'Quite Painful'

June 8, 2014

“…quite painful…”

When I last wrote, I said ‘The labour was long and quite painful, and Taryn is still being looked after at the Rosie Hospital.’ This brief sentence was all I could manage at the time, but it didn’t really convey the reality of what Taryn has gone through.

Now that we’re back home, here’s an attempt to describe a little more of the full story of what’s happened—and what’s still happening. Isaac was due on Monday the 26th, and promptly at 2.30am Monday morning Taryn’s contractions began in earnest. What we didn’t then realise however was that since our last midwife check he had shifted position from an ideal anterior position to a dreaded posterior position.

It wasn’t until Tuesday evening that the contractions were consistently strong and regular enough that we finally came into the hospital. Labour proceeded slowly through the night and then on into the day. The midwives were about to give up and have us taken upstairs to the Delivery Unit for a C-section—_‘we’ll give it half an hour more’_—when in one final sudden burst, after fifty-nine hours of agonising pain, Taryn delivered a little baby boy and Isaac came tumbling into the world. The midwife clamped his umbilical cord and let me cut it, and I was holding my newborn son in my arms—when suddenly a dozen doctors in sea-green scrubs invaded the room and whisked Taryn away.

She was haemorrhaging blood, and needed a spinal anaesthetic and stitches. We spent the night in the hospital (a kindly nurse gave me a blanket and an extra chair to curl up on next to Taryn’s bed) waiting to find out whether there would need to be a blood transfusion as well. Morning came, and the good news was that the blood transfusion wasn’t necessary—so Taryn could return home. ‘Just get up and walk over there to see how you feel’, suggested the nurse-on-duty. And that’s when we discovered that Taryn couldn’t walk.

They were expecting her to be a little light-headed from the blood loss; they were expecting her to find walking a little painful because of the stitches. They weren’t expecting her to have practically lost all motion in her legs. Had the spinal anaesthetic gone wrong? Were the nerves in Taryn’s legs damaged from the trauma of labour? There was a comprehensive array of scans and tests to try and ascertain what exactly was wrong: Computerised Tomography, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Ultrasound Scanning, and of course the Reflex Hammer. We were visited by a steady stream of anaesthetists, obstetricians, neurologists, paediatricians, physiotherapists, midwives, and nurses.

They suggested a myriad collection of possible causes for anxiety: attenuated pelvic ligaments, stunned femoral nerves, severely distended bladder, imperfect breastfeeding positions, borderline jaundice levels. By Monday though, they had reached the conclusion that there was no permanent damage, and somewhat grudgingly the doctors released Taryn to come home. On Tuesday we celebrated Taryn’s birthday. Now begins the slow and painful journey to full recovery—the physio has said Taryn may need to be on crutches for the next couple of months.

Grace is sufficient

And in all of this we have experienced the truth that ‘the Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit’. Truly ‘His grace is sufficient, and His power is made perfect in our weakness’. ‘Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day’. #

This is not to say that we have not felt crushed in spirit—we have. At times, utterly crushed. But each day we have had glimpses of God’s glory breaking through the veil of our numbness and pain. The providential provision of having my Mum (Isaac’s Nanny) here to give us much-needed support; the hilarious joy of seeing the range of expressions which cross Isaac’s face; the tears streaming down the face of the lady I had the chance to share the gospel with and pray for in the Addenbrooke’s chapel; the sweet presence of Jesus as myself and Taryn celebrated the Eucharist in the hospital with just a biscuit and a cup of water. And then there are the unexpected miracles where God provides above and beyond what you ask.

I’d asked if we could turn the ground-floor teaching room in our little YWAM house into a temporary bedroom for Taryn—as it has turned out we’re able to have the whole house to ourselves, while the DTS spends their week of debrief in our dear friend John Ruddock’s spacious Oak Villa just outside Cambridge in Madingley. The miracle here is that John had dropped the Oak Villa keys off at our house before leaving for Germany—the day before it had even occurred to us to ask if this might be a possibility.

So please, please, continue to pray for us:

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.
2 Corinthians 4:7-10