When I married my wife at 25 years old, I already knew she loved kids. She just loves children.
I, on the other hand, was neutral about this matter. Until two years later, while watching a diaper commercial, the desire to have children just clicked into place. I suddenly wanted children! That’s the power of TV.
And so we started trying for kids, but nothing happened for six months. We shared our concerns with our church friends and asked them to pray with us. Then we visited the doctor for a medical checkup and the report showed that we were both fine. So we kept on trying.
But as the months turned into years, it started to sink in. And this was after trying everything – going from gynaecologist to gynaecologist, this TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) doctor to that TCM doctor… Just about anything people suggested, we tried.
Over a decade later, we were still trying.
This started the cycle of hope and disappointment. Over and over. Hope itself became burdensome because the more I hoped, the more hurt and disappointed I was. But without hope, how could anyone carry on?
A few years later, after consulting with people around us, we decided to go for IVF treatment. I remember our case counsellor preparing us for the worst, telling us that we had to be mentally prepared for the pain of failure.
Two weeks later, we were told that our first IVF attempt had failed. We should have listened to the counsellor, I thought. Like she had said, IVF failures are crushing. It was truly another level of disappointment.
We picked ourselves up, knowing we had two more tries. But the next one failed too. That left us with one final try. So with great anticipation, we went for our final procedure.
And we failed again.
It felt like someone had dug out my heart and thrown it away. The pain was almost unbearable.
This round of heartbreak was the final straw – my wife and I walked away from all kinds of treatment from then on. There was only so much disappointment our hearts could take. No more treatments.
We would just try on our own, await God’s time and just hope in Him.
Life went on. As a pastor, I had to continue preaching. But in the midst of all the pain I was dealing with, I remember there was one time during sermon preparation where I really felt that God was far away.
“God,” I prayed. “Please show me something to encourage me. I just need to know You are with me.”
On the day I was scheduled to preach, I went to office, printed my notes and was ready to head for service when one of the intercessory pastors came in. “Hey preacher,” she said. “Can I pray for you?”
When she laid hands on me, immediately she began to weep. I thought, maybe she saw how pathetic I was. Until she said: “Do you know what I’m seeing? I see a bright light, a dove on you…”
It meant so much to me. I really needed that. In the midst of the pain and defeat, I knew that God was with me.
Two years later, something amazing happened. I came home from a church meeting late at night to find my wife sitting at the sofa, waiting for me.
“Look at the table,” was all she said. I looked, and there were three pregnancy test kits there. “So?” I asked. We had never needed these test kits before, so I didn’t know that two lines denote pregnancy!
After more than 10 years, my wife and I had finally conceived. Our gynaecologist also confirmed it: We were expecting our first child!
I was so happy I just could not contain it. I announced the good news to everyone who had been journeying with us. There was so much joy. After waiting and praying for so long, finally!
But on our third visit to the doctor, they discovered that something was wrong. Our baby was no longer growing. Soon after, my wife miscarried.
I could not believe it. There were no words. What could I say? Did I just lose my first baby?
The pain of losing the child you’ve waited for that long was unbelievable. In tears we prayed and released our baby to God, telling Him to take care of our child till we could meet again in Heaven.
A year passed and we discovered my wife was pregnant for the second time. But after a few weeks, just like the last time, we lost our second baby.
We knew the drill. We had our own little goodbye service at home, releasing our baby to God. Till we meet again.
A few months passed and yet again, she was pregnant. Was this hope? Should we rejoice? I wondered. This was the third time – what if our baby didn’t make it again? We had all kinds of questions. We had already lost two babies.
But by our third visit to the gynaecologist, we discovered we had miscarried again.
When bad things happen, we are tempted to blame God, but our journey has showed us that the only way forward is to trust in Him.
This is the lesson etched into my heart with the passing of my three babies: Don’t blame the wrong person. Don’t blame the only person who can give you hope.
A few months passed and my wife was pregnant again for the fourth time.
This time, we told God, if we are to keep this baby, let our first scan show our baby to be over eight weeks old. Because in the past, we had lost our babies around Week 8 of the pregnancy.
So we went for our first scan in October 2018, and it showed that our baby was at the 11.5 week mark.
When I saw him move in the scan, strong heartbeat and all, I was lost for words. I’ve learnt that extreme sadness or extreme happiness can make you speechless. Outside the clinic, my wife broke down.
On April 25, 2019, our son was born at 39 healthy weeks. After more than 10 years of marriage, my wife and I can finally celebrate Mother’s Day and Father’s Day for ourselves.
All I can say is: Thank you, Lord. Thank you, Lord.
Are you going through a season of pain now? Is there a deep disappointment in your life? Will you trust in Jesus and hope in him?
This is an edited excerpt from an article that was first published on Thir.st.
Pastor Darren Kuek currently serves in Bethesda (Bedok-Tampines) Church. His wife, Lijia, has also shared with us about her journey to motherhood in 2017. Read her story here: