I now understand why Rebekah cried out to the Lord during pregnancy and essentially asked, “What is happening to me?” Of course, I’m not carrying twins that are striving against each other. But I feel as if there’s definitely a little war going on inside of me. Maybe it’s more of a spiritual battle, though.
I’m 38 weeks pregnant now and these last couple weeks have been killers. I’m told that they’re always the hardest, but I have to admit that I’m very discouraged.
It’s been days of on again, off again labour. I could have two to six hours where contractions are all five minutes apart and then they’ll just stop. The back labour is constant. Sciatic nerve pain, spasms, shooting pains from my hips to my toes… Any kind of back pain. You name it, I’ve got it. I can’t tell whether I’m walking with a limp or a waddle. I’m still getting over bronchitis. Sleep? I get about three consecutive hours a night and then maybe a little nap in the afternoon. And just as icing on the cake, I’ve got a strained muscle by my ribs (no confirmation that the rib is actually broken as I feared since we couldn’t get an X-Ray) that makes it difficult to even breathe easily.
After about a week of thinking, “Tonight’s going to be the night,” I’m beginning to feel as if I will never give birth to this child who keeps kicking me in the ribs and pressing her head against my hips. I am filled with feelings of hopelessness, exhaustion, and even guilt as I see the strain my own discomfort and pain is putting on my husband. The poor man insisted we go to the hospital last night to see if anything could be done for my rib pain; but a quick trip to the emergency room turned into hours of waiting in the labour and delivery deck, pacing the floor, waiting for any signs of further dilation, before we were told that nothing could be done and were sent home. We didn’t get home until around midnight and he had to be up at 5 this morning for work. Seeing the dark circles under his eyes as he kissed me goodbye this morning broke my heart. He already works so hard and I just made the job harder. So much for being a good wife who takes care of her man…
The desire to just give up is strong. While people tell me just how excited they are for me, I’m feeling more like the psalmist in Psalm 40. “Do not withhold Your tender mercies from me, Oh Lord; let your lovingkindness and truth continually preserve me. For innumerable evils have surrounded me; my iniquities have overtaken me, so that I am not able to look up; they are more than the hairs of my head; therefore my heart fails me.” Yes, my heart wants to call my pregnancy an “innumerable evil.”
But I did have a Job moment last night. You know, the kind of moment where God smacks you around and says, “Shape up. I know what I’m doing.”
I was praying (more accurately, spiritually complaining) and asking God, like Rebekah and probably every other pregnant woman before me, why this was happening to me. Why am I in so much pain? Why won’t You just let Lily be born? Why aren’t You listening to me and making everything all better?
And I didn’t hear the actual voice of God as Job did, but suddenly impressed upon my heart was the image of Christ on the cross. Jesus, God’s only begotten Son, stricken with agony, muscles torn, bleeding, gasping for breath on a suffocating cross. Actually dying, not just feeling as if He was going to die as I’ve been dramatically complaining. And yet, as He hangs upon the tree, He asks God to forgive those who mock and murder Him. He provides for His loved ones on earth, telling His disciple John to take care of His mother Mary. I didn’t have to hear a voice to understand… “If I can take care of people while dying, you can make dinner for your husband, pregnant child of Mine.”
The face of God turned away from Jesus while He was on the cross. God saw Him, the living sacrifice, and saw all of my sin and shame. A holy God will have nothing to do with sin and so He turned His back on His own Son. Imagine Jesus’ emotional pain! Imagine the horror of being repulsive to God. He did that so that God would look at me, in all my bloated and achey glory, and see the image of His sinless Son. I may be in pain, but God has not abandoned me.
Jesus took on all that pain and suffering so that His chosen people might be forgiven, so that children might be adopted. He suffered the worst pain imaginable to bring me into His family. I can go through a little discomfort to bring Lily into the world.
Looking to Jesus really does put our troubles in perspective. It doesn’t change the fact that I still feel like a character from Alien with a Xenomorph about to burst from my belly, but it does make me realise that the pain is worthwhile. And in many ways, it makes me even more thankful for Jesus’ saving mercy. He died, descended into Hell, and rose again triumphantly so that I could be adopted. There’s no greater love. I can only hope to share a little bit of that love with my daughter and to teach her about our mighty Saviour.
Not to mention the fact that I’m doubly blessed to have wonderful friends and family who are supporting and loving my husband, my baby, and me through it all! I know you’re all probably pretty tired of hearing me complain and I’m sorry that I’ve been whiney. Thank you all for putting up with me, encouraging me, and (especially you other young mamas) being exceptionally understanding! I’m almost there. And I know it will be worth every second.