Pregnancy and Prayers: The 4th Trimester Trials
How I Dealt With God Saying No
I remember when I found out I was pregnant. I nervously waited for the Clear Blue digital test to give me the results. When the words “Pregnant” appeared on the little blue and white stick, I ran to my husband who was unloading clothes from the dryer. My hand was trembling as I showed it to him. We celebrated and cried together. It was a historically surreal moment for us. The next couple of weeks brought on nausea, headaches, vomiting, light-headiness and shortness of breath.
It was horrible.
Since it was my first rodeo and my mother was sickly throughout all four of her pregnancies, I thought my sickness was normal. One Sunday morning, my husband and I were headed out the door for church. He set the alarm and we walked out the door together. I took maybe four steps out the door and nearly collapsed. A pain in my chest caused me to double over in pain. My husband panicked and said he would call 911. I asked him to take me back inside and just let me catch my breath. I laid on the bed for about five minutes and felt fine. I wanted to go to church so we headed out once again.
When we made it the church parking lot, I opened the door and all of my breakfast came up as I tried to step out the car. Again, besides the unusual pain in my chest that morning, the vomiting had became quite normal to me. I wanted to go on into church but my husband put his foot down and said he was going to get me checked out.
When we arrived at American Family Care, I found out I had walking pneumonia. The doctor was very concerned but would not prescribe any medication due to me being in my 1st trimester. He urgently advised that I contact my physician first thing in the morning. As instructed, I called my OBGYN office first thing Monday morning and told them I was diagnosed with walking pneumonia. I assumed they would ask me to come in that day; however, I was advised that I would be called back. I waited all day Monday and no one ever called me back.
I called Tuesday morning and vocalized my disappointment. I asked if I could come in for a walk-in appointment. Again, I was told I would be called back. When a.m. turned to p.m., I called again and was assured I would receive a call that day. To my disappointment, Tuesday came and went with no call back from my OBGYN.
I woke up Wednesday morning in tears. I was terrified that I would lose my unborn child due to the negligence of the doctor’s office. I felt as if it didn’t matter to them if I or my unborn child lived or died. I was 120 lbs. at the start of my pregnancy and I had dropped down to 105 lbs. I couldn’t keep anything down and started to fret. Considering I am a black woman and statistics show that black women are three times more likely to die due to pregnancy-related issues compared to white women, I was rightfully so hysterical.
I called my mom in tears (my husband had to work but encouraged me to either call or go to the office). She immediately came to pick me up, and we walked into the OBGYN office together. Although we had to wait, I was seen and treated that day. (Thank God for my mom!)
As the pregnancy went on, my sickness started to subdue and I was able to actually enjoy my pregnancy. I started reading What to Expect When You’re Expecting by Heidi Murkoff. I would track my baby girls growth on TheBump.com. I started watching YouTube videos and reading forums on what other expecting mothers were experiencing. I became excited!
People began complimenting me on my glow. I started to feel beautiful in all my pregnancy glory. I felt like someone should announce my presence wherever I went, "All Hail Quin, The Mighty Life Carrier!"... not all the time, but pregnancy can make a woman fell grand.
Then, the nesting began as the nursery came together. The months dwindled to weeks, and the weeks to days. And finally, on January 31st at approximately 11:00 p.m. My water broke. It was game time. I didn’t feel any contractions. I literally walked myself into the emergency room. I didn’t know if other women were wimps or if I just had a high threshold for pain. I was admitted and waited for the pain to hit. I didn’t have one single contraction all night.
At 6:00 a.m. on February 1st, I was informed I would be induced because my baby was losing amniotic fluid. I soon found out that women weren’t wimps at all and I was not the mighty warrior that I thought I was. I made it to 6cm before I caved in and requested the epidural. Then, at 4:01 p.m. we welcomed our beautiful baby girl into the world.
Time stood still in that moment.
When they put her on my chest, I cried uncontrollably. It was supernatural and I just couldn’t grasp the concept of what had just transpired. We stayed in the hospital until late Sunday evening. We brought our daughter home that night and our lives changed forever.
I cried again the night we brought our baby girl home. But it wasn't tears of joy, it was tears of sadness.
It was about 3 a.m. and my sweet baby girl had been up since 2 a.m. crying and I couldn’t figure out why. I was breastfeeding her every two hours as instructed. She had on a fresh diaper. She was neatly swaddled and in the care of my arms. I rocked her back in forth in the rocking chair in her adorably designed nursery. I had no clue why she was crying or how to make her stop.
Then the feelings of failure crept in. I thought since I helped my mom raise my two younger brothers that I had an idea of how to care for a child. I was wholly delusional to think that babysitting my little brothers could compare to raising a child on my own.
I cried hysterically. I began to think that I would fail as I mom. I began to think I couldn’t do motherhood and that I was in way over my head. Then it clicked. She may be hungry. Yes, I had been breastfeeding her for the past hour which resulted in cracked nipples and pain… but I hadn’t seen a drop of milk yet. I thought, as I was told in the hospital and based on my own research, that the colostrum would be enough for my baby’s walnut sized tummy.
But I remembered an unfortunate article that I read of a mother who lost her child because the baby basically died from dehydration. It was not a case of negligence but of a simple uneducated series of events. I loathed the idea of giving my baby formula. I had my heart set on solely breastfeeding for at least 6 months. But as 3 a.m. eased into 4 a.m. and my baby was still screaming to the top of her lungs, I headed to the kitchen to prepare a bottle from the formula provided to me from the OBGYN office. When I gave my baby the bottle, her little eyes widened with what looked to be surprise and relief. She instantly went to sleep and so did I.
My sweet baby girl is one now.
That first year was the hardest year of my entire life. My milk came in on day 2 or 3 after bringing baby home and a solely breastfed her for 10 months straight. By the middle of month 10 my milk stash was gone and my milk supply had tanked. I had to supplement with formula. I was crushed because I was only 2 months away from 12 months.
I prayed that God would just give me until she turned one. But it was not so. I also remember being crushed when I returned to work from maternity leave. I had to separate from my baby and send her to daycare. I prayed fervently throughout my maternity leave that God would some how make a way for me to either be a stay-at-home mom or allow my mom or mother-in-law to watch my child. Our finances would not allow me to be a stay-at-home mom and we could not afford to pay my mom enough money to replace one of the two jobs that she worked.
But I expected God to make a way anyhow. My mother-in-law was considering retiring at that time so I thought that was my way out. However, that fell through as she would not have reaped all of her benefits if she would have retired at that time. I was devastated. The night before I was scheduled to return back to work I cried again — by the way I am not a super emotional person so all of these tears was just as new to me as everything else.
I literally laid down in my daughter’s nursery in the fetal position and cried HARD. The next day at work I am sure the workers at the daycare grew tired of how often I called. They reassured me that she was fine. When I got off work, I zoomed to get my baby and hold her. I cradled her and loved on her and thanked God that she was okay. Everyday on the way to work I would pray that God would keep her protected. Yet, I honestly pondered why God did not allow me to be a stay-at-home mom. Or why He didn’t at least allow someone within my family to care for her. Or why he couldn’t just give me two more months of breastfeeding. I was so confident that He would answer my prayers…
So,why do I still believe in a God who did not give me the desires of my heart? I believe in Him because I recall what the Apostle Paul stated when he prayed to God but his request was denied.
2 Corinthians 12:8–9 King James Version (KJV) For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
Paul asked God three times to remove what we call the “thorn in his flesh”. But God did not remove it. Instead, he provided grace to Paul to make it with the thorn in his flesh. God’s grace for my daughter and I proved to be sufficient, even though I did not want her to go to daycare. His grace was sufficient even without the last two months of breastfeeding. My hectic schedule — starting at 5 a.m. and ending at 9ish p.m. to wake up and do it all over again is trying (not to mention the 2–3 night awakenings in the first year).
It has made me question the quality of my work as a mother, wife, friend, and employee. I began to feel like a Jack of All Trades but Master of None. I found myself fighting to not be depressed. Trying my hardest to count my blessings instead of the stumbling blocks. Juggling working 40 hours a week, pumping and breastfeeding, taking care of an infant, and trying to be a wife is by far the hardest thing I have ever had to do.
Yet, God’s grace proved sufficient. Much of the beginning of the 4th trimester felt like a sleep-deprived blur. Yet, I would not change a thing. Even my baby going to daycare was a blessing in disguise. Before her attendance at daycare, my baby would cry all the time. Not because there was anything wrong with her but because she wanted to be held 24/7. She has always been extremely observant and she wanted to be held so she can have a full view of her surroundings. I am not sure what exactly flipped the switch,but before her first week of daycare was over, she was a much calmer baby. I could actually put her down for more than 10 minutes without her pitching a fit. I also learned through daycare that a baby swing was my best friend and great way for my daughter to have a view without being held. Even the supplementation of formula took the pressure off of me keeping a very restricting pumping schedule.
Carrying a baby is hard. Raising a child is even harder. It has brought on fears and anxieties that I did not expect to have. I have consumed more coffee in one year than I have my entire life. My weight has fluctuated more than it has in my entire life. I have struggled and cried. I have celebrated and laughed. I know the love that I have for my child can only come from God. This love is too deep to not be divine. So although God did not answer my prayers the way I wanted him to, his grace was sufficient.
As I watch my daughter run around and play to her heart’s contentment, I realize that having a child at all is an answered prayer. There are many women who wish they could cry over sending their child to daycare. Some women wanted to breastfeed but weren’t able to. God’s favor is very much so evident in my life. Therefore, I won’t allow the denial (or delay) of a handful of prayer request cause me to disregard the plethora of blessings that I possess. You can still appreciate the beauty of a rose bush even if there are a few thorns present.
Well, that's all for now folks! Thank you for taking the time to read about my 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th trimester trials. I pray that it blesses you in a special way. Until next time, take care.