Today, while I was in church, when the pastor gave us the scripture reference I flipped past a tattered tract that I keep in my bible as a reminder that "The Lord is Our Protector" (that is the title of the tract). The tract is a small slip of glossy paper about the size of a dollar bill. I remember when I got this I felt like God himself was speaking directly to my heart.
(I did not intend for this to be another "birth story", but it is. . .not graphic though. . .lol)
On a cold day in January 1997 I went into labor with Maeghan, my third child. My daughter Catherine was 5 and Zachary was 4. We dropped Catherine and Zachary off on the way to the hospital at a friends house. After arriving at the hospital and getting all checked in, we settled into the hospital excited about welcoming our newest Thomas into the world! I should have known that this delivery would not like first two were since the pregnancy was nothing like the first two. I did not have 1 day of being sick with the first two pregnancies, but with this third one I was sick for 6 months straight!
I was laying on my side all hooked up to monitors and the nurse left the room to check on other patients because I was only 3 centimeters along. My doctor was somewhere else in the hospital calling to cancel a procedure he had scheduled so that he could be available to deliver the baby. We all thought that the delivery would go quickly since my first two has gone fairly fast. Ralph was sitting in a chair next to the bed rubbing my arm when a contraction came on. I looked at him and said something like "It's time" or "the baby is coming". He kept stroking my arm and agreed, "I know she will be here soon" or something, to which I responded, "No, you don't understand. I mean NOW. Go get the nurse, the baby is coming!" He looked a little surprised, but was spurred into action by the grip I had on his arm because of the intense contraction!
The nurse walked into the room (way too slowly, lol!) and sweetly said to me (like I was a child who had not clue what I was saying) "So you think the baby is coming?"
DUH!!! Sometimes I wonder where they get these people!
"Well, lets check!" she said, unconvinced that I had a clue as to what I was talking about. After all she went to nursing school, I had only had 2 children already and was the one in LABOR! The nurse helped my turn very ungracefully onto my back so she could see how many centimeters dilated I was now.
This is when I wished I had a video camera for her reaction. She practically screamed, "There's the head"
You think? Maybe I do know what is going on with MY OWN BODY!!!!!
So the next several minutes were a flurry of activity that would have been comical if I was not in agonizing pain! There was no time for an epidural or any kind of pain medicine. Heck there was barely time for the doctor to put his surgical gloves on!
Maeghan was born after 1 push! I could tell right away that something was not right as the baby was taking over to the warmer. The doctor continued to work on me and was stitching me up as the pediatrician worked on Maeghan. A few minutes later Maeghan was taken to the NICU. I had never not been able to hold my baby right away. I wanted to run to be with her, but I could not since the doctor had to stitch me up (Maeghan was 9 pounds 9 ounces and I pused once, so there was a lot of tearing), so Ralph went to be with her in the NICU.
Turns out Maeghan had TTNB or Transient Tachypnea of the Newborn from being born too fast! Normally the fluid in the baby's lungs gets "squeeszed" out during delievery, but there was not enough time for that to happen with Maeghan. I was not allowed to get out of bed to go see Maeghan for what seemed like forever because I was not allowed to walk since I had just given birth.
I was not prepared for what I did see when I finally was wheeled into the NICU. Among all of the tiny preemie babies was Maeghan, who looked like the linebacker of the NICU- with a cake plate over her head (or at least that is what it looked like!) and iv's in her head and tubes in her nose and montitors hooked up all over her! Maeghan ended up staying in the NICU for several days getting antibiotics and breathing treatments and has no lasting effects from the TTNB.
Ok, all of that long story to tell you where I was in my life when I got this tract. It was the morning after Maeghan was born and I was alone in the hospital. Ralph was home with Catherine and Zachary and Maeghan was in the NICU. I did not have any family close. With my breakfast tray came a small paper folded in half. On the front was beautiful mountain scene reflected in a blue lake and the title "The Lord is Our Protector". I am sure that the hospital worker who put that tract there did not know about my story, but God did. He knew I was scared and He met me where I was. I opened up the tract and read it.
The Lord is Our Protector
I look to the hills!
Where will I find help?
It will come from the Lord,
Who Created the Heavens and the earth.
The Lord is your protector,
and he won't go to sleep or let you stumble
The protector of Israel doesn't doze or ever get drowsy.
The Lord is your protector,
there at your right side to shade you from the sun.
You won't be harmed by the sun during the day
or the moon at night.
The Lord will protect you
and keep you safe from all dangers.
The Lord will protect you
now and always wherever you go.
WOW! I replaced the words "You" and "I" with "Maeghan" and prayed that prayer over and over. I felt like I could rest and let God take care of Maeghan, something I did NOT do the night before!
I have gone back to these words many times in the past 12 and a half years.
- Just a year later when Maeghan literally almost died from a virus (that is another post!)
- When Zach broke his leg
- The time Chris needed stitches
- The 4 (yes, 4!) times Robert needed stitches (all before his 3rd birthday!)
- In the ambulance with Zach on our way to Children's Mercy when he was only 6 and had a severe kidney infection
- In another ambulance with Robert who was spitting up blood after he fell
- Driving to Maryland when my mother was dying
- watching Wally die just six months later from the same disease
- and so many many other times
Lord, I ask for your Protection right now for my family.
Protect Ralph, Catherine, Zachary, Maeghan, Christopher, and Robert from the flu that is causing them to be sick with fever and fatigue. Ease their coughing and cool their fevers.
I lift up Jana, Josh, Bailey and Charlee. Touch them right now Lord. Take the pain away from Jana. Calm the cough and allow them to rest peacefully.
Take away the vomiting from Jessi and protect the rest of her family from the virus, Lord.
Watch over everyone else who has come into contact with the germs from this virus and keep them well. Lord, Thank You for reminding me that YOU will protect me and my family.