Written By Lisa Jong, China, originally in Simplified Chinese
I never imagined that I would have to undergo a cesarean section when I was pregnant with my first child.
At the time, I was young and healthy. I could easily hike 10km up the mountains, and clock at least 10,000 steps a day. So I ignored any information about C-sections, and did not bother to take any precautions. To me, C-sections were to be undertaken only as a last resort. My baby bag consisted only of the things I would need in case of a natural childbirth. Besides, I thought I had an ace up my sleeve: I knew that God loved me, and was certain He would grant me a natural childbirth.
I was also confident that my baby would be born full-term, i.e. at 37 weeks, and not premature. After all, my obstetrician said she was “very satisfied” with my condition and my baby’s.
On the third day of my baby’s 36th week, I walked out of my obstetrician’s office with a spring in my step. My baby weighed just a little above average. Her head was pointing downwards and her umbilical cord was not entangled. Everything looked perfect.
That day, I had lunch with my husband. He bought me a drink and then told me to buy myself a nice outfit as he was planning to take me to a special restaurant the following day for a “final celebration” before the baby’s arrival. Happily, I went shopping alone, preoccupied with thoughts about where I should eat and how to spend my evening afterward. Little did I know that my life was going to change that very evening.
When My Water Broke
After picking out my new outfit, I felt a little tired and decided to get some Korean food. Unfortunately, there were no seats at the nearest restaurant, as it was packed. Just when I was debating whether to go home for dinner, I spotted another Korean restaurant. I immediately dashed over. Taking my seat, I realized that this restaurant was run by Christians. A banner which read “Lord, I come before you” hung on the wall and Christian praise music played in the background.
The standard of the food, however, was disappointing; it was nowhere near what I was expecting. Gulping down my third glass of water, I texted my friends to complain about the poor “testimony” these Christian owners were giving by serving poor Korean food. In the middle of my messages, I sneezed, three times in a row. That’s when I felt a popping sensation—my water bag had broken.
I had considered numerous scenarios while planning for my baby’s birth, but none of them involved my water breaking while I was alone in a restaurant. It was so unexpected; I couldn’t move and was at a loss. I called the hospital, and was told to go to the bathroom and check whether the water had broken or if I was bleeding.
Where was the bathroom? And how did amniotic fluid look like? I had no idea. I was then told to catch a cab to the hospital. But I was on the third floor of a highly confusing mall, and the thought of having to find my way through the labyrinth to the ground floor to hail a taxi made me light-headed.
God’s Perfect Arrangement
Suddenly, it occurred to me that I was in a restaurant owned by fellow Christians. So I plucked up the courage to ask the staff for help and to lend me a towel and a phone. Then I went one step further to ask if one of the waitresses could accompany me to the hospital. Thankfully, they were more than willing to help.
It was a bad time to hail a cab; it was rush hour and traffic jams were aplenty. Also, when we got downstairs, I realized that my location was not ideal for catching a taxi. Just as I reached the sidewalk, however, one of the waiters successfully managed to hail a cab for me.
Eventually, we made it to the hospital without any delay—despite the fact that the driver had never been to the hospital before. My husband reached seconds after I arrived. But the biggest relief to me was that my obstetrician just so happened to be on duty that afternoon.
My Fear of Pain
By then, the panic I felt about my water breaking was mixed with feelings of excitement. Finally, I was going to give birth! I even looked forward to the contractions I had heard so much about. But no contractions came. The doctor, after inspection, said that there was no sign of dilation in my cervix. I was presented two options: induced labor or C-section. Because the concept of C-section was so foreign to me, I instantly picked induced labor.
At this point, the leader of my small group arrived and began praying for me and encouraging me. Being terrified of pain, just being hooked up to the IV machine had me howling with pain. The anesthesiologist then explained to me how painful induced labor—and the process of getting an epidural—could be. When I heard that the epidural needle would hurt even more than the IV injection, I shuddered.
With much encouragement from the doctor and anesthesiologist, I decided to choose the less painful route—C-section with general anesthesia. The surgery went very smoothly, and within half an hour, my baby was born. When I saw my baby for the first time, my heart swelled with thankfulness.
Later, my doctor told me that the delivery had been far from smooth. Had I chosen induced labor, they said, I would still have ended up getting an emergency C-section because his scans had shown that my baby’s umbilical cord had been wrapped around her neck. I was also told that the doctor had nearly lost me as well, as complications had arisen while I was being anesthetized.
Thankfully, my anesthesiologist had the necessary equipment on hand to deal with my condition, which was a rare one. Mine was the most difficult case he had encountered in over 30 years as an anesthesiologist, he told me. Under normal circumstances, I would not have chosen to give birth at that hospital as it was very far from my home. But the fact that I was there was no mere coincidence. The anesthesiologist said that other hospitals might not have heard of my condition and known how to respond.
So that is the story of how everything that could have possibly gone wrong during my delivery did. My water broke while I was out alone, my baby was born premature and her umbilical cord had been wrapped around her neck, and I almost lost my life while being anesthetized. And yet, by God’s protection and grace, I had a perfect delivery. He led me to Christians willing to take me to hospital, kept me calm during the journey, and led me to choose to have a C-section, which turned out to the safest option. Every detail of my delivery is a testament of God’s overflowing love.
It was through my problematic delivery process, that I was able to truly experience God’s love and protection, learn to rely on Him, and be grateful.
I can’t be more thankful for how things had panned out. I am immensely thankful and fulfilled.
“Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him. Fear the Lord, you his holy people, for those who fear him lack nothing. The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.” (Psalm 34:8-10)
“Rejoice always . . . give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. Do not quench the Spirit.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16, 18-19)