Tag Archives: c-section

Full Bellies and Humbled Hearts

Stacks of empty Tupperware and Casserole dishes (and this is only half of them!) are a symbol of the most precious gift for parents of three tornadoes, including a 2-week-old. We have full bellies and very humbled hearts thanks to our faith community.

Every single day over the past two weeks, someone different from our faith community (usually someone with a busy family of their own) has faithfully rung our doorbell between 4:30 and 5:30 pm, their arms laden with casserole dishes and Tupperware brimming with delicious food. They stay just long enough to sneak a peek at the newest addition to our family and wish us well before jumping back in their cars and heading home.

And every single day I find myself thinking, “how can we ever repay this generosity!?!”

Truth is, we can’t. And we were never meant to. Because this is what the Body is for.  

These days we are swaddled in vulnerability. Our youngest is just two weeks old; our older two are little tornadoes; and I’m still recovering from surgery. These days, the challenge before us is to just accept, with gratitude and humility, the gifts offered to us.

I find it interesting just how hard it can be to simply receive knowing there is no way we can repay the kindness and generosity.

Truth be told, it’s humbling. And it’s good for us.

It reminds me that as much as I pursue a life of independence, especially here in North America, that I really do need others. And, others need me. We need each other and we belong to each other.

Sure, we could have stocked the freezer full of frozen lasagna and pizzas, but that eliminates precious interactions with real people who really care. It eliminates interdependence. As much as I feel indebted to our faith community, I also know they aren’t hovering over a scorecard keeping track of gifts given and received.

The time will come in the following months where we can care for and serve our friends. The way we have been loved in this time of very real need will be a motivation, that’s for sure – not out of guilt, but out of gratitude.


Giving Birth in Cambodia

Three and a half weeks ago I was admitted to a small maternity clinic in Phnom Penh for a c-section. I need to get these memories on paper before I forget. Some of them are gooders…

A few memories from the hospital.

  • It reminded me of something from the 50s or 60s. Simple. Clean. Nothing fancy. As far away from Samitivej as one can get.
  • The food. Oh the food, I will never forget it! Dead black mini chickens in soup; pork with skin and hair; rice all day every day
  • No frills – like really. No towels. No soap. No diapers. No extras whatsoever. Just the surgery, post-operation surveillance, and medications required during our time.
  • Getting stabbed with 2 needles (vitamins and antibiotics) twice a day for 5 days.  My hips both bear big purple bruises from all the jabs.
  • The nurses and the obstetrician in bare feet doing their rounds.
Proof of the black mini dead chicken soup. Yum!

So. Was it worth it? I don’t have complaints over the care. The doctor was good. Really good. Professional and appropriate. It felt more like a guesthouse than a hospital and there’s something safe and warm about that. Because we were in our home city, we had so much loving care and support from our community. They sustained us. That wouldn’t have been possible in Thailand. Also, the doctor and I shared kinda three languages in common (English, French and some Khmer) which made communicating a bit easier.

But the package is just as much as Bangkok ($2000), and if something had gone wrong, we would have been hooped. Luckily, nothing went wrong.

I think, if I’d known I’d have a c-section, and if Steve could have swung time away from work to be in Thailand for the birth, I might have done that. But we didn’t foresee these things. And in the end, it was a healthy and safe experience as our families and friends prayed. And for that we are exceedingly grateful.

coming through

ImageIt is over. Birth in Cambodia. And one of my greatest fears – surgery – overcome. There are a multitude of thoughts spilling through my mind. I turn them over in the space I do have between toddler and infant. Mulling over them and what they mean.  

Disappointment over the surgery – not the surgery itself – but because I had to have one in the first place. Yes I am beyond grateful for c-sections and that they bring healthy babies into the world who might otherwise have died and their mothers too. But after a natural birth with Aya, I do grieve that Arwen wasn’t also. It’s a wholistic, incredible experience labouring someone into the world.

And so I rest in that place of frayed nerves as my mind, body and spirit recover and my emotions try to catch up with my spinning hormones. The emotions of being a mom to a newborn all over again – overwhelmed, sadness at times, exhaustion – and those combined this time with the discomfort of recovery from surgery. It still hurts to walk and lay down on my side. Little reminders that my body just underwent a major procedure.

And all that combined with the energy and pizazz of my two year old! It’s a whole different ballgame with two in tow, that’s for sure. 🙂

And sometimes it isn’t easy to find peace.

But I remind myself that God has been so very gracious. A healthy baby. I’m healthy too. In a country where everything goes wrong to the most innocent people, where the medical system fails so many, He has brought us through. I am overcome by gratitude for the answered prayers; the grace of which I was a recipient though I don’t deserve it any more than anyone else.

And ultimately, I’ll come to appreciate this battle scar for baby Arwen. It will be a continuing reminder of the grace, the beautiful unspeakable grace.