A little over a month ago, our little family made their very first trip to Asia. I know, I know, it seems so incredibly crazy as Chase had just turned 3 months old then. But to be honest, the trip was really, really good for our souls, especially after we hit a series of unfortunate events happened just right before we left on our trip. It was truly incredible how God met us in this time of need, and how the time of rest was also so, so refreshing.
As you may have read in my previous post on becoming a mom, I talked about the struggles and the joys of my new normal. Every day is such a journey. God has truly been using this opportunity to heal me, and teach me new things. I definitely feel like a ball of clay, being molded and re-molded into this new role. Around 8-10 weeks, Chase started to get better sleep during the day, and was sleeping so much better at night as well, so we were getting our much-needed rest. It was incredible watching him grow and be so curious about the world. At this point we were blessed to have a part-time nanny to help me out as I worked, and of course so that I could get a break. But then, just when we thought had turned a corner, we were hit by this hurricane of experiences that truly brought us down to our knees.
At 7 weeks after birth, I had an IUD inserted for protection. My doctor informed me of the possible side effects and things to expect after insertion, such as some spotting/bleeding and a possible period as well. She wanted me to come back for a check-up a month later just to ensure everything was good. Sounds great, I said. I went by my merry way. I did have some bleeding, and did experience what felt like two short periods, but nothing outside of the norm. Ever since baby was born, everything down there felt weird anyway, so I didn’t think of what I experienced as anything crazy.
A month later…
I went in for a check-up, and the first thing she told me was that she cannot find the strings. She said it was common to lose the strings, typically it would just get coiled inside, but she sent me for a routine ultrasound to ensure IUD placement. I couldn’t get an ultrasound until a week later, and when I went in, the technician could not find it. She asked her supervisor to also look, she even had two different machines check, and the IUD was not in my uterus. I was asked to go back to my doctor. My doctor gave me a call, and said you must’ve expelled it, as it was not in your uterus. After reading some horror stories online, I asked if I could get an X-ray to confirm that it wasn’t anywhere else in my body. She agreed and wrote me a requisition. Thankfully, I didn’t have to wait again to get an appointment for X-ray and can just walk in. Lo and behold, there it was. Hanging outside my uterus, was my IUD, floating somewhere in my right abdominal cavity. At risk of possibly puncturing my organs. Great.
At this point, we were leaving for our trip the very next day.
I was asked to go to the hospital emergency right away, to discuss our options with the OB. Gratefully, it was a day that I already had the nanny to take care of Chase while I was supposed to be working. After hours of waiting, I was finally able to meet with the OB and she was absolutely adamant that I needed to get this IUD removed before going on my trip. I would need a laparoscopic surgery to get it removed, and I simply cannot just leave for my trip right away due to the gas that they have to put in my abdomen for the surgery, and with air pressure changes in the flight, it was just not safe. I suggested getting it removed when I go to Asia, or even when I return back from my trip, but she strongly advised against it. She said that the risk could not be calculated, and if something happened to me on the trip, such as on the flight and everything else, insurance would call me at fault as I knowingly travelled with this condition.
I broke down. I literally could not believe this was happening.
I had already been mentally preparing myself for this gargantuan challenge of travelling with an infant, and here I was, having to make a decision to cancel or postpone the trip. Clement was with me and we prayed about it, and we made the decision to stay at the hospital and get this surgery done, and not take the risk. It was a difficult but essential decision. With our healthcare system here in Canada, my name was put on the list, but depending on the severity of the case, the surgery could be today, or tomorrow, or a few days. You just had no idea. Of course there were more surgeries more important than mine, so I expected to wait. Regarding our trip, we had to make a decision by the end of that day, because our airline required changes to be made 24 hours prior to flight departure.
So I dressed up in a hospital gown, physically: not really hurting, but mentally: absolutely overwhelmed. It’s not like I could just relax waiting for my surgery. I still had to figure out Chase’s childcare at this time, and feeling incredibly guilty that I wasn’t even able to tell him that mommy wasn’t going to be around to take care of him for a day or two, and that I couldn’t be there for him. On top of that, my parents weren’t in town, and my mother-in-law was due to leave the next day as well. My nanny had also planned her vacation around our trip, so she was also going to be away very soon.
At around 9PM that same day, I heard the news that I wouldn’t be getting the surgery that day, so I had to stay to keep my spot, and hope it would be by tomorrow. My heart sank. As I lay in the hospital bed, waiting, tears just kept running down my face. I really felt so, so helpless. There was just so much going on, all at once. Like, what do I deal with, first? It was an incredible lesson of surrender to God. Why this, and why now? I just didn’t know what to do. I spent that night, listening to all the hospital sounds, my mind racing, tears running, utterly emotionally and mentally spent, feeling incredibly alone, and in silence.
In that moment, God whispered to me: I am with you.
‘No matter how overwhelming this moment is to you, I am with you. I will provide for you. Why are you so worried? The God of the universe is on your side. You may be hard-pressed, but not crushed. Struck down, but not destroyed. I have a plan for you. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future.’ Verse after verse, song after song, they just kept coming into me. My tears of worry and sadness was displaced by tears of joy. I felt an overwhelming peace settle in my heart. He was right. At that moment, my mother in law and C was at home with baby, Chase was not left alone. I am not hurting/bleeding out/dying, I am waiting for a surgery to ensure I was better. Perhaps He was protecting me from something drastic that could’ve happened on our trip. Tomorrow morning, our nanny was still around and could still take care of baby while I waited for the surgery. Things, at that moment, were taken care of.
We made the decision to postpone our trip for 5 days to ensure that I could recover from the surgery enough to be able to take care of baby. I honestly wasn’t sure about going on this trip, still, but the fact that our family was over in Asia, we rather that we went and get to enjoy this time instead of being at home without their support. Looking back, it was truly the best decision we could’ve made, even though it felt so risky at that time.
The whole of next day, there was not a quiet moment by my hospital bed. God rallied my friends around me to support me and to keep me company. My sister, Kay, took time off just to spend time with me and I felt so comforted. I received so many texts and calls from our church family telling us that they were praying for us. This day, Clement also had an interview that he had to attend to, so he was away for a few hours. The day passed by pretty quickly, but as the night started to settle in, I was starting to get anxious and worried again as I had not been called for surgery. We asked to speak with the doctor as she had told us we should get the surgery by today, especially since we have a 3 month old baby at home that would need our time and care.
And by God’s grace, by 9PM that night, I got the call to head to the operating room.
Couldn’t help but praise God that this was finally going to be resolved and taken care of. The surgery took only 15 minutes, but I had to wake up and recover from the anaesthesia, but by 11PM I was awake and finally drank my first sips of water. Once I could feel everything, they discharged me and I walked to our car. Looking back, I really thank God for the grace and the healing that He gave my body. I was a little swollen and groggy, but I was definitely ok. The moment we got home around midnight, Chase woke up and wanted to feed, so I was able to feed him and take care of him. Exhausted and still recovering from surgery, I passed out.
An hour later, I woke up to Clement retching over the toilet. He was vomiting. I vaguely remember asking him if he was okay, and he said, “I think I’m having a blockage. Don’t worry, I’m trying to see if I can ride it out.”
In my head at that moment, I was so groggy, that I whispered a prayer hoping that it will resolve itself and we wouldn’t need to go to the hospital. I was in denial that this could happen especially since I just went through my hospital stay. But a few hours later, Clement was still crouched over the bed, in obvious pain, and I said we really need to go to the hospital. C still wanted to try for a few more hours, I think he was in denial too. But by the morning, I said we are going to the hospital, and he didn’t resist. Gratefully, our nanny was still around for two more days, so the moment she arrived, I brought C to the hospital.
They quickly took him in, ran CT scan and yes. It was a blockage. It seemed like it was in the same spot as last time, last November. We were devastated. They quickly inserted an NG tube to help relieve his stomach of the acid build-up. I seriously could not imagine how tough it was for Clement. Once he was settled, I left for home to see my baby. He wasn’t awake when I brought Clement to the hospital, so I just needed to see him and let him know that mommy was still here for him.
The moment our friends found out what had happened… they all came to our rescue. You guys know you are - we are so, so grateful for your love. Especially because our immediate family wasn’t around (except for Kay and Tony, of course!), this tough season felt extra heavy. But their presence gave me so much strength. They brought us food, helped me take care of Chase so I could visit Clement at the hospital, kept me company, visited Clement, gave me a hug and shoulder rub when I needed it the most … and so much more.
God never left us when it felt like we were in rock bottom, without our family. He lifted us up with this community of people around us. He wiped every tear before it even fell to the ground. Without His grace enveloping us, we wouldn’t have survived.
It took about two days for Clement’s blockage to clear. In fact, the doctor said, it’s a miracle that it cleared on its own. He was ready to perform surgery to clear the blockage. That surgery would have made us cancel our trip altogether (which was the least of our concerns at that point). Again, it was God’s grace showing us that He was there for us in our deepest, darkest time of need.
The day before our flight, Clement was discharged and was sent home. I don’t know why but Clement was incredibly at peace and still wanted to go on this trip. I was thinking maybe these were signs that we shouldn’t go on the trip. If we had left on that flight, Clement would’ve had the blockage on that flight. But God protected us from it. Perhaps He was protecting us from more? Or was it that we just needed to go through this moments before the trip, so we wouldn’t have to deal with it on the flight, or in Manila? We had no idea. We prayed, and made the decision to go. If we had postponed our flight any earlier, we wouldn’t have made the trip. But surely, there was a reason we would be able to make this flight.
It seemed like the craziest of decisions, but just like when God spoke to me and reminded me that He is with us, He reminded me that He is also with us wherever we go. Even we travel, we’re not alone. We were travelling with the best travel companion ever. I’ll definitely spend some time to blog about our trip as well, but it was just so good for our hearts that we were able to go on this amazing trip. Everyone was so happy to see us, and meet baby Chase, that it was soul-filling and heart-warming. We were filled with so much love in this trip, and it only bonded us together as a family. Doing the crazy helped us worry less, ironically. So what seemed like a series of unfortunate events, truly became a space of healing and love not just for our family but also for the people around us. It wasn’t the most pleasant of experiences but God was so faithful to us through it all.
2 Corinthians 12:9-10 says: But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
This verse just meant so much more this time around when literally nothing was in my control. Yet, His grace was truly sufficient for all our needs. He even filled the needs we didn’t know we needed. This experience happened right around Canadian Thanksgiving, and our friends shared us their turkey dinners cause they knew that our family wasn’t around. Just, wow.
God is truly, truly faithful.