Faith Over Fear

My first baby’s birth did not go as planned. In fact, it went as opposite as we ever could have imagined.

We had planned for a full-term, natural birth with a midwife attending. We hoped it would be the first of a number of children that God would give us.

Instead, I landed an emergency classical c-section attended by a gaggle of doctors, and gave birth to a 2-pound preterm baby who was struggling to breathe.  Just before the birth, someone came in to prepare me for the fact that he could be blind and have many other health issues. 

Dead Dreams

 After the c-section several doctors sternly told me:

  • “You can never have a natural birth. Your scar would most likely rupture, endangering your life and the baby’s.”
  • “And by the way…you should only have three c-sections at most. Any more could compromise your health and endanger the baby’s life.”

Tears. Dead dreams. Fears and sorrows. 

A cleaning lady entered my hospital room while I was recovering from the c-section and subsequent infection. She stopped sweeping, looked at me and said:

“I would never let them cut me open.”

More tears, coupled with doses of indignation plus hormones.

Strong Scars?

The doctors sent me home with a thick pack of official papers that described my scar and the classical c-section. These papers earnestly affirmed that I could never-ever-no-never have anything but a c-section. Home birth was definitely out of the question.

After three months of daily visits to the hospital, my preemie baby boy finally arrived home. While enjoying my new baby, I still was preoccupied with my perceived “damaged and scarred” state. I remember actually looking at and envying other pregnant moms while thinking, “SHE will probably have a natural birth, but I never will.” Then, a good friend suddenly encouraged me with the fact that:

“Scar tissue is actually stronger than the original tissue.”

Was that true? I wondered if other moms had safe, natural births after a c-section. I started reading and researching about the heresy possibility that the doctors might have been wrong?

Digging for Answers

There was no internet available to me in 1992, so I just went to the library and looked up birth stories. I also talked and wrote to people that had healthy VBACs. I found a lot of evidence that it would be possible for me to have a natural birth after all. But a doctor wouldn’t be able to help; it would have to be a home birth and it would have to be a midwife willing to take me on, BIG UGLY SCAR and all. 

In February of 1993, I became pregnant and after calling a long list of midwives, I finally found midwives Jan and Jeanne. They didn’t seem to mind about my scar, my history and all the doctor warnings. So I threw away all of those official papers and knew I had only one more thing to acquire before I was ready. 

One Missing Thing

I had godly cheerleader-type friends in my life who encouraged me. They reminded me that God can take care of me and my baby whether I am at home or at the hospital. My husband (who has limited respect for doctors) told me I’d be way better off having a home birth, with no doctors interfering with the natural birth process, trying to give me things I don’t need! :0

I assembled my home birth supplies and the only other thing I needed for my first home birth was… FAITH. I needed to trust my loving, sovereign, omnipotent, Heavenly Father. The passage I found most encouraging was this, which became my life verses:

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 

Hebrews 12:1-2

The only other thing I needed for my first home birth was… FAITH.

I needed to trust my loving, sovereign, omnipotent, Heavenly Father.

The Rest of the Story

God’s will for each of us is played out differently, but this is my story. It’s the story of a scar, dead dreams, and a harvest of faith bigger than I could have imagined. I don’t give myself credit for the faith, though. Any faith I have comes from Him, because even faith is a gift. 

After that first home birth, I had nine more home births. Most of these involved an attending midwife or two, and none involved pain meds (but if they were available I probably would have said yes!) The last home birth brought complications, but God was sovereign in that one too, and it had nothing to do with the scar as predicted.

Speaking of scars, if you too have a scar (physical or emotional or both), please consider my story. Our loving, all-knowing, all-powerful God can make a “scar story” build our faith and even work out better than the original plan. He can take dead dreams and breathe life into them. 

30 years later, here’s my husband and I with our “harvest of faith.” (The former preemie is in the Air Force now and is in the back row, far right!)

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{ My Birthday Wrap-Up }

 

The girls and I got up early and snuck out to Ruby’s Roost,  a sweet little bakery with all the charm of a European sidewalk cafe. It’s run by an energetic family; I wonder how the mom / baker can be so model-skinny, even though she gets up before dawn and makes the most decadent pecan sweet rolls ever.

pecan stickies

We captured a quick photo; it was drizzling before the downpour:

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My husband and I ran out to a new local co-op for a smoothie…then I grabbed my free birthday drink at Caribou Coffee. 

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Flowers from my dear husband, who has joined me now for 30 birthdays ❤️

The best thing about my birthday this year was that it fell on a Saturday, and all of our working young adults were home…a rare day to cherish!

In the afternoon, we held Family Debates #1.

This new game was inspired by a raucously loud discussion 

 last week in the back of the van.

Everyone had a chance to debate a topic with a partner, and my husband and I picked a winner.

The one-minute debate topics included:

Which is more fun, snowboarding or longboarding? 

Which store is better, Aldi or Trader Joe’s?

Which is better, camping or watching sports? 

Which one is more fun, downhill skiing or swimming?

Which is better, almond milk or cow’s milk? 

(These topics are hotly debated at various times and with varying intensity throughout the year…)

Edible prizes were doled out to the winners.

And, everyone got a bonus prize at the end, just for participating, even though my husband thought that was a wimpy move…

…but, it was MY birthday.

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Thank you, God, for another year to live and love and serve my family!

So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom. — Psalm 90:12

 

 

{ Recipe for a Happy Birthday }

 

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Ingredients:

1- 5# bag of expectations

2 gallons water

1 cup possibilities

1 lb. gratefulness

1 cup sugar

3 1/2 cups whatever!

 

  1. In a large bucket, mix expectations with 2 gallons water.  Stir until dissolved.
  2. Dump this mixture outside. (Makes good compost.)
  3. Chop possibilities into bite-sized chunks and set aside.
  4. Using a blender, combine gratefulness with sugar and process until fine.
  5. With fingers or a pastry blender, chop whatever! into coarse crumbs.
  6. Layer the possibilities mixture alternately with the whatever!, sprinkling gratefulness / sugar mix liberally over each layer and on top.
  7. Let sit 30 minutes, allowing flavors to combine.
  8. Serve with coffee or tea.
  9. Enjoy immediately, because it will be gone by tomorrow.

 

 

(c) Lisa M. Luciano

Word Prompt:  harmony

 

 

Photo credit:Audrey Fretz

Mothers & Ekdapanao

A few years ago, we went to hear a missionary speak about his work with orphans. He spotlighted this verse:

2 Corinthians 12:15 — “I will most gladly spend and be spent for your souls…”

He told about his schedule, being totally disposed to a large group of fatherless young boys. This man had NO time to himself, and didn’t have the conveniences of normal American living.  He lived in a hot, Central American climate, in a rustic setting.

Yet, he was glad to expend (ekdapanao – to spend out, completely exhaust) himself for these guys. To him, these young men were souls to love…and win to Jesus.  He looked past “dirty and needy” and saw “valuable.”

That’s true love.  It’s the way God looks at us.

Romans 5:8 – “For while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

Our sinful selves are not lovable or desirable. Yet, with the covering of Jesus, we are gathered into God’s family – and He loves us.

Insert bridge here to the concept of motherhood…

I have eleven (biological) children to love, nurture and train. Some of them are adults now.

At times, I have felt “spent” as a mother.

(But…ahh… I have had hot showers, cups of coffee and a warm, cozy bed to enjoy — eventually.)

Although it’s tempting, I don’t want to coast on this marathon of motherhood.  I don’t have toddlers anymore, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to put things on autopilot.

Let my teens smile and roll their eyes good-naturedly when I ask them “What are you going to be when you grow up?”

Let them groan when I stumble my way into their technological world, or make a silly parent pun.

I will correct them, confront them, and praise them. I will surprise them with love whenever I can (even when they’re crabby, contrary or cheeky.)

I will press on in the high calling of motherhood, calling upon God’s grace to refresh me when I’m spent.

But, for now I must say farewell —  my fans await me.

It’s Mother’s Day weekend.

I already have a lovely lavender plant, a piece of chocolate and a gift that couldn’t wait to be given sitting on my desk.

Ekdapanao has its rewards. And it’s not even Sunday yet.