Family Planning | Tears Of Grief And Tears Of Joy

My husband proposed to me in a horse and buggy in Central Park, NYC and we were married on October 4, 1997. One of the things God impressed upon our hearts at the beginning of our marriage was to let God control my womb and to welcome as many children into our home as God wanted. I was 18 years old when we married and we were excited that I conceived right away. However, a couple of months later, I had a severe miscarriage. Grief and tears flowed heavily as we experienced what it was to lose an unborn child.

Seven months went by and we thought God was NEVER going to give us any more children, but nine months later we had a beautiful baby girl! As I held her for the first time I could not help thinking what an absolute MIRACLE she was. This time my husband and I cried tears of joy!

Five Children in Four Years!

A little short of eleven months later, we had a boy. Sixteen months later we had another girl. Eleven months later another girl. And 13 months later another boy. Our oldest had just turned four years old and we had five children! How we rejoiced that God had shown us mercy and given us the desire of our hearts!

However, with practically five babies in the house and my husband working long hours, the work on my shoulders was immense. I didn't normally mind the "challenge" of it all. However, one Christmas we packed our bags to visit family. I remember rising from the spare room's bed to wash, dress, and care for all the children before we went out to the kitchen for breakfast. The children had been battling the flu and I was also feeling lousy! My whole body ached and the sick children were cranky. I felt like collapsing onto the bed, but duty called. I had five children that needed help unwrapping gifts and messes to be cleaned up, etc.

Forgetting the Dream!

By the time I fell into bed that night, my husband and I looked at each other and had a heart-felt talk. Could we both go on having MORE and MORE children? We convinced ourselves that five children WAS enough despite our original plan to have as many as God wanted us to have. We began the short journey for a couple of months to do natural ways of preventing me from becoming pregnant. One night, we did not guard ourselves, and with mutual peace knew that God would take care of it all and would NOT give us more than we could handle.

Nine in Nine Years!

Sixteen months later, I gave birth to another boy. Eighteen months later another boy. Thirteen months later another girl. Then, 14 1/2 months later another girl. We now had nine beautiful children with our oldest being nine years old. What a blessing they were and what joy they brought into our home! I turned the age of 30 years old and did not conceive another baby until our youngest was 18 months old (our longest gap so far).

At that time, God called my husband into full-time ministry. I remember the day that we were officially going into the ministry. I was outside doing yard work and all of the sudden felt a "P-O-P!" I never babied myself very much during pregnancy and did not think much of it. However, I went inside to the bathroom, wiped, and saw blood! Oh No! I panicked and called my husband right away.

String of Miscarriages

He came home and we called our mid-wife. We went to the hospital the next day to see on a sonogram a perfect 12 week old baby with NO heart-beat! We chose to have the pending miscarriage naturally at home. We waited a couple of days and I went on with my mothering duties and piano recitals, etc. I cried and waited some more. Finally, the intense bleeding and miscarriage began and my husband rushed home. I bled heavily, like a faucet, for hours! After losing another huge surge of blood, I passed out. I remember my husband calling my name, but I was too weak to open my eyes or respond. He quickly called the mid-wife and 911.

The ambulance came and rushed me to hospital where they continued to let me hemorrhage for another eight hours. I passed in and out and they offered me blood transfusions. I refused at first, but slowly grew weaker and whiter. I was so weak I could hardly move. I KNEW something had to be done. They finally called the doctor and rushed me in for an emergency D&C. The reason for all my bleeding was that part of my placenta was stuck in utero. I lost over 60 percent of my blood so they administered four units of blood through transfusion and wanted to give me a fifth, but I refused. I was still weak, but knew that I would live, praise God!

I became pregnant two more times after that and lost both of those babies! People counseled us to be DONE! How much more could I take? It was better for the nine we had to have a Mama than to lose her while trying to have another baby! The criticism bothered us sometimes, but by God's grace, we remained firm in our decision and continued to trust God Whom we KNEW was capable of handling all of this in His own perfect way!

I got pregnant again (now my 14th pregnancy) and we were THRILLED to have a full-term birth to a beautiful baby girl. Our youngest was now over three years old. This new baby felt like SUCH a miracle to me. During my labor and delivery, I got to 10 cm and the midwife discovered that the baby was in an "undeliverable" breach position. My water had already broken, so it was VERY hard to turn the baby. After two hours later of intense pain and the baby's heart-rate dropping very low every time I had a contraction, she was delivered! Hallelujah! We cried when we held her in our arms!

During all this time, my husband had given up his jobs and was now in total full-time ministry. We had moved from NY State to West Virginia and were excited to pursue God's perfect will for our lives. Our faith was greatly tested in so many ways! Not only from the heart-wrenching loss of our babies, but trusting God to provide for our every need! There were times we got discouraged (and still sometimes do) but we have seen God prove Himself to us so many times, that how can we NOT trust Him?

When our littlest was seven months old, I got pregnant again. We were so excited! Now that I had had a good pregnancy after the string of miscarriages, I felt confident that all would go well this time. I had spotted a couple of times, but that stopped and I tried not to worry. However, at 14 1/2 weeks, I went to the bathroom only to experience that heart-sinking sight of blood on the tissue. Our worst fears were confirmed again as we gazed at another precious baby with NO heart-beat!

FIVE miscarriages! Why was this happening to me? I had so many questions. We had given our ALL to God and it felt like we were being punished. I examined my heart and found a LOT of pride. I was "Super-Woman" who could "do it all" and boast to others of how many children I had! I fell to my knees and begged for forgiveness. I was reminded of how many women cannot even have children! "Oh, Lord, please cleanse me of pride and self-will. Help me remember that this is not only a journey of accepting healthy babies into our home, but also trusting You in times of loss!"

Sixteen Souls for Heaven So Far

I conceived again and was riddled with worry. Surely I would lose this one too! God convicted me to STOP worrying and TRUST HIM! It was then that PEACE came! We delivered another beautiful baby girl on November 27, 2013. We now have eleven healthy children (seven girls and four boys) on this earth and we eagerly await meeting in Heaven someday the five we lost.

God has kept His promise to me in 1 Timothy 2:15, "Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety." I know not what lies ahead in my journey of life, but I know Who marks the way. I can trust Him, even in hard times.

JILL RODRIGUES
Newton, West Virginia, USA
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