Wide Awake in Surgery

Published September 19, 2013 by Dawn

I still remember the pain of that surgery. I still remember with a chill the cut of the knife and the doctor’s voice as he described to me what he was doing. It doesn’t seem real, does it, to be talking this way, but this is the truth: I was awake the whole time.

I had gone through two hours of hard labor before the doctor came in and told me that they strongly suggested a Caesarean. My epidural had not blocked all the pain, as I expected it to, and so I was on the edge of hyperventilating and not able to deliver my baby. I really didn’t want to have a c-section, but when I asked the doctor which he recommended and heard his reasoning behind it, I really didn’t feel like I had a choice. Half and hour later, we were in the operating room and there was a thin blue sheet hung up between the operating team and myself. My epidural was supposed to get me through this thing … did I mention it wasn’t working out as expected?

“I’m getting ready to make a small incision. You will only feel a slight pinch.”

My face contorted with the sting of the blade as it sliced through my abdomen. The nurse standing next to me looked over at me and said, “You shouldn’t be feeling anything.” The doctor then said, “Ok, now I will have to move around a few things…” And then pain shot through me, and I clenched my teeth and tried not to scream, begging him to hurry up. The nurse’s face got really worried, and she said, “You really shouldn’t be feeling anything.” I admit, at this point, I was less patient with her and less silent. All of my humanness came out, along with a string of awful words to express my suffering. I honestly do not know how long it took for them to take my daughter. It couldn’t have been too long, but it was long enough to feel every bit of that procedure. I don’t know why the pain meds they gave me weren’t working. My sister all but slept through child-birth. I felt every bit of that one. And it was awful.

I feel like that’s what God is doing in my life right now. A surgery, in which I am wide awake and well aware of. He’s the guy on the other side of the sheet describing all the things He’s doing as He cuts away the parts of me that make me less like Christ. I have to be awake, I know, because He would never do anything without my consent. But man if it doesn’t hurt! I feel the blade as He cuts away my imperfections. I feel the pain as He moves things around in me and makes room for newness of life. I know that out of this, there will come a new life, and I eagerly await it. I just don’t know how to rejoice in this pain. I am struggling to respond in a way that isn’t, well, fleshly. All of my humanness is coming out and rearing it’s ugly head.

I want it gone. That’s the truth. I’m okay with this, because I know that He is creating purity in me. I just don’t know how to let go of it, how to die to flesh, without feeling so much in the process. In truth, this is painful! I am not dying quietly, either. He keeps reminding me of how well Christ died. How gracious he was in the midst of suffering and persecution. How good and kind he was even though he was lonely and forsaken. And I keep reminding Him that I am not Christ! He just looks at me with a sympathetic smile and says, “I know. But when I am finished with you, you will be like Christ.” And then He continues to cut away.

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