Exceedingly, abundantly and beyond

Our story goes back quite a while ago. We shared it in depth when our daughter Hope passed away during pregnancy in 2015. But there’s more to this beautiful puzzle and masterpiece.

[side note – I was going to post this on Tuesday the 12th November, but out of respect for the heightened bushfire emergency, I decided to wait. My prayers and thoughts are with everyone involved with the fires.]

I forget the year but many years ago I went to Colour Conference. Prescilla was speaking. And I still clearly remember her message words. “God will go exceedingly, abundantly and beyond your wildest dreams or imagination.” At the time those words were words of hope, but they also stung. I was still in the wilderness, waiting for our dreams to be fulfilled. We were still in the season of infertility and loss. Heartbreak. But I clung to those words believing that God is a God of love and that His plans are better than my own.

Fast forward to few years ago when I was again at Colour conference. A beautiful woman of God told her story of infertility and loss and heartache. She was still in the same season that I was. And then again another beautiful woman shared her journey and how it had led her to adopt a beautiful daughter from another country. And then when Bobbie stood up and prayed for those who were in the season of infertility and loss she asked us to stand if that was us. At that time I was too broken to even stand. God knew though. In my heart I stood up and climbed on top of my chair and reached my arms heavenward. On the outside I sat in my chair, head bowed and tears streaming down my face that I tried to hide. At that moment it was very early days of being pregnant with Jeremiah. Talking 4 weeks if that. I had no idea if this was going to be another loss. Each and every day of that pregnancy I spoke life over my boy. I spoke the words of Jeremiah 29v11-14 “for I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. And then you shall come to me and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and you will find me, when you seek me with all your heart, I will be found by you.” Declares the Lord” Such fitting words and oh how God heard each and every one of my desperate prayers and then on the 15th October 2016 our perfect little Jeremiah was born. End story? Well, not quite. My heart was so overjoyed, yet our dreams weren’t complete… yet.

Fast forward again and I was again at Colour Conference. This time Bobbie played a prayer she filmed when she had visited a special place from the Bible. My memory is hazy but I think it had something to do with Sarah in the Bible. Anyway she asked us to stand for those who we know who were on the trying to conceive journey and infertility. I stood for a few of my friends, by this point I had Jeremiah. Who was I to ask God for more for us? But in my heart I yearned for more children. I tried not to cry for myself. I reached heavenward with my arm and held Jeremiah with the other. I praised God for the miracle of Jeremiah and believed in great things to come. Just as we had named Jeremiah after the verses in the Bible Jeremiah 29.11-14. God has plans for good. To go exceedingly, abundantly and beyond because He is a loving God. He is our Father and father’s love their children.

I can’t remember which year it was but again at Colour Conference a clip was played about a birth photography Christian business. Their photos were beautiful and captured the miracle of birth in a dignified way. They also donated a percentage of their profits to set up and run a maternity hospital in Uganda. Talk about tears to see this. I love how God touches hearts to make a difference in the world and better the lives of others. Sometimes we are the miracle that God sends to those praying for one. I thought right there if I was ever blessed with another pregnancy that I’d pay for them to capture the first hellos and also contribute to funding that maternity hospital to help others.

 

Scott and I had always wanted three children of our own but after trying for seven years to have Jeremiah we were content and thankful with one. I did long to give him a sibling though. Once I found out I had osteoporosis we learned my time was running out to try for another and my body certainly couldn’t sustain many more pregnancies, possibly not even one more. So our dream of three was quickly revised to hope and pray for one more child, a sibling for Jeremiah.

 

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That little bundle of cells became one of our twins.

We had already gone through another round of IVF to get some embryos as we weren’t ready to transfer yet. Here’s the funny part – previously each cycle we’d been lucky to get one embryo to transfer, usually none or one to freeze if lucky… well on this round, we got seven to freeze!!! SEVEN! Like, how did that happen?! Anyway we were finally at the point to go again for a frozen transfer in November 2018. They transferred one embryo. And by sheer miracle we got that positive pregnancy test. Then my HCG blood test at exactly 4 weeks came back at 740. I remember being suspicious of the high level. In my head I contemplated the thought of another baby in there. I usually only get around 110-150 hcg at 4 weeks of pregnancy. The good news of this pregnancy was shortly followed by bleeding. It felt like each time before when bleeding equalled loss. We saw our obstetrician at 7 weeks to see if there was a heartbeat or if this was another miscarriage.

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Pretty strong pregnancy test, much to our surprise

 

I was lying on the bed while he moved the ultrasound equipment around and I tried to make out things on the screen. He was still and quiet over one part. I stared at the screen, hopeful that I would see that precious flicker. As I searched the screen and tried to keep breathing calmly, I saw what looked like two flickers. It couldn’t be, we only transferred one embryo and I was bleeding. I looked again, there were definitely two little flickers. I looked at Scott and wondered if he could see what I could see. The obstetrician, after a while, turned to us to say that there were two heartbeats. To our joy and delight, we had seen two little flickers on the screen. Happy tears rolled down my face.

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Our two little flickers

The next 13 weeks were full of uncertainty due to the continued bleeding. We were classed as a threatened miscarriage that whole time. My obstetrician was realistic. He’d never had a twin pregnancy with unexplained bleeding make it through to a live birth. Singletons, yes. Twin pregnancy with explained bleeding, yes. But unexplained bleeding, no, they had always ended in losses. I felt there was little celebrating with the threatened miscarriage terminology. I was terrified. I shared a post about that previously if you’d like to read it. Every time I went to the toilet, checking for blood, seeing blood. Terrifying. Would this all come crashing down at any given moment? So I learned to pray again in a different way. I had already been begging for a miracle and telling God how terrified I was. I learned to actually physically hand over my fear and say “here is my fear. It’s no longer mine to own and carry. God, thank you for taking my fear.” And over time I actually became less worried about the bleeding and just knew that God had this. And my worrying wouldn’t change anything.

 

Two babies!!

 

At 20 weeks a baby is officially a baby and no longer a miscarriage if lost. So although the complications didn’t stop there, we were going to have two babies one way or another. We prayed and prayed and prayed that we would have two babies born alive and that would live. God showed us miracles each day.

 

This was such a mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually challenging pregnancy. Unsure if we’d lose our babies was stressful. My body struggled. Two babies, two placentas, two lots of fluid. The swelling in my feet and body. I won’t go into the long list of complications and struggles. There were so many. It was hard to keep my positivity up and my focus off of my pain. It was a huge test of my faith and my perseverance. Such a struggle physically and all the while doing this as a secret twin pregnancy. We decided to have some fun amongst the stress and surprise everyone with twins at birth. It gave us something to look forward to when it all felt like doom and gloom.

Our announcement post – notice the two babies on the page Jeremiah is holding? hehe

 

Jeremiah had began saying “two babies” which was so adorable but also became clearer and clearer as the pregnancy progressed. At first only we could tell what he was saying but towards the end, I’m sure almost anyone could tell what he was saying. Haha.

 

At 36 weeks our beautiful blessings and miracles were born via a very necessary c section. God knew the desires of our hearts to have three children and the physical limitations of my body for future pregnancies. He gifted us our dreams in a way that only God can. And not only that, God knew the deepest desires of my heart to have a daughter. I would have been happy with all boys, and boys are such a joy and delight. I wouldn’t change Jeremiah for a daughter. I adore him and he’s everything I could have dreamed of. Yet God still knew the longing I had inside to have a daughter. To have that mother daughter relationship that I so longed to create and uphold and value. God fulfilled that longing in this one pregnancy. To be blessed with a boy and a girl is the most beautiful most grace filled miracle. And God knew that Jeremiah will probably need a brother to support him and be there for him. I’m so incredibly grateful that we were blessed with a boy and a girl. Like, how on earth did that happen?! God went exceedingly, abundantly and beyond. That’s how. Those words that were prophesied all those years ago came to life in our family. Three children. Boys and a girl.

 

The Monday before I had the babies.

Yep – I was HUGE!

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Jeremiah and Scott kissing the babies.

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Each ultrasound always had bits of the other twin in the background

 

This was about 3.30am on one of the hospital visits for lots of bleeding. I was told my HCG has going down so I was probably miscarrying.

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So if I could tell that woman or couple struggling with infertility right now (or any struggle) something it would be this. God will go exceedingly abundantly and beyond your wildest dreams and expectations. The best is yet to come. It won’t be in your timing, but it will be in His perfect timing. None of our journey and story would mean that much if it had come easy. I wouldn’t realise the absolute miracle that these children are if we hadn’t spent years in the desert praying and mourning. I think God allows some things to happen (let’s be clear though, He doesn’t make bad things happen) so that we can learn invaluable lessons. Our children are so valued and treasured by us for the precious miracles they are. I don’t take a moment for granted, I try not to. And I am full of thankfulness for these miracles.

 

Jeremiah, Justin and Lorelai are part of hundreds of babies that have been born to people who have been desperately praying for a miracle and who have stood in faith (even if it was internally because on the outside they were too broken to stand) at Colour Conferences across the globe. Bobbie Houston, if you ever read this – thank you. Thank you so much for listening to that call on your heart and for following that. My miracles are here and so many others are too as a result of divine intervention.

 

As a mother now to two special needs children (see previous posts, but in a nutshell Jeremiah has a complex medical diagnosis; Lorelai also has a complex one including legally blind), I am blessed beyond measure. My children have taught me the essence of love. They are perfect as they are and they have a purpose. They are meant to be here. And I know God has plans for good, for hope. I still sometimes can’t believe we finally have our three children. That our dreams came through from that wilderness of darkness to now. Don’t lose hope. The best is yet to come.

 

I also think stress/worry can steal so much joy from our lives. I know it did a lot of my pregnancy so I had to keep reminding myself to not be anxious about anything but instead to pray and give my worries to God, and you know what? It works. That burden of anxiety can leave you and you can enjoy the moments. This verse is such a great mantra to live by, and I know for me I have to be deliberate in my mind to breathe and let go, otherwise I will worry, and to be honest, what does worry actually do? It doesn’t change the outcome. Here’s the verse that I absolutely love:

Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV) “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

I love how it says in that verse, “with thanksgiving” – because I think that is the key also, that when we are so worried, if we give our worries to God, and then LOOK for everything to be thankful for, our perspective shifts. We gradually start to see the beauty even in the really challenging times.

I won’t lie, it’s been challenging coming to terms with Lorelai’s multiple diagnosis’. But, I know the story is not over yet. This was just the start, God’s already brought us through those seasons of waiting for our children, and then having them. And now we are parents to children with special needs and to twins. I’m part of all of these ‘clubs’ I never new existed. I know that God will use everything for good in His perfect timing. Already Lorelai’s diagnosis has brought us closer together within our local community. She will grow up feeling loved and included and won’t be excluded for her disability, and we will utilise all of her strengths and abilities.

Life is good. Life is wonderful. Sometimes it is easier to allow the situations to bring us down. To cripple us. But that doesn’t help anyone. Yes be sad, and come to terms, then find a way to be thankful and to release our worries.

Thinking back to November the 12th 2018, we had no idea that in 12 months time so much would have happened in our lives (more to come when I get another few weeks to write a few sentences between wake ups each night haha) and that we would have TWINS!!

So happy transfer day twins – not sure which one of you got transferred but we will celebrate you both on this special day! We love you more than we could ever put down in words but we will spend the rest of our lives trying to show you by our actions as we parent you.

Our three rainbow babies.

Our wonderful obstetrician.

Thank you to The First Hello for capturing these beautiful images.

 

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