Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Inner Strength (04/20/06)
By April Bailey
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I prayed. My husband, friends, pastors, and expectant mothers laid hands on me and prayed. Ancient sisters Sarai, Rebekah, Rachel, and Elizabeth shared my struggle. Everywhere I went, pregnant women caught my gaze — faces beaming, rubbing slow circles on their bellies. But, by the grace of God, even my sisters of old eventually conceived. “Why not me, Lord?” I’d wonder, but soon repent from coveting and the bitterness that promised to follow.
By my 36th birthday, those familiar pains grew greedy, wanting more of my life. A week of pain stretched into two and no degree of strenuous exercise lessened my torment. I visited a physician who launched me on a journey of specialists that finally led to surgery. I’ve had two ultrasounds in my life — a seemingly cruel irony for a childless woman. The first ultrasound came after a debilitating bout with an ovarian cyst that burst. The doctors left me as I lay crying on the emergency room table and, after the test, eventually sent me home with a prescription for aspirin.
When my pain intensified years later, another ultrasound informed the doctor that my abdomen housed a family of fibroids, some as large as baseballs! I reviewed a few options and, considering my desire to conceive, scheduled a procedure to remove them. I prayed the surgery would alleviate my discomfort and, more importantly, make room for a baby.
God carried me to the date of surgery with peace and strength beyond my own. I even gave blood twice (in case they needed it during the procedure) easily and without pain. My orderly sang worship songs as he wheeled me to pre-op. My nurse was friendly and inserted the I.V. as we laughed together. Then I slept.
The three-hour surgery took twice as long, with my mother, husband and friends worrying and praying on my behalf. By evening, I awoke in a haze that made me babble something about the nurse’s pretty eyelashes. At 1:00 a.m., I thanked God for the private room, T.V., and morphine drip. My doctor had removed more than 20 fibroids and layers of scar tissue caused by endometriosis. I went home three days later. Other than the pain, I rather enjoyed my hospital stay.
After months of rest and medication, the sun shone more brightly on my hopes for motherhood. The doctor recommended we try to conceive for one year and, if unsuccessful, then I should start on birth control pills to regulate my body against reoccurrence of fibroids. If I didn’t take them, she said the pain would be so severe I’d “be begging for a hysterectomy in five years.” A tug in my spirit, however, made me question her “wisdom.”
I didn’t conceive in a year … or two … or three. And I refused birth control. When the pain began to reemerge less than two years after my surgery, I grew alarmed. I knew women who’d had multiple surgeries for fibroids and I didn’t want to join them. Pregnancy, I’d heard, created an environment where a woman’s body couldn't produce fibroids. Having a baby, therefore, would essentially cure me. “God, why not me?”
Time was running out and I needed to make a decision. Looking back, it was easy. Trust God. When I did, He led me to resources that helped me develop a natural health regimen. Within months, the pains were diminishing. Today, more than four years after my surgery, they’re only a painful memory. I haven’t returned to that doctor, nor have I conceived. I turned 40 last July and a gradual peace has replaced my longing for motherhood.
To call something barren makes it sounds like a vast wasteland. But to think of myself that way is a lie from the pit of hell. I am no failure as a wife, and birthing a child does not complete me as a woman. Most importantly, God made no mistake in His choice of my family’s composition. I’m certain He looks at my table for two and smiles. It’s exactly the way He planned.
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