I’m reflecting on the darkest night of my life, one year ago tonight.

Those hours with a predictable rhythm as wave after wave of contraction pushed Attie closer and closer to meeting his family. I didn’t know he was about to rip his placenta from my uterine wall. I didn’t know that type of stabbing pain yet. I didn’t know I was going to feel that silence, darkness and power of death.

Those moments before his head emerged, I believed he was dying. Little did I know my blood was pooling from the placenta ripping. I would have a placenta sized clot come out right after him. And the blood just kept coming.

But I pushed him out, ready to rip apart to make way if he needed it, knowing there was no more time.

I look back at these pictures at a woman I no longer am. Attie has changed me. That sort of despair at the feeling of death changed me. Feeling as if I’ve been cut off at my knees in a slow recovery changed me.

I don’t understand what the Lord’s plan was for the events of that night. But I do understand I need Him more today than a year ago today. There are new eyes to see my utter despair and His complete sustenance.

In all of the “little did I knows” of that night, He knew it all.

And there are eyes to see my thriving 11-month-and-30-day-old-red-headed-baby-boy and thank God for filling our arms with this bountiful gift. I understand a year ago tonight this wasn’t guaranteed the outcome. From the depths flow gratitude. Gratitude grown from pain goes deep and takes root, I’m finding.

Praise you, Lord, that in all the foreshadowing these pictures hold for me, the rawness, the pain, the fear of what was to come hours later, You were in control. I don’t have to look back on these images and run to warn of a scary road ahead. You were there. You did not forsake me. Praise You for this journey and praise You for the deep cry from Attie that filled the room with life one year ago tonight.