This story first appeared as a feature on Anna Smit and Debbie Barrow Michael’s blog as part of their 31 day write on Miracles. It featured over two days because it wasn’t just one miracle that took place. A few days ago (4th January) was my daughters birthday and I have chosen to share the whole of my story here.
Being a Christian, I probably should automatically believe in miracles because of the whole “Jesus turning water into wine” thing, etc. Honestly though? These were just like stories to me…until I experienced my own miracles! I pray that whoever reads this will see that miracles, in whatever shape or form, are possible, and only by God’s loving grace.
We sat on the edge of the bed, and me and my husband just looked at each other. We wanted to start a family, but with the way our lifestyle was, we would struggle to make things work.
We lived a distance away from where we worked which meant that we were commuting for around 4 hours a day, and sometimes not coming home until the early hours in the morning. This was no way to bring up a child, so we decided to move. This took place at Christmas time in December 2004. Yeah, it was probably not the best time of the year to move, but we got through it. Soon after, once we had settled, we then started trying for a baby.
We thought that it would be easy. I had age on my side and we were both healthy and fit. We didn’t expect a first time “hit” or anything, but we didn’t expect to have disappointment either. We certainly didn’t expect to have to wait nearly 5 years before I could conceive! The countless times that we were waiting for that positive line to appear. The first year went by, and we were still quite positive that God would help to give us a child. The second year went by and we then started to think that maybe something was wrong. By the time the third year came, we really started to question.
Are we meant to have children?
Did we not deserve to have them?
Could God see that we could make good parents?
Did He think that we wouldn’t live up to the standard?
We then decided to do something about it and we went to our doctor. This freaked me out. I knew that we would need to go through the process of being referred to a fertility clinic to see why I couldn’t conceive. This meant that my body would need to go under some investigations and examinations. This is what freaked me out.
I felt God saying at this point that I had to deal with some deep routed issues that I had. Issues surrounding my past and how I needed to love the child inside me. How could I bring a child into this world when I couldn’t love the little child inside of me? How could I give birth to a child, surrounded by people I didn’t know, when I can’t even undergo a physical examination?
In 2006, I made the brave decision to face my fears head on and I decided that I would need counselling for us to be able to go any further with trying for a child. Little did I know that it was going to be another two years before I was to conceive, but this was how long it took for me to love that little child inside of me. The little child that went through sexual abuse so horrific. I had to learn to care for her and love her as though she was a part of me. She was me.
The first miracle…
Doesn’t God have an amazing way of bringing things together? It’s like when a painter is creating his masterpiece. He starts by working at all the different layers in the picture, starting at the bottom and working up. He doesn’t just concentrate on one area either. He will work on different aspects of the picture. It might not be clear at the time when he is painting what the picture may be. It’s only towards the end, when you stand back, do you realise what he is painting. That’s when the bigger picture becomes clear.
This was my time in counselling. There were aspects of my life that I really could not understand, but God really had His hand on my life and He was painting a beautiful picture. As my counselling was drawing to a close, I fell pregnant! I remember clearly, thinking that God does do amazing things, and in His time. He had answered the countless prayers that we had prayed. This was a two-fold miracle though. Firstly, overcoming the abuse that I had endured as a child and becoming a survivor. And secondly, becoming pregnant.
The second miracle…
My pregnancy was pretty average. No complaints. I had the usual morning sickness, but to be honest, I just ate more. I love my food, so for once I didn’t feel guilty about how much I ate and what I ate. You could say that this was turning out to be a text book pregnancy (if there is such a thing).
Until one day, our whole world changed in 10 minutes! The week prior to this earth shattering moment, I started to feel ill. Not just the usual morning sickness though. I had blurred vision, dizziness, sickness, I couldn’t stop sleeping, really bad headaches and heart burn like I had eaten a vindaloo twice over . . . classic symptoms of pre-eclampsia – but I didn’t know this. I just put it down to feeling tired and I was entering my third trimester. This was normal, wasn’t it?
A week later after the symptoms started, as we came home from church, I sat on the sofa with my hubby discussing what we were going to do about the nursery. We were going to go out that afternoon to get things prepared. I was at 31 weeks and 4 days at this point, so we thought it was time to get ready.
We had only sat down for 10 minutes, and it hit me. Excruciating pain. I ran to the toilet and was bleeding uncontrollably. Fortunately, I live opposite the hospital, (another moment that we are thankful for . . . that we had moved to the right place), so we rushed over. Being a Sunday there was hardly anyone around, but my husband found someone. They took one look at me and rushed me in. 40 minutes later, through an emergency C-section, I had my daughter . . . 8 weeks early! If I had been 10 minutes later, my story would be very different. It probably wouldn’t be me telling the story!
My daughter was seriously ill and was placed in an incubator and given CPAP (this is a machine that continually provides air and oxygen into the lungs to help a baby breathe). She weighed 3lb 8oz when she was born and was so small that you could fit her in the palm of your hand. She was a little fighter though from the moment that she came out and refused CPAP and she was in hospital for just over 5 weeks. This seemed like a life time though, but we were just grateful that she was still alive. She was our little miracle.
A Third Miracle…
The miracle doesn’t stop there though. I was seriously ill, but did not know how bad. The next day after the birth, a doctor came around to have a look at me. He was worried and realised that I had a rare condition called HELLP Syndrome. This is developed from pre-eclampsia and is a rare liver and blood clotting disorder. It effects less than 1% of all pregnancies! Pretty small odds I reckon. The only way to save the mother from this condition though is to deliver the baby, despite how many weeks pregnant you are. Many women have died from this if not detected early.
God was still working His plan out though. The doctor that saved me did not work in the hospital normally. He was only there for the day and was standing in for someone else. No-one else in maternity recognised what I had or knew what my condition was. So, if he hadn’t been there that day I know that I would not be here now! The doctor was an angel from heaven that God sent to me. He was sent to look after me, and to save me.
So, I guess I could say that I am a miracle, as well as my daughter. From surviving my past, to getting pregnant, to giving birth, my daughter being saved, to my own life being saved. Wow!
Looking back, I cannot deny that God was working in our lives.
Before all this took place though, I guess I was just bobbing along on my own merry way and not really taking notice of what was going on around me. During this time, if I’m honest, I don’t think I saw God with me. I was too caught up in everything that was happening. Clearly He was though. How else can I explain that I am still alive? There are just too many coincides. This reminds me of the beautiful poem, “Footprints in the Sand”. I’m sure we have all read it, but it’s the last verse that provides me with the most comfort, and is what I feel God is saying to me about my life: