Thursday, February 26, 2009

The long version: sickness and faith

During our 2 days in the hospital with my MIL, I honestly didn't think much about my IF at all....I almost forgot we were trying to have a baby (!). But after reflecting on those 2 days, I have learned some lessons that very much relate to my infertility journey. God works in amazing ways. :)

We drove down to be with my IL's late on Sunday night. What we thought had been a virus for 9 days was getting worse, and upon arrival at the hospital they diagnosed her with a UTI "gone really bad" as my MIL put it. I did know enough about infections that although a UTI is relatively common and simple to treat, the bacteria can spread and be quite dangerous. So as we drove down we were nervously quiet. We stayed at the hospital until 1am with her, and then went to their house and got 4 hours of sleep so we could be back at the hospital bright and early.

On Monday they gave her a CT scan to see if the infection had spread. We got the result in the afternoon that the UTI was actually caused by another, more serious problem -- an abscess on her colon. I won't go into the gory details of what that is, but let's just say it was a lot of infection that was "contained," but could easily rupture and cause very serious problems. The surgeon came and spoke with us about the need to clean out the abscess and remove the diseased part of the colon, but that both of those things couldn't be done in the same surgery. There were also some unknowns that he would have to discover and make decisions about during the surgery. MIL was not thrilled at the idea of having 2 surgeries, but felt horrible enough that she was happy to do whatever would make her feel better.

Her surgery was scheduled for 7:30pm on Tuesday, which was almost 36 hours of waiting from the time we knew she needed surgery until it would happen. In a somewhat emergency situation like this where my MIL was feeling so sick, 36 hours was a long time to wait and anticipate what lied ahead.

We started the waiting game on Tuesday praying that she could get called in to surgery earlier. In the early afternoon, MIL started feeling even more intense pain. Her fever was high, and she simply did not look good. She is not one to complain or worry, but she even said she was scared the abscess had ruptured. We had the nurse call the surgeon, who said there was nothing they could do until surgery. I don't know if it was truly dangerous from a medical standpoint, but for that afternoon we really thought she could die. It was a dark place to be. FIL was especially struggling as he watched his wife suffer so much.

In the midst of this, DH announced that he was going to pray for the next 7 hours until her surgery without stopping. MIL and I even tried to dissuade him a little (Can you really pray for that long? Just pray every ten minutes or something). But he began to pray silently, which inspired FIL & I to do the same. I also started reading Psalms aloud. We prayed that her pain would lessen and that she would get called into surgery early. DH said he prayed all sorts of dramatic prayers, even that she would suddenly feel better, get up, and start doing jumping jacks!

And guess what? Her pain did begin to subside and she was called into her surgery 3 hours earlier than scheduled! I almost couldn't believe it (how's that for a faithful prayer...?).

The surgery began and we hunkered down in the waiting room preparing ourselves for a long wait. Only an hour later, however, the surgeon came to tell us that the surgery was complete, they were able to do the more minor procedure, and everything went very smoothly. Smiles all around. We saw MIL about a half hour later, and she was smiling and already looking so much better!

As DH and I drove back to our home late that night, we were reflected on the day. We felt like we had witnessed tremendous answers to prayer and learned so much in those intense 48 hours.

We prayed big, bold prayers and God answered yes! We realized that so often we hesitate to pray big things, hiding behind "it might not be God's will." We have seen many people in our church pray desperately for something and not get the answer they were hoping for. But in this situation, we realized our faith is not based on those "yes" answers...but that we exercise greater faith by praying for those powerful things and trust that God CAN do them! We saw him do amazing things this week. Honestly, watching MIL's pain lessen while DH prayed was so powerful...God can do anything.

We also experienced family in an amazing way. I was already very close to my IL's, but after sharing in the suffering and joys of those two days with them, I could feel how much I love them. And DH realized how much he wants to serve and bless his parents...they did that for him for all these years, and now he can return and share those blessings to them as their adult child.

Now, how does any of this relate to IF? It has definitely encouraged and strengthened my prayers for a baby. After 12 months of praying for a pregnancy, my prayers have gotten weak. Not that I don't believe....but it's just hard to keep praying. But this has shown me to persevere and pray expectantly.

In the big picture, I am also amazed at what a joyful, learning, and faith building experience those two days were...even though they were really difficult. At the end of it all we were able to experience all of this with little cost (MIL's surgery went well & she lived), but in the midst of it I think we all had the profound sense that whatever the outcome the work of God in us would have still taken place. And in the midst of IF, I say that it is worth it. God is working. Take heart, friends!


Mary said...

I wish I had your faith, Hillary. You are extrordinary! You will be a great Mommy.

Melissa said...

That is amazing!! Your post was truly touching and it's powerful to see the power of prayer working.

Anonymous said...


This is just amazing in all respects. We will continue to pray for you and you and your MIL in the days to come.

Blessings to you.

Find joy in every journey said...

I am glad that through the suffering of your MIL you were able to see the glory of God. :)

Anonymous said...

Wow--that is amazing. I think that I am hesitant to pray for big things because my faith feels week--not in the sense that I don't believe God can do it, but I worry about the harm to my relationship with God if the answer is "no." I think what I should do is just give it over to God and be at peace with whatever the outcome. Thanks for sharing your experience.

♥Tabitha said...

What an AMAZING post! Just another example of what a GREAT GOD WE SERVE!! Your right, he can do ANYTHING and prayer is the most powerful tool available. Thanks so much for reminding me! P.S. I'm so glad things turned out well with your MIL so far!

Anonymous said...

so glad that she is doing well and that you got a faith boost :)

thinking about you. xoxo

Billy said...

Sounds like a strengthening experience you had!
Hope your MIL's second operation will go by smoothly as well.

Mrs. Hammer said...

That is an awesome story! Thank you for sharing. And I hope that not only your MIL continues to heal but also you DH from his surgery for his big test day!!