Trusting God Through Difficult Pregnancies
By Tina French
Unfortunately, it is a rare thing to find Christians who are willing to give everything over to the Lord's planning, so many don't understand the rewards He gives. Following is the tale of our amazing journey.
MY husband, Grant, and I have been married 19 years and have experienced 14 pregnancies during that time. Unfortunately, not all women have babies as easily as most, and I am one of these differently blessed women. I have an incompetent cervix, which in my case is inherited. Mine is worse than those who have gone before me and is further complicated by pre-term labor.
My first pregnancy ended in a miscarriage at 16 weeks. The second, ended with our son, Daniel John, stillborn at 24 weeks. Both of these pregnancies were mishandled by the doctors. But with the birth of our son and being transferred to another hospital, we finally met a wonderful high-risk OB.
Our third pregnancy included a cerclage (where the doctor stitches up the cervix to strengthen it and keep it from opening - the stitch has to be removed before delivery); 3 months bed rest; and medication to stop labor. We desperately prayed for this baby. Skyla Ann was born at 33 ½ weeks with numerous abnormalities. Despite initial hope, she died 30 hours later in our arms.
Both of these losses were devastating. We buried our son's ashes with our daughter, and aching for a child, we put in an application to adopt at a local Christian adoption agency. God richly blessed us 15 months later with a baby girl, Tallie Renee. During the wait for Tallie, our fourth pregnancy was an ectopic pregnancy. We feel God had Tallie waiting to be a part of our family, as much as any child born from my womb. She is a rainbow in our family - sparkling joy to everyone.
A month after Tallie arrived, I became pregnant for the fifth time. It was a scary, stressful pregnancy. It included: progesterone suppositories for the first 3 months; the cerclage; and an amniocentesis (it was because of Skyla's problems, early detection might have helped). I also had to be off my feet for the whole pregnancy with complete bed rest the last 3 months. There was also medication to stop labor and twice daily monitoring for contractions with a home monitor. By God's grace we made it to 38 weeks, and a perfect Mollie Louise was born, a big baby for me at 6 lbs 2 oz.
Our sixth pregnancy was more of the same. Progesterone suppositories, the cerclage, an amniocentesis, ultrasounds every 2 weeks (they kept track of my cervix this way, without irritating it), off my feet, and then bed rest. This time though, due to dilating despite the cerclage, I ended up in the hospital on total bed rest, with my head down and feet up for a month. My medication doses were higher and a second amniocentesis was performed to check for lung maturity. At 37 weeks, Kaylie Nadine was born. She weighed 5 lbs 13 oz, and spent 3 days in the special care nursery, but we had made it through again.
Pregnancy number seven was a replay of number six, though this time we made it through without the progesterone (thank you, Lord!) and I said no to the amniocentesis because the other girls had been fine. We got through the cerclage, but had a lot more contractions. Every pregnancy had gotten progressively worse with pre-term labor. We again had home monitoring, ultrasounds every 2 weeks (they also kept track of the baby's growth), a month in the hospital and whopping doses of medication every 2 hours around the clock. Once more, God mightily blessed us, and Trulie Rose, our blue-eyed wonder, entered the world at a healthy 38 weeks (5 lbs 14 oz) via a birthing room (oh, you lucky people who have your babies at home!).
Our eighth pregnancy started out in the same vein as number seven. The cerclage was done and contractions were even worse. I was in the doctors office every two weeks and everything looked good. There was a lot of stress in our household during this time. Grant had been out of work for three months and we had taken in a girl that was dealing with a crisis pregnancy. We got her through her delivery (5 children and 3 adults in a 900 sq ft house!). I didn't notice the lack of kicking at first. When I mentioned it at the next appointment, my doctor looked and saw that our baby had died. He took out the cerclage, and it was a week before I delivered, at 21 weeks, at home. Our son, Bennett Joseph, was buried with his sister and brother. His death was due to the cord being wrapped twice around his neck; a "cord accident".
Of course there are no accidents with God, and we know that "all things work together for good"; but this loss took us to the end of our endurance. Bennett died in March of 1992, and between then and the following November, I had two early miscarriages.
I felt I had well and truly looked over the edge into the abyss of grief that I feared would consume me. Our sanity can only handle so much, and it was all too much. I clung for dear life to the only rock that could save me, and silently pled every day, "Oh Lord, be gracious to us; we long for you. Be our strength every morning, our salvation in times of distress" Is 33:7. It was with wonder and praise that I saw Him slowly answering my prayer.
Needless to say, my husband had borne the brunt of all these high-risk pregnancies. He had worked, done all the housework, shopping, laundry, and total care of our little ones. He'd been a single parent for two different months and carted kids back and forth to the hospital (30 minutes away). No relations are allowed after a cerclage. He had worried for me, for our babies, and grieved mightily over their deaths. In late 1992 he said, "I can't take anymore!"
At that time - November of 1992 - I really thought I should get my tubes tied. Every loss compounded on the next, so that when Bennett died, it took more than I had to get up every morning to take care of and teach my 4 girls. It is amazing how God can support and strengthen you when you ask.
When it came down to really deciding to have a tubal ligation, I couldn't do it. I felt that my fertility was such a precious gift from God, who was I to say - "no thanks". I had learned so much through our losses. We learned how precious every life is, no matter how long they stay. We learned that Christ can carry you over the hardest places. So I decided that God knew, better than I, who should be in our family. It took my husband a bit longer, but God brought him to the same realization.
Pregnancy number eleven came in 1994. I felt peace and assurance that we would finally get the son we had prayed for. Samuel Haven came into the world at 37 weeks, 5 lbs 12 oz. A son is an amazing thing! Our families and friends thought we would finally come to our senses when we had a boy. The thing was, we had already come to our senses when we allowed God to plan our family.
Pregnancy number twelve brought Gabriel David at 36 weeks, 6 lbs 4 oz. - our biggest! Our thirteenth pregnancy ushered in Rylie Krystyna Noel, 2 days after Christmas. She was born at 35 weeks, 5 lbs 4 oz, and though I hemorrhaged after her birth, she did fine.
Our newest edition is Jedidiah Luke. He was born at 5 lbs 9 oz, 37 weeks about 9 months ago. He was breech, but after begging on my part, God was gracious and had him turn on the way to the hospital for the cesarean. It was a great witness, because when the amazed doctor asked how we turned him, we got to tell him that God heard all the prayers and answered them.
My pregnancies are all difficult. My doctors beg me not to have any more children. They don't think my cervix can take anymore. I have had nine cerclages, which could probably put me in the record books. My medical history is an obstetrical nightmare. Every pregnancy, they think the baby won't make it. We have learned that we are all in His hands, and He has blessed us mightily.
So, if anyone tries to tell you they can't have any more because their pregnancies are so hard - think of me - 14 hard ones and hopefully still counting. If they tell you they almost died - think of me - 3 times I was close, but God knew it and didn't allow it. If they tell you they can't afford more - neither can we - but God can, and supplies all our needs. If they tell you they don't have the patience - neither do we - but God constantly gives us what we need.
As we have trusted God with everything, He has blessed us with more than we could have ever imagined. We have 8 beautiful children - Tallie (16), Mollie (15), Kaylie (13), Trulie (11), Sam (6), Gabe (4), Rylie (2), and baby Jed (9 months). These from a woman who probably would be lucky to carry one baby to term.
Two years ago we got the miracle of a house on 3 acres and a business my husband runs from home. God used our daughter Tallie's, learning disabilities to start us home schooling from day one.
When you give up control of your own life, and let Christ take over, what an amazing adventure He takes you on. Don't you agree? That is the tale of our amazing journey, and we wonder where He will take us next.
Volume 2 Issue 4: July / August 2001, © Unless The Lord ... Magazine