What Do You Do When Your Pregnancy Is Life Threatening?
GOD IS BIGGER THAN ANY PROBLEM!
Pregnancy and childbirth is not a sickness, but a beautiful natural thing. However, there are times when serious medical complications can arise. What should we do in these times? Give in to the diagnoses and advice of the medical profession - or trust God? The following testimonies are stories of mothers who chose to trust God. And every time God was faithful. These are just a few of so many testimonies of God's faithfulness in this area, but we would need a book to print them all. May you be encouraged....
God used the birth of my last two children to teach me about His faithfulness, and that even though things don't always go the way we would like them to, He is in full control of every situation we face.
Our first four children were delivered by midwives at birthing centers with no complications. We had very positive experiences so when I became pregnant with our fifth child, it seemed only natural to go the same route.
My pregnancy proceeded normally and we were excited about the arrival of another one of God's blessings to our family. Three weeks before my due date, however, our excitement was replaced by concern after a blood test showed that my platelets were lower than normal. At that point the midwife, being concerned about my possible hemorrhaging at the birth (platelets help blood to clot), referred me to the back-up doctor whom I had never met and told me I would have to deliver in the hospital as a safeguard. Needless to say, I was overwhelmed with fear since I had never delivered in a hospital and had heard so many unpleasant stories of hospital births.
When I met with the doctor, his major concern was for the baby, indicating that if his platelets were low, he could have a brain hemorrhage from a natural birth. A test would have to be performed once I started dilating to make sure that the baby was okay. If his platelets were low, I would have to undergo a C-section. He said we would monitor my platelets every few days and if they got too low, labor would have to be induced.
As the days passed, my platelet count continued to drop until Friday, four days before my due date, it took the largest drop ever to 88,000 (normal is 130,000-400,000). The doctor was getting concerned by this point, yet after an examination he felt my body was not ready to be induced as that could be just as dangerous.
All of this was very stressful, and I knew I had to come to a point of peace about the whole situation. God used Psalm 125:1,2 to remind me that my baby and I were surrounded by His protection. "Those who trust in the Lord are as Mount Zion, which cannot be moved, but abides forever. As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds His people from this time forth and forever."
God spoke to my spirit very specifically telling me that I was not to be fearful concerning the child I was carrying or the labor and delivery. He reminded me that this child was His and that His hand had been upon him from the very beginning of his life. He said that His angels had surrounded him in the womb and would deliver him safely into this world.
My husband, Bruce, was a tremendous support to me during this time, and I was able to draw from his unshakable faith. We also received lots of support and ministry from our church family. It was especially encouraging to know we had brothers and sisters in the Lord lifting our situation up to our Heavenly Father.
On Saturday afternoon, the Lord impressed upon me that I must be willing to lay our expectations of having a natural birth on the altar to Him. As my husband and I did this at church that weekend, a calm peace flooded my spirit that remained throughout the coming days.
On Tuesday morning (my due date), I received the glorious news that the platelet test taken on Monday showed that my platelet count had gone up to 120,000, which was well within the safe range to wait for labor to start naturally. Later that afternoon I started early stages of labor and by Wednesday morning was in full labor.
After a blood test at the hospital indicated that the baby was fine, we were able to proceed naturally. And did he ever come quickly. The doctor almost missed the event. Jared arrived 11:59 a.m. weighing 8lbs 5 1/2 oz and very healthy.
God blessed us with a very conservative doctor who did not jump to intervene but waited for things to proceed naturally. We were able to have as close to a birth center birth in the hospital as possible. We were in awe of God's goodness and His fulfillment of His word to us. We are ever mindful as we gaze into Jared's eyes of God's everlasting faithfulness to us. Even though things didn't go the way we had planned, God had greater plans and He was glorified.
That was four years ago. Since then my husband and I have decided to leave the decision of the size of our family up to the Lord. After Jared's birth, my hematologist suggested that I never go through another pregnancy due to the possible risk involved and knowing that they had not found a specific cause to my auto-immune disease. We believed we were to trust God to make that decision.
In June of 1993 I became pregnant with our sixth child. God gave us the faith and peace to believe that everything would work out fine. I was tested monthly to check my platelets, and they remained below normal, but stable. Nevertheless, my pregnancy proceeded without any problems and after a very quick and easy labor, Cody was born on February 27th, 1994. We were greatly encouraged when six weeks after his birth blood tests indicated that my platelet count was in the normal range. Praise God.
God had once again proved himself faithful. I can't imagine what life would be like if we had only listened to the doctor rather than to God. Cody has brought our family tremendous joy, and my heart is filled with gratefulness as I watch our other children lavish him with love. I have no idea how many children God wants to bless us with. On days where I am exhausted I secretly hope that six is enough, but I want to remain an open vessel to do God's will and to raise righteous seed for His glory.
Titusville, Florida, USA.
The names of Bruce and Renee's blessings are: Heather, Meagan, Brett, Ashley, Jared and Cody.
January 1994 hit us with the force of an earthquake. Plus we were facing serious traumas in our family life. Already in an emotionally and physically weakened state, and still nursing our 22 month old, I thought nothing of my missed period in March but continued to feel sick. My annual physical exam in April confirmed that I was pregnant with our seventh child.
Because of my previous history of gestational diabetes and my age (42), a screening Glucose Tolerance Test (GTT) was done right away. I was barely eight weeks pregnant and the GTT came back positive for diabetes. It was unusual for gestational diabetes to show up so soon, so the doctor was unsure whether the diabetes was gestational or present, but undiagnosed before I conceived.
Gestational diabetes was not diagnosed until the seventh month of my sixth pregnancy and was controlled with the diabetic diet which I chose to remain on even after delivery. I was very disappointed that my efforts to continue with a strict diet did not improve my condition and in May, I was hospitalized to begin insulin therapy. This was a source of daily frustration as I had to monitor my blood sugar four times a day and learn to maintain a balance between diet, exercise and two injections of insulin a day.
To make matters worse, the alpha-fetal protein test showed some abnormal values and my doctor suggested that I have amniocentesis done to determine if the baby had Downs Syndrome. I declined because there is also a chance that the procedure itself may negatively effect the outcome of the pregnancy.
Although we were trusting the Lord for the baby's and my health, I spent almost the entire nine months struggling with all the reasons why this pregnancy should definitely be our last.
I was too sick, too old, my health too fragile, sky rocketing medical bills were causing financial hardship, our oldest was getting ready to graduate from college, and the trauma our entire family experienced because of a rebellious teenager caused me to become very depressed and feel like a failure as a parent. I certainly was not ecstatic about bringing any more children into the world. I had every good reason I could think of to get my tubes tied after the birth of this baby.
And yet, there was the still small voice of God as He whispered to my heart, "Children are a blessing....happy is the man that has his quiver full."
"But, Lord," I cried, "My quiver is already full and, by the way, Lord, isn't seven the symbolic number of fullness? Why, I've gone above and beyond the call of duty in the ranks of motherhood. I've got more and better reasons than any woman I know for having my tubes tied. Most get it done after two or three! Why can't I have it done too? Surely it would be in your permissive will, wouldn't it, Lord?" But still I had no peace in my heart.
"I'll make a deal with you, Lord," I prayed. "If I have this baby by c-section, then I'll take it as a sign from you that its okay to go ahead and have my tubes tied right there on the operating table. I'll already be opened up! Just think how easy it would be for the doctor to do it!"
The Lord reminded me of Romans 12:1, "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, w which is your reasonable service."
"But, Lord," I continued arguing, "Aren't we supposed to use common sense in these matters? Another pregnancy could kill me! Surely you didn't have mothers in mind when you said, they loved not their lives unto death."? On the other hand I was reminded of my calling. .Mothers are simply missionaries trying to raise children for Jesus. If my approach to motherhood with missionary zeal means I must also choose a path of suffering, then, as Queen Esther said, "If I perish, I perish!" What better way to go than to put yourself totally into the hands of a loving Heavenly Father?
Jim Elliot, the 20th century a martyr, said in reference to his life, "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep in order to gain what he cannot lose." So it is with mothers. In choosing to give the gift of life, we gain by cooperating with God in raising up a godly seed, an eternal soul.
I am not so naive as to believe all we have to do is to have a house full of children and they will automatically grow up to become soldiers for Christ. Life is not easy. We cannot deny the fact that Christians are at war in this world and the children we welcome as gifts from God, the same ones we love, nurture and pour out whole lives into, are free-willed agents who may choose not to become a part of His army.
There are no guarantees in life. But, I am saying that if we live a life of faith in regard to our family size, there is enormous potential for God to use one or all of our 'arrows' as weapons of spiritual warfare. We have God's Word that promises us that if we train our children in they way they should go, they will not depart. As long as there is life, there is hope. You must have hope to have life, but you must have life to have hope!
I am happy to report that, in spite of an intensely difficult pregnancy and 15 hour labor, on Veteran's Day, November 11, 1994, I gave birth to our 8lbs 2 1/2 oz baby girl - Mariah-Katherine Hope is not only perfectly healthy but absolutely adorable too!
I have not been sterilized and when people ask if this is our last baby, I can say in all honesty, that we gave given that decision to God. And I don't have diabetes! The last GTT was normal. Praise God for His faithfulness!
Lexington, North Carolina, USA.
Dennis and Sherry's children are: Nathan, Joshua, Micah, Elisa-Beth, Julilanna, Timothy and Mariah.
My first baby was due December 6th. When the doctor told me the due date, I felt the Lord tell me that the baby would be born later. Everything was going fine until mid-November when my blood pressure started to rise. Each visit to the doctor my blood pressure was higher, plus there was protein in my urine. By the end of November my doctor wanted to induce me because my condition was severe.
My doctor was non-interventive and for him to want to induce meant it was serious. Later his nurse told me that in the ten years she had worked with him she had n ever seen him this concerned over a patient. In fact she said that they feared I would die.
I so wanted to have a natural delivery so my husband and I began to pray. We were both very uneasy about being induced plus God had told me the baby would be born later. We decided against it. My blood pressure continued to rise and I was confined to bed. One day before another doctor's appointment I was sitting on my couch crying out to God and wondering why He hadn't healed me. Suddenly I had a vision. I was standing in the middle of a circle of people.
On the outside of this circle was a demon. He was running frantically around and around this circle. Every now and then there would be a crack in this circle and he would try to get through to get at me, but the crack would close up before he could get through. That circle of people was the hedge of protection God had around me through prayer. There were many people praying for me at the time. That vision gave me the assurance that the baby and I were going to be okay.
December 18th arrived and I still hadn't had the baby! On the top of that I had broken out with red itchy bumps all over my belly so this time they induced but it didn't take. They tried again the next day and things finally started. Hannah was born at midnight - a perfect baby. The doctor said she did not look one day over due. In fact he said that the due date may have been off. I wonder what would have happened if we had induced in November? I'm so glad God let us know that the baby would be born later.
Eleven months after the birth of Hannah I conceived again. My doctor told me that it would be rare to have toxemia a second time. One out of ten people get toxemia again. He told me, and I have also read, that first time mothers, teenage mothers, women under 5' 3", women over 40, or people with a poor diet are more likely to get toxemia. I didn't meet any of these except the first one. So it seemed that I would not have to be concerned with this condition again.
Things went fine with the second pregnancy until the end. Suddenly my blood pressure began to shoot up. It wasn't as bad as the first time but the doctor was concerned. By this time I was five days over due and we were believing God to start my labor. Because of my condition I wasn't supposed to go out much but we went to a meeting.
At the end someone I knew came up to me and asked if they could pray for me. They did not know of my condition. They prayed as they were led of the Holy Spirit and I knew God was doing something. We went home that night and went to bed. Four hours later I woke up in labor. I believe that prayer activated my labor. God had gotten me out of another jam.
Kristen was born naturally on August 15th, perfect and whole. I found out a few days later from a friend in Missouri that I had been on her mind the day I delivered Kristen and that she had been praying for the labor and delivery that day. Also a missionary friend of mine in Africa wrote me wondering if I had the baby August 15th because she had prayed for me all that day. God is so faithful to have his people praying at the right time.
In 1990 I became pregnant with our third child. I had a new doctor now because my other doctor moved out of town. Everything went well until my blood pressure rose again at the end of the pregnancy. By this time, I was asking God a lot of questions. I examined myself to see if there was anything in me that may be bringing this on.
My blood pressure continued to rise. Finally on Friday October 19th the doctor told me that if I didn't have the baby over the weekend he would have to do something on Monday. My due date was October 29th. I was over due with my two previous pregnancies. I needed to have this baby early before the doctor wanted to intervene.
We called people that we knew could touch God in prayer and told them the situation. We told them that I needed to have the baby before Monday. The next day I went to pack my daughters' suitcases who were going to stay with some friends when I had the baby. My husband went by the room and asked if I was packing in faith. I told him that I was going to the hospital that night. I was shocked at my own words! "Oh, God, I hope that was you," I thought.
Next I got a phone call from a friend who said that the Lord had told her to fix supper for us that night. I was getting excited now. I thought God must be up to something. That night I woke up in labor. God was again faithful to lower my blood pressure during labor. You should have seen the doctor's face when he walked in as we were praying loudly right before the actual birth. I naturally delivered our third daughter, Melody Joy.
After the birth of Melody I decided that I really didn't want to have any more children, not because I didn't desire them, but I didn't think I could go through another round of toxemia. It had been emotionally draining. With every pregnancy I was told the danger I was in and what could happen. My doctor tried to talk me in to getting my tubes tied or my husband getting a vasectomy. We decided we had to trust God anyway.
Two years later our whole family was in the Hawaiian Islands ministering. It was there I found out I was pregnant. I had instant fear. "How can I go through another pregnancy?" I thought. God had always delivered me, but I just didn't know if I could take another one. We were staying at the Youth With A Mission base, and my husband shared our problem with some of the people there.
They decided to pray for me. They held hands and formed a circle, just like in the vision given me during the first pregnancy. My husband said that during the prayer God told him that this pregnancy would be different from the others and that I would not have toxemia. I held on to God's word and every time fear would try to come in I would remind myself of what God had said. God was faithful. I did not have a single problem with toxemia. Everything went fine. This time we had a son, Jonathan. It would have been such a shame to have let fear rob me of another blessing.
And now, two and a half years later, God has blessed us with another son, Samuel Lyle, born September 28th 1995. It was a wonderful pregnancy and birth. Just at the end of the pregnancy, the toxemia returned, but I would not receive it. We prayed and I confessed, "No, I've been healed from this. I won't accept it." God delivered again and in 24 hours I lost 2 lbs and my blood pressure was back to normal. We have a faithful God.
Harvey, Louisiana, USA
Tom and Stacye's children are Hannah, Kristen, Melody Joy, Jonathan and Samuel.
DEEP VEIN THROMBOSIS
With my fourth baby I developed 'deep vein thrombosis'. I had a bad cramp in the leg which got worse and worse until I couldn't put my foot on the ground. I was put straight into hospital and informed by the doctor that I would not be able to have any more children.
"Oh!" I replied, "I haven't finished yet!" But after our fifth baby we decided we couldn't continue this way. A friend encouraged my husband to get a vasectomy so John went and got the papers. They sat beside our bed for a few months, but we just couldn't bring ourselves to finish our family. In our hearts we believed it was wrong.
At this time, my fifth baby was sick and I carried him around night after night. I walked the floor until I collapsed with exhaustion. This baby was sick for a year. He cried and cried and they didn't know what was wrong with him. I eventually took him to a chiropractor who fixed him in one visit. "This baby has been getting bad headaches," he said. "In two days' you'll have a new baby."
It was during this fatiguing time that we had a prayer meeting in our home one evening. We had been praying for some time when John said, "Let us stop for five minutes and listen to what God is saying." God sure spoke to us that night. In fact, we had a visitation from God. John got a vision.
He saw God's love falling on us like snow. But he saw that the snow was falling on rocky terrain - there were boulders, rocks, and deep holes. As the snow fell, it covered everything until it was beautiful and smooth on top. "It's like God's love falling on us," he said, "but I don't know what it means."
"Oh, John, I know what God's talking about," I exclaimed. "God has just spoken to me and said, 'Yield your will to me and let Me send the babies. "But, oh John, I can't do it. I can't go any further." I looked at my circumstances - I was sleeping three hours every day just to be able to stand up for the rest of the day. I was caring for five little children and a husband who had great responsibilities in his business and I had deep vein thrombosis. The doctors said I could die if I had another baby. I looked at the boulders and holes, but God's love was telling us to yield to Him.
I have always had such a desire to do what God wanted me to do, so we prayed. I cried, "God, whatever you want for my life, that's what I want, so I'll say, 'Yes'." The lady who was praying with us nearly went into convulsions at the thought. But as I said, "Yes, Lord, I'm going your way," I felt a heat go in through the top of my head. It went right through my body and I was completely healed from the terrible physical exhaustion that had debilitated me for months. When I got up the next morning, I was totally healed and didn't look back. God gave me six months before I conceived our next baby.
I got to the end of this pregnancy and got deep vein thrombosis again. I had no option to go back to hospital and go through all the trauma and medication again. How could I ever go through t his again? We didn't believe in using the Pill or the IUD. So instead of trusting God we went back to our own intelligence.
We knew nothing at that time of how breastfeeding spaces babies and so in ignorance John said, "The baby's got to be fed, so we'll abstain until you come back to your cycle." I didn't come back to my cycle for 15 months! "Thank heavens," I thought, "life can come back to normal now."
But God spoke to me and said, "You have walked in disobedience." I started to fight God. "Now look, God, I have more babies than almost anyone I know and I can't keep going through this." For two months I went over and over it. I remember one day saying, "God, stop picking on me."
But He kept gently saying, "This is the way I want you to go. One night I knelt on the floor and cried, "God I want to walk in absolute surrender before you. I don't have the strength to do it. I don't know how to do it, but I'm handing it over to you and I'm asking you to do it in me. I will have as many children as you want me to have."
A few weeks later I conceived our seventh baby and I went right through this pregnancy without deep vein thrombosis. As the doctor handed me the baby and I looked down on this gift from God, He spoke to my heart, "There is no greater ministry in the church than this."
Fellow mothers, I want to encourage you that there is no greater ministry in the world today than motherhood. You may think that you are not accomplishing much, but I want you to know that the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world. I want you to know that there is great power in a mother's prayers. As we stand in the gap for our children, it doesn't matter what they are going through, it doesn't matter if they have strayed from God, because a mother's prayers are greater.
I tell my children, "You're going to change the nation!" "Cut it out, Mum," they say, "Who me?" "Yes, you!" I confess that I am going to have mighty men of God go across this nation and the world - not because they look like it, or because they feel like it, but it's going to happen because I believe.
The time came when I was pregnant with my eighth baby. At this time God started to send in books and tapes on healing. I started to read and was excited. I didn't know that I was about to fight the battle of my life. Soon my right leg started to get sore and the thrombosis came back with a vengeance.
I began to stand in faith for my healing. There was a working bee at a Christian school up the road and John went up and told everybody of my condition. They all came home, prayed for me and believed that God would heal me. I cried all day I was in so much pain. I walked in excruciating pain for a week and half before I was set free.
At this time, John was due to go to Sydney to be a part of a leadership conference. We didn't have another man on the farm and we still had two sheds of chickens (my husband is a chicken farmer) to go to market. But God spoke to me and said, "You let John go. I'm going to heal you."
I drove him to the airport, waved him off to Sydney and went home to twelve children (my widowed friend, Kaye, who had five boys, was also living with us) and 50,000 chickens! And I believed God. Nothing went wrong on the farm. John was away for a week and by the time he came home, I was healed of my deep vein thrombosis.
I had had to stand in faith through three pregnancies before I was healed of the thrombosis. But God is faithful. He will be faithful to you too. No matter how big the battle is, no matter what the circumstances, if you keep believing and trusting in God, you will get your provision. The doctors told me that I couldn't have any more babies, but I found out that I had been lied to.
We now have nine children. Our last precious treasure was born at home when I was 47 years and it was a glorious experience. God has honoured my obedience to him. Since I began to trust Him, I have experienced a healing with each pregnancy and am healthier and fitter today at 50 years of age and have more energy than when I was a teenager! During my ninth pregnancy, God healed me of extreme tiredness which I had lived with from a young person because of a dysfunctional liver. Our God can be trusted.
Narangba, Queensland, Australia.