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The story of Eli

It all started when our Daughter Abigail whom is now 10 was around the age of 2, we had started trying for another child.

I had three miscarriages in a period spanning two years thereafter, eventually I fell pregnant again and the pregnancy managed to make it past all the first critical stages.

So, we had begun to become very hopeful and excited that we would have a second child this time around. We went for the 26 week check-up when my Gynaecologist saw there was something wrong with our baby Son, John-Martyn Dean (a combination of Shaun’s dads second name and my father’s first name). Both myself and Shaun were in total shock and dismay when the fetal specialist shared with us the news that our son had a very rare disorder call Thanatophoric dysplasia. This disorder causes the organs to still grow at a normal rate but the body does not. By the time of inspection our little son’s lungs had already grown to a size that his ribs could not accommodate, the physician told us that he would not survive if we allowed it to get to full term.

It was also explained to us that our only option was to terminate the pregnancy. You can imagine how one can go from the extreme high of expecting a child to the extreme low and fear of knowing what was required. Both myself and Shaun did not know what the outcome would be around the termination.

The cesarean was scheduled for the very next day and it had left both of us in a place of extreme uncertainty. The process involved giving birth instead of having the fetus injected in the womb to stop the heart, as we did not want him to suffer in any way. There are many children that are born at 26 weeks that survive as a normal child without any problems.

On the morning of the operation I was in conversation with God asking why this was happening to us and why now? I reached for the bible and as I opened it a book card fell out the bible with the Scripture from Romans 8:28 ‘’ 28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[a] have been called according to his purpose.”, in this moment I turned angrily to Shaun and asked him what possible good could come out of this situation .

With a heavy heart we went to the hospital for the procedure. As I was wheeled into the operating theatre there was a lot of emotions and fear that had entered my heart. All this time my mother kept in contact with Shane, Wendy and the rest of the church members at St John’s church in Vaalwater.

In many ways our prayers were answered and John-Martyn did not suffer at all and had died at birth. We had said our good byes to him and I was allowed to hold him on my chest which was good as I had developed a bond with John-Martyn over the 26 weeks of my pregnancy.

I will never forget Peter saying to me that God had bound a golden thread around John-Martyn’s life and that he was with our Father in Heaven. I had received confirmation from God that John-Martyn was with him and waiting for us all to one day be reunited, there had been a cloud outside our house and it was as if John Martyn’s Face was in it and that was all the conformation I required to say he is with our Father in heaven.

It was an extremely difficult journey that followed trying to deal with all of our emotions. We decided to spread John-Martyn’s ashes on my folk’s farm in Vaalwater under a Wild Olive tree and afterwards we attended the church service at St Johns. There I poured out my heart and soul in front of the community and God saying that I felt empty and that only the Lord could fill me.

It was at that stage that Denise asked if she could pray over me and especially for my womb. She laid her hands on the womb and prayed, I can’t remember much of the prayer that day but I do remember that it was a specific request for my womb.

As always life does carry on and about 3 months later, to our surprise we discovered that I was expecting a child again. As you can imagine this became an extremely fearful time considering everything that had occurred previously. Every doctor’s appointment was a scary moment but after every appointment I phoned Denise and we would pray over my pregnancy. During this period I spent a lot of time alone with God and through this he gave me scriptures to read and gain strength from.

One verse which stands out clearly today is Psalm 136 -

1 ‘Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever. 2 Give thanks to the God of gods, for his steadfast love endures forever. 3 Give thanks to the Lord of lords, for his steadfast love endures forever; “

I held onto this verse whenever fear started to creep into me during my pregnancy with Eli. On June 6th 2016 I gave birth to Eli, a healthy little boy. He with his sister, Abigail, are the greatest blessing that God could bestow on us. It is amazing how much healing has occurred through Eli’s birth after all the hurt and pain of losing John Martyn. Abigail just adores him and they have developed such a close bond, even though there is a 7 year gap they are so close.

All Glory to God our Father who has indeed answered our prayers, we realise now that the verse Romans 8:28 had a purpose and through it all God did truly make it work together for his good.

Thank you that we could share our journey with you.

Love Shaun, Caroline, Abigail and Eli Dean.

God bless you and keep you safe.

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