take on the heavy yolk that was on me. Only God could do that. It was a battle for the next hour to go from anger to revelation of my obsession with people being my rescuers, instead of letting God be that.
I was still scared, and now it was 2am and dark and cold and physically lonely. No one was in the room but me and God. No one was there to talk or to hug or to lean on. Except the only one who was running to me. He was pulling me toward himself, asking me to run to Him, to go over the mountains, through the valley, back to Him. I had to actively pursue, actively invite God to meet me, to hold me, to comfort and rescue me in that moment. I had to speak his name aloud. I had to say, “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.” over and over and over again. I had to turn on worship music as I laid there audibly speaking His name. I spoke it aloud and spoke it until I fell asleep. My flesh cried out to my earthly loved ones and they (in my eyes, at the time) failed me. It was a night my parents pushed me to seek something bigger. It was a night where they gently nudged and released me from my obsession and the need for them and need for humanity.
“Anyone who comes to me but refuses to let go of father, mother, spouse, children, brothers, sisters—yes, even one’s own self!—can’t be my disciple. Anyone who won’t shoulder his own cross and follow behind me can’t be my disciple.” Luke 14:26
I woke up at 4:30am to the doctor's daily rounds, and as tired as I felt, I rolled over and looked out the window, and saw the beginning of the morning light. I had made it through the night and I didn’t need my family there. I didn’t need a person to rescue me. I needed Jesus. I needed to speak His name, and allow him to fight the battle I was struggling to fight. I needed to fall asleep to His name on my lips, His swaying, His hand, His songs washing over me.
These scares happened about every other day, and from that moment on, I knew where to go. I felt the peace that carried me, sustained, covered me and rescued me that night, and each morning light that peeked through the shades, every single day that I stayed pregnant, was a victory. It was only 25 weeks and these scares persistently showed up unannounced and ready to steal the peace I found that night. But God was in control; not the scares, not the enemy, and certainly not me. All I needed to do was keep running back to HIM.