Finding hope when pregnancy ends sadly by Funke Oham

I opened my eyes to a room full of medics, and heard the Registrar telling me, “There is no heartbeat”. Nothing prepared me for this. How could I walk into hospital a few hours before, under monitoring, and my first baby pass away just like that?

As the days, weeks and months progressed, I posed a lot of questions to the hospital, myself and to God. I was informed I had experienced sudden pre-eclampsia, leading to a placental abruption and then a stillbirth. Not once did it cross my mind that some pregnancies never end happily. It was difficult to comprehend, as it had taken me sixteen months to conceive; my family and friends were all waiting for this baby. The hardest part was having to break the news over and over again to different people.

A few months later, we decided to try for another baby. We were over the moon when I conceived quickly. I decided not to tell anyone till I had gone past the halfway mark. Around the time I was 22 weeks pregnant, I called my parents and informed them. They were so happy. My husband and I decided I would stop work at six months, and rest at home to ensure a safe delivery of our daughter.

In my 23rd week, one day whilst at work, I started to feel an intermittent pain. By 8pm that evening the pain was unbearable, and I began to suspect labour. The midwife dismissed my claim when we got to the hospital. On checking, I was informed I was fully dilated. By 11.23pm that night, our daughter Faith was born.

Could someone pinch me and tell me this was not happening? Despite this, I had faith she would live. By 8am the following morning, I was told we should hold her as she was slipping away. She had suffered a brain haemorrhage and was in too much pain. I told my husband, “I can’t do this anymore”.

But God in His faithfulness changed our story. That same year (December 24 at 10.30am) our son Jeremiah was born full term. Three years and 13 weeks later we were blessed with another son, Isaiah.

I would like to share with you some things that kept me sane, hopeful and trusting, despite what I went through.

Through reflection, the Word of God and a particular message, I realised God was not my problem. I had to repent of my belief that God had let me down. I realised God loved me so much and He is good (Psalm 100:5, Psalm 119:68, Mark 10:18). Secondly, His Word never lies – no matter what I see in the natural. Jeremiah 29:11 was a word He gave me on my 17th birthday. Another Scripture He gave me was Isaiah 41:10 – a week after my first loss. So those Scriptures became a reality. God reassured me I was not alone, and made it evident in many ways through these Bible verses: Psalm 23:4, Isaiah 43:2, Hebrews 13:5 and Psalm 86:7. He also brought us the right consultant after our experience and it made a difference. Hearing specifically from God regarding my future (through a rhema word) was very vital to building my faith and hope in God. While I was waiting I praised – even if it meant with tears. I prayed, supported others with children, and continued to serve in church.

Research in the UK shows around 1 in 7 couples may have difficulties in conceiving (NHS). Eleven babies are stillborn every day in the UK (SANDS). I realised God wanted to turn my pain into purpose, and to support others through their journey (2 Corinthians 1:4).

Through my journey, I have come to accept life as a Christian is not a bed of roses. Challenges will take different forms but in all things we are more than conquerors. It is important we don’t lose our praise and faith when the storm comes, and remember that there is indeed purpose in pain. Poh Fang Chia wrote: ‘In moments when we don’t understand God’s ways, we need to trust His unchanging character’.

We should look at our circumstances from the framework of God’s character, instead of looking at God’s character from the context of our own circumstances.

Each year, the 9th-15th October is Baby Loss Awareness Week, whereby bereaved parents, family members and friends can commemorate the all-too-brief lives of their babies, knowing that thousands of other families elsewhere in the world will be doing the same.

Funke has organised the Baby Conference on 8th October, which is being held at Woodford Green – All Saints Church, Inmans Row, Woodford Green, IG8 0NH. The event will bring together women and men, who have experienced baby loss, are trying to conceive or trying again for a baby.

It will be an interactive afternoon of sharing stories, discussions and presentations from organisations addressing these issues, and a Q & A session chaired by fertility experts and consultants. There will also be a time for worship and prayer.

The aim is that you can connect with others who have walked in your shoes, share what’s on your mind, and get advice, support and encouragement. Come along, tell others who have been there or are there, and let us walk this road together!

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