Written By Grace Tan, Singapore
“We are going to have a baby!”
My husband and I couldn’t contain our excitement that night as we told our two children I was expecting. They let out a squeal and jumped for joy when they heard the good news. My son was so excited that he went to school and told all his classmates about it the next day.
It wasn’t always this way, though. When I first suggested to my husband the idea of having another child, his immediate reaction was, “It will rock the boat.” We were very comfortable with our two children, who were seven and four at the time; they no longer required us to feed them during meals and could sleep soundly through the night. Having another child would bring us back to the days of interrupted meals and sleepless nights.
But somehow, I couldn’t get rid of the niggling feeling of wanting another child. I started to seek God and pray that if it was His will for us to have another child, He would speak to my husband. And God did, giving my husband the peace that we would be able to cope. When the pregnancy test came back positive, we were both elated and immediately told our parents and our kids.
At the six-week mark, we went to see our obstetrician for a routine check-up. She did an ultrasound scan on my uterus, and saw a big blood clot beside the gestational sac. I was asked to rest more and to return to see her in a week.
As my previous pregnancies had been smooth sailing, this was a bolt from the blue. The following days of waiting felt like years as I didn’t know what to expect, but we committed this to God as a family. Even though my husband and I were worried, we prayed with the children each night, asking God to protect the foetus; my daughter even asked her Sunday school teacher and friends to pray for me.
The Devastating News
One week later, our obstetrician did the scan and told us that the blood clot was gone. However, she could not see a foetus in the sac even though the sac was growing bigger. I was devastated by what she said. I had thought the only issue was with the blood clot, so I was crushed to find out that the foetus was absent all along. Once again, we were asked to return one week later for another check. My heart sank. I had to endure bad morning sickness, without any guarantee that I would eventually have a baby.
I wrestled with God during that period. There were times when I blamed God for giving me false hope and causing me to experience morning sickness even though there might not have been a foetus. There were also times when my husband and I went on our knees and prayed for God’s will to be done.
Deep down, I was questioning God, “Why, God? Why did you allow this to happen?” Our family was looking forward to welcoming another child into our lives and my children had prayed every night before going to bed that God would protect our baby. How was I going to explain to them that we weren’t going to have a baby after all?
But as I looked at my children, I began to realize that I had so much to be thankful for. God was teaching me to treasure my two precious children and not focus on what I did not have. Slowly, I began to accept the fact that we may not have a baby after all.
Through my disappointment, I felt God teaching me to trust Him in good and bad times. It’s very easy to tell others to trust in God’s sovereignty and say things like, “He is in control.” But the real test comes when we’re struck by bad news. Do we truly believe that God is good all the time, with not just our heads but our hearts as well?
One week passed, and the day finally came when the obstetrician told us that there was no baby in the sac. I was diagnosed to have a blighted ovum (also known as an early pregnancy failure), which is a common cause of miscarriage. This happens when a fertilized egg attaches itself to the uterine wall, but the embryo does not develop. I didn’t know how to feel when I heard the final diagnosis. The news was a final closure to the weeks of agony, yet I couldn’t help but bewail the loss of my “child”.
We decided to go through a natural abortion and wait for the miscarriage to happen instead of going through surgery. I spent the next few days crying in bed; my heart was filled with immense grief.
Through this difficult time, I was surrounded by support and love from family and friends—my concerned helper changed my blood-stained sheets without any questions, my mum cooked tonics for me and helped to look after my children, and my mother-in-law prayed with me.
As I cried out to God to reveal His purposes for this, God led me to listen to a podcast by American pastor Timothy Keller that spoke of the unwavering faith of three men. In Daniel 3:16-18, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were going to be thrown into a fiery furnace for refusing to bow down to the image of gold set up by King Nebuchadnezzar.
When they were brought before the king, they replied, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up. ”
In my moment of grief, I felt like I had been thrown into a fiery furnace. God could have delivered me from the furnace by giving me a healthy baby, but He did not. Like these three men, I had to decide: Would I continue to worship Him with unwavering faith, or would I now walk away from my faith and bow down to other gods?
A few months after the miscarriage, I brought my children to the zoo. On the way there, it threatened to rain. I asked my children to pray for God to hold the rain, if it was in His will. My son answered, “Mummy, God has always answered our prayers, except once.” I was taken aback and asked when it was. He replied, “When we lost baby, Mummy. Sometimes God says ‘Yes’, sometimes He says ‘No’, and sometimes, ‘Wait’, but we know that all things happen for our good, right, Mummy?”
Tears started to stream down my face as I continued to drive. I said to God, “Lord, You worked through this trial. You spoke to my children and built faith in them.” God was teaching me to see the bigger picture in life, that I should not fix my eyes on the present, the trials and the pain, but live my life with eternity in mind. Sometimes, God’s answer might not be what we desire, but that doesn’t mean He doesn’t love us. He loves us all the same, because He has given us His only Son.
Now, three years later, I have three beautiful children. God provided when we decided to try again for a child. A friend said it would take great faith to try for a child again after a miscarriage, but we decided to do it and trust God to provide. We named him Josiah, which means “Jehovah has healed”.
God provided when the time was right for us. My prayer is that in all things, we will continue to trust in His perfect plan and in His perfect timing.
I love this quote from American author Ann Voskamp: “Sometimes God takes us into the wilderness not to abandon us but because He wants to be alone with us.” God did not abandon me when the storm came, but He brought me into a deeper intimacy with Him as I went in search for answers through the reading of His Word.
I need to prepare my family for the storms that are sure to come. We need to spend time in the Bible and strengthen our relationships with a godly community, so that when (not if) the storms strike, we will have shelter.