This is the true story I shared at Bended Knee Ministries’ Women’s Retreat
One day I had some special news to share with my husband, Jeff. I was trying to think of a creative way to tell him, so I made a special dinner. Jeff came home and I began to tell him the menu for dinner.
“Tonight we’re having BABY back ribs, with Sweet BABY Ray’s BBQ sauce, and BABY carrots.”
“Sounds good,” Jeff said.
“Umm… did you notice a theme,” I asked.
“Yeah they all have ‘baby’ in them… OH! Are you pregnant??”
As we ate dinner, the excitement of the new life inside me began to grow. We wondered if it was a boy or girl? Will it look like me or you? We were very excited and knew our families would be excited too.
Unfortunately the excitement turned to sadness. At 19 weeks pregnant, we had some complications and found ourselves in the hospital. I had gone into labor prematurely. I would have to deliver the baby that day. But he wouldn’t survive.
A few hours later, on February 24, 2011, I delivered a precious little baby boy who we named Caleb. In the Bible, Caleb was one of the men Moses sent in to spy on the promised land. Ten of the men came back saying the land is great, but there are giants who live there and we could never beat them. But Joshua and Caleb disagreed. Yes the land is great, it’s all that God promised, but the giants aren’t too much for us. God has given us the land. Let’s go and take possession of it. But the people were afraid and didn’t trust God to give them the land. Because of their disobedience, God said the entire generation would pass away and not see the promised land – except Joshua and Caleb.
Caleb was described as “whole-heartedly following the Lord.” Jeff and I chose to name the baby Caleb to remind ourselves to whole-heartedly follow the Lord. We knew there would be “giants” in front of us – fears that would be easy to succumb to. But instead of fearing or running from God, we needed to trust Him.
Instead of picking out baby furniture for the nursery, we were picking out cemetary plots and planning a funeral. As we mourned our son we mourned our dreams. Would we ever have a baby to watch grow? What would it even be like to be pregnant again? How would I be pregnant and not be afraid about something going wrong?
Over the next few months we felt God’s peace and strength as He was healing our broken hearts. About six months after Caleb died we found out I was pregnant again. Instead of the fear I anticipated, I truly felt joyful. I had new doctors. I would be seeing a specialist. I would have ultrasounds every two weeks and shots that were supposed to prevent premature labor. But on top of that, I really felt a confidence from God that everything was going to be fine.
And everything was going really well until a routine ultrasound appointment at 21 weeks showed that my cervix has shortened. A normal cervix in pregnancy is at least 2.5 centimeters. Every ultrasound I had, my cervix measured 3.5 centimeters, which is really good! But at that appointment, as soon as the image came on the screen, I knew something was wrong. Instead of 3.5cm, my cervix measured only 0.4cm. In order to prevent labor, I would need an emergency cerclage, which is a stitch to keep the cervix closed. I underwent the surgery that afternoon.
Even with the cerclage, the risk of going into labor prematurely was high. I would have to be on strict bed rest for the remainder of the pregnancy which was 3 ½ months.
In the beginning when I had that confidence that everything was going to be fine, I thought everything was going to be fine. I wasn’t expecting emergency surgery, or that the life of the baby depended on my ability to stay laying down for three months. My confidence was a little shaken. So just like after Caleb died, I turned to the Bible. As I was reading I found this verse in Mark where Jesus is talking to the disciples about faith. Jesus is telling them if they have faith they can move mountains. In Mark 11:24 Jesus says, “Whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”
I thought ok… whatever I ask for, believe I have received it, and God will give it to me. So I prayed, “Lord please give me a full-term healthy baby. I believe you’re going to do it and I trust You.”
I had prayed for a full-term baby, I believed God was going to give him to me, so I needed to act on my belief. I would go to doctors appointments and they would tell me my goal was to get to 28 weeks. I said, no, we’re going full-term. We’d make it to 28 and they would say, now the goal is 30 or 32. And I would tell them, I’ve prayed for a full-term baby and I believe that is what God is going to give us. My goal is full-term.
Bed rest meant laying down. I was allowed to get up to go to the bathroom and i could drive myself to doctors appointments every week. After going to the doctors appointments I figured a quick stop through the Starbucks drive thru would be ok. I became very familiar with all my drive thru options on bed rest. But bed rest also meant not going to church and not going to bible study. I knew I needed to be intentional about having spiritual lessons in my life. I would watch sermons on video, do video bible studies. One Sunday morning a friend even came over in her sweat pants and laid in bed with me so we could watch church together. At times it was hard not having spiritual fellowship with others. So I started a blog to write about my faith and what was happening in the pregnancy.
Through the blog and email and facebook, I asked friends and family to pray with us for a full-term baby and believe that God will answer our prayers. There were hundreds of people praying with us. Many of you in this room were praying for us.
Acting in faith for my prayer wasn’t always easy. My sisters wanted to throw me a baby shower, which was very nice. I was hesitant as we started to make plans. I knew I would need to register for baby things, which I could do online while on bed rest, but I was nervous. What if I get all these baby clothes and toys and furniture, but end up not having a baby to bring home? I would catch myself thinking like this, and be reminded – I’ve prayed for a full-term baby, I believe God is going to answer my prayer, I need to live like there’s going to be a baby at the end of this pregnancy. I finally started to register for baby things and as soon as I did I felt more confident. The more I acted in faith on my prayer, the more my faith grew.
When you have a story like mine, you get connected with other people who have similar stories. A friend of a friend mentioned they know a girl in Idaho who was also on bed rest and the doctors thought the baby was going to be born prematurely. So I found her on facebook and wrote her a message. I didn’t know if she was a Christian or Buddist or Atheist or anything. But I wanted to share with her my verse. I wanted her to know that whatever she asks for in prayer, if she believes that she will receive it, then it will be hers. As I started to write it though I was scared again. What if God doesn’t answer her prayer? What if it doesn’t work for her? But I realized I don’t have to defend God. This is what He says in the Bible. If I believe it to be true for me, then it would be true for her or for anyone else who prays in faith. I shared the verse with her and she began praying for a full-term baby also.
Well the weeks of bed rest went on and I was receiving mostly positive reports from my doctors. My cervix had increased back to 3.5cm which was really good. One week, though, the measurement decreased to 2cm. This wasn’t surprising to my doctors. But it surprised me. It was easy to keep believing that a full-term baby was going to happen as long as everything was going well. But when I had not-so-positive reports at the doctor I was forced to re-examine my faith and trust in God. It also gave me great opportunities to share my faith with the doctors. When I went for my next appointment my cervix measured 3.5cm again! My doctor said she had no medical reason for how that happened. I told her God was teaching me to trust Him and choose faith instead of fear. I never was able to get into much detail about my faith with the doctors, but I would tell them every week that a lot of people were praying for us and God was responsible for how well things were going.
Babies are actually considered full-term at 37 weeks, so at 37 weeks the cerclage was removed. Some women go into labor immediately and some it takes a few days. I figured at this point my prayer had been answered – I had made it to the full-term mark, so the baby could come anytime. But it crossed my mind that the baby might come late – proof that it wasn’t the shots, or the cerclage, or the bed rest, or the doctors that kept the baby inside me. But that God was the One responsible!
At 40 weeks and 5 days, I was INDUCED! It is rare for anyone with an emergency cerclage to even make it to their due date let alone be induced. 4 weeks past the latest the doctors thought I’d make it. 4 weeks without a cerclage. 4 weeks not on bed rest, but sitting up and walking around! 4 weeks that showed God is in control!
On June 1, 2012 I gave birth to a beautiful little boy, Jackson Archer Chun. Jack was Full-term and healthy. All of our prayers had been answered. The doctors were amazed that I went full-term and that labor had to be induced. I told them, you’ve done a great job and I’m very thankful for all your medical expertise, but God gets all the glory for this one. He has heard our prayers and He has answered.
Whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. Mark 11:24