Skirt-Wearing in Pregnancy

Dressing for pregnancy is hard.

There’s trying to figure out how to adjust to a figure that’s changing on a weekly (no, make that daily) basis. There’s trying to avoid spending too much money on clothing you’ll wear for five months or less. There’s guessing what size you’ll be at what season, and figuring out how to layer to make that outfit you bought for when it’s hot and you’re huge work for now (when it’s chilly and you’re not quite huge yet.) There’s trying to strike just the right balance between comfort and style.

It’s hard.

One thing I’ve found, as a mostly-skirt-wearing-woman, is that skirts are an absolute lifesaver.

My pre-pregnancy pants stopped fitting somewhere around the end of the first trimester – and while I wore them for a little while with zipper unzipped and a belly band covering, it wasn’t long before I needed maternity pants.

Skirts, on the other hand, don’t have that pesky crotch that forces the waistline to a specific place. You can wear them high over the belly (if they’re flowing) or low under the belly (if they’re more fitted or if you find it more comfortable that way.

Wearing a skirt over my bump

Wearing a skirt over my bump

In addition to being easy to wear, skirts are wonderful for a variety of weather. If it’s cold outside, you can always throw a pair of tights, leggings, or pants underneath. If it’s warm, you can go bare-legged and enjoy the breeze.

One extra benefit – if you’re a leaker, you don’t necessarily have to resort to pads around the house. If you leak a little, you can just change your underpants without having to worry about changing your “over”pants as well. (TMI? Maybe. But this is pregnancy we’re talking about here – plenty of potentially embarrassing material to cover.)

Wearing a skirt over my bump, part 2

Check out how high that waist is!

I’ve had to retire a few skirts so far this pregnancy due to length issues (I generally prefer to wear a waisted skirt high over the bump and an elastic-waist skirt low; if the skirt is waisted and short, it gets a little TOO short once it’s over the bump) – but I’ve still got almost a dozen skirts that I’m still wearing, and expect to continue wearing for at least another month or two.

BONUS: My sister-in-law was giving away a strapless maxi-dress and I grabbed it on a whim, thinking it might make a good pregnancy skirt. I’ve been wearing the elasticized part (that’s supposed to go over the breasts) over my bump and and letting the skirt (which is supposed to start just below the breasts) hang just below my bump. It gives me the security of coverage while still letting me have a maxi-skirt. This tip probably only works for tall gals like myself, but I’ve found it to be wonderful.

Maxi dress turned maxi skirt

Maxi-dress turned maxi-skirt

Did you wear skirts during your pregnancy? What are your best tips for overcoming the clothing hurdles of pregnancy?

Thankful Thursday: Prenatal visit

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I got a call from my OB’s office as we were traveling back from Lincoln. My OB is on medical leave, the receptionist told me, and would I like to reschedule my first appointment with one of his partners?

Except she had a question first. Are you planning a home birth? Because none of our other providers work with home birth midwives, so… I tried to explain that while we’re hoping for a home birth, we’re also intending to follow with our OB in case a hospital birth is necessary. She was reluctant to reschedule me with another provider, given my home birth hopes. I began to get a little frustrated. “I still need my labs done, don’t I?” “Well, if you’re going to give birth in a hospital, yes.”


I finally convinced her that yes I really did want an appointment with someone and she offered the midwife. Great! I thought. While my OB is the only one in town (to my knowledge) that works with home birth midwives, I am familiar with the practice’s nurse midwife and know that she is pro-physiological childbirth and pro-VBAC and is on friendly terms with my home birth midwife (definitely NOT givens in the large group practice my OB belongs to.)

So when I arrived for today’s appointment, I was thrown off kilter to learn that I hadn’t been scheduled with the nurse midwife but with the nurse PRACTITIONER, an entirely unknown quantity.

This week I’m thankful…

…for good first impressions
I was prepared to tell the nurse that I’m continuing to breastfeed my fourteen month old (oh my – I just realized that Tirzah Mae is as old now as my big sister was when I was born. Crazy.) I was also prepared to face disapproval for that practice.

What I was not prepared for was for the NP to knock on the door while I was breastfeeding Tirzah Mae, to have her insist that I not interrupt “lunch” on her account, and to sympathize with me over how Tirzah Mae’s difficult start meant I had absolutely NO lactational amenorrhea.

She put me right at ease.

…for gentle probing and full acceptance of my right to decline
When I asked that we try doppler to hear baby’s heartbeat rather than doing a ultrasound, she asked if I was afraid of the procedure. I explained that no, I wasn’t but preferred to use the least invasive tests necessary to obtain needed information. She explained that yes she could use Doppler but that the heartbeat might not be detectable at this point. She didn’t want me to be worried, she said.

This made clear to me that she’s used to dealing with normal pregnant women who think the more information they have (as far as prenatal testing goes) the better. But her recognition that the purpose of ultrasound at this point is more for reassuring a mother that everything is fine than for any diagnostic purpose and her willingness to skip that for me encouraged me greatly. (For the record, we didn’t hear a heartbeat on Doppler – but we have no reason to think that all isn’t well with this baby.)

…for a timely reminder
When the NP asked if I had any questions, I couldn’t think of any. But when I got home, a blog post I was reading mentioned the US Preventative Services AHQR EPSS App to help clinicians determine which screenings and preventative services to provide their patients. Medical wonk that I am, I downloaded it and entered my information. And there, under Grade B recommendations was the use of aspirin for prevention of preeclampsia. My OB had mentioned that at a postpartum visit after I’d had Tirzah Mae. I called the NP to ask her advice – and since the reminder had come at just the right time, my case was fresh in her mind and the question easy to answer.

…for prenatal peace
Given what happened in my previous pregnancy and how my previous delivery turned out, it would make sense to be anxious this time around (yes? at least, it would be plenty normal.) But I am at rest with this pregnancy (thus far). Even as I hedge my bets, seeing both my OB (who performed my c-section) and my home-birth midwife, I feel at peace about whatever the outcome may be. God is sovereign over pregnancy and preeclampsia, over care providers and birth settings, over babies living and babies dying. So while I hope and pray for a long pregnancy (Maybe I can get that 41 weeks, 1 day I expected from my first pregnancy?), for an uncomplicated unmedicated home VBAC, for a healthy baby and a healthy me both through and after pregnancy…I am resting in the reality that God knows and God chooses best.

Don’t reassure me, root for me

My eight days of hospitalization prior to having Tirzah Mae were some of the longest days of my life.

So much of what I’d dreamed for in a birth experience was no longer an option. I couldn’t have a home birth. Couldn’t deliver at term. Couldn’t avoid monitors. Couldn’t labor with only my husband and my midwife to observe.

But I could still have a vaginal birth. I could still breastfeed.

I knew that I wanted those things. I made sure my caregivers knew I wanted those things.

Dr. Jensen knew that from the outset – I was one of the moms who seeks him out because he’s the rare type who is willing to care for women who make unconventional birth choices (choices like homebirth). He knew that I wanted normal birth – and only wanted to deviate from normal as absolutely necessary.

But the nurses and residents and even Dr. Wolfe (our excellent maternal-fetal specialist) needed me to tell them what I wanted. And so I did.

I don’t remember most of the reactions, most of the conversations I had with various health professionals regarding our desires – but I do remember two in particular.

One nurse, on hearing that I still wanted a vaginal birth, recounted the story of a young mom with preeclampsia who’d wanted the same thing.

“[The laboring woman’s] mom was really into the Bradley method – and, to be honest, I wasn’t sure at the beginning how into it the girl really was. I doubted she’d make it. But she labored hard and was a real trouper. She had to have the monitors and such but she was squatting and working at it – and she had her baby vaginally. It was one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen.”

A second nurse, when I told of my intentions to breastfeed, encouraged me that breastfeeding was wonderful for me and for baby. She told me that it could be hard work but that it was worth it. And she reassured me:

“And if you don’t make enough, it’s okay to supplement too.” She told her own story of struggling and needing to supplement.

As it turned out, I didn’t have a beautiful Bradley pre-eclamptic vaginal delivery. I was given a spinal block and covered in drapes, my abdomen and uterus were cut and my baby lifted out of my womb by gloved hands. It was far from the delivery I’d desired or the beautiful picture my nurse had painted. But I was so glad that nurse had told me her story. It gave me hope for a vaginal delivery, sure – for the vaginal delivery that didn’t happen. But more than that, it told me that she was rooting for me. She wanted me to achieve my desires. She wanted a beautiful delivery for me – and believed it was possible. And for that I am thankful.

Also as it turned out, I never had problems with breastmilk supply. Due in part to genetics and in part to supply-promoting practices, I had what one NICU nurse called “enough milk to feed Wichita”. So the second nurse’s reassurances ended up not being needed. Maybe that’s why I look on her reassurances with such distaste.

I knew then (and know now) what her intent was in providing that reassurance. Many mothers of preemies do have difficulties with supply – and it’s not the end of the world when a baby receives formula. Mothers who have done all they can and still can’t produce enough needn’t feel guilty that their child receives formula. This is true. But I didn’t want reassurances in case yet another something went wrong with my experience – I wanted someone to say that they were on my side, that they wanted for me and my baby what I wanted for me and my baby AND that they believed it was possible.

I didn’t want reassurances. I wanted someone to root for me.

I realize that when I recount stories like this, I might give you the impression that some of the nurses were bad nurses. The nurse who reassured me, the nurse who gave me a nipple shield (and yes, I recognize that cursing her is a sin – and have repented of that sin). Both were excellent nurses in many respects. I recount the difficult parts because those are the parts that I’ve had to struggle through – but these women also did and said many things that kept me from having to struggle through countless other difficulties. I am immensely thankful for these devoted nurses.

Protector and Sustainer

“How old is she?”

It’s the natural question mothers of infants field every day.

It’s the question mothers of preemies just don’t quite know how to answer.

Tirzah Mae is 2 weeks and 3 days old – if you’re dating from when she left my womb.

But she’s just 34 weeks and 4 days old – if you’re counting gestational age. Which means she should still be in my womb – should still have another six weeks in my womb.

For me, this is the hardest part of being the mother of a preemie.

Tirzah Mae and Mama

Tirzah Mae should still be in my womb. I should be protecting her, sustaining her, giving her oxygen and nutrition and warmth. Instead, she lies in an isolette away from me. My body couldn’t protect her, couldn’t sustain her, couldn’t give her what she needed. My body failed her.

I know there wasn’t anything I did to cause the severe pre-eclampsia, wasn’t anything I could have done to have held it off longer than we did. We already managed to keep her in the womb 8 days longer than when we first acknowledged the problem as severe. I, the midwife, the doctors did all we could. My body just shut down that last day and she had to be delivered.

But that doesn’t stop the profound sense of loss and helplessness. I lost two months of pregnancy – Tirzah Mae lost two months of my protection. Now being told my belly’s so small and I look so good for a woman who’s just had a baby takes on a new sting. Now should be a time of glorying in my baby bump, not of rapidly returning to my prepregnancy state. As my little girl thrashes about on her isolette when a new nurse doesn’t know to swaddle her, I try to soothe with my voice from a distance while I scrub in the requisite 3 minutes. She should still be in my womb, nestled tightly to keep her from worrying at her limbs being all stretched out. She should be hearing my voice, my heartbeat, my bowel sounds and breathing all the time, calming her. Instead, she settles for a voice across the room, echoing oddly inside her isolette, telling her that it’s okay, mama’s here.

People have told me, from early pregnancy, that parenting is an exercise in trusting God. I acknowledged that, even as I researched all the right things to do to prepare for conception, to reduce risk of pregnancy complications, to set my child up for the best of health. I had it researched, had the plan worked up, and scrupulously followed the plan – and I had complications nonetheless.

Sweet Tirzah Mae

In the earliest days after Tirzah Mae’s birth, when I was struggling most with the sense that I had failed her, the chorus to an old hymn resounded in my head:

“He hideth my soul in the cleft of the rock
That shadows a dry thirsty land.
He hideth my life in the depths of His love
And covers me there with His hand”

I looked at the Scripture the hymn points to – Exodus 33 – where Moses requests to see God’s glory and God declares that no man can see Him and live. But God arranges a way – He hides Moses in the cleft of a rock; He covers Moses with His hand; He makes His glory pass by. Moses sees God’s backside and LIVES, hidden by God’s own hand.

And God opened my eyes to His character, to how this story foreshadows the cross. Our biggest danger, Tirzah Mae’s biggest danger is not the harsh world outside her mother’s womb. Her biggest danger is to be consumed by the wrath of God. Yet God made a way to protect her – God offers to protect her in the cleft of a rock while He pours out His wrath on His right hand, His only Son.

If God is willing to go to such lengths to hide me, to hide my Tirzah Mae from His wrath – how can He not guard and sustain her in the little dangers of life as a preemie?

As I mourn my inability to protect Tirzah Mae, God reminds me that He is her protector.

And as I mourn my inability to sustain Tirzah Mae, He takes me again and again to the Scriptures that assert that He is the sustainer of all life.

“In Him we live and move and have our being.”
~Acts 17:28

“For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”
~Colossians 1:16

The truth of God’s character comforts my heart and I raise my Tirzah Mae up to God. As much as I love her, He loves her more. As much as I am limited in my ability to protect and sustain her, He is limitless. He is her protector and sustainer. As much as I can be an agent by which He guards her, I shall be – but ultimately, I must surrender her to Him again and again.

Our newest addition

We had hoped to keep Baby Garcia in the womb as long as possible – but really only had educated guesses as to how long that may be.

Turns out, that was 32 weeks.

On Thursday the 30th, my platelets dropped, causing our consulting physician to recommend induction. Even before we began that process, my blood pressure started to rise again (and wasn’t responding well to drugs) and my swelling had increased dramatically.

I had lots of side effects of the induction drug and/or the magnesium sulfate I was back on to prevent seizures – and by the time the day was done, I was physically and mentally exhausted. I couldn’t stand on my own feet between dizziness from the magnesium and swelling in my feet. I couldn’t grasp a spoon to feed myself ice chips since my hands were so swollen. I couldn’t see thanks to an unrecognizably swollen face, along with the characteristic “visual disturbances” associated with pre-eclampsia. And my oxygen saturations were dropping.

By midnight, I realized that I would not have the physical or emotional strength to attempt a vaginal delivery (at least another 12-24 hours on Pitocin) with the restrictions my condition placed on me. I requested a Caesarean section.

At 3:32 Friday morning, Tirzah Mae Eloise Garcia was born at 32 weeks 1 day of gestation. She was 17.5 inches long and weighed 3 lbs, 5 oz. She was born with her umbilical cord tightly wrapped around her neck twice.

In retrospect, Tirzah Mae’s cord plus my own health status could easily have necessitated an emergency c-section had we proceeded with an oxytocin-induced vaginal delivery, and I could have then needed general anesthesia so Daniel couldn’t be there and potentially would have ended up with an incision that would make VBAC less likely.

As it is, God in His mercy gave us an uncomplicated c-section with ample chance for VBAC and beautiful, healthy baby born at 32 weeks, 1 day.


We’re still in the hospital – I will probably be here just one more day but we’re still working on getting my blood pressure under control. Tirzah Mae will be here longer, not because she isn’t doing well, but simply because she still has weeks of maturing to do before she’s ready to face the outside world on her own. For now, she’s breathing under her own power and starting to get tiny feedings of her mama’s breast milk. We treasure every moment we get to spend with our precious Tirzah Mae.

Thank you all for loving us and praying for us – and please continue to pray for us as we continue this joyful and challenging journey as parents of a preemie.

Life goes on…for everyone except me

The oddest part of being on hospitalized bedrest is the realization that life goes on…for everyone except me.

People get up and go to work and come home and make dinner and watch the World Series and update Facebook with the goings on of their day.

I lie in bed and try to occupy the time between every-four-hour vitals and daily nonstress tests and couple time a week sonograms. I call the nurse to let her know how much I voided. I call room service for a meal and sit up in bed for one hour afterwards to avoid heartburn before lowering the head of the bed to keep my blood pressure lower.

My day is wrapped around baby’s health and my own.

Baby’s still kicking. Biophysical profile is good. Heart rate is great. No contractions. Baby’s doing fine.

My health is harder to assess and more tenuous. Is this headache a sign of disease progression or is it my normal morning sinus headache prolonged because I’m not getting up to clear my head? I’m struggling to breathe – how far do I press the residents to do something about it when my O2 saturations are staying okay? I’m retaining tons of fluid – the doctors haven’t recommended anything but the nurse suggested restricting my fluids a bit to try to stave off some of it. Should I follow her advice? My blood pressure fluctuates, never quite high enough to need an oral antihypertensive – but high enough to make me worry.

People ask me what they can do to help and I have no idea what to tell them. I know what I’d be doing at home if everything were fine and I was getting prepared for my expected home delivery – but my life is on hold now and I have no idea how to carry on.

Do I need preemie clothing? Will I need to be prepared to take baby home right after we deliver? Or will there be weeks in the NICU before that happens? How important is it that my dishes be done, that the nursery be prepared, that the freezer has meals in it? I don’t know.

I can only think for the present day, because everything could change in an instant.

And I open Facebook and see all the kids in their new Halloween costumes and pregnant mommas wearing clever little mom and baby costumes – and I am baffled that life goes on…for everyone except me.

Quick update from the hospital

I saw our backup OB yesterday due to the blood pressure / protein spilling issues and my blood pressure had spiked to the point that he admitted me to consult with a maternal fetal specialist at one of our local hospitals. I’m currently getting at least 24 hours of observation as well as IV magnesium to reduce risk of seizures and steroid shots to help mature baby’s lungs for a sooner entry into the outside world. Right now, we don’t know when that might be, but this particular specialist (versus his counterpart in the hospital down the street) tends to like to keep babies in the womb if at all possible – which is very encouraging to me. We’ll have a better idea of what treatment will look like and whether I’ll be hospitalized for the duration of the pregnancy tomorrow after labs are complete. Either way, we’ll likely be spending quite a bit of time in the hospital in the next several weeks, whether in treatment for me or in the NICU with baby.

Good news is baby is healthy – growth is right on track, amniotic sac has just the right amount of fluid, heartbeat and fetal movements are great.

God has also been gracious to give me supernatural peace about this rather enormous departure from our planned home birth. The nurses and doctors have mentioned how remarkably calm I have been regarding the change – and how well I’ve tolerated the procedures so far (the IV and shot of steroids and the Foley catheter). I have to admit that’s not my strength at all – God has been gracious to grant peace and rest. (That said, I’ll be pleased as punch when the 24 hour sample is up and they hopefully let me start peeing on my own power again.)

Thank you all for praying and for continuing to pray. I know that God answers prayer according to the wisdom of His providence – and that He accomplishes all things for His glory and His people’s ultimate joy. I am currently resting in that sweet assurance – and praying that I would continue to rest in God’s good sovereignty.

Third Trimester Tales: In which I develop preeclampsia

My second trimester was relatively uneventful. I felt great, had plenty of energy, and was eating well. The only cause for concern in trimester 2 was my weight gain – which was taking place more rapidly than hoped for – and the swelling in my legs – which started during a hot stretch of summer during which I was also training the county WIC staff in Baby Behavior (thus standing for longer lengths of time than usual.)

Apart from my pride (which really wanted to have perfect weight gain – I am a dietitian after all!), no harm was done, I figured. Excess weight gain is normal (even if not always healthy) in the second trimester, when feeling better leads to eating more – and when I’m pretty sure a fair bit of the gain is fluid? Well, fluid gain is also normal during the second half of pregnancy – especially for first time moms and those who are working on their feet or in a chair all day long. I checked my blood pressure a few times with my handy sphygmomanometer and didn’t worry too much – blood pressure was normal.

I was a day short of 27 weeks when I wrote of my dream of owning a pig. At that point, I had no expectation that a pig would be anywhere in the near future. Daniel had been looking around for land for a while, but I wasn’t in any hurry – and we’d resolved that unless a property was just right (and had the potential for a pig), we wouldn’t be really seriously looking until sometime next year.

At 27 weeks, 1 day Daniel found a piece of land he thought showed promise. He’d called the county and was reasonably sure we could put a pig on it. Would I be okay with taking a look that evening? The realtor told us to go right ahead and explore the property – and so we did.

At 27 weeks, 3 days we made an offer on the land.

At 28 weeks – the official start of my third trimester – we wrote a large check and bought ourselves a 2.4 acre lot outside of town.

At 28 weeks, 2 days I walked to the library and picked up a couple dozen books about evaluating builders, building houses, and running a homestead. That same day, the swelling in my legs went from nonpitting (not leaving a hole when I pressed on it) to pitting edema (leaving a hole when I pressed on it.) I knew that I needed to take it easy.

I woke up Sunday, at 28 weeks 3 days with a splitting headache and already sore, swollen feet. I really needed to take it easy. But it was a Sunday and we help out in the Preschool Sunday School classes on Sundays – and then there was the worship service – and the parade of homes just happened to be that weekend and what better chance to start to evaluate the builders in our area? We tromped through a dozen houses, taking notes on the quality of the construction. My legs were crying out by halfway through, so Daniel forbade me to climb stairs after that point. The headache continued. I stepped on the scale at the end of the day (not my usual pattern) and discovered that I’d gained 7 pounds from my morning weight.

Monday morning (28 weeks 4 days), I woke up with the same headache and knew I needed to call my midwife. Headache, pitting edema, very rapid weight gain. Those were symptoms of preeclampsia. I took the day off work and left a message with my midwife to call me. By the time she called back, the headache was gone but I’d already told her enough for her to be concerned. I didn’t have another appointment scheduled before our family trip to Williamsburg, but she wanted me to come in anyway.

At 29 weeks, we went in for a quick visit – which confirmed that I’d had a lot of weight gain and that my blood pressure was high (and not responding to positional changes, even more scary). But so far, I wasn’t spilling any protein in my urine. My midwife gave me some dietary suggestions, some supplements to start, and orders to spend as much time as possible resting during our vacation. She also told me she didn’t think I should plan on going back to work full-time after vacation. We scheduled a follow up for as soon as possible after my return from vacation – and I scheduled an appointment with my OB right after that.

We had a lovely vacation with Daniel’s family. I rested a lot, rode a wheelchair around historic places (now THAT’S an adventure), and ate absolutely nothing fun (pretty much just meat and nuts and fruits and vegetables – with no added sugar or salt). At the beginning, I was optimistic. I was doing everything right and I actually ended the day without any pitting one day.

At 30 weeks, we went about to all the drugstores in town to check my blood pressure – and couldn’t find a single store with an in-store automated blood pressure machine. So we bought ourselves an automatic cuff (much easier to push a button and let it check, rather than using the manual cuff and stethoscope that was still in Wichita) and I checked my blood pressure. It was high, still quite high. What’s more, my urine had started frothing – which could mean something as simple as dehydration, but could also mean protein in the urine.

This morning – 30 weeks, 5 days – we went in for our follow-up prenatal visit. I peed in the cup, ran the dipstick myself and confirmed my fears. I was spilling protein, majorly. Furthermore, I’d gained 9 lbs by my midwife’s scale in the 12 days since I’d last seen her. We still had a while to wait before we saw her, so I sat with Daniel in the waiting room, grieving over the homebirth I knew I had little hope of anymore.

Preeclampsia. The diagnosis I was afraid of, now the reality I must cope with.

I couldn’t sing it but my mouth could still say it, whispering hoarsely through the tears into Daniel’s chest:

“Whatever may pass and whatever lies before me
Let me be singing when the evening comes:

Bless the Lord, O my soul,
O my soul, worship His holy name
Sing like never before, O my soul
Worship His holy name”

~From Matt Redman’s “Ten Thousand Reasons”

Thankful Thursday: Truth in Song

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As we showered this morning, I began to sing “It is Well with My Soul” (secretly enjoying the allergy-deepened sound of my own voice.)

“When peace like a river
attendeth my way
When sorrows like sea billows roll
Whatever the cost
Thou hast taught me to say
“It is well, it is well with my soul.”

It is well (It is well)
With my soul (With my soul)
It is well, it is well with my soul.”

I began on the second verse

“Though Satan should buffet
Though trials shall come…

And I stopped, searching my mental song bank for the rest of the verse. Where was the promise of deliverance, the reassurance that everything would be all right, the reminder that the trials would not overwhelm?

I gave up my quest and sang what came to mind.

“Let this blest assurance control
That God hath regarded my sinful estate
and hath shed His own blood for my soul.”

It was only after I’d finished the third verse that I realized the truth.

“My sin, O the bliss of this glorious thought
My sin, not in part but the whole,
was nailed to the cross
And I bear it no more.
Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord, O my soul!”

That had been the second part of the second verse. This song offers no blest assurance of some future event in this life. Instead, it harkens back to a blest assurance already completed: “That God hath regarded my sinful estate and hath shed his own blood for my soul.”

Yes, the looming threat of preeclampsia, of having to have a hospital birth, of maybe having to quit my job early and be on bed rest, of not being able to fully participate in our upcoming family vacation, of maybe going into premature labor – all those are trials that may come.

But my greatest problem has already been solved. My sin has been paid for, my soul secure. This is where my hope lies, not in happy outcomes on this earth, but in a blood-purchased ransom already accomplished.

So I will sing again through the tears.

“It is well (It is well)
With my soul (With my soul)
It is well, it is well with my soul.”

Desperate women will do anything

Ask any healthcare professional what causes pre-eclampsia and they’ll tell you that we honestly don’t know. We suspect that there’s a nutritional component, but clinical studies have been unsuccessful at isolating a root cause or identifying beneficial nutritional practices.

I know this. I try to stay up on the research, on the recommendations. I counsel pregnant women on nutrition for a living.

But when I start gaining fluid rapidly and my blood pressure starts creeping up and I’m afraid I’m going to risk out of home birth?

I’m willing to do anything, research be darned.

Up my protein from 80 grams per day to 100? Sure.

Cut out sugar? Sure.

Eat apples and beets for liver function? Why not.

So what if we don’t have any proof that any of those things will do any good – if there’s any chance that they will, I’ll do it.

It gives me a new compassion for the moms of kids with autism who desperately try eliminating artificial colors, and then gluten, and then dairy. So a professional (like me) tells them that there is no evidence that any of those are associated with autism or decrease in autistic behaviors.

They’re desperate and feel powerless – they’ll do anything, however bizarre to try to maintain some level of control.

As do I – putting my feet up on every occasion, lying down on my left side as soon as I get home from work, avoiding processed foods and sugar, loading up on protein.

Meanwhile, the clinician and evidence-based practitioner in me frets over the fact that I really have no idea if any of this will do any good. None of it is based on good science. It’s all just guesses.

So I do the one thing that will definitely not help my blood pressure stay low. I fret. I worry. I am anxious.

I resist the one thing I have been commanded to do by the One who made my body and who knows exactly what is best for it.

He says to be anxious for nothing, to lift everything to Him in prayers and supplications with thanksgiving. He promises peace that will guard my heart and mind.

Yet I fret, I resist, I try to do something myself, not willing to trust God with my body and my baby’s.

Lord, forgive me. I come to You desperate – able to do nothing. Take my fears, I choose to entrust them to You.