Walking into my house, I got the news…Sandra was in labor. I turned right back around and walked out of the gate. On my way to the hospital, I receive a phone call – they want to take Sandra in for the operation (c-section) right then. “No, Lord, not yet! I need to see her – talk with the doctors. I wanted her to be able to try to push! Not the operation – not yet!”
When I arrived at the hospital, Sandra was already in a small examination room in the maternity ward. She was lying on her side in much pain, but in complete silence. I found her confused mother outside – she looked as if she didn’t know what in the world to do or what to even think. The doctors had decided to wait until I arrived and could talk with them. But even after talking, it was certain. Operation. They told me that they had to do the c-section. After checking her, it was concluded that her pelvis was too small, she was too young, and she was a PG. Therefore, much to my disappointment the decision was made: operation.
I had just wanted Sandra to be able to try to push the baby. And if complications arose, or her pelvis truly was too small – then by all means perform the c-section, but for a 15 year old girl with a first pregnancy – I wanted this delivery to be natural…for so many health and safety reasons. But…God is sovereign and in control – and He took this one out of my hands.
I stayed by Sandra’s side while we waited for her to be taken to the “theatre” (the operating room). She was in a lot of pain, but she just wanted to lay on her side and squeeze my arms. I rubbed and rubbed her back to help ease the pain. Her mother was still at a loss as to how to help or keep busy, so I sent her outside with the other women who had come from the village to offer support. The doctor showed up a while later and moved us to the theatre “waiting room”. That almost made it worse. I wish we could have stayed in the small examination room – at least we wouldn’t have had to watch all of the other women coming out on stretchers and covered in sheets, and in so much pain. The nervousness increased a little for each person waiting as we watched the mothers come out one by one. But the prayers continued and God’s peace flooded that waiting room. We all knew the danger – we all knew how easily something could go wrong. As much as I tried to push thoughts from my mind, I kept having flashbacks. To this summer…to this same place…to the newborn infant that died in my arms. His mother had undergone the operation – and didn’t do very well afterward. He had ended up not making it after struggling for breath for the few hours of his short life. I knew all too well the dangers.
The images kept playing in my mind. The thoughts kept coming…and His peace kept me still on that concrete bench as we waited. I felt the prayers of many back home. And I felt His peace cover me like a blanket. We had prayed. We had prepared as best we could. and now it was His turn…His turn to do the rest. My job was to rest in His peace and control – and leave everything in His hands.
We sat on the concrete bench and ended up waiting for over an hour or so before the doctor came out, gave me a look, and I stood up with Sandra. The operation card officially said, “Kizza Sandra. Inadequate pelvis. Young PG.” …all meaning “C-section”. Sandra stood up from the bench, held her card, wrapped the bed sheet tighter around herself, and walked straight through the doors behind the doctor. She didn’t look at us. She didn’t turn around. She didn’t say a word. She had signed her thumbprint – giving full consent. The doctor was not to be held liable if anything went wrong. She held her head high and marched straight into that operating room.
15 years old. Pregnant. Strange doctors. Scary hospital. Knowing full well the possibility that she might not come out…Walking into an operation room.
I knew the fear was just below the surface of that stoic face and rigid body. But I also knew the peace of God was right there with it. I know her beliefs – I know her faith. And I know my God. He walked with her into that operation room when I had to wait outside…and I had to trust Him that He was going to bring her out again. Lord-willing with a beautiful, healthy little baby.
Waiting. Waiting is the hard part. But 1 hour and 15 minutes later, the nurse carried out a healthy, crying baby boy. As I held him in my arms, I breathed in that familiar newborn baby smell. I held his little fingers and toes in my hands while I gazed upon his newborn little face. I rocked him, walked him, talked to him – everything, but the crying just did not want to stop. He kept crying and exerting so much energy crying – and I knew he hadn’t breastfed yet. An hour went by. His breathing and heart rates seemed to be going down pretty rapidly, but I didn’t want to panic. I began to get a little concerned, but just told myself that the baby was sleepy and getting tired from crying. The flashbacks started again anyway. A c-section baby. I began to pray…I did not want to deal with another episode of CPR on a newborn. But as I prayed and watched him closely, he seemed to just be falling asleep and slowing down. 30 more minutes passed – it was now going on 2 hours since the baby had been brought out of the operating room, and still no sign of Sandra. As I sat in the maternity ward surrounded by mothers and newborns, I watched the life happening around me. LIFE. Newborn, baby, infant, perfect, miracle – LIFE. I watched the babies with their mothers, and the older women with their daughters and grandchildren…and I breathed a prayer of thanks. A prayer of thanks for life. And the beauty of God’s creation in human life.
As I sat and prayed, Sandra finally came out. They wheeled her into the maternity ward and over to the bed I had been sitting on with the baby. I still didn’t know the baby’s name – Sandra had not told anyone beforehand what the name would be whether boy or girl, so we were patiently waiting. Sandra was completely unconscious, which I was thankful for. Some women come out and the anesthesia was not done properly and they are still very much awake, aware, and in pain.
Once they moved Sandra onto the bed, I held the baby up to her chest to try to force the baby to breastfeed. He woke up and became very active and was very eager to eat. After ensuring that the baby was eating well, Sandra was fine, they had all necessary supplies, food, etc, I made my way back home with the promise of returning in the morning.
I walk through my front gate and am greeted immediately by my own miracles of life. The ones who were born who knows where. In a hospital? Doubtful. In a clinic? Maybe. Probably in a hut on a dirt floor somewhere deep in a village. I don’t know. The reality hits me again – I do not know. I know so little about them, about their lives before I first met them. Here I just left a mother and newborn baby that I have been with throughout pregnancy and now birth. And I have been able to witness births and hold these newborns just moments after drawing their first breaths – and yet with my own children…I have no idea. I didn’t have that privilege. I wasn’t there to witness their births, to breathe in that newborn baby smell on their skin, to watch their every move since birth…no. But God was. He was there on the day of their births. He was there holding them in His arms when they let out their first cries. He held their hands and walked them through the very difficult first days, weeks, and months of their lives. Then…He chose to graciously walk them into my arms, into my life, and into my love.
Birth. Life. Such amazing and miraculous events. And I stand in awe of my God as I witness life daily. I pray yet again that I never take it for granted – the miracle of human life. That I never take for granted – the gift of each breath. And I pray fervently…that I never take for granted the gift of each precious life that He so graciously allows me to be a part of. Whether it be as Mommy, daughter, granddaughter, sister, friend, or even stranger…my prayer is that I could just pour the love of Jesus into every precious life that He walks into mine.