As exciting as finding out you are pregnant is, it is also completely normally to have some anxiety and concerns about things that could go wrong. Besides having morning sickness during the first trimester and dealing with some anxiety over the unknowns, God blessed me with a very healthy pregnancy and it started off quite uneventful. Of everything that I was prepared to encounter, the two big events that have affected my pregnancy are ones that I never foresaw. At the end of January I was in a pretty bad car accident, in which my car was totaled and I ended up in the hospital for over 26 hours. The following weeks consisted of working through pain from injury, as well as anxiety and unexpected responsibilities. And then secondly, the last few weeks of my pregnancy have been amid the global pandemic of COVID-19 and currently life as we knew it has ceased to exist. Both of these events have challenged me and given me an opportunity to trust God and place my life more fully in his hands.
I was on my way to work at 8am on a Thursday morning. I was in the right lane of a four lane road (two lanes going each direction) and there was a car in the left lane trying to make a left turn. The car behind him decided not to wait for him to make the turn and merged into my lane. There was a cement building on the other side of me and I had nowhere to go. The other car hit me hard on the front left side of my car (up by the tire in front of the driver’s seat) and ripped the front part of my car off. I was wearing my seat belt, but with the impact, my chest and top of my belly hit the steering wheel. I was able to get myself stopped, but then sat there in shock not even knowing what to do. Thankfully, Jesus sent me a guardian angel in the form of the driver behind us. He pulled over and came to check on me right away. He made sure I would be able to get out of my car and then offered to call 911 for me. I was already feeling pain and was working hard to hold back tears.
I called Phil right away (he was at work), and miraculously he happened to have his phone on him. He normally doesn’t have it with him except on break and as they had just changed locations, I had no idea what his new work number was. He answered right away and was able to leave work within 5 minutes. He took care of calling my boss and my mom so that I could talk to the police. It wasn’t long after, that they arrived. Everything still seemed like such a blur and it was such a blessing that the guy behind me had stopped because he had witnessed everything and was able to tell them what had happened. The police sent for an ambulance and came to check on me and then went to talk to the man who had hit my car. I was in quite a bit of pain, but mostly concerned because while I was driving the baby had been moving a lot and I hadn’t felt a single movement since being hit.
As I was waiting, I heard the other driver trying to blame me for the accident while talking to the police. He hadn’t even come to check on me to see if I was okay (I’ve been in a few fender benders in the past and the other driver had ALWAYS been approachable and we always checked on each other) and had purposely avoided coming over near me. I think that added to my shock and tears and it certainly upset Phil when he arrived and realized what was happening. Phil arrived right after I got my things out of the car and right before the ambulance arrived. Phil talked to the police briefly and got information we needed to follow up about the accident. And then the EMTs checked me out and were going to take me to the closest hospital, but since I was stable Phil was able to drive me to the hospital where my OBGYN practice is.
I called my OBGYN to see where they wanted me to go when we arrived and they said to go up to the labor and delivery ward for monitoring. During the drive my pain continued to increase in my chest and just as we arrived to the parking garage I felt a small movement from baby girl. I was so relieved, but also still really concerned. They put me on an IV and did an ultrasound to check on the baby and make sure that the placenta had not detached from the uterine wall. If it had they would need to prep me for an emergency c-section (I was only at 32 weeks, so we were praying hard that this wouldn’t be necessary). I was having contractions, but luckily I wasn’t bleeding, the ultrasound looked good, and baby girl’s heartbeat was strong. Since I continued to have contractions they wanted to keep watching for awhile and took some blood samples. Throughout the day, baby girl’s movements got stronger and more frequent and eventually I was cleared to go down to the ER.
We spent the next few hours in the ER where I got an EKG (to monitor my heart) and Xrays. The xrays showed that I had a small fracture in my sternum (hence all the pain) and because of the baby we decided not to do a CAT scan; Instead they decided to keep me overnight for more labs and to do an ultrasound on my other organs to make sure nothing else was punctured. They had us go back up to labor and delivery for the night and they continued to monitor the baby’s heart rate and my contractions. We were able to leave mid morning, the next day. During the time that we were at the hospital, our pastor visited, one of my friends spent 5 or so hours in the ER with us, other friends dropped off food, and many people were praying for us. Phil and I were also pleased with the care we received from my OB, the labor and delivery unit, ER and trauma team; we were so thankful how God provided for us.
It was so clear to us how God’s hand was throughout the whole situation and how he watched over and protected me and our baby girl. The accident could have been much worse, but as we settled back in at home I began to experiences many emotions and deal with increased anxiety. I was in a lot of pain; I could barely get out of bed or turn over during the night. Phil would wake up each time I would to help me get up or adjust. Sneezing, coughing, and laughing were almost unbearable. Even though, the other driver had completely been at fault and was ticketed by the police officers, when Phil and I started to sort through the details of car insurance and medical bills and we realized we would need to hire an attorney just to be able to cover remaining medical costs and hopefully make up some of what we lost from our totaled vehicle. The first few times I tried to drive I was so anxious, not to mention in a lot of pain.
I also found myself growing increasingly frustrated with the driver who hit me. What was supposed to be an exciting time preparing for the baby to come was now marred with physical pain, added emotional stress, and many extra responsibilities dealing with insurance, our attorney, a tightened financial situation, and searching for a new vehicle. I had absolutely no control over anything that had happened and it was really tempting to grow angry with the other driver and to question why God would allow any of this to happen in the first place. It just didn’t seem fair and it was so easy to start feeling sorry for myself and get wrapped up in everything that was going wrong. It took a lot of prayer and reminders from Phil and others, that God is sovereign and control. Sometimes I had to choose to forgive the other driver multiple times in one day and remind myself of all the ways that God was providing and how much he had protected me (and baby girl) from.
It took a month or so for both the physical pain and everything else to get easier. And then just as I felt like things were getting back to normal, suddenly the whole world started changing. Before I knew it I was stuck at home 24/7 just waiting for the baby to come. I had so much extra time on my hands and while I wasn’t extremely worried about Phil or myself getting the corinavirus, I was concerned about the children we sponsored in vulnerable areas, about our immunocompromised friends, and for all of the people who were economically at risk from everything that was happening. And things seemed to escalate pretty quickly, because then suddenly there were articles going around about hospitals not allowing a support person in for labor and delivery; even my doctor and the practice were concerned that our hospital was heading that direction. I found myself growing increasingly concerned that I would need to delivery the baby alone and that Phil would miss out on the birth of our daughter.
Just like with my car accident, I realized that it came down to control. Or lack there of. I felt like I had no control over what was happening and I was letting that fear to control me. God convicted me that he is not ringing his hands over this situation, neither is he just watching for a distance. He cares about each and every one of us. I’m not saying that it is easy or that it makes sense to us, but God’s ways are often beyond human understanding. And when we focus on what the WORLD is telling us, YES it is terrifying. But when we focus on God and WHO God is, our perspective changes. God is steadfast and God is love and “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear” (John 4:18). And with that in mind, I no longer am filled with fear…but I have so much peace knowing that has go me (and us) in his hands. When I let myself be filled with his LOVE, everything takes on a different perspective and I know that he will take care of all the little details.