A moment like this

No words can describe what I felt as I held my third baby who was born alive and full term. That moment was priceless. This is one moment I had looked forward to with great expectation, faith and longing the first and second time. But on both occasions I returned home to an empty cradle. Having experienced both sides twice (2 babies that are no more and 2 that survived) I am very grateful and feel privileged to have both boys in my life.

The journey from losing two babies to having another two more was an interesting one. The main thing that kept me going was hope. Hope that believed, relied and trusted in God. Hope that God would not let me down and I could count on him. Hope that my expectation would be a reality. Hope that there would be light at the end of this ‘dark’ tunnel. Hope that my desire and dream of having my family would materialise. Hope that my story would take a different turn. Because I had hope, I kept going month after month, I persevered when my medical prognosis seemed bleak and I chose to try again after two ‘unsuccessful’ attempts.

In my situation because I lost two babies in a row, hope did not occur automatically. It was a daily battle which I conquered by taking my eyes off what had happened to me and what I was told. Instead I chose to focus on God’s take on my situation and have faith in him so that my hope for ‘living’ babies would actually happen in the near future.

Miracles still occur, as you look ahead don’t give up hope.

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Lean on me

 I have come to the realisation that no matter how ‘strong’ a person is, there comes a time or season in every one’s life when we all need someone to lean on. And it is okay to be vulnerable and to ask for and receive whatever support is required.

Personally I found the texts, phone calls, cards and prayers from friends, colleagues, my biological and spiritual family very encouraging. More so the visits and embrace from certain key figures (mentors) made a world of difference by bringing hope, peace and comfort.

Just as I have benefited from the care and love offered by those mentioned above, it is imperative that I am available for others to lean on in their ‘trying’ time. I am always perplexed at how we as humans indirectly withdraw our support to the bereaved and can carry on with business as usual a few weeks/months after their loss. This may be due to not knowing what to say/do and the belief that the bereaved needs to get over it and continue with their lives.

Sometimes it is difficult for people who have not walked in these shoes before to understand the full implication of baby loss.  Hence they may be unable to fully comprehend your actions, anger, frustration, disappointment, pain or guilt. However there are many others who can identify and walk with you on this journey.

 You don’t need to walk this road by yourself, there are people you can lean on!

Celebrating Isaac and Faith

I have noticed that babies develop their personalities even from the womb and they are not born has’ blank slates.’ Even though I lost my babies, their memories cannot be erased from my life. I found out that whenever I talk with people who had young or grown children/siblings that have died, when the question of how children do you have or how many siblings do you have comes up, they do state they were xxx number before but xxx passed away. But for some reason, some people feel babies should not be counted. I believe mine were my flesh and blood, they were a part of us and they do count in our household although they are not with us. Whenever I think of Isaac and Faith, it is more in a positive light and I choose to celebrate their lives rather than mourn them as they are only ‘asleep’ and we will meet again.

How we choose to celebrate them

• Each year on their birthdays, we take time out to thank God for the short time we spent with them

• I have decided to fundraise and raise awareness on maternal and neonate causes each year

• We intend setting up a foundation in their honour

And regarding the question; what happens to those already dead and buried, we don’t want you in the dark any longer. First off, you must not carry on over them like people who have nothing to look forward to, as if the grave were the last word. Since Jesus died and broke loose from the grave, God will most certainly bring back to life those who died in Jesus (1 Thessalonians 4: 13 –14).

I believe my pain and loss can only be worth it when many lives are changed, preserved and challenged as a result of what I went through and my response to my circumstance.

Trying to conceive (ttc)

Trying to conceive is indeed a difficult, hard, stressful, fatiguing, tiresome, wearisome, vexing, arduous, annoying, taxing, aggravating and exasperating time. Although my ttc times were not that long, I still experienced all of the scenarios listed above.  My situation was also compounded by the fact that I also had two losses and had to try again. Here are my thoughts on how I handled this time in my life.

1.       What is His take on this?

 Scriptures are laden with scriptures such as:

Psalm 113: 9 “He gives children to the woman who has none and makes her a happy mother.”

 Isaiah 54: 1 “Sing, barren woman, who has never had a baby. Fill the air with song, you who’ve never experienced childbirth! You’re ending up with far more children than all those childbearing women.” God says so!

Hebrews 11: 11 “By faith, barren Sarah was able to become pregnant, old woman as she was at the time, because she believed the One who made a promise would do what he said. That’s how it happened that from one man’s dead and shrivelled loins there are now people numbering into the millions.

However when things in the natural seemed contrary (after losing Isaac), I had to get on my knees and inquire from God myself what His plans were for me with regards to being a ‘happy’ mother. And because He reassured me through His word and signs, it made my ttc period a bit easier to deal with.

2.       The role of prayer

Each time we tried to conceive (more so after our loss) we committed it to prayer. As I realised this was more than just a biological activity. I just poured our heart out andI was real with God. I spoke what I wanted knowing that He hears and responds. There is also a peace that comes after laying our burdens at His feet.

3.       Counsel

 The counsel from medics can also be beneficial. Having said that it was not everything they said we agreed with or took to heart. I found out that different medics had contrasting opinions in terms of when we could try again after our loss. We decided to go ahead when we felt we were ready to try again.

4.      Readiness

Before attempting to try again, I ensured I was physically well enough to proceed. I think readiness also involves the ability to keep going month after month even when conception ‘eludes’ one. We did not take a break as there was always the thought of what if it was going to happen and we had taken a break. However I think it is okay to take a break if deemed necessary.

5.       What’s faith got to do with it?

The one thing that kept me sane was my faith in God (Now faith is being sure we will get what we hope for. It is being sure of what we cannot see, Heb 11:1). This gave me the courage to hold on, keep trying, over look negative prognosis and comments.

6.       Mental preparation

I decided to go into Mother Care shortly after I lost Faith to buy any baby item as a sign that I would one day go shopping for my baby and make use of this item for my baby. Each time I felt low I brought out the item to remind me that one day, my baby would have this. I learnt to day dream and night dream of the day I would hold my baby, push him/her in a pram and experience all the wonderful things other mums take pleasure in.

7.       Thanksgiving

There was this song I sang over and over again and I still love it so much; I praise you, I praise you o Lord, in my life I see what you are doing, one more time, I lift my voice in praise of your name, I lift my voice in praise of your name. It served as a declaration of my hope and trust In God and of a beautiful ending.

I have always loved Sarah’s story in the bible and more so present day testimonies I hear all the time. I believe it does not matter how long one has been trying for, what the past history is, the woman’s age is, the physical, medical or spiritual barriers that exist when He says it is time, it indeed is time.

God is not my problem

Four weeks after my first loss, I was back at church. This was one of the most difficult things I have ever done. I felt every eye was on me and wondered what they were thinking. For some reason that day, all the songs were focussed on the goodness of God. Although I sang along, I could not connect with the songs or God. I thought how can God be good and allow such a horrible thing to happen to me? As the months progressed, I came to a point of accepting what had happened but deep in my sub conscious I still believed God ‘let’ me down.

The turning point for me came when I heard a sermon at church ‘God is not your problem.’ At the end of that sermon, the weight of disappointment was lifted. I knew for sure that:

  • God is full of goodness and he cannot be anything but good
  • Despite the fact I lost my son that doesn’t make God any less good

The following scriptures testify to God’s goodness:

  • For the Lord is good. His unfailing love continues forever and his faithfulness continues to each generation. Psalm 100: 5
  • You are good and do only good; teach me your decrees. Psalm 119:68
  • “Why do you call me good?” Jesus asked. “Only God is truly good. Mark 10: 18
  • As newborn babies want milk, you should want the pure and simple teaching. By it you can mature in your salvation, because you have already examined and seen how good the Lord is. 1 Peter 2: 2 – 3

 

I accepted that God is always good following this paradigm shift. Personally, I have discovered that if I do not ask questions, most likely I would not get answers and grow in my knowledge as a Christian. As I have a living relationship with the Almighty, I believe it is okay to ask him questions when I am confused. So, what was the point of my pain?

First and foremost it occurred to me it really is not about me. Once I became a Christian, I chose to follow his cause and trust that he has my best interest at heart and what he has designed me to be and to do is just right for me. This includes my past, pain and his plans. Secondly, my life experiences can serve as a stepping stone in bringing hope, direction and healing for others. Following my loss it became apparent to me ‘who’ the lord was sending me to. I am of the opinion that we all have a specific purpose (our assignment) on earth. And sometimes we cannot effectively minister, assist and make a difference to the people he is sending us to if we have no clue what life is like for them. It is recorded in 2 Corinthians 1: 4 that ‘God comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.’

One of my consolations following this heartbreak is that fact that others and I can be inspired to live again, trust God and bring comfort to others in our shoes.