Ebenezer Collective | TEACH US TO NUMBER OUR DAYS
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Jessica Britnell

“Teach us to number our days carefully so that we may develop wisdom in our hearts.”
Psalms 90:12

The day my second baby was born is a day that has forever changed me in so many ways.

Our daughter was born a little after 9:00 in the morning without too much concern. Although there were some minor issues with her birth, they were resolved quickly and we were overall very happy and thankful with the birth of our sweet new baby. We spent the day recovering and enjoying our new addition and eventually had big sister come and meet her. Throughout the day, I had some abdominal pain and my belly felt very hard, but I was reassured this was normal and everything was good. We were enjoying time with family, but as 5:00 pm neared I realized something wasn’t right and was turning bad very quickly. I knew I was losing consciousness and told my husband. Thankfully my mom grabbed the baby right before I dropped her.

In an instant everything was different. My room was filled with people trying to figure out what was going on and what could they do. I was in and out of consciousness for the remainder of the time, but I remember so much so vividly. They were doing tests and ultrasounds, trying to figure out why I had no blood pressure. Emergency doctors I had never met were trying to get me to answer anything that could help them quickly.

My doctor arrived and told my husband I needed an emergency exploratory surgery to identify the problem. She told him she would do everything she could, but she wasn’t sure what was going on and whether or not they would be able to fix it. She told him to tell me goodbye because they weren’t confident enough that he’d have another chance. My heart breaks thinking of him in that moment, all alone and trying to begin to process this information. He had to watch and wait and be separated from all 3 of his girls, all 3 in different places with their own new challenges. It turns out my abdominal muscles had been bleeding internally for hours and now I had literally lost half my blood volume. I had more blood in my belly than I had in my blood vessels and this was obviously a problem. We said goodbye and I rushed off to surgery, barely able to open my eyes every few minutes.

I remember trying to save my strength to open my eyes every time we were in a new room. There were so many people crowded around and moving so fast, but for me everything was just so still. I was laying there completely helpless and every ounce of control I ever thought I had was gone. I knew I couldn’t do anything to change my situation. It was just happening and there was nothing I could do about it.

I thought I was going to die.

There literally was no part of me in those moments that didn’t think I was going to die, and I was okay with that. I would have thought that I’d spend those moments thinking about my beloved husband, or my beautiful children, or my loved ones. And I did, for about a second. My only thought was that wasn’t my concern anymore. I know that sounds harsh and unloving. I can think of so many things for that moment that I would want to tell other people so they could care for my family just the right way, or have some last chance to control things for them once I was gone; but once it was really happening, I knew that it wasn’t mine to deal with anymore.

I knew that all I had to do was to go be with Jesus and I had such a peace about it, a peace I have never experienced before that moment. I felt like I was being held and comforted. I knew that this situation wasn’t a surprise to God. He knows my first and last day even if I don’t.

Knowing this truth resonated so strongly in my mind in those moments, and the peace I felt because of it really made me think it was my time to go. I was amazed at God’s peace. Peace I had never felt so purely and truly, so real and literally tangible. It was the only thing I had to cling to in those moments and it was all I needed and more. I knew that just because something bad was happening to me didn’t change God’s love and faithfulness to me. There He was, when no one else could be there for me and when no one was even engaging with me anymore He was there to hold me. It changed me and it has forever changed the way I see the depth and realness of His love for me personally.

The surgery was over and they were able to identify and treat the problem, but that wasn’t the end of my troubles that night. The rare bleeding issue was followed by another undiagnosed rare genetic anesthetic issue that left me completely paralyzed for several hours following the surgery. I was transferred to the ICU and on a ventilator until my paralysis wore off and my lungs were able to move and breath for themselves.

I finally woke up and was reunited with my husband. I hadn’t seen the baby since the day before and she was all alone kept as a border baby in the nursery. My oldest child was pretty traumatized from watching the trouble unfold as her mom collapsed and the people rushed in. We decided it was better for her not to return to the hospital until she came to take me home. It was hard to not see her for so many days and was such a sudden change for us both. It was not the picture I had for our family as we welcomed our second child.

But if I learned anything from this experience, it’s that I’m not in control. I don’t know if this is part of my story that God redeemed, or if it was written this way all along for His glory, but I’m glad this is my story. I wouldn’t have written it this way, but I thank God I’m not in charge. He uses our challenges, struggles, and adversities to show His strength and power. He is glorified in our weakness and lack of control.

Everything will fade…except for God, His word, and His people. What we did for our job, our house, our stuff, what other people thought about how we raised our kids – none of this will matter. I don’t know what the day that I actually die will look like, but I know that I’m a little less afraid of it. I believe that God’s peace will be there to comfort me and that I will once again know that I was never able to control any of it and that will be such a relief.

Amanda Buccola
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