As I transitioned into motherhood, there were a lot of things that I didn't expect -- blessings that left me speechless with gratitude.
I didn't expect to have a pregnancy free of complications.
I didn't expect to have a straightforward, relatively easy birth.
I didn't expect to have a healthy, beautiful son (beautiful in our eyes, anyway!).
It's not that I expected a horrible pregnancy and a sickly child -- but I didn't want to assume that everything would be easy, and I was determined to give all of those expectations to God. I wanted a natural birth so badly, but in a hospital with a C-section rate nearing 40%, I knew there was a possibility that everything wouldn't be "perfect." But whatever happened would be God's will, so I stopped praying for the birth I wanted, and asked instead for grace and contentment no matter what happened. And it happened as I had hoped; only a few details were different than my "ideal," and I can look back with joy and gratitude on the whole experience.
But what I didn't realize was that I did have expectations that I hadn't given to the Lord.
I expected nursing to go well -- not perfectly, but well.
I expected a leisurely two weeks of resting and enjoying our newborn.
I expected to give away the sample can of formula that the hospital gave us.
And then, on the day we were discharged, little man's bilirubin levels were a touch high. Jaundice makes infants extra sleepy, which certainly hadn't helped with nursing. So after our discharge from the hospital, we had three consecutive days of early morning blood tests and doctor's visits. There went my peaceful time of rest following the birth! And when the levels didn't go down after two days (and nursing consisted of a screaming, arch-backed infant and a very frustrated mother), I listened to our pediatrician and opened that can of formula.
I had been so ready to give up my pregnancy and birth to the Lord, but I didn't realize that I was holding back so much! I was frustrated, emotional, and exhausted. I was terrified that supplementing would ruin all chances of nursing, which was something I was dedicated to doing. Nothing seemed to be going right (because it wasn't going my way).
But little by little, by God's grace and with a great deal of help and perspective from my husband, I began to drop my expectations and see God's hand in our situation. That "evil" formula got rid of the jaundice in no time flat, which meant we didn't need more serious treatment. The nursing gradually improved, and he's been off formula completely for several weeks. And while the tongue-tie can't be fixed until he's two months old, he's healthy and I'm in a lot less pain.
And now, at last, I'm grateful. Grateful that I found out about tongue-tie "by chance" on a blog I don't normally read. Grateful that formula gave us the chance to get back on our feet. Grateful that he can nurse in spite of that faulty frenulum. Grateful that God didn't give me everything I expected, forcing me to seek Him rather than rely on myself.
I wish I had trusted Him from the beginning, rather than trying to rely on my feeble (read "nonexistent") resources. Our challenges certainly aren't over, and every aspect of learning about this new little person is bewildering. But I have to remind myself that when God sends challenges, He also grants the grace to deal with them -- and that grace is sufficient for me!