I haven't been blogging much this week because life has been full, and more than a little nerve-wracking. On Tuesday I had some significant contractions early in the morning that eventually eased off to fairly regular Braxton-Hicks contractions, so I decided to call my doctor and fill her in. She had me go into the hospital to check for preterm labor.
Everything looked great and I'm not in preterm labor, and that held true at yesterday's monitoring session at the hospital, too. However, I am dilated to two centimeters and am 50% effaced. Also, every time I get up from a resting position, I have contractions. So I'm now on bed/couch rest, at least for the next four weeks. I am 32 weeks and 1 day as I write this.
My reaction to all these happenings has been interesting. On Tuesday, I was quite cheerful in spite of finding out some things that would be cause for concern in any "normal" pregnancy, and certainly in a rainbow pregnancy. But I felt very confident that everything will be okay.
Since officially being put on bed/couch rest yesterday, though, I've become a little more grumpy. Sitting all the time makes my back ache, which in turn makes me afraid that I'll mistake contractions for bed rest discomfort. And I've also started to feel more scared in general. It's hard to sleep, and it's mentally and emotionally challenging to track contractions and baby movements with the rather neurotic level of attention that I am.
From that place of fear and crankiness, I've also started to feel sorry for myself. Look, I find myself hissing at God, I'm broken. Again. I'm so fed up with feeling broken, so sick of it. When are you going to fix me already?
It's easy to feel this way. I've felt devastatingly, irreparably broken for most of my life. A dysfunctional and hurtful family life growing up . . . debilitating depression . . . seventeen year's of enslavement to an eating disorder . . . what I call a "broken vagina" that robbed my husband and I of so much of our honeymoon's joy . . . our first child's unexplained death and stillbirth -- and now this. An overenthusiastic cervix. It's easy to feel sorry for myself/angry at God/exhausted/shame-filled.
Then I got to thinking -- what if brokenness isn't all that bad? What if my broken parts are actually windows into my heart, spaces which God can slip into and heal and powerfully overflow from into our ever-hurting world?
Now, I'm not saying that having an eating disorder or a family who huts me or our daughter's death-before-birth are good things. They're not. But what if the pain that these things have inflicted has softened my soul in a very good way?
Consider this quote that stopped me in my tracks when I read it in the classroom of this really great online course that I'm taking:
“Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
~ 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 (emphasis added)
Maybe this place of feeling broken again, of waiting and watching and feeling and feeling neurotic -- maybe there is strength here. God's strength. Strength of my own that I didn't know I had. Maybe there is Power perfected here.
I remind myself that my most powerful, most life-altering experiences of God's grace have come in my broken places, in my places of pain and grief and disease.
And so, I try to make myself content to wait here, back already aching from our lumpy couch, because there are so many reasons to hope. So many ways that God can and does use my brokenness, and yours. I don't know that this makes the waiting and the resting any easier, but it does make it feel more valuable.
I am resting with my eyes open.