Following my miscarriage (which I talked about in my blog ‘When God rewrites the text of your life, Part 2’, I didn’t know if I would ever get pregnant again. I had needed some medical help to get pregnant the first time so no one could be sure that I would ever have the child(ren) I longed for. Yet, in the midst of the anguish of losing that first child, I sensed God reassuring me that I would eventually have another baby – and this time without any further medical intervention.
I know that many women have difficulty conceiving for all kinds of reasons and many couples have very difficult choices to make. As with all things in life, it is easy for those who have not been in those particular shoes to pronounce judgment on what is permissible and what isn’t. To some couples God gives many children, with the greatest of ease; for others, the road to parenthood is rough and steep, requiring much fortitude and perseverance; for yet other couples, the ride is more like a roller coaster than a merry-go-round, with many disappointments before the final success; and for some couples the journey doesn’t end in victory at all and they have to deal with one disappointment after another. All I know is that God promises grace to each of us for the journey He puts us on – and He gives us that grace so that we can share it with others who journey with us.
And so I recovered from my miscarriage and looked to the future. In God’s grace, it wasn’t long before I was pregnant again and this time I enjoyed a healthy pregnancy which culminated in the birth of our first daughter, Gemma, on 19 November 1987. Her name means ‘a gem’ and so she was (and is) – a gem of beauty, a precious gift given to us by God. We were absolutely delighted and there was much rejoicing within our circle of family and friends.
A couple of years later, we decided to try for another child but at this point we were also relocating from N.Ireland to Switzerland, where we were going to be working with an international church just outside Geneva. In the midst of the move, we ‘forgot’ about trying for another baby and so we arrived in Switzerland.
All health care there is private and everyone has to have health insurance. While filling out papers for that, I had to answer a question as to whether I was pregnant or not. Realising that it was a possibility – not matter how remote – I took a pregnancy test………..and was thrilled to find out that I was expecting our second child!
The only problem was that, in those days in Switzerland, it was impossible to get health insurance for a pregnancy which had started before entering the country because it was viewed as a ‘pre-existing condition’. So I was covered for everything except the pregnancy and the birth – which would, of course, cost a lot of money. We explored the possibility of coming back to the UK to have the baby, but I was told that, since I was no longer a UK resident, I would also have to pay to have my baby there.
So we looked to the Lord for His provision. And what provision He sent! First a midwife joined our church. When she heard about our need, she offered to follow me for the duration of the pregnancy. The only problem was that she needed a gynaecologist to supervise her. No problem to the Lord! A gynaecologist joined the church and she agreed to supervise the midwife. So these two looked after me during my pregnancy – and I only had to go to the hospital for a blood test from time to time. Just before the time for the delivery, the Lord even added in a physiotherapist who offered to help me refresh my breathing techniques, prior to the birth!
When the time for the delivery came, I had arranged with the local hospital to do an ‘ambulatoire’ which meant I would stay less than 17 hours and so keep the costs down, and I would have the minimum of interventions for the same reason. I did run over the 17 hours a little bit and I did need an epidural in the end – but the end result was another beautiful daughter – Claire-Lise – born on St. Patrick’s Day in 1991. Her name means ‘bright, light’ – and she lives up to her name, just as Gemma does. She has a desire to bring light to those who are most in darkness, and we have been excited to see God using her to do that.
And so on this St. Patrick’s Day as we celebrate Claire-Lise’s 21st birthday, I pause to remember and to thank God for rewriting the text of my life. When I lost my first baby, I could not have imagined how God would have rewritten the text and given me not just one more, but two more, children. He has given us two wonderful daughters who have not only brought us much joy but who are also determined to make a difference in the world where God has placed them. I admire them as I thank God for them.