“Let’s check if we can already hear something…Here is the heartbeat!” Wow! Oh how we had longed to hear those exact words “Here is the heartbeat!”.
The past year has been a big roller coaster that started when we first decided it’s time to start a family and found out we were pregnant in July of 2012. 8 weeks later at the doctor’s office we found out we were having twins. We saw the defined cute little baby bodies on the sonogram but there was no movement and no heartbeat – shock! Honestly, miscarriage had never crossed my mind before; I’m not sure why, but it didn’t. So on September 4th, 2012 we said goodbye to our babies, Brooklyn Avery and Bryson Graham.
Life went on but that experience left a big whole in our hearts and left us questioning why we had to deal with death, again. The doctor wanted my body to heal properly and asked us to wait to get pregnant for about 2 months. Later that fall, in November we found out we were pregnant again. We were both excited and terrified all at once.
A couple of weeks passed and I knew something wasn’t right – Momma’s instinct. In the evening of January 14th I started bleeding and we went to the doctor the following morning. We heard a heartbeat but it was very weak, only 80bpm and the doctor told us that we have a 50/50 chance for the baby to survive. So we went home and prayed, tried to stay faith-oriented instead of experience-oriented. But 1.5 weeks later, during our 8-week appointment there was no more heartbeat and I could tell from the sonogram, before the doctor even said anything, that the baby had died. So on January 25th of this year, 2013, we said good bye to Hailey Paige. Of course no one could tell the gender yet, but I believe it was a girl.
2 weeks after surgery we sat in our doctor’s office for a check-up and he suggested we go see a fertility specialist to do some tests to just make sure everything was OK. The frequent fertility doctor’s appointments started in March of this year. It sure wasn’t the most pleasant experience but all the reports came back fine except that I wasn’t producing enough eggs and that because I’m stressed my body didn’t produce enough hormones to carry the baby through the first trimester. Good news considering all that could have been wrong.
During this time I had a special friend who just recently had gone through a miscarriage herself, her name is Hailey Barr We could share our doubts, fears and joys with each other, knowing that we both know how it feels to lose a baby. Hailey and her husband Matthew Barr had founded a ministry called Fuel.ph in the Philippines and were currently living there. Even though we were miles away from each other we were walking out our healing together. That’s how awesome God is, he places the perfect people in your path to do life with in good times and bad.
We did one round of treatments – nothing, second round of treatments – nothing, third round of treatments – well.. I’m late! On July 11th the pregnancy test came back positive! Surely, this will be it! We had our first doctor’s appointment on July 25th. I thought my heart was gonna stop as we were waiting on to do the sonogram, we were soooooo nervous.
We were supposed to be 5 weeks 5 days along with a due date of March 22nd. The sonogram technician came in and started the sonogram, she didn’t say anything for a loooooong time, or at least that’s how it seemed to me. Finally, she says: “Well, looks like you’re further along than we thought. Let’s see if we can hear something..” And there it was – the heartbeat, 150bpm! The technician told us that we were actually 6 weeks 2 days along. Shawn and I were relieved but barely had a reaction. We were excited and yet so nervous… there was this nagging thought… “What if…?”.
Two days prior, my friend Hailey and her husband got into a horrifying car accident on July 23rd, while in town visiting their families, and passed away. I remember my friend Hannah calling me in the morning of July 24th, as I was about to go watch her baby boy for the day, in tears and sobbing. I will never forget her words “Something horrible happened…” I felt my heart drop, no clue what happened “finally she managed to say “Hailey and Matthew… car accident.. Hailey is dead… Matthew on life support…” What?!?! This can’t be true… no way! But.. it was… Our precious Hailey went on to be with the Lord and so did Matthew within 24 hours of her. It still doesn’t feel real.
Hailey Barr you made a bigger impact in this world than many people do over the span of 80 years. Your passion for Jesus, your compassion for people, your love for life speaks louder to everyone around you than you may ever know. You have been a precious friend in my life and I will miss our FB messages and always hold dear our conversations. Your life has been an inspiration to me. I will pursue the lost for Jesus more, love the hurting more and believe for Jesus healing touch with more faith because of you! Until we see each other again… Love always, Tanja
We named our last baby after Hailey Barr, Hailey Paige Brann. The one comforting thing is that Hailey is reunited with her baby she lost last year and I believe she is also playing with my 3 little ones. One day we will all be reunited again.
Now the kicker was that 3 days later we were headed to Managua, Nicaragua for Nicaragua Ora, an evangelistic outreach, with our friend’s ministry loli.org. All kinds of fears and doubts crossed my mind. “What if I eat something wrong? What if I get a weird infection? What if I get overheated? What if I’ll be too stressed? What if…?”
I’m ashamed to say this but after our second miscarriage I struggled with trusting God with getting pregnant and keeping the baby. I didn’t have trouble trusting God for finances, health, work, family, but with my babies it was another story. I saw Shawn devastated after the twins died but I still had hope, trying to encourage him, ensuring him that next time everything will be OK. However, after the second miscarriage in January I didn’t have hope anymore. I was angry, angry at God, angry at him for doing this to me, to us. I didn’t want to read the bible anymore and I didn’t have any energy to talk to him. He felt so distant and as if He didn’t care. But He is faithful and draws us close, even if we don’t realize it, or rather don’t want to see or feel it.
Finally, I pulled myself together and for the first time in a long time I was able to trust God with my baby, standing on His Word “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” – Matthew 6:33-34
Nicaragua Prays was amazing. Shawn had been working and traveling with Stephen for the past couple of years. Stephen and Alisa are dear friends of ours, they walked us through pre-marital counseling, married us and are our friends and mentors to this day. Friends for life! Alisa was a gift from God on this trip, always encouraging me and ensuring me that the baby is OK.
Loving on the people of Nicaragua, playing games with orphans, organizing speaking engagements and hearing testimony after testimony of what had happened in the field each day blessed my heart.
Then Friday was the highlight for me. We saw over 40’000 people worship God on the Plaza La Biblia in Managua!
I stepped on that field and tears started running down my cheeks. I felt I was looking at God’s tangible love for everyone on this planet. Jesus says that if He is lifted up, He will draw all men to Himself. This scene is a living testimony of this very truth!
At midnight we plopped on our bed, exhausted but filled with joy and excitement of what God has done!
Then in the middle of the night I woke up, super sick – headache, fever, ear ache, nausea and completely exhausted. Fear wanted to grip me, but I knew better. Here we were, doing ministry, not for us, but to build His kingdom, to love on people so that they may see the love of Jesus He has for them. There was no way God was gonna let anything happen to Baby Brann. I stayed in bed Saturday night and watched the Fire service on TV. I was absolutely miserable but prayed wholeness, health and perfection over our baby the whole time.
On Sunday we flew home, I didn’t feel better but I was glad we were able to go home where I could rest and sleep in our own bed.
On August 7th we had our next doctor’s appointment/sonogram. We were both nervous wrecks. But God was faithful and His hand was on our baby. Baby Brann’s hearbeat was 163.04 that day and the fertility doctor accidentally said “He’s going to be a big boy!”, and moved our due date up by another day. That day we graduated from what they call “The Special Doctor” to our regular OBGYN! Oh how excited we were to go back to our regular doctor who is not only nice, calm and very affirming but also a Christian!
One week later, on August 14th, we had an appointment with our OBGYN at Baylor Grapevine and saw the baby wiggle around with a heart beat of 180bpm. Excitement and confidence started taking deeper root in our hearts because finally we let it.
3 days later we were facing our next hurdle. We were headed to Switzerland for our very first Ignite Europe event – Ignite Baden. That meant we were going to have to deal with jet-lag, lack of sleep all week long, barely any rest and a whole lot of responsibility. (Ignite Europe is a ministry Shawn and I started a year ago – it focuses on seeing God ignite unity in The Church, passion through worship and hope through evangelism in cities throughout Europe).
We boarded the plane to New York on August 17th with 3 of our team members praying and believing that the baby will be OK. Shawn and I got upgraded to first class on our route from JFK to Zurich, that was a major blessing! Thank God for Platinum Status with AA.
We had a phenomenal week enjoying the beauty of Switzerland. We were able to strengthen friendships, encourage church leaders, make new friends and most of all worship the creator of Heaven and Earth. Voices were raised in praise to our Heavenly Father who is knitting our baby together in my womb.The name of Jesus was lifted high over the city of Baden, the region and the nation of Switzerland!
Shawn was super excited that our baby started hearing two weeks ago and the first thing it heard was mommy worshiping!
So today, we had another doctor’s appointment and heard a strong heartbeat again. Baby is healthy, kicking and growing.
“Heavenly Father, you are the maker of Heaven and Earth, you are the maker of our baby, you know the time and place you determined for him/her to be born to. You knew him/her before you started knitting it together in my womb. You know the generation he/she will impact. I pray that he/she will walk with you all the days of its life and will grow into the man/woman of God you are creating it to be. We praise you because we are all fearfully and wonderfully made! Shawn and I dedicate our beautiful baby to you and can’t wait to hold him/her in our arms and raise it according to Your Word. We love you! In Jesus name, Amen.”