Wednesday, August 5, 2009

A week ago today - "Be Still"

It's hard to believe that it's already been a week. Time does fly (or at least seems to sometimes). I find myself reflecting a lot of the day of surgery, and trying, almost desperately at times, to remember each of the tiniest details. I'm not sure what the reason is, except that there were moments of peace during that day that I haven't felt sense and I think I may be trying to recapture them if you will.

I woke up on July 29th, feeling nauseous. Perhaps from the medications, but most likely from the nerves. But the strangest thing happened. I literally woke up with my mind being midway through Psalm 131 and it just kept going through my head, constantly without ceasing. It was on repeat. What does Psalm 131 say and why would this be important?
Psalm 131
(A song of ascents. Of David.)
LORD, my heart is not proud; nor are my eyes haughty. I do not busy myself with great matters, with things too sublime for me. Rather, I have stilled my soul, hushed it like a weaned child. Like a weaned child on its mother's lap, so is my soul within me.
Israel, hope in the LORD, now and forever.

It's a short Psalm, only three verses. And why, of all things, would this be fresh on my mind on the morning of my surgery? It's interesting, and we have to take a step back for it to make sense. I am leading/teaching a group at our parish called Women of Grace, and we have been studying prayer. Recently a question asked something like "Which Psalm to you relate to the most/means the most?" I immediately thought of the Psalm that begins "I raise my eyes toward the mountains. From where will my help come? My help comes from the LORD, the maker of heaven and earth. God will not allow your foot to slip; your guardian does not sleep. Truly, the guardian of Israel never slumbers nor sleeps" and thought "oh! Psalm 131, I know this one!" Imagine then my surprise when I turned to Psalm 131 only to find the words listed above about being a stilled soul like a weaned child. It then struck me, all throughout this 20 week study at church, God has been telling me "be still." It comes again and again to me and the irony of the fact that I am "being still" and resting on the couch for two weeks post-surgery has not escaped me. But here in this Psalm, God is describing exactly what "be still" looks like. To not concern ourselves with things that are beyond our comprehension, but instead, to rest like a child who has nursed at it's mothers breast. Having watched my Godson for the last 7 months, I can attest that a nursed child, passed out on its mother's lap is truly and utterly at rest. That is the type of surrender that God asks of us. Trusting in Him completely with not a care in the world. And what I found even more interesting was that almost 10 years ago to the day, this was the Psalm that I memorized while visiting the monastery of Heiligenkreuz in Austria (where my conversion to Catholicism began). Why did I choose this Psalm at that time? I have no idea, but apparently even then, God was teaching me how to surrender and still my soul.

So here I was, on the morning of my surgery, with these three verses on repeat in my mind...concluding each time with the words, "Suzy, hope in the Lord now and forever", substituting my name for "Israel." It was incredible and even when I tried to stop praying, I couldn't. Thank you Holy Spirit for giving me the words to pray, when I was to nervous to pray for myself.

We arrived at Grant Medical Center at 9am sharp and shortly after that were lead into pre-op. After the usual "height/weight/pee-in-a-cup-are-you-pregnant/put this flimsy gown on/blood pressure/temperature/blood oxygen saturation/what are your allergies/do you know what surgery you are having" dance, there really was just a lot of waiting...and still I had peace. I had peace the entire time.

The anesthesiologist came in and talked to me about what he would do, and then Dr. Parker came in sometime shortly before 11am. I can't even tell you what it is, but there is just something about his presence that is calming. I have never trusted any medical professional like I trust him. He is truly a God-sent blessing. While he was talking with him, I handed him the first-class relic of St. Gianna Molla and asked him if he would like to have her with him in surgery with him. I had had a dream a few days prior of Dr. Parker doing surgery and he had the relic of St. Gianna in his pocket. He took the relic and smiling, told me I might have to fight to get her back (I think not!). With a squeeze of my hand letting me know that all would be well, he was off, and a few minutes later so was I. With a "gorgeous" hair net on, my wedding band taped down to my finger, and my glasses off, away I was wheeled. Without my glasses I'm legally blind, so the rest of my observations were by color, shape and sound. The nurse wheeled me around the corner and we took the elevator to the surgery floor. Operating Room #16. When the doors opened, the room was cold in temperature and awash in light. There were probably six people there already, scrubbed out in vibrant green scrubs. The room was quite large and I was pretty shocked that so many people were already buzzing around like bees awaiting my arrival. I remember asking if Dr. Parker was there (how could I tell without my glasses) and they told me not yet. The anesthesiologist then told me that he was going to give me something in my IV that would make me sleepy. (The weird thing is that it didn't sound or look like the anesthesiologist that came to visit me in pre-op). I remember thinking, "hold on Suzy, try to remember everything to the last minute," but I'm not sure that happened. I wanted to be praying my mental rosary in my head as I went under, but the only other memories I have are of asking someone if they had already given me the drug to make me sleepy (I think they probably had and I had already been out of it) and then having a mask put over my mouth and being told to take a few deep breaths....

..that was it.

The next thing I know, I was lying on my left side feeling incredibly drowsy, with a strange sensation in my gut. About this same time, I overheard a nurse in the hallway say "It's 3:40pm." I smiled to myself , and the greatest peace perhaps I have ever known in my life flooding my soul. I cry even know to think about it. I can only imagine that this is the peace that we will have in Heaven. It was remarkable.

I had peace because I realized that if I had been out that long, then Dr. Parker had also done the Ovarian Wedge resection. Even going into surgery, we weren't sure if he would do the ovarian wedge resection, but he promised he would if he needed to. My biggest fear of all going into the surgery was that he would get in there to look around and wouldn't find anything that he could fix, and that he wouldn't do the Wedge. Now knowing that I had been out that long, I was certain he had done it. I just knew it in my heart...and I heard a voice say "All is well." I was so at peace.

I think this exact experience is the reason that I keep reliving the surgery day over and over in my mind. I want to regain that peace, because I haven't really had it sense. Perhaps it was a consolation to my soul for just that moment in time, I don't know. But whatever it was, I am grateful. It really was as if God was saying, "it is finished, the obstacles have been removed, Suzy, all is well."

The rest of the story, you already know from Dave's post that day. After a bit more in recovery, they wheeled me up to my room on the 9th floor where Dave and my parents were waiting to meet me.

In the crazy world along the way of the cross of infertility, it is a dangerous place to get your hopes up. It is dangerous to think that now that such-and-such has happened, you will conceive. And while I don't want to get my hopes up, I do trust God in His promise that day that "all is well." Perhaps we conceive on this next cycle. Perhaps it's later in the year. Perhaps it's two years from now. Perhaps we never do. All will be according to His holy will. And I may never again have that deep and all-encompassing peace that I had at 3:40pm on July 29, 2009, but in that one moment in time, it was given to me as a gift and I relished in every minute of it and will never forget it. At all times, I will try to draw on this moment of peace and to trust it--a time when my soul was like a weaned child at its mother's breast.

Suzy, hope in the Lord now and forever. All is well. Be still.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Suzy. I just wanted to thank you for your beautiful blog. I have PCOS and am working with Creighton and a NaPro Dr currently. We are trying to be intentional about treating my health and not just my infertility (though we would love a new baby), and so are considering trying to find a Dr who will do the ows and I was searching for others who have gone through the experience. I appreciate what you have shared and the beautiful way you have done it.