When 44-year-old Lee Chii found out that she was pregnant, the news came as a shock but also brought excitement.
Happy that they would be parents again, Lee Chii and her husband, David, went window-shopping for baby items: “We were excited, and in the mood of getting to be a mother again.
“I never thought anything negative would happen, it was never in my mind at all.”
But on the ninth week of her pregnancy, Lee Chii was asked to go for a genetic test to make sure her baby was okay.
Three weeks later, the gynaecologist told the couple he needed to discuss the results in person with them.
The news was not good: Trisomy 18. According to the doctor, this was the “most serious” genetic condition, and he then laid out two scenarios for Lee Chii and David.
The first scenario: Joy’s heartbeat might suddenly stop during the pregnancy.
The second scenario: Joy might be born with a serious defect because of the additional chromosome – her nose, eyes or other parts of her body might be missing.
The doctor gave Lee Chii and David two choices: continue with the pregnancy or terminate it. He then sent them home because of the long queue outside the clinic.
The couple sat down at a McDonald’s and wept. “My previous experience with Samuel was so wonderful. Everything was good and Samuel was so healthy,” said Lee Chii. “Why was this time a totally different story?”
Soon, the negative thoughts started to come like a flood. “I was very down for the first few weeks. I really didn’t know what to do. Everyday, I just cried,” she added.
But the couple met with their church’s pastors to pray together. There, their pastors encouraged them to have hope by keeping their focus on God.
After that session of prayer, the couple found the strength to have faith and carry on.
And from that moment on, Lee Chii began to see miracles in her life.
During her second trimester, the doctor found water and a tumour in Joy’s brain, dangerous conditions that could hinder her growth.
But after Lee Chii prayed, the check-up during her third trimester revealed that both the water and tumour had miraculously disappeared!
Joy had none of the serious physical deformities that doctors had pre-empted earlier.
Then one week before delivery, the hospital requested a $40,000 deposit due to Joy’s possible complications. But Lee Chii and David’s account only had a few thousand dollars.
For a time, it seemed like a return to Malaysia (where Lee Chii was from) was the sensible choice for more affordable medical fees.
But Lee Chii did not want to be separated from her husband, son and spiritual family as she needed the support to fight this battle – so she remained in Singapore.
In the end, however, Lee Chii did not need this $40,000 because none of the complications happened during the delivery.
She only needed to pay the normal delivery cost of about $6,000, as they welcomed their newest member of the family into the world.
Through Lee Chii’s research on Trisomy 18, she found out that most Trisomy 18 babies stay in the ICU for at least one month, while many others stay for more than three months.
Lee Chii was worried about their finances each day in the ICU would cost the family $2,000 at a non-citizen rate.
As such, Lee Chii and her cell group prayed that Joy would be discharged as soon as possible.
Miraculously, Joy only stayed in the ICU for 16 days. This was the shortest stay for a baby with Trisomy 18, according to the doctor’s records.
After another 11 days in special care, Joy was discharged and arrived home.
At home, Lee Chii, David and Samuel treasured the time they had with the newest member of their family.
Most babies with Trisomy 18 suffer from pain that affects their sleep and need morphine. However, from the day of her birth to the day she went home to the Lord, Joy never needed morphine.
This was another of Lee Chii’s prayer that God had answered – that Joy would not suffer.
“I never lived counting down the days to Joy’s passing. If I did, I think I would be very miserable,” said Lee Chii.
“I always say to my husband and Samuel: ‘Let’s celebrate, this is another day that God has given us to be together with Joy.’ We really treasured every day.
“I believe it was God who gave me this different mindset. It was His mercy for me.”
“I never lived counting down the days to Joy’s passing…”
Lee Chii only asked for God to prepare her when it is time to take Joy home. It was a prayer that God would graciously answer.
Both mother and child had a very close relationship with God in their days together. Every day, Lee Chii would carry Joy and they would pray and worship God together.
Joy also enjoyed it when Lee Chii read her Bible stories.
“This is what carried me so far on this journey,” said Lee Chii, on the importance of staying close to the word of God instead of focusing on negative things.
During Joy’s last hospital admission before she passed away, Lee Chii’s husband saw a vision of God walking into the ward and standing beside Joy’s bed.
A church sister who was there to support the family also saw a vision of Jesus carrying Joy. In Lee Chii’s heart, she knew that these visions were God’s way of preparing her for Joy’s departure.
On the day Joy passed away, Lee Chii didn’t know why but she had extraordinary peace.
The ward was also very peaceful, with bright sunshine and gentle wind. The rest of the babies in the ward would usually make a lot of noise but that morning, they were quiet.
When Joy’s oxygen level started to decline, Lee Chii began tearing uncontrollably, and yet her voice and emotions remained calm as she told Joy: “Mummy will see you again one day.”
Lee Chii knew that God loved Joy. God pampered Joy with her favourite things before He took her home, like getting to drink her mother’s milk and being cleaned up.
Lee Chii shares that the journey since then has been anything but easy. The medical bills were like a mountain after Joy passed away. Furthermore, they didn’t have any pregnancy insurance.
Initially, their agent told them that nothing could be claimed, but as a brother-in-Christ, he tried his best to help them.
Lee Chii and David continued praying. All this time, they also made it a point to faithfully give their tithes to God.
Finally, the agent found a clause under the couple’s hospitalisation insurance and the company agreed to dispense $5,000.
The agent then called a month later and expressed his surprise that the couple could now claim $8,000 instead of just $5,000.
This was a miracle of provision for Lee Chii – and it would not be the last one.
After she was born, Joy’s hospital admission bills amounted to $23,000. At the time, the family’s citizenship application was still in process, but the hospital bill had already been issued.
But when their citizenship application was finally approved, Lee Chii appealed to the hospital to charge their previous bill at a citizen’s rate.
The hospital agreed and the high dependency ward fees were brought down to $10,000.
Then, when Lee Chii received the final billing a few weeks later, she was shocked that the $10,000 fee had suddenly become zero!
She then found out from the hospital that a social worker had obtained funding for them for the remaining $10,000!
From a $50,000 debt (including consultation and visitation fees), the couple was now left with just $11,000 to pay after all the subsidies and extra funding!
Lee Chii’s CEO, cell group members and even friends who heard of her family’s story blessed them with money on their own accord.
Lee Chii never even had to ask – it was God who moved others’ hearts to bless her and her family. “We saw a lot of provision, especially money,” said Lee Chii.
“Money is really not a problem for God.”
“I don’t think I could fight till the end and continue with strong faith if I was alone,” reflected Lee Chii. “I thank God that I have a cell group, pastors and also my family.”
Today, she is currently journeying with another mother who has a Trisomy 18 child. Initially, she was unsure if she was ready because her loss was still fresh in her mind.
But now, Lee Chii sees sharing her journey as an opportunity to testify of His faithfulness and love.
“This journey is tough but you will be surprised at God’s mercy, compassion and how He helps you and gives you strength,” she encouraged.
“Initially my faith was so little. But when I needed Him, God stepped in.”