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The Night Before

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Irony: an outcome of events contrary to what was, or might have been, expected.

Coincidence: a striking occurrence of two or more events at one time apparently by mere chance.

Providence: God, esp. when conceived as omnisciently directing the universe and the affairs of humankind with wise benevolence.

************

We agreed: we disagreed. But we had to come to the same conclusion, soon. I was three days away from my second trimester and had yet to start prenatal care. I showed Josh a study proving homebirths to be as safe as hospital births. We went over all the possible outcomes. Pros. Cons. What-if’s. Therefore’s.

Our options were:

  • Hospital birth locally, with a doctor, in an environment not the friendliest to naturally birthing mothers
  • Hospital birth over an hour away, with a midwife, in a hospital geared more towards the preferences of the laboring mother. (We would stay my last month in an apartment in that city.)
  • Home birth with a midwife 20 minutes from the nearest hospital.

Josh couldn’t shake the fear of the unknown. What if I needed a C-section? An emergency C-section? Even though he knew that my doctor and the operating team would have to drive to the hospital just as we would, and therefore the time that elapsed before surgery would not be any longer, he couldn’t shake the fear.

The certified nurse midwife would come equipped with everything an ambulance would, but he couldn’t shake the fear.

The possibility of being pressured into unnecessary and unsafe interventions were higher in the hospital, but he couldn’t shake the fear.

After reading stories and studies, I was more sure. But he couldn’t shake the fear.

Really, the only conclusion we reached that night was that driving to the appointments in a city over an hour away significantly increased our risks of an automobile accident; quite possibly so that they were higher than that of a complicated labor.

So we prayed.

Specifically, we prayed either for peace in his heart or fear in mine. Please, God, if a home birth would be safest, please put peace in Josh’s heart. And if a hospital birth would be safest, put fear in mine towards homebirth. Lord, You know the outcome of this pregnancy. You know how it will end. Please help us make the choice that is best for this baby.

And, God, give us the answer by tomorrow morning.

***********

As we were brushing our teeth, after the prayer, I finally confessed something to Josh that I had never spoken out loud. I had fear, but not towards homebirth. I had fear that this pregnancy would not last.

I had not been feeling any differently than I had been with my previous two pregnancies. No morning sickness. No cravings. No weight gain. It is normal for my body to not even register a pregnancy until the baby kicks.

But I felt that a miscarriage was so possible. And I felt that God had been preparing my heart for that possibility.

Because if you were to ask me to name my two closest friends, I would have listed her. And her. They are the ones I talk to and they are the ones I go to. And both, within the past year, have had miscarriages.

The last thing I said before I went to bed: I am afraid of losing my baby.

The last thing I thought before I went to bed: I don’t want a miscarriage. I’m not ready for a miscarriage. But I know that I wouldn’t be the first, I wouldn’t be the last, and I wouldn’t be alone.

Eight hours later I knew just who to call.

**********

I wasn’t ready. I wasn’t expecting it.

But when I woke and it was happening, I knew it wasn’t mere chance.

And after reflecting on these events for the past week, I still don’t understand why. But I know now my benevolent, omniscient God had directed them so that they couldn’t have happened in a better order, time, or place.

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