The greatest pain gives birth to the greatest joy

[I began writing this post two days after giving birth, but the affairs of a newborn postponed its publishing until today, sorry, hehe.]

Just two days before our little girl was born, I had a lapse of judgment: I gave in to my craving to eat tuyo (dried fish) for breakfast. Later in the afternoon I began showing signs of pre-eclampsia. I really bloated so much, and so fast, it scared me and Hubby when he got home from work. Thinking quickly, he gave me a clove of garlic to eat. Whether it had a placebo effect I don’t know, but it helped me to sleep through the night. The next day, I was still bloated so we rushed to the clinic and saw the ob-gyn, who said I was still only 3cm dilated but because I was bloating too fast, she advised me to go home, get my bags and head to the hospital E.R. and be ready for a C-section.

I left the doctor’s office more troubled and downcast, and worried about so many things. I had always wanted to give birth naturally, just like when our son was born. Thankfully, my husband really encouraged me to stop the worrying and remember instead the first time he heard that we were going to have a baby girl: when he was in front of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, Israel. While he was praying for us, his family, he heard a gentle whisper: “You will have a daughter, and you will name her Moriyah.”

“Praise God!” was my first reaction to that news. After almost 6 years since our firstborn and a miscarriage three years ago, we held on to the hope of God’s promise of a daughter. A month after my husband arrived from that trip, a pregnancy test came out positive, and by the fifth month we learned that indeed I was carrying a baby girl! But I was not prepared for the drastic hormonal changes in my body. I spent most of my 9 months of pregnancy in bed rest. The experience was so different from my first pregnancy! I thought that by the third trimester things would be easier. But on my 36th week of pregnancy I began to dilate to 3cm, and then it stopped growing. Even after two weeks, as I was having mild pre-eclampsia already, there was still no increase in dilation.

But as my husband and I prayed after the visit to the doctor, a peace that was beyond understanding washed over me. From that peace, courage was born to fight for faith that God would answer the original prayer I had: to give birth normally.

After resting awhile, at 11pm I told my husband to take me to the birthing clinic instead of the hospital E.R. When we got there, the nurse looked at me and said in Filipino, “Oh here you are again, okay, let’s check if you’re really in labor…” (Bless their hearts, they really thought I wouldn’t know!)

When they checked me, they were so surprised because I was already 4cm dilated, and my water broke right then and there. And what surprised them even more was my happy response: “Oh yes! Finally!”

Things happened really quickly from that point on. I asked for Buscopan, rejected the anesthesia, and in less than an hour was fully dilated and in pain that I called for my Mommy twice (may her memory blessed!). Since it was midnight, there were less staff in the clinic and I had to walk to the delivery table while feeling my daughter’s head going down the birth canal. I still cringe, but at least I can laugh about it now.

One thought that played over and over my mind through that ordeal was this: “The greatest pain is surely followed by the greatest joy.”

After that one last painful push, the new life broke free. As soon as I heard her cry and saw her face, I couldn’t remember anything except this: if I had to, I would go through all that pain again. This joy is so worth it.

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