Thursday, February 7, 2013

Asking for Spaghetti

They call it "transition". That point in labor when a woman's body goes through its final, most agonizing changes before she is ready to push. It's that moment when you think it will never end, when you think it virtually impossible that your body can survive what you are going through. And it's the point where even the most stubborn of us women, the ones most committed to going natural, consider the drugs.

That's why for many people who choose this route, there's a code word. As Reed and I prepared for a labor that we hoped would go natural, we were told to find a word that had no relation at all to the process. A word I'd have to specifially use to ask for drug intervention, rather than just saying "yes" to the offer of an epidural or screaming out "give me the drugs!" in the midst of an interminable contraction.

We chose "spaghetti." I don't know why. Maybe we assumed that Italian food would be the furthest thing from my mind while I labored. (For the record, we were wrong. I don't remember a lot about labor but I do remember asking how soon after it I could eat. I was pretty darn freakin' hungry.)

Then came the big day. Or, should I say, the big "middle of the night." And like most women who have gone natural, I hit that point where I thought there was no possible way I could continue without the likely result of my body splitting into two. I can remember just a few specific things about that moment: the helpless look on my husband's face and how hard it was to catch my breath. I remember wanting the drugs and asking for them and my husband dutifully, if hesitantly, telling me I had to use the right word. And I knew he was right. I had to ask for spaghetti.

When it came down to it, I didn't ask for it. That moment of getting outside the pain to make the decision gave me what I needed to push past it and wait it out. And let me be clear- I'm not saying there was anything noble or heroic in my choice- if anything, my refusal was probably yet another shining example of my twin vices of stubbornness and pride. But, refuse I did. And I was glad of it - we turned the corner shortly after and had our son in our arms less than an hour later.

In about two weeks we'll have been on the waiting list with our adoption agency for 12 months. Add to that the months and years of waiting and asking and it's been over four years that we have been waiting for this baby. Four years.

And these last few months? The months during which I haven't blogged, not even once? They have been some of the hardest months of my life. I have felt angry, exhausted, frustrated, sad and hopeless. I have felt distant from and abandoned by a God I have loved and served for almost 30 years. I have felt cynical when people speak of Him as faithful and loving.  He has seemed silent and I have felt alone. I have sat in my alone-ness and not told anyone. Not friends, not my husband, not my God.

A few weeks ago, I had one of those moments. A moment of "transition". When I felt I couldn't breathe, when I didn't know how I could go on waiting on this adoption, how I could continue to mourn the loss of our baby and deal with the lack of closure on our infertility. The pain was too acute. And I told someone. Actually, I told a few someones. People I knew wouldn't just offer trite words of encouragement. People who would let me be angry and confused and who would enter into that pain with me.

And in the opening up to others, I felt the first stirring of God in this. And I sensed him saying "Will you just say the word, already?"

Just as in labor, I had two choices. I could push through or I could ask for spaghetti.

In my stubbornness in my first labor, I think it was ultimately good that I didn't say the words. But this "labor" is different. This whole "pregnancy" has been different. I feel like I've been pregnant for years and that my labor has lasted for months. So this time, I'm asking for some spaghetti. With meatballs, thank you very much. There is only so much pain the human body can take without labor progressing, you know.

And any stubbornness and pride I have right now, any reliance on my own strength, is just plain foolish. I need God to help me, to sustain my hope and strength during "transition". I cannot do this alone. I have tried the last few months and I am damn near exhausted. I need to be told that it's almost time to push. In the meantime, maybe I'll let the spaghetti kick in a little so I can relax. Maybe I'll actually push into God's presence and continue to let my friends in on what's been going on.

Call it carbo-loading. But I'm planning on getting as much help as I can now, fueling up for that last final stage of pushing, whenever it comes. And yes, like any rational laboring woman, I am hoping and praying that it comes soon. No one wants to be pregnant forever.

1 comment:

  1. Carolyn, your courage and your honesty continue to inspire me as we wait upon the Lord for the things we believe He has in store for us. Thank you for writing about this. After reading this, each time I think of the word spaghetti or see spaghetti, I will be sure to stop and take a moment to pray for you and your family. It's a good reminder.