TRUSTING TO THE END
I have had ten plus pregnancies. The last two (1991) and (1993) were medical nightmares. The article in the last Above Rubies, #44, about God's way with impossible pregnancies arrived at the same time that I was weeping in the shower each morning where no one could hear me, pleading with God not to let me go through another pregnancy like the last one.
We wanted children so badly, a big family, right from the beginning of our marriage in 1987 and yet to date we only have one son (six years) with Down Syndrome and several permanent medical problems, and our one daughter (2 years) who was two months early, but is well and a delight to all of us.
I had been pregnant for several months and was heartsick with fear and old memories when the last issue of Above Rubies arrived. Up until now, if my auto immune disease did not kill the children early in the pregnancy, an incompetent cervix and chronic, premature labour intervened. I was in various hospitals through most of the pregnancy with our daughter, Jenni. Frightened and in pain, we desperately wanted to save her life, yet we were so helpless.
Since then, my husband and I began studying deeper in the Word of God about His provisions for physical healing (which before we did not really believe in). We also began exploring a study on curses by Derek Prince and God's provision for release from them. We were amazed and convinced that so many 'modern-day' people battle forces unawares in everyday life because we don't believe everything the Bible says.
I experienced a beautiful healing in May 1994 and when my husband committed his life to God in May 1995 we began taking steps to break the curses that were obviously in both our bloodlines.
For several months afterwards, I struggled with whether or not to hope for more children. I finally relaxed into God's hand and left Him with our heart's desire for a full home. My faith was admirable – up until I discovered I was pregnant! Ten old memories and fears played havoc with my mind and I began weeping with enormity before me. Do I begin the drugs right away? Do I get hospitalized right away? Should I run to my doctor and get my cervix sutured shut again and begin the whole merry-go-round of medical science that so terribly disrupted our precious family life and caused so much pain, anxiety and side effects?
Obviously my trust in God was very shaky. This too, shamed and sickened me. I crumbled with depression and indecision until I read the article, “God is Bigger than any Problem” in #44 Above Rubies. The testimonies of these women strengthened me in a way that nothing else did – and healed my fears. Suddenly my peace and trust returned, and I resolutely refused medical intervention.
Today I am over half-way through this pregnancy with a brand new precious member to love, and all my doctor's notes to date say, “Normal!” Each visit he looks at me out the corner of his eye and says that he doesn't understand but thinks it's marvelous.
Is it too soon to rejoice? My husband and I know it's not, as we've no medical reason to have ever reached this point without human help. We know in our hearts that our new baby is a gift from God and we rejoice in awe at His goodness and grace to us.
We also rejoice over the powerful strength of shared testimony. We say, “thank you” so much, for though God's Word gave us the direction in which to go, it was the lights on the road ahead of us – the others who had gone before – that calmed my anxieties, reassuring me that I could do it, too. I was not crazy and 'presumptuous' by asking something from God for which I had no intelligent base to expect from Him. I wasn't alone. For this comfort, there is no way to express thanks and joy. I trust that you are familiar enough with the article in the #44 Above Rubies to truly rejoice with me and do understand why it means so much as it did to me.
Murupara, New Zealand
Carol's baby is due at the end of July.
THE ANGEL OF THE LORD
When I was pregnant with my sixth child, the Lord showed me a vision of myself in a hospital bed surrounded by angels. At the time I didn't really understand what God was showing me, but noticed that the room did not look like the usual delivery room at the local hospital. I had not had an ultra sound during this pregnancy, so did not know that this baby was “placenta praevia” which means the placenta is lying below the baby. On the night our baby was born, I awoke in the night, hemorrhaging. When we arrived at the local hospital, I was told I would need an emergency caesarean. As I was wheeled into the operating room, I was amazed as I realized that this was the exact same room and position of the bed that I had seen in the vision three months earlier.
The surgeon who happened to be on duty that night is a Christian and he told me he always reads a scripture from the little Bible that he carries in his pocket before commencing an operation. The Psalm that he read that night before doing the Cesarean was Psalm 34:7, “The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him, and He delivers them,” How amazing. Our son was born safely that night weighing 9obs 6oz.
The next day the surgeon brought his assistant to meet me. This young man was training to be a doctor in our local hospital. He told me how his beeper had signaled in the night when he was sleeping, so he quickly dressed and rushed to the operating room to help. When he inquired later about who had paged him – none of the staff had. I marvel how God is concerned for all the little details in our lives.
I found the cesarean operation quite traumatic and it took me about six months to get back to my normal self. After this time I feared that I would need another cesarean if I became pregnant again and wondered if I would be able to cope. The Lord gave me another vision of myself, giving birth naturally to a healthy baby. I hung on to this vision.
I became pregnant again, but miscarried at about seven weeks. I really sought the Lord at this time as I felt devastated and bewildered.
It was a whole year later that I conceived again and became pregnant with our seventh child. I have RH– blood and my husband has RH+ blood group. Normally this has not been a problem as I had always been given the injection to counteract antibodies in the blood after each delivery, but I had not had this injection after the miscarriage. Also, the ultrasound scan at 18 weeks showed that this baby was “placenta praevia” again. My doctor was not at all confident in my prospects to have a normal delivery or even a live baby. She told me to be realistic. My womb could abort the baby at any stage if I was carrying a baby with a RH+ blood group. I had countless blood tests and was sent for a series of ultra sound scans every two weeks for the last 20 weeks of the pregnancy! My husband, who is normally easy-going, became over-whelmed by the medical obstacles, the 240 km drive to and from the hospital, and the general upheavel to the rest of our six children.
All I could to was hold fast to the vision God has given me; claim the promises of the Word of God (especially Psalm 37:4; Isaiah 43:18,19; Mark 11;24 and James 6:9); and encourage myself as I read testimonies from one of the Above Rubies magazines.
The day of the birth arrived. I was allowed to go into labour naturally and mid afternoon our little girl was born. She is a normal, healthy baby. The Lord is faithful. He is interested in everything about us, even our pregnancies and deliveries, if we trust in Him.
Balclutha, New Zealand
Graham and Robin have seven gifts from the Lord – Lisa (19), Jamie (18), Shaun (15), Brodie (13), Megan (11), Matthew (7), Sarah (3) and God is blessing them with another baby in November.
HELD IN THE ARMS OF JESUS
The events of 1993 changed my outlook on life. The first thing that happened was the confirmation of my fourth pregnancy, which was a bit of a shock and took awhile to accept. In March, my mother was in the hospital for tests when we got the word that our second son, William, was to have surgery on his renal system as he already had a 80% loss of function on one of his kidneys. This surgery was to prevent any further damage from occurring.
Three weeks after coming home from this surgery I had a scan appointment. I have two children with kidney problems and wanted to be prepared for any further problems. The scan showed a significant abnormality. I could see it myself so was not surprised when they wanted to do an amniocentesis test to confirm. My husband and I went again the following week and the diagnosis was Spina Bifida and Hydrocephaly. This shattered us. We were given two options at this point: 1) abortion, or 2) a second opinion. We went to another hospital for the second opinion. We came away with the knowledge that our unborn child had a life expectancy of one month and a very serious deformity.
We had to make a decision within the next few days which we would have to live with for the rest of our lives. I felt that God had a purpose for this baby and He was in control, so why should I worry about the outcome. I knew that I had to continue with the pregnancy.
I felt that it was a special time, even a privilege, to carry this baby for the rest of the pregnancy. I was able to talk to mothers and children with spina bifida and it was helpful to know that there was a support group around if I needed it. I was also able to talk to a mother who had experienced the death of a baby through stillbirth and the aftermath of organizing a funeral. This I found extremely helpful as I found out what I could and could not do after a baby dies in hospital.
The time came for the baby to be born. The specialist decided on a caesarean section as the baby would not have survived a normal delivery. Our little daughter was born whom we called Jane Elizabeth. The defect in her back was quite a large one, but the hydrocephaly was not as bad as first thought.
After Jane was born, it was discovered that her lungs were under-developed and she gasped for nearly every breath.
Over the next six days, she was kept comfortable and fed. During that time she got weaker and weaker until she just stopped breathing of her own accord and went to be with Jesus in heaven.
I felt incredible joy when she passed away in our arms and sensed that Jesus was right there with us. I felt the need to hand her into Jesus' arms for safe keeping and I knew that He took her to heaven. This was an amazing experience and all the while both my husband and I had the feeling of being held in the arms of Jesus.
Under the supervision of the nurses, I was fortunate enough to prepare Jane for burial myself, which was really special. Before the funeral, we were able to keep Jane at home until all the family that wanted to see her were able to do so. This was very important for their grief process.
I can now see God's hand in this whole situation and know that Jane's short life spoke to many people. It was not only the stand we took that spoke loudly, but the fact that we knew God was in control and He knew what He was doing. I never doubted God or asked Him, “Why me?” I allowed Him to do a work in my life and in the lives of those around me. I can visualize Jane happily running and dancing in the Lord's presence.
Recently (March 1996) my Nana went to be with the Lord. The children were very accepting of this and wanted to see her as soon as they could. My mother said that she felt more comfortable with having a person's body at home after we had Jane at home for the couple of days we did.
Waimate, New Zealand
God has given Marin and Janice four treasures – John (10), William (7 and a half), Lucy nearly 5 and little Jane who lived for six days.
TWELVE PRECIOUS HOURS
Like most young couples, we expected our second pregnancy and birth to be as routine as the first. It wasn't until a routine ultrasound diagnosed our baby as having anencephaly, a severely underdeveloped brain an skull. Our hearts sank. We called several friends to tell them about the baby's condition and asked them to pray as we were scheduled for a second opinion the next afternoon. Again, the doctor said “There is no way to mistake this. These babies never live.”
On Sunday, just three days after the initial ultrasound, one of the pastors at our church explained that during the prayer time that our baby would be carried to term, but not expected to live. We, along with many others, prayed that morning for our child. We asked for God's strength and His healing for our baby. During the next four months, the outpouring of support through prayers, cards, letters, flowers, and phone calls kept us going through the most difficult experience of our lives.
Finally, on October 24, 1994, Victoria Christine Merriott arrived by caesarean section at 7:54 am. She weighed only 4lbs 10 and a half ounces and was not expected to live until I was out of the recovery room. Again, people prayed that she would live to be held by her mommy. Her condition improved as her father, Randall, and her grandmother rocked her and talked to her. As soon as I was moved to my room we dedicated Victoria's life to the Lord. She was held and loved every minute of her life and didn't even have an isolette. She could cry, wet her diaper, sense light and dark, grasp our finger, feel her toes being tickled and her nose being rubbed. She couldn't drink or maintain her body temperature, and had difficulty breathing.
It is hard to understand why a baby is born with problems like Victoria's. A daily supplement of folic acid is recommended to help reduce the risk of this birth defect. I had been taking this for almost two years when Victoria was conceived. There are also genetic and environmental factors, although these are not well understood. Our hope is that with further research fewer families will have to go through the difficult experience of losing a newborn to a neural tube defect. Victoria lived almost twelve hours. We were sad when she quietly went to be with Jesus that evening, but the time we had with her was precious and we will never forget it. Even though she was not healed before her birth, we know that she is whole now an is truly victorious through Christ.
We wish that we had a happy ending to add to Victoria's story, but we have still not been blessed with a healthy baby. We have lost two more babies to miscarriage. We still grieve over them. Please pray for us that we will be blessed with a healthy child.
Abernathy, Texas, USA
God has given Randall and Dionne four children – Matthew (3), Victoria who lived for 12 hours and two miscarried babies.
Dionne recommends Abiding Hearts, Inc, to any mother going through similar circumstances. Abiding Hearts is an international support group for parents continuing pregnancy after prenatal testing has revealed fatal or non-fatal birth defects.
I BELIEVE SHE'LL WALK
When expecting our third child, I had a strange feeling that things weren't quite right, but I kept pushing the feeling aside. I went for my routine 18 week scan and that evening the doctor called me in and told me that my baby had severe spina bifida, affecting the sacral, lumbar and thoracic regions of the spine and extensive hydrocephalus (water on the brain).
Straight after that visit I drove to a friend's house and she comforted me and said, “You've received a bad report, Who's report will you believe? Theirs or God's?” I asked for another scan. This showed the same. Then another scan – only this one was worse, showing the legs not moving, club feet, enlarged head (the doctor said the baby would be a vegetable) and kyphoses of the spine (curvature outward).
They toled me my baby would not make full term anyway, so why not terminate and get it over. I was devastated and felt like I was going insane. I prayed like I've never prayed before and God showed me Isaiah 41:10,13, 'Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God; I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness....For I the Lord thy God will hold thy right had, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee.”
I cried out for some mercy and direction and a sign of some sort. I don't agree with abortion, but have to admit that I thought about it at the time. The Lord answered me and gave me Proverbs 3:5, “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.” and Proverbs 29:25, “The fear of man bringeth a snare; but whoso putteth his trust in the Lord shall be safe.” I then received a card in the mail from a friend which read, “Who's report will you believe? I will believe the report of the Lord.” That was in line with what my other friend had said.
I decided to keep my baby where she was safe and sound. I prayed for my baby every day.
Doctors said I should have a caesarean as the baby's head would be too large. However, on the 7thSeptember, 1993, Cara Rosalie (Dear little Rose) was born. She was my quickest and easiest labour, born supernaturally, with no stitches. She did have a huge opening in her back and bent spine but her head was only 37 cm and she did not have club feet!
I felt the same joy that I felt when I had my previous children, but even greater, as I was prepared for the worst (although still hoping for a miracle!)
We were taken to Brisbane hospital five hours later. I cried and prayed. People and churches everywhere prayed for my baby. Doctors first said she might die before the skin grew enough on her back to close it. At 2 and a half weeks she was scheduled for five hours of surgery and again the doctors said she may not live. Nine hours later she was out of surgery and in ICU, hooked up to various machines and drips. She looked so lifeless. Four days later she began to breathe on her own. Two days after that she was back in the baby ward with me. The next day she had surgery to place a shunt in her head to control fluid build up. Eleven weeks after her birth we were allowed to go home.
The doctors say Cara will never walk, but they said she'd never sit up or even respond to anything. I figure they've been wrong before and My God is a God of miracles. I don't know when she'll walk but I know she will walk.
Burringbar, NSW, Australia
OUR LITTLE LIGHTBULB
My three year old daughter, Leah, came out with red splotches on her cheeks and arms. It was July 1993. T he doctor said it was “Fifth Disease” and would go away in seven – to ten days. Two weeks later, the red marks were still there. She then started having nose bleeds and developed a fever that wouldn't go away. I took her back to the doctor and was told that it must be part of the Fifth Disease. After nearly two months of this, we took her to another doctor who suggested we run a series of blood tests. He then informed us that something was seriously wrong. He told us to get her to Vanderbilt Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee immediately or it could be fatal by morning.
The doctor at Vanderbilt told us it may be cancer. Only a parent who has heard those words can understand how it feels. Basically, I kept thinking the best until her bone marrow test showed ALL – Acute Lymphacetic Leukemia. I was so thankful Leah was sleeping when the doctor told us, so she didn't see me crying. How could a child who appeared so healthy the day before, running and playing with her 18 month old brother, now be so pale and tired in a hospital bed?
I started remembering things in my past I had done wrong, wondering what I had done to cause this. A few days later, a friend said to me, 'Laurie, nothing you have done caused this.” I hadn't even told anyone I had those feelings. Our friends and church family are so important in times of need, aren't they? We were so blessed by those who prayed for Leah. Churches all over the world prayed for her. Before, when I heard of other children being sick, I didn't understand and stayed away from them. I guess I had tunnel-vision, seeing only my healthy family and their needs.
I never understood what it meant to say, “If I could do it for you, I would,” until my child started to get spinal taps and medicine that made her so weak she couldn't get off the couch. We tried to keep things on the light side, like when her fair fell out, we told her that her head looked like a light bulb. Children who lost their hair from chemotherapy honestly used to scare me. That is, until our little “light bulb” came on!
I have been confused, tired, depressed, and emotionally, physically, and spiritually drained. But I have always told Leah that Jesus loved her and is healing her. She is now 6 years old. She came from the hospital the day before her fourth birthday. She now gets up in front of church and tells people that “I was sick, but Jesus healed me.” Oh, if I could just have her childlike faith.
Through all that has happened, I have learned it is always best to trust God – all the time, not only when things are at their worst. It is important to keep each other lifted up before God, even when nothing is wrong. No one ever knows what will happen from day to day. But I am so thankful that God never changes, and He is always there!
Russellville, Kentucky, USA
Laurie would love to hear from other readers who have been through similar circumstances. Laurie Gloyd, 3580 Lewisburg Road, Russellville, KY 42276, USA.