In just a little while, I am flying to California to see my family. I’m braving the airports by myself with a two year old and a five month old in tow. Either it will be much easier than I imagine, or it will be a long, long 5 hours on airplanes and in the airports! Come what may, toddler tantrums, blowouts, or screaming baby, I resolve to be a mommy rock of utter calmness. 🙂 Snacks will be passed out, books will be read, songs will be sung. But I am looking forward to finally arriving at my parent’s house at the end of it!
My original plan was to fly out towards the end of October and stay for a while to see my grandparents and oldest brother in the middle of November. We’ll have to see about that happening now. I might miss my own home too much to stay quite that long… but I don’t have the chance to see my grandparents or brother too often, either!
Plans changed quickly when my sister Sarah went into labor at 39 weeks pregnant. After 24 hours of labor she was transferred to a hospital because of the sudden onset of pre-eclampsia which quickly turned into the real deal, eclampsia. Pre-clampsia and eclampsia are very scary, as they can be a life-threatening condition for mom and baby.
Pre-eclampsia is characterized by high blood pressure, edema, headaches, blurred vision, or even temporary loss of vision. Pre-eclampsia can occur any time after 20 weeks, and is more common in first time moms (like Sarah). My mother never had it, even with 10 pregnancies. My sister, Bekah, and I have also never had it with any of our pregnancies.
Eclampsia, the next stage of pre-eclampsia, can be life-threatening if it isn’t treated immediately. It involves seizures, usually until the placenta is delivered, and the patient can suffer a stroke, or fall into a coma (long or short), and during the early weeks of pregnancy, can cause placental bleeding or placental abruption (detachment of the placenta), resulting in the loss of the baby.
Sarah suffered a series of small seizures on her way to the hospital, at the hospital, and during her c-section, and then suffered a gran mal seizure after the cesarean. She’s been in the ICU there, and is not quite ready to be released from the hospital until the neurologist gives her the OK, and her vision returns to normal.
My new nephew, Athanasius Peter, born via cesarean, was transferred to the NICU unit of another hospital 45 minutes away because of some breathing issues he had, which is common in babies born via c-section. Those issues have cleared up now, and he will be going home in the next day or so. My mom and dad have faithfully been with him, as Sarah hasn’t been able to see or hold him yet. I can’t wait to hold the little guy myself, and help take care of him while Sarah gets as much rest and recovery as she needs.
We all have the tendency to think “nothing bad will ever happen to us or our family.” Bad things happen to other people, not to us or people we know! But then something big and scary like this whole episode with Sarah’s labor comes along, and throws me for a loop. Hearing about the news via the phone was almost not real. I kept feeling that I should have been there to help — to have it feel more real to me. But, in God’s timing, I wasn’t. In His timing, all of this happened. In His timing, Sarah was transferred to the hospital not a minute too soon so that the team of doctors and nurses were able to operate and birth Athanasius before he suffered distress and treat Sarah while she was still in the early stages of Eclampsia. In His timing, I already had tickets purchased for later this month, and was able to call up and have those changed right away.
God’s providential handiwork is the reason why we look back, reexamining the details and events of life. You can’t always easily see the “reason,” for why things happen the way they do, but we can rest on the comfort of knowing that He has the perfect reason every time for why things go down the way they do. And as His children, it is always for our good, never doubt that. Not in a “you’ve just got to suck it up and take your medicine,” sort of way, but in a tangible, ever humbling, always loving sort of way. It always brings a peace with it, a peace that I have struggled at times to find on my own, until I remember after a lot of heartache to ask for it.
It is not a schmaltzy peace, either. It is God’s peace. This is peace that allows martyrs to stand their ground. Peace that brings comfort in sickness and in death. Peace to weather on through the situations and life events that we cannot change, cannot remove. Peace to keep going through the dailiness of life. It’s a mothers peace, a fathers peace, a peace we teach to our children because we are frail men of dust who cannot find this peace in our own beings, no matter how hard we try. We will always be led back to God’s peace. Peace is God’s gift to us because we cannot and never will be able to control our life circumstances apart from His perfect will — that is a good thing, too, because it would crush us to attempt to do so.
Keep praying for that peace when you find yourself facing down life. He will give it to you, don’t doubt it.
And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Phillipians 4:7