I really didn't want another C-section. I asked everyone I knew (and even those I didn't know) to pray for me, that I would be able to avoid the procedure that had lengthened my recovery period so dramatically after having my twins (only 15 months ago). I enlisted all my favorite saints and assured new saint recruits that they would be listed among my favorites in gratitude for their intercession. St. Therese sent me a rose to let me know she had my back and my little ones added their powerful intercessory prayer to every family rosary. But in the end, God said no.
Every factor that needed to fall into place to allow for an attempted VBAC (vaginal birth after Caesarean section), fell through. I had been given little glimpses of hope, contractions starting the morning I needed them to, but only stopping instead of intensifying. Every spark of hope became a source of torture, like someone holding an Iced Cappuccino (my severe prego craving) in front of my face and whisking it away just as I reached out for it. I stared at the rose from St. Therese and almost wished I could send it back. I was hurt and felt so abandoned by a Heavenly Father who had so often given me more than I deserved. How could He say no to something that would clearly be better for me and my family? Why would He want to increase my suffering? I knew He loved me, so it pained me knowing that the Lord of my heart, the One who could easily move mountains and make paths in the desert, was choosing not to move this baby out in a way that would be less traumatic for my body and would end up laying a heavier burden on my family.
"I can't believe He's not answering my prayer," I told my husband. My husband's response was, "He always answers our prayers."
My eyes were burning with tears at that point.
"But His answer is no, so it doesn't really feel like an 'answered prayer'."
Then God brought me to the garden of Gethsemane - at least, mentally. Every time I prayed my mind was filled with the image of Christ begging His Father to save Him from the suffering that lay ahead - praying and weeping with such intensity that His sweat and tears became drops of blood.
"Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done." Luke 22:42
And I so wanted to joyfully pick up my cross and follow Him, but I couldn't.
Because I'm weak. Because I hate pain. Because I liked my plan for how things should go MUCH more than the plan God had for me.
I was comforted to see that even Christ could cry out with the voice of humanity and be struggling with the sacrifice He was being called to make, but I realized fully being His follower would mean that I too would have to say, "Thy will be done" and to find a way to offer the trial at hand for the good of others.
Don't laugh at me, but I first needed to grieve. I had to grieve the loss of MY will. As pathetic as it may seem, I went through the five stages of grief within two days. I experienced denial, fantasizing about giving birth secretly at home or devising some sort of plan to avoid the inevitable. I hit up the anger stage. I was so mad and frustrated that I took it out on... well, puzzle pieces. Usually, when I'd find the kids' stray puzzle pieces I'd locate the proper box and put them away, but not this time! I took those babies and whipped them into the recycling bin, "HA! Say bye bye!" (I know pretty lame, but we do have too many incomplete puzzles). I bargained with God (along with all my enlisted saints) and assured Him I'd write a very flattering blog about how He always comes through in the end, if He would just make a way for me.
Next, I just gave up and entered the depression stage where I cried hard, distanced myself from everyone and generally felt sorry for myself. And finally, I reached the coveted stage of acceptance and here's where I began to ask those around me if there was something that was weighing on their hearts for which I could offer my disappointment and impending recovery period. I offered my pain in hearing no from God and asked if He would in turn say yes to the other women I knew who were hoping for VBACs, as well as all those women who were praying for safe and healthy deliveries. Because in the end, God's no to one thing is often a huge yes to something else.
A friend of mine who prayed for years that God would fill her womb with a child, was met with a firm no, but elsewhere, another woman was bringing several children into the world (in spite of not being able to care for them) and those children are now in my friend's arms. Had God said yes to her, in her desire to mother her own biological children, she would never have considered adopting the little ones God had intended for her.
I don't fully understand why God said no to me. I know there's a yes somewhere. Perhaps I would have ruptured if I had attempted the VBAC, which could have caused serious harm to myself or to our newest little member, Callista Therese (I obviously got over my disappointment regarding the rose). I may never know the reason, but I do think that in surrendering my will, perhaps I was able to offer more than I could have otherwise.
Thanks be to God, Callista arrived safely on May 20th. Being the month of Mary, I am grateful to have been able to follow the example of Our Lady in her submission to God's will - that I could come to echo her fiat:
"Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be done unto me according to thy word." Luke 1:38