(In my last post I alluded to our appointment with the oncologist being a really tough appointment. I was in tears all Friday afternoon and most of the evening after that appointment. Topics of placental cancer, chemotherapy, hysterectomy, lymph node removal, losing my hair, having a vertical incision so they could access the “cancer” better, etc. were all discussed. I chose not to cover the details of that appointment in my last post because I needed to focus on what Jesus had done for us throughout the past 9 months and not the opinions of doctors. But I wanted to share that now to preface the crazy amount of doctors involved in our case on birth day.)
I didn’t sleep much the night before birth day. I couldn’t wait to meet my little girl, and I’ll admit, I spent a lot of time praying because I was anxious about what the next day would hold. But I was confident the Lord was fighting for me and He was going to work ALL things together for our good. That’s what I told Him at 13 weeks pregnant when I was first diagnosed with a partial molar pregnancy.
I remember going to kiss my sweet kids goodbye that morning and that’s when Satan started attacking me with thoughts of you might never see your kids outside of a hospital again, this could be the beginning of your end-just like your mom, in fact, your kids are almost the same age as you and your brother when your mom was diagnosed with cancer and died 9 months later. His attacks were strong that morning. I tearfully found a quiet place and told the Lord, I trusted him and knew he was going to provide a miracle for me and my family today. I began to quote all the scripture the Lord had given me throughout the pregnancy and just sang a song of worship to him-one of my favorites, “Oh, Lord you’re beautiful. Your face is all I see….” Thankfully, Elle interrupted me and in her squeaky, high-pitched voice said, “Today, is the day my baby sister is coming! I’m so excited!!!” “Yes, today will be a joyful day! We will meet Baby Charis!” Quickly my focus was back on the joyful day it was as we welcomed new life into our family!
Mike and I drove to Emory. I posted a little Facebook message determined to be positive but I looked at Mike and said, “Babe, I’m trying to be positive and walk in faith. I see this post I just posted, and I don’t feel like the woman of faith I’m conveying here. I’m terrified. Do you think I’m being two-faced and not showing people the true thoughts going through my mind and heart?” He told me he thought that was what faith was-believing the Lord will and can do miracles even when you don’t feel it. Then he prayed for me, the doctors, and Charis. We turned on worship music and held each other’s hands the rest of the way to the hospital. I could tell for the first time in the 9 months, he was just as terrified as me but he was still choosing to trust.
Mike and I walked into the pre-op room and the nurse handed me my gown and gave me instructions. Then she grabbed Mike’s and my hands and closed her eyes. I could tell she was trying to sense whether she should pray or not. So Mike and I just began saying, “Jesus.” She led us in prayer and my spirit was so encouraged that the Lord had sent this sweet nurse to care for me and ease my anxiety. The day was off to a good start.
I changed into my gown, and the nurse came in to start my IV. They put in two larger-sized needles into each hand so I could have one for fluids and one for a blood transfusion-should I need it.
Then the entourage of doctors started coming in the door to introduce themselves: oncologist, pelvic specialist, urologist, 2 OBGYNs, maternal fetal specialist, and 3 anesthesiologists plus their students and fellows and a slew of nurses. I think my parents, brother, and our best friends-Jason and Jessica got a taste of the last 9 months. The tension and anxiety was high as everyone was realizing all these doctors were prepared for catastrophe.
I had my worship play list playing in the background, and my dad read scripture, prayed, and sang worship songs to help bring our focus back on Jesus and all he had done the past 9 months.
Of course, these two provided some comic relief.
I had two battles I had to face that morning. The first was the oncologist came in and told us they had decided to operate on the main OR floor, and not on Labor and Delivery. They had moved all the baby equipment down there but they thought it’d be safer since they’d be closer to resources if they need them. Fine with me. But because they were operating on the main OR floor no one was allowed in but the patient and doctors and nurses. That meant Mike couldn’t be there. Ummmm…not fine with me! We both looked at each other shocked and explained to the doctor that this was the first we had heard of this and the plan had always been for him to be there. I, of course, started crying explaining to them he has been with me to almost every doctor’s appointment throughout the course of this dramatic pregnancy, and he had to be there. He was not going to miss the birth of our child. She left the room, and returned a few minutes and told us again, she was sorry but he couldn’t be in there. I just remember saying, “Someone is going to have to bend some rules. This is ridiculous. My husband will be there for the birth of our child.”
My parent’s came into the room then, and I explained what was going on. So we all just started praying. Then my angel, Dr. Martinuzzi who was the first OBGYN I saw at Emory, came in the door to say hello and ask how everything was going. I told him I was frustrated because surgery was being talked about being moved to noon (it was originally scheduled for 10:30) but most of all, they said Mike wasn’t allowed in the OR now. He said, “Which would you like me to take care of first?” “Having my husband there! I don’t care if I have to wait till 3 pm-as long as he can be there.” Someone in the room started praying for favor to allow Mike in that room. I think it was Mike or my dad. Then a few minutes later, Dr. Martinuzzi walked in the door and said, “Done. I got him in!”
Then my OBGYN and surgeon of the morning, Dr. Davenport, walked in the door. She explained the surgery and preparation then asked if I had any questions. I told her the oncologist had discussed my option of having a vertical incision but we had decided to start with a horizontal. She told me they all decided it was best to have a vertical incision. I asked her why. She said if the mass is adhered to uterine wall it will be easier to do a hysterectomy and then access your lymph nodes in case this has spread. I told her I didn’t want to go into this surgery doing something based on worst case scenario. I told her I really felt like everything was going be ok. I said, “I know this mass will just come out. But what are the risks just in case it doesn’t?” She explained I’d have slightly longer recovery because of 2 incisions and more blood loss. I told her I thought that was a risk I was willing to take but wanted to talk to my family. I explained to my family, I didn’t want to have an incision from the top of my belly button all the way down because I knew the Lord was taking care of me and didn’t want to make a huge decision like this based on the worst case scenario. I asked them their opinion. My best friend, Jess, said I think what you are saying is you are making this decision based on faith and not on vanity. I think you are making the right decision based on trusting in the Lord. She was right. I knew the Lord was going to complete the miracle he had started so I didn’t want to make a very drastic decision like that based on the most negative outcome I had been presented with.
Then one of the oncologists came in to argue with me about the vertical incision. She came in twice and was calling the head oncologist giving me his opinion. They weren’t going to let me go with the horizontal incision so my dad just started praying. It wasn’t a minute later she walked through the door with a completely different attitude and agreed to a horizontal incision.
I thought of that story in Nehemiah how God turned the heart of the king. God was turning the hearts of the kings in my life that day, my doctors. I really saw the power of prayer working in a mighty way and was so humbled and thankful.
But what I wasn’t prepared for was just how the Lord was going to answer all the prayers of his people exceedingly above and beyond anything I could think or imagine in just an hour or so…..(to be continued)