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My Child, A Gift from God, Stillborn Without A Skull

By Grace Loh, as told to Sophia Ng

My husband, Bryan, and I had been waiting for God to bless us with a second child. When we finally tested positive on a pregnancy kit, we were ecstatic.

Through the first 12 weeks, everything appeared healthy. But when I went in for a scan the 13th week, the sonographer found something amiss. She picked up the phone and immediately called her senior. I knew then that something was wrong. But I tried to control my emotions and keep myself level-headed, not wanting to make an outburst in public.

They sent me for scan after scan. Nearly four hours later, I was seated down by a consultant who broke the bad news to me and advised me to terminate the pregnancy. He set a date for me, and that was that.

My husband and I called our pastor and told him the news. He helped me realize that termination was abortion and said, “You need to reconsider this in the light of God’s Word.”

Inside, I was struggling. I wanted to terminate the pregnancy, but there was no peace. In my heart was a battle between my will and God’s will. I did not want to have to live through the first trimester of nausea and vomiting, and a tough delivery, knowing that I was not going to bring a child home. In that moment of confusion, I told God, “I want my way”, but I sensed Him saying, “That is not my way, child”.

The next day, I was in the car going down the expressway when these thoughts were racing through my mind, and I finally surrendered. I told God: “Regardless of what it is, I’m going to choose Your way.”

At that moment, the peace of God that surpasses all understanding just flooded me. This perfect peace guarded our hearts and minds for the months to come.

 

A Long Nine Months

But that did not mean we weren’t grieving.

I had never felt more depressed in my life. Our child, whom we knew was God-sent, was not going to live. I finally understood what it meant to be depressed—you are in a black hole that you just can’t get out of. You lose your zest for life and want to lie in bed and not do anything else. You can’t even pray because you just want to die. I remember feeling like this for days.

Depression also set in for Bryan once his logic wore off. But because of what we were going through, we saw our firstborn, Charity, who was then one-and-a-half, showing empathy for the first time. She went over, wiped his tears and said, “Papa, don’t cry.”

Friends and family responded differently to the news. Well-meaning people would say all sorts of hurtful things. Many told us, “Grace, you need to have faith that God will heal him”, “you didn’t pray enough” or “you didn’t believe enough.” I had to keep reminding myself that these people loved me and did not mean to hurt me.

Deep down, I knew that God was not going to heal my baby, and I was meant to go through this grief. I think it takes more faith to believe and continue to trust God amid negative, rather than positive circumstances.

Going through the purifying fire taught me to hope in God, instead of hoping for a circumstance. The Word of God doesn’t say He will definitely give us healing, or a good job, or a positive outcome. God never promised us these things. He says he will give us abundant life (John 10:10), but we learned that this abundant life is not found in the absence of trials or troubles, but in the presence of hope, joy, peace, and love even amidst the toughest moments.

Yes, I would have liked for God to heal our baby, but what if God, in His sovereignty, knew that it was not best for me, or the world?

Mature Christians who counseled us through all of this advised that we name the child. We had always wanted to name our first son Matthias, which means “gift of God.” Even though we knew the “gift” was going to die, we nevertheless named him Matthias in faith—knowing he was a gift, no matter what.

 

 

The Birth

Around my 38th week of pregnancy, I checked into the hospital as I was in a lot of pain. The doctors put me on oxytocin drip, which would help induce labour. At one point I felt Matthias writhing and thrashing inside me, but eventually he went quiet, and I fell asleep.

When the doctors came to examine me a few hours later, they found that my uterus had torn, and I was bleeding. They said I needed to undergo an emergency C-section. The doctors made me sign a whirlwind of papers I could barely understand, authorizing them to perform any procedures deemed needful. Then I was pushed into the operating room.

By the time I woke up from surgery and got to hold my baby, Matthias was already cold, stiff and blue. His skin was waxy and sticky.

The first question I asked Bryan was, “Is my uterus still there?” My uterus had ruptured and just missed a major artery. If it had torn anymore, I would’ve lost my uterus. That was my saving grace.

 

Experiencing Perfect Peace

We didn’t know what our state of mind would be after the birth, so we had made preparations for our various responsibilities. What we didn’t expect was the depth of peace we experienced. It was like God had put us in a bubble of perfect peace.

I had been afraid of the pain, the grief, and the cost of going through with our decision, but what I learned was that the grace of God will always be sufficient. No matter how hard the choice might seem, once you say “yes” to God, He is with you every step of the way. The peace of God protects you and the grace of God empowers you.

Through this trial, the Word of God came alive and this experience deposited a lot of gems in me, such as patience, forgiveness, understanding of the peace and grace of God, and learning to walk in faith and not by sight. Proverbs 3:5-6 taught me to trust the Lord even when I don’t understand what and why He’s doing something, simply because His thoughts and ways are higher than mine (Isaiah 55:8-9). These verses helped me to surrender my situation to God and respond as Mary did in saying, “Be it unto me” (Luke 1:38).

As Hillsong United so aptly wrote in Desert Song, “There is a faith proved of more worth than gold, so refine me, Lord, through the flame.” Throughout the trials, Charity was our rainbow, our sparkle and brought us out of the pit of depression with her joy and laughter. I treasure her so much. She also now understands life and death. She says, “I can’t wait to see didi (younger brother). When I go to Jesus, I will be so happy.”

 

 

Many children who understand death fear it, but she knows there is life after death. That is something we could have never taught her.

 

Through the Fire, Once Again

The grief still hits occasionally out of the blue. Nearly a year after Matthias’s passing, I received news that a close friend of mine was pregnant. It hit me hard and I felt a pang of jealousy. Why should she get a healthy pregnancy?

Shortly after, I noticed my tastes started to change and I was feeling a tad fatigued. A home pregnancy test confirmed that I was expecting for the third time.

Not everything is rosy with my rainbow baby. I started bleeding early on, and my gynaecologist discovered a blood clot inside. There’s still a threat of miscarriage. What’s more, the doctor has given a 20-30 per cent chance of my uterus rupturing again. If it happens outside of hospital, I could even lose my life.

In the past, if I were faced with the same circumstances, I would be freaking out from one scan to the next. Now, I think to myself that if baby lives, then so be it.

My hope is in God’s character, that regardless of the outcome, God’s will is best for me and there is a greater purpose. He is the anchor of our soul.

The grief doesn’t go away; the hole will always be there. But we do not grieve without hope, knowing there is peace in the grief and one day, we will be reunited in heaven.

 

Pregnant at 18, what was I thinking?

Written By Breonna Rostic, USA

There was a time I believed that I had it all together.

In my mind, I was the epitome of cool. On top of being an academic all-star—I had just been accepted into several amazing colleges at the time—I was a popular cheerleader and was dating a college athlete. At that moment, nothing could stop me from taking the world by storm and creating the change I wanted to see.

The only problem was, the only change I really wanted to see was me. I wanted to be thinner, prettier, smarter and more popular—like all the celebrities on television. My plan was to pursue a career in the entertainment industry after college. And although some may have thought I already had a life worth leading, I wanted more. I wanted to be better. Like the girls around me who wanted to be thinner, taller, or more beautiful, I fell into the trap.

But everything in my life changed when I started college. Instead of growing smaller, I grew larger. Instead of feeling prettier, I felt uglier. I got tired easily, and that caused my social life and relationships to suffer and my academic results to slip. I just couldn’t seem to get my footing. What was going on with me? I had no idea, and I continued to struggle for months.

It turned out that I was pregnant . . . how could this be? Well, I knew how—but I never really thought it would actually happen to me. I never thought that such a huge fall from grace was possible. I was a role model for young women, coaching cheerleaders, volunteering in youth ministry . . . and now, pregnant three weeks shy of turning 18.

Suddenly, everything I planned on accomplishing had to shift. What would I do, what would my family think, how would my boyfriend respond? And my mom? I had given abstinence and purity a high value, always saying “a no now is a greater yes later”. Now I had to tell her that I had failed her. Not only did I feel like I failed her, but I failed God. My mind began to throb at the magnitude of what pregnancy meant, let alone raising a child.

For the first time in my life, I realized I didn’t have it all together. Every time I thought about the needs of my-soon-to-be-child, I found myself thinking: But what about me? That’s when I realized how selfish I was and how obsessed I had become about my appearance and the things of the world.

One Sunday while attending church with my mom, I felt convicted of my sins. In fact, just being in the building itself made me feel condemned. There were many people there, but I felt alone. I knew I couldn’t do this on my own. I needed God. But I didn’t think that God would have anything to do with my sin—with me.

But something happened that evening. The Holy Spirit ministered to me and comforted me, and I gave Him my all. I dedicated my life as well as my child’s life to God. I asked Him to never leave me, to guide me in this process. That night, I laid all my burdens at His feet and began to truly follow Him.

I didn’t see a drastic change in my life immediately after that, but there were small changes. I began to read my Bible and pray. My thoughts started to shift as well: they were no longer centered on myself; they were focused on my son, on my boyfriend-turned-fiancé, and on God.

Today, my son is eight. He has been attending church and learning and growing in a community of believers with my husband and me. I serve on multiple ministry teams at church and work in full-time ministry helping others understand the life-changing wisdom of the Bible. I’ve had opportunities to speak, teach, and minister to God’s people.

Through this journey, I have learned this: God knows that we will make mistakes, but He loves us so much that He sent Jesus to redeem and restore us. His Holy Spirit instructs, teaches and guides us in love; all we have to do is follow. It took a while for me to realize that my pregnancy did not just birth a child—it also birthed new possibilities in my life.

God used it to intervene in my life and draw me back to Him. So now, instead of chasing after material things and superficial happiness, I chase after God, serving Him and loving His people. Instead of dancing in the hopes that I could one day appear in a music video, I dance as an act of worship. Instead of spending countless hours worrying about my external beauty, I spend time working on the beauty of my soul.

I won’t say that my journey hasn’t been bumpy or without challenges. The transition from a selfish teen to a selfless woman has been grueling. I have lost friendships and opportunities. Being a teen mom, going to college, getting married, working full-time, joining ministry and building a new social life has been hard. But I wouldn’t change anything.

I believe God sometimes allows us to make mistakes when He wants to get our attention. But He doesn’t leave us there. Instead, He strengthens us in moments of weakness and adds joy to our sorrows. We can rest assured that “all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28). Mistakes can be used to bring us closer to God and make us more Christ-like if we surrender them to Him. God took my mistakes and used them to show me my purpose of serving and loving His people.

As I look back on my life now, I can say I didn’t get the changes I wanted but I certainly got the changes I needed. I’m glad God got the final say.