|Our first grandchild|
One month ago, in a far-away land called Germany, my daughter gave birth to her first baby—a son. She laboured quietly alone for several hours, not calling her husband at work or even realizing that she was really in labour until the midwife came by for a routine check. By that time she was so far along that the midwife popped her in the car and drove her immediately to the nearest hospital instead of to the family-friendly hospital an hour away. Baby Micah was born quickly and safely, but not in the peaceful environment or with the quality midwifery care that our daughter and son-in-law had planned. Our first grandchild is strong and healthy, but our daughter is still recuperating from the second-rate experience of her second-choice hospital care.
Which all begs these questions: Was their Plan B back-up-hospital choice actually God's Plan A experience for them? Or did their midwife jump the gun in rushing her to the nearby hospital instead of opting for the longer trip to the better facility in Hanover? Was God's sovereignty somehow trumped by exigency? Or were the circumstances of baby Micah's birth exactly what God had decreed they should be?
I will leave those questions of God's sovereignty and man's responsibility to the theologians of both Calvinist and Arminian persuasions. While it bothers me that my daughter suffered more than she “should have,” I don't have time or energy to wrestle with the theological implications. And in all honesty, I have to admit that her experience was not unlike what sometimes happens at Casa Compasiva.
“Juana” was a recent client of ours anticipating a lovely cozy birth at Casa Compasiva. She laboured well until 5 cm, when suddenly her labour slowed down and she failed to progress—at all. Hours and hours later, after trying all the tricks of the trade that we know—and all to no avail-- our midwives reluctantly made the call to transport her to a local hospital. Both Juana and her baby's safety were at stake, not to mention our integrity as a medically responsible birth-facility.
Plan B back-up- hospital experience was less than ideal.
And yet, I have to ask myself... was her Plan B actually God's Plan A? For whatever unfathomable reason, did God have a purpose in allowing the circumstances of Juana's baby's birth to be exactly as they were? Did He have reasons far beyond that which we can see or understand in allowing Juana's isolation in a Mexican government hospital... and in allowing my daughter to suffer “needlessly”... and in allowing Mary to be forced to give birth to Jesus in a dirty stable far away from mother and midwife because “there was no room in the inn.” The answer, I suspect, is “yes”. Just as “The heart has its reasons which reason knows nothing of...” (Blaise Pascal), so also God has His own reasons which His creatures cannot begin to comprehend. He allowed our Saviour's birth to be in terribly unhygienic conditions---definitely not Mary's Plan A choice! He sometimes allows medical complications for which we at Casa Compasiva have no solutions. In a fallen world, stuff happens...
As the old hymn goes: “Ask Him not then, 'When?' Or 'How?' Only bow....only bow.”
We bow, then. Casa Compasiva will bow to God's inscrutable ways, continuing to serve the Oaxacan mothers and babies to the best of our ability. Being human, we will feel frustrated when things don't work out as planned-- when a mother's Plan B must be applied and it yields unsatisfactory results. But we will continue to trust that ultimately God is working out His Plan A purposes in each mother's pre-natal care, birth, and post-partum recovery period.
It is a privilege to do what we can. It is a privilege to provide Oaxacan women with quality maternity care, ministering God's love through Jesus Christ in both word and deed. It is a privilege to comfort them even when their Plan A's go awry, and we are hindered in our ability to provide all their care. Then we encourage them to look to Jesus in their disappointment. We grieve with them when their birth plans fail to materialize as hoped, resulting in inexplicable suffering. And when we can offer absolutely no explanations as to the “why's and wherefores” of that suffering, we pray for the strength and the grace for all of us to bow.
Our first three midwives graduated from the Casa Compasiva midwifery course at the end of October. ... just in time to serve through this very busy Christmas season. These three excellent midwives will attend some of our Oaxacan clients in relaxed and joyful births at Casa Compasiva. They will all celebrate the successful conclusions to the natural birth classes that we offer.
However, in spite of everyone's best efforts, it is likely that some of the labours will end in the necessity of higher-level medical intervention. Our midwives may be forced to make the agonizing decision to transport to nearby hospitals. There will be tears shed all around. Some of the women whom we transfer will suffer difficult births under deplorable conditions. Those babies will be born during an imperfect Christmas season into an imperfect world.
But in God's economy, even the sorrows of their mamas' labours can be redeemed into something of eternal value in imperfect lives, and we stand ready to minister His love into their hearts. Please support the imperfect ministry of Casa Compasiva as we attempt to bring good tidings of great joy in both Plan A and perceived Plan B circumstances. We cannot do it alone. We ask you to remember the mamas and babies of Oaxaca this Christmas and in the coming year, and we thank you for your gifts and your prayers.
Lila Joy Quezada