amy courts: en route


…But Now My Eyes Have Seen You
June 2, 2011, 5:16 pm
Filed under: Baby, Faith and Faith Life

In the days immediately preceding Elijah’s birth, I was convinced I’d been abandoned by God.

After all, I spent my days dedicating my full passion and much ferocity to praying that Eli would come on his own, and focusing all my physical energy on making my body (and his) conducive to a “successful” natural labor. I did everything all those websites say induces labor, from walking to running to drinking red raspberry leaf tea to exercise-ball-bouncing to using the breast pump to sex to acupuncture to eating pineapple. The only thing I refused to do was drink castor oil.

And the boy wouldn’t come.

So I was pretty angry with God. He was ignoring me. He wasn’t pressing the “Elijah, come forth!” button, and seemed to be interfering with my attempts to press it. On those evenings when 5 hours of consistent contractions just inexplicably stopped, I was certain I was the butt of some not-hilarious cosmic jokes.

I was being teased and ignored; I was sure of it.

And then Friday happened. And everything fell apart. I had inconceivably hard contractions. My son’s heart rate rapidly disappeared. I very nearly bled to death.

But lying in my ICU bed, listening to the perfectly soothing sounds of my Labor & Delivery iTunes playlist (and for the record, I am very skilled at creating situation-appropriate playlists), I took stock of the days and only then started to realize how perfectly near God was throughout.

Like I said in a previous post, I have no idea how long Eli had a knot in his cord, or what effect those weeks and weeks of braxton hicks contractions might have had on his little heart while he wasn’t on the monitor. I know there were two contractions the day he was born – one in the morning, the other in the afternoon – that caused a major deceleration of his heart rate. And yet, he was delivered in perfect health. I believe God very actively preserved his life.

I’m also convinced it wasn’t mere luck that landed me on the operating table in the hands of some of the most skilled doctors and surgeons at Vanderbilt. I didn’t get the B-student doctors; I was cared for by world-class over-achievers that night. One Doula-friend in Texas even said that if any of her patients ever had to have a c-section, she’d want it done by Dr. Spetalnick, who performed mine. I can’t count the times I heard ICU and postpartum nurses comment about how lucky I was to be under the care of Drs. Gold and Rebele, et.al. during my surgeries. They saved my life.

Neither did luck land me under the care of The Best SICU Nurses In The World, who ignored my early morning belligerence (you have no idea how frustrating it is to wake up in an unknown bed with the horrifying sound of elevator music blaring from the speakers in the bed itself with no way to say “turn that off NOW!” thanks to a breathing tube snaking down to your stomach…), and instead treated me with kindness, gentleness, and total but compassionate honesty…and seriously doted on my most adorable baby boy.

But maybe more significant than any other anecdotal bit is the sheer number of emails, texts, or other messages and comments I’ve received from people who, for whatever reason, had me on their minds or couldn’t help but pray for me that night and over the days that followed. They knew something was wrong, and – as one person said – felt “compelled to pray.”

For me.

I’m no great intercessor, and it’s rare that I ever feel that burden to pray for specific people. So it’s miraculous to me that God actually interrupted other peoples’ lives on my behalf. And not just one, but many people.

During our weeks of lessons on “how to do this thing naturally,” my Doula kept telling me about how during and after the births of her two sons, the Scripture that was burned on the back of her eyelids was Job 42:5 – “My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you.” She told us over and over that’s what childbirth does to you: It shows you God.

But for me…well, it wasn’t going to be “my” verse. It just didn’t resonate.

Until I was there, on my death bed, and pulled back to mother my newborn (only) son…Until I saw and understood the weight of what happened to us, and the significance of the literal salvation all three of us – Paul, Elijah, and I – experienced that night.

Now, that verse carries all the weight of the world, especially when I consider the context in which it’s situated biblically:

4 “You said, ‘Listen now, and I will speak;
   I will question you,
   and you shall answer me.’
5 My ears had heard of you
   but now my eyes have seen you.
6 Therefore I despise myself
   and repent in dust and ashes.”
                                     (Job 42:4-6)

Indeed, my ears had heard. But now my eyes have seen God in all His goodness and wonder, working on my behalf, and I am compelled to my knees in utmost gratefulness for delivering us in so many ways, and in repentance for having ever doubted His goodness or questioned His presence…for having accused Him of something He promised He would never, ever do.

And I declare (if I can do so without sounding either ridiculously Southern or sillily archaic):

God does not abandon or forsake us.

He simply does not.

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6 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Amy! God has given you the give of words my friend and every time i read something you have written on this area, it brings me to tears. Not in a bad way! In a way that makes Gods miracles more alive to me and I am thankful for that. I said it once, but i will continue to say it, we love you so, so much and are so glad for the truth that God never abandons us in our darkest hour. 🙂

Comment by sarah hensel

i have always thought… what if i had’t exercised??? (i am NOT an exerciser, but during pregnancy i did)… i truly believe HE put that desire in me knowing my body was going to need all the extra strength and fitness possible…

praying for you still – and always… it gets easier! (never easy – but er :):))

Comment by marilyn

I wondered that too…what if i hadn’t been so adamant about running 5 days a week and doing yoga and weights? Could I have avoided the bh contractions and not worn out my uterus? But then I remember how the doctors all said it was *so good* that I was so healthy, cause they were able to give me more blood without such high risk of infection/reaction, etc. Being crazy addicted to running helped save me…and here I was thinking it’d aid in my natural labor. 🙂

God is, as ever, infinitely wise on His planning!

Comment by amycourts

Amy, you are an incredible writer, which is probably what also makes you such an incredible songwriter. Thank you for sharing your story…and for the reminder of God’s faithfulness. Praying for you still as you process all this and for your family.

Amy in PA

Comment by Amy

I’m so glad to hear you were ok and they were able to save both u and Eli. Sometimes we can try everything in the world to do everything the perfect way and nature still has its way of determining the outcome. Don’t feel bad that you couldn’t do it naturally. I firmly believe that when it comes to childbirth and pregnancy, it is often times beyond our control. There are druggie mothers out there who deliver their babies with no complications whatsoever (grrrr). For whatever reason(s), healthy moms have to go thru close calls (sadly some experience infant death–a co-worker of mine recently lost her full term baby girl to a cord accident–wrapped around 5 times–very rare to be that much). I’ve miscarried two times at 4 1/2 months this past year (both were boys) and for whatever reason, it wasn’t meant to be. I ended up needing a blood transfusion with the second miscarriage b/c I bled so much and passed out two times. I could have died at home if they would have sent me home from the hospital (cuz I wasn’t bleeding much initially, but that suddenly changed 4 hours later) b/c my husband was at work during the time–which meant I’d have passed out cold home alone. I like to say sometimes poo happens and it doesn’t mean God loves us any more or any less…(despite my intellect being reluctant to accept that.) :p For whatever reason(s), things don’t always turn out they way we anticipate.
-A. Mikhaeil 🙂

Comment by Amanda

Amy, I vividly remember the day you were in labor. It was graduation at KPHS and something in my spirit was unsettled and frustrated, so I prayed under my breath in the spirit getting ready and driving to Springview. The gnawing in my spirit just wouldn’t cease. Then I saw your parents’ faces and the torment in each movement. I went to my classroom, closed the door, and cried out to God for you, Elijah, & Paul. For the rest of the day, I found myself praying in tongues for no apparent reason. God is so awesome to have others surround us with love and peace when the war is waging all around. I too know what it is like to almost lose a child in labor. The only people with my husband and I when Lucas was born were the hospital staff. No other phone calls or well wishers. Even in that time of great pain, I had peace from God. I may not be able to have more biological children, and I do feel the loss from time to time, but I know that God saved my life and the life of my child on purpose. A few months after Lucas was born, I was praying in my room when God revealed to me how close I had come to dying and how people around the world were praying in the spirit for me and my situation directly without their minds even knowing. No one at our church knew what was happening. My family didn’t know what was happening, but God knew and He did not forsake us. Grieving is a lifelong process which enables us to live more freely and closer to God. You have inspired me in so many ways. I am truly blessed to know you and your blessed family. Thank you for allowing me to fellowship with you.

Comment by Christy Clay




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