It was 4 weeks ago today… almost to the minute, that I gave birth to our daughter. I was 36 weeks 6 days pregnant on that Thursday afternoon. I was anticipating a baby shower later that night. As we drove to the doctor’s office, we were guessing how dilated I might be and how much longer until she’d arrive. We never expected hearing “you need to have this baby now!” from Dr. Jones. But as it turns out, my blood pressure (which had been monitored with non-stress tests for the past six weeks) was dangerously high. Knowing my desire for a natural birth, the doc suggested the option of being induced (at a 1 cm dilation) or a c-section…explaining his concerns of what my blood pressure could do during a long, hard labor.
We chose a c-section.
Within an hour of that conversation, our baby was in our arms. Perfect and beautiful. And suddenly all that we had been planning and preparing for had happened. Our daughter had arrived: 6 pounds and 14 ounces of pure joy.
My delivery was nothing like I had planned. But isn’t that typical? After all, I’ve committed to live the unexpected life.
I loved being pregnant and was surprised by the ache in my heart when the anesthesiologist numbed me and I could no longer feel her move inside of me. While I knew that a very real baby was about to be in my arms, I still felt this tug that I had not prepared for. What a transition.
Having miscarried two times prior to this pregnancy, I experienced a bit of anxiety during the first 12 weeks. But the nausea trumped and some how squashed out the worry. Once we saw an ultrasound everything shifted for me. Indeed, we had a viable pregnancy, we really were having a baby! It was at this point that I made an important choice: throughout this pregnancy, I was going to focus on the Atonement and trust in Alma’s promise:
And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind;
and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.
And he will take upon him death,
that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people;
and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy,
according to the flesh,
that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities.
nevertheless the Son of God suffereth according to the flesh
that he might take upon him the sins of his people,
that he might blot out their transgressions
according to the power of his deliverance;
and now behold, this is the testimony which is in me.
“Remember Him” became my mantra.
My focus has been on the atonement, coming unto Christ in a way that I had never thought to before. Trusting Him and His plan.
As I prepared for and practiced for my natural birth I visualized Him and His suffering. When I felt her move, I remembered Him. When I was sick, uncomfortable, aching or tired, I thought of Him. She became this powerful motivating force in my life, this symbol and type of Christ. So when it came time to have major surgery to deliver her…exactly what I did NOT want to have happen, I was reminded that one of the most important aspect of the atonement is to surrender: submit my will. And in this case, my choice wasn’t just about me, it was about the life of someone else…my daughter. Nevertheless. Thy will be done.
While my recovery has been amazing and our baby is healthy and so very happy and content, I’ve still experience quite a bit of anxiety.
Is she breathing?
Should she sound like that (she has a great assortment of animal sounds)?
Is she eating enough?
I’m a new, first time mother. I joke that I gave birth to twins that day: a baby and anxiety. Yet in the wakeful early morning hours, I’m stirred to remember Him. To surrender. AGAIN. To recognize that the pregnancy and the practice of coming unto Him was just the beginning. I have work to do.
Maybe it wasn’t anxiety and a baby that I gave birth to on January 23. It was my daughter and my new life. Two new creatures, born of Christ… blood, water, and spirit.
As I look at her, I remember Him. I see HIM in this vibrant, valiant spirit that we’ve given life to. This symbol of new life both physically and spiritually. I embrace this opportunity to surrender. And to learn. I welcome our beautiful daughter to our hearts and home- our symbol of Hope, the Perfect brightness of HOPE through the Atonement.
What a miracle: her, me, HIM.
Happy one month of mortality my sweet little friend.
Please keep teaching your mama.