We all have them. Dates that define us – a wedding day, a birthday, the death of a loved one, a landmark life achievement. Maybe there’s a little circle on your calendar…although you probably don’t need it. You’d remember the day with no signifying marker. To others, it may come and go as just another number on the grid. But to you (or me) it signifies a crossroads – a defining moment – a life-changing event.
We had several of those throughout the 36 weeks of our pregnancy. In a “normal” pregnancy, those dates of significance might look more like happy highlights – 12 weeks (“safe zone”), 20 weeks (half way!), third trimester (almost there!), IT’S A GIRL!! Maybe there are cute little “bump” photos with a chalkboard sign stating the current “produce size” of the baby and what mom’s been craving lately. All sweet things…just not my particular experience.
In a complicated pregnancy, defining moments often occur in a doctor’s office, on an exam table, more often than not with an ultrasound monitor in view. And after your happy pregnancy bubble has been burst once…you can read every doctor’s face like a picture book the moment they walk in.
April 10th is circled on my calendar. It started as a day that fit perfectly into the mold of our new “normal” with a bi-weekly trip to the doctor for a Non-Stress Test (see ultra-flattering pic to the left). Everything was fine. Until we got home – and then it wasn’t.
Kade rushed me back to the Carle Hospital ER in Champaign where I was admitted and kept until I was stable enough to be transferred via ambulance to Prentice Women’s Hospital in Chicago. I was just over 30 weeks. Early enough that the situation would likely be critical for both girls. I was told that in my particular situation, delivery usually became imminent within 48 hours. But those doctors didn’t know my girls. We held on for six more weeks – our little family of four, living in a hospital room each day a new unknown.
During this time, God was working in us, preparing our hearts for His plan. He tried our patience – with ourselves and with one another. He tested our faith – with tough news and difficult decisions. Our “case” was complicated – each doctor knew us (and our girls) by name. They studied our situation, talked through the possible outcomes – most of them bitter-sweet at best. After 40 long days and even longer nights, we had become the local residents of the 9th floor.
At 36 weeks and 1 day, God decided we were ready. He aligned the stars perfectly for what He was about to walk us through. It was painfully perfect – the 31 hours our Emalynn spent on earth were exactly has He had written.
On April 10th, we did not understand what was happening. It was one of many defining days in our pregnancy. And, perhaps, one of the scariest. But it was all in His plan.
Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” – John 13:7
I may never understand fully, but each day I will try.