I’d like to share a brief testimony with you and then tell you all about the birth of our daughters.
Many of you reading this know that I have dealt with a lifelong medical problem since I was 7 years old. The past 24 years have been a delicate balance of medications that enable me to live what resembles a normal life. My ability to bear children has been highly debatable, until two days ago. Within the first week of pregnancy, I became so ill that I was hospitalized for two weeks, 9 days of which I was in intensive care. Upon returning home, I was too sick to walk upstairs to our bedroom for almost a month. Forced to sleep on the couch, I was increasingly plagued with insomnia and my mind fixated on the most fearful thoughts. I had no faith in my body to bear these babies whom I already loved so dearly. I was so debilitated at such an early stage of pregnancy, I couldn’t trust my body to do what it should naturally. I became consumed with the question, “How can I survive the pain of losing our babies?” In the wee hours of a sleepless night, just like many preceding it, I silently wept and prayed to God that our babies would be “alright.” Suddenly a thought filled my mind, pushing all fears aside, and I knew God was speaking to me. He said, “Rebekah, I know more about this pain than you ever will, because I GAVE my son for you. You are not alone. I am with you.” I’ve always known that God cares for us, but more profoundly, He has felt all of our pain on the deepest level. He is with us in our pain, and He felt it for Himself. There is no pain we experience that He has not known more profoundly than we can comprehend. Since I was a little child, I’ve known that Jesus came to die for my sins, but until I faced parenthood I never truly understood the magnitude of what it meant for God to give us His son. I have no doubt that all of you parents would immediately lay down your life for your child, but would any of us give up the life of our child? I was able to proceed confidently in my pregnancy, not because God promised smooth sailing, but because I knew He was with me at every step. When the load became too heavy, He would carry me and our babies. Until I was in the recovery room after the birth of our lttle angels, I only shared this experience with Noel, who was well aware of my struggle and going through it with me. It was also the most intensely personal moment I have ever spent with the Lord. In the recovery room, I shared this story with my dad. He felt it to be a testimony of God’s grace. I choose to share it with you now in hopes that it encourages someone else as it has me.
On the evening of December 27, I was lounging on the couch when Little Miss Avery Rose decided it was time to get this show on the road. I jumped off the couch as fast as any pregnant woman has ever jumped off a couch and hurried to the bathroom to ascertain what had happened. On closer inspection, I knew there were two possibilities. I had either wet my pants, or my water had broken. It is the only time in my life in which wetting my pants would be the preferred situation. I called my doctor, who said to get to labor and delivery immediately. I called Noel, and said in my calmest voice, “I believe my water has broken,” to which he replied, “What?!?”. I said again, “My water has broken,” and again he said, “What?!?” After a few more rounds of this, Noel lit out for the house, deposited me in the front seat of the car on top a pile of beach towels, and got us to the hospital in record time. The doctor confirmed that Avery had broken her amniotic sac, and I had not wet my pants as we had all hoped. The good news was that I was not in labor, and that I could stay as I was for up to a month. The bad news was that I had to stay in the hospital. Our serene Lily was blissfully unaware that anything had happened and continued to float comfortably in her water bed. After two weeks of rest in the hospital, Avery decided she regretted forfeiting her own water bed. She promptly turned herself from breech to head down and full blown labor began.
Around 12:30 AM on Wednesday, I was rushed to the O.R. and Noel was outfitted for surgery. In the O.R., the anesthesiologist gave me a spinal block, which is a shot in the spine that numbs the body from mid-back to toes. It was faster than an epidural. I was laid out flat on my back, arms outstretched, and a drape hung to block “the view.” Noel soon joined me, decked out in a blue jumpsuit, paper hat, and mask. I was struggling not to tremble, probably a combination of nerves and fatigue. God bless the anesthesiologist! He wrapped my arms and chest in thick blankets and placed a wide, plastic tube underneath that blew warm air on me. It helped comfort me tremendously. Noel said my eyes were wide open and darting back and forth. I explained later that I was intently listening for the doctors to announce the birth of the babies. The announcement wouldn’t come! Finally we heard someone loudly state the time, 1:32 AM! Then the sweetest sound imaginable filled the room, the strong cry of our daughter Avery. Seconds later, the time was called out again, 1:33 AM! The doctor held up Lily and lowered the drape so we could see her. She looked so healthy and strong. Within moments we heard her cry fill the room. Noel was taken over to see them both. A nurse brought Avery to me, all bundled up. It is a moment I will never forget. I saw my daughter’s face for the first time, her full red lips and rosy complexion. Before taking her away, the nurse brought her in close enough for me to kiss her precious cheek. Both girls were nestled together in an incubator and wheeled close enough to me so that I could get one more glimpse of Lily before they headed to the NICU.
Again, God bless that anesthesiologist! Once the girl were delivered, he gave me some lovely medication in my IV that made me drowsy for the remainder of the surgery. I count it a blessing to not have been totally alert for them stitching me back up. Time seemed to pass quickly, and before I knew it I was in the Recovery Room, alert and chatting with Dad and Noel, and feeling no pain. Within an hour, I was transferred to a post partum room. One last time, God bless that anesthesiologist! He sent up a hefty dose of morphine, which knocked me out and gave Noel, Mom, and Dad the chance to slip off to the NICU. I was thrilled to hear from them later just how wonderful the girls were doing.
I have received many requests for pictures. I promise I will post some after we have completed our negotiations with all the major magazines. I’m certain that “People Magazine” and “Us Weekly” will be submitting substantial offers for the photo rights of our little beauties any day now. Truly, we are going to bombard you with pictures in the coming weeks, months, and years, so you should enjoy this respite before the photo deluge. Avery weighed 3 lbs 6 oz and was 15.5″ long at birth. Lily, our “big” girl, was 3 lbs 8 oz and 16.9″ long. They both have slender hands and feet and full lips, thanks to their daddy! I think they have my nose and ears! Both girls are rosy complected and have the most smoochable, chubby cheeks. Both girls have hair that looks like it wants to curl. Avery’s is darker brown, but Lily’s has touches of gold in it. Remarkably for their age, they are perfectly formed newborns, just in miniature size. Both have strong hearts and lungs and are already being fed formula. They are both cheeky enough to push their nurses’s hands away when they want to be left alone. They stretch out their arms, legs, and backs, and even scoot themselves around their beds. They have to pass a few benchmarks before going home, such as fitting safely in a car seat, sucking/breathing/swallowing at the same time, and maintaining their body temperature. The doctors have said it could be as soon as two weeks. For now we are taking it one moment at a time. I’m recovering well for just having had surgery two days ago and am enjoying being able to spend time with our girls. I’ve gotten to hold them both and look forward to many more hours of snuggling.
I want to thank my parents for inspiring me to live a life of courage, unhindered by my medical obstacles. Without their support, I would not have had the confidence to reach out and grab hold of the life of my dreams. I thank Noel for choosing to walk side by side with me through this life of risk and uncertainty, but mostly of tremendous love and great joy. He is my partner; he is my protector; he is the man of my life; he is the father of my children. I count myself most blessed among women. Above all else, I thank my Lord and Savior Christ Jesus. He came to give us life, and He has given me life abundantly.
With love and praise in my heart,
Life Abundantly: the Birth of Avery Rose and Lily Marie
I’d like to share a brief testimony with you and then tell you all about the birth of our daughters.
This is beautiful bek. Thanks so much for sharing your story. I look forward to meeting your girls!
Thanks Bonnie! I cannot wait for the girls to meet their Bon Bon. It took time but I realized that when God gave me an extremely personal moment, but He doesn’t mean for his gifts to be hidden from the world. I’m happy for you to share these blessings with anyone you feel could benefit from them. Love you girl!
Hi my name is Tim Chicola. I am the senior pastor of The Crossing Church in New Jersey, where your brother Wil and sister-in-law Kerry attend. Wil send a notice to me yesterday informing me of the great news. I remember when you first found out that you were pregnant and were having so many medical issues, he diligently submitted your name for our prayer warriors to lift you up. We did just that. What a wonderful gift God has given you and Noel. We are so pleased to rejoice along with you at the birth of your daughters. Your blog was touching and a true testimony to the faithfulness of the Lord. May God give you strength to raise these little ones (believe me you’ll need it!). I hope to see your entire family one day. Blessings
Hi Pastor Tim, I cannot thank you and your faith family enough for you prayers. It’s amazing what power there is in the effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man. I’m thrilled to share with you all the glorious blessings of what God has given me and my husband. I will be discharged from the hospital today, while the girls will stay for another few weeks. Going home without them will be hard, but His grace has proven sufficient every step along the way. As soon as the girls are flight ready, we will be NJ bound!
Thank you again,
Rebekah, Thank you for sharing your story. I remember you talking about your health issues when we were together in Belgium and your concerns that you may not be able to have children. God has truly blessed you. We should always remember that all we have is a gift from Him, not what we have earned or feel we deserve. May God continually bless you and your family. Brenda