Monday, July 31, 2017

Labor Pains

Evangelina's baptismal gown was made by her grandma using her wedding dress
July 22nd Evangelina Lucia was born 10:45 at night weighing 3.5 kilos. It was the “most incredible” experience. I planned everything out; Wait until contractions are 3-2 minutes apart and then go to the hospital so as not to drag the process out. Once in the hospital, I had meditative music to distract from the pain, and a nice crucifix on the wall to focus on when the contractions got hard (after all, if He could do that, then I could do this). I had essential oils to calm me, and my husband to support and admire the woman who would push new life from her birth giving hips into this world. 
I prayed leading up to the 22nd that God would grant me strength to view the labor as a chance to draw close to the cross and suffering of Christ. I prayed that in my suffering I would be able to recall the far greater sufferings of Christ and remember what it was that He did to give us life in Him. I had a plan that giving birth was going to be an all natural and spiritual experience for me where I would marvel at the gift of life that God gives and then also embrace suffering as means of being drawn closer to Christ. Plans rarely work out how I want them to no matter how much I perfectly prepare. 

Grandma and mom made the cake
After a few weeks of labor pains, off and on, we decided on the 22nd to go into the hospital to make sure everything was okay and to know for sure if there were any signs apart from the pain that could tell us how much longer I would have to endure everything. So that evening, after dinner, we went to pass by the hospital at about 9:00 at night. There weren’t any signs from my body for the midwife that said Evangelina was close but Evangelina was saying something else. The midwife wanted to check her heart-rate before letting us leave and in the process she found troubling that Evangelina’s heart-rate was way too high. She had me wait another ten minutes before checking again and she notified me that they would have to do an emergency cesarian. I immediately began to sob and tremble uncontrollably. Roberto and I prayed and I kept apologizing to my husband for not being able to bring our daughter into the world in a way that would be natural and allow for him to be present as well. I was terrified of the unplanned pain of a cesarian and the surrender of my body into the hands of the medical professionals over the natural process I had so meticulously planned. I was ready for natural birth, but nothing could prepare me for the shock and pain that came with having a cesarian. It was the unknown and uncontrollable for me.
blanket made by grandma with wedding dress
That is when I realized God had answered my prayer for strength. In the unknown and uncontrollable surrender to having Evangelina brought into the world in a way far more uncontrolled than I had wanted, I was surrendering to God. I depended more upon God to bring me through to the other side than I did on my birthing hips and a crucifix on the wall. I prayed without ceasing that my baby would be okay and that I would not go into shock for the traumatic experience my mind and body was going through in screaming “no! no! no!” while trying to do what I did not want to do. I was violently shaking while they took my clothes off in front of people passing by, I was separated from my loved ones and afraid of not having my cultural crutch of a husband by my side, it was labor without dignity (not that there are many labors with dignity). I decided the best thing I could do was to calm down and just give in to being numb of physical pain for two hours. I realized that the idea of my meditative labor and delivery was my idea of being drawn into the pain and suffering of Christ. I realized just how far from His suffering we often are in our minds and hearts all the while with good intentions of drawing close. 
Being led where we don’t want to go is often what it is that draws us closer to Christ. It is in those places where we realize that we do not draw close to Him but that He draws close to us. We cannot do for ourselves nor of our own be brought into Him and His suffering. It is by His grace that when we are in the midst of it all we realize, He has never left our side and He becomes all the more powerfully present as we realize what little control we really have in life. 
We thank and praise God for keeping Evangelina and I safe in the midst of labor and delivery and we also thank and praise God for brining her into this world. We rejoice all the more as this Sunday, Evangelina was brought into God’s family through the waters of Holy Baptism. Thank you so much to all of you who were praying for us, God was with us and we have made it to the other side. 

John 21:18New King James Version (NKJV)
18 Most assuredly, I say to you, when you were younger, you girded yourself and walked where you wished; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish.”

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Bad news and Good news

For those of you who don’t know; I experienced a miscarriage this past winter (Argentinian winter- summer in the states). For me, the loss was too soon in an early marriage and it forced me to look at things and grieve things I never allowed myself to grieve before. Five months into an intercultural marriage is perhaps too soon to be ready to have kids, maybe reckless and irresponsible, but Roberto and I were both in agreement that this was what we wanted. We agreed that we weren’t going to hold the hand of God based on our personal time-lines. 

I cried to God for the loss praying; “We only want a family! Why would you allow us to get our hopes up? Weren’t our intentions Godly?! Why me?” When all my sad sorry cries were out, rationality settled in. I realized that to ask God; “Why me?” would force me to ask the same question later should He bless us with children. “Why do we get to have children and others not?” At the end of the day it was safer to just trust and believe that like all barren and fruitful women it isn’t about the “why her and not me?” questions. It is about knowing and believing that through it all, it is not one over the other. It is Christ for all. At the end of the day our souls magnify the Lord, and our Spirits rejoices in God our Savior for He has acknowledged the lowliness of all of us even the unborn. I don’t want to know “Why me” because I might come to know something far worse than morning sickness, worse than the loss of a child, worse than bareness, worse than a lifetime of loneliness, worse than a life of poverty. We have a great gift in Christ that we find the answers to all our questions of “why” in Him. “Why me?” becomes a question we only ask in response to the undeserved salvation won for us.   

We all know someone who struggles with “why” questions whether it is due to a miscarriage, loss, or something hoped for and never attained. We might be that person, or it might be someone close to us, we pray and weep for all who struggle. Roberto and I however are no longer in this place my friends, we are expecting again and from the morning sickness I experienced; this baby wants to make itself known! While we weeped last July for the loss of a life, we hope to be rejoicing this July for the new life given through the waters of Holy baptism. We are told to expect this baby at the end of July and we hope to baptize him or her right away in the church. 
Thank you to everyone for your prayers, love, and support. 

1 Samuel 2:1New King James Version (NKJV)

Hannah’s Prayer

And Hannah prayed and said:
“My heart rejoices in the Lord;
My horn[a] is exalted in the Lord.
I smile at my enemies,
Because I rejoice in Your salvation.