Samuel Luke at exactly one week old!

There was a time where I wasn’t sure if I would ever be a mom. There were many, many months of waiting, of multiple negative pregnancy tests and still no period; of cysts in my ovaries, of suggested laparoscopies, of disappointment after disappointment and not knowing what to do. Colleagues’ pregnancy announcements would have me running to the bathroom stall, where I would sit and cry my eyes out. My social media feeds seemed to just be filled with posts of bursting bellies and gender reveals – and as much as my heart ached to be a mom, the Lord was teaching me to trust in His perfect timing. In my heart I knew I wanted an “Isaac” not an “Ishmael.” I needed to fix my eyes on Jesus.

It would take two and a half years before I conceived. But in that season the Lord taught me patience, He taught me to stand on His Word and He taught me to really, really trust Him.

I would seek out all the stories of women in the Bible who “couldn’t” conceive and who had to wait, for whatever reason – and each time God had a purpose. His purpose was to prosper them and not to harm them, to give them a hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11). Not one of those women’s prayers went unanswered – we don’t know how long it took – but in each story, the Lord came through. I learned that, for the women of faith in the Bible, “barrenness” was a journey, not a destination. Fertility and fruitfulness was delayed because God was preparing their hearts to be mothers who would seek Him first, who would honour Him before all and who would raise Godly children, who would depend on Him and be used for His glory.

By God’s grace, mercy and kindness (and because He knows the desires of our hearts), I eventually conceived without any medical intervention. I remember taking a pregnancy test last year on Mother’s Day (2018) and that time I just knew something was different. The Friday before my husband and I were invited to a worship evening. We went and experienced beautiful fellowship, food and God’s presence. Later in the evening I was talking to my friend when my head began to spin. I knew I had to get outside ASAP because I was either going to throw up or faint. My husband sat down next to me, and said “I think you are pregnant,” and for the first time in a very long while, I agreed with him. The Lord reminded me of how, a while back, I angrily told him that I would never know if I was pregnant because my period was always late or non-existant. I explicitly told Him that He would have to make it VERY clear to me – and boy did He! And that was the first and last pregnancy symptom I had.

The Lord blessed me with the most beautiful pregnancy. My belly slowly but surely grew and swelled, but I had no other swelling, nausea, weight gain or pain. I say this only to praise Him because He makes all things beautiful in their time. I had so longed for this season and He allowed me to taste and see His goodness in how He always intended it to be for women. I could rejoice in His goodness to me because He taught me to expect that from Him as my Father. And I later learned that all the time I was so longing to become a mother, He was teaching me first, how to become His daughter.

The Lord went ahead of me even in preparing the way I would give birth. In my “waiting season”, He connected me with an amazing midwife who was a believer. Debby guided, challenged and encouraged myself and Jacques throughout the whole pregnancy and was a safe space for us to voice our concerns, ask questions and make sure that both of us were well educated about our options. The Lord had removed much fear in my life, and started to make me expectant for a beautiful, positive birth experience. This is why I chose to have a home birth. He was the one who opened my womb to conceive and I knew He would be with me as I laboured and birthed this promised child. I had nothing to fear!

In the last few days of my pregnancy, Debby and Vania (our doula) visited myself and Jacques on the morning of the 10th of Jan 2019, which was also Jacques’ 32nd birthday. We chatted and went over the last few questions I had and then off they went. I was convinced that I would still have another appointment the following week and that our baby was still snug and cosy for a good few more days. (Thank goodness Debby trusted her instincts and made sure that all the supplies were prepped and ready at our house prior to this..!)

Jacques and I went off and spent a wonderful afternoon at Babylonstoren, exploring the gardens, treating ourselves to a tasty lunch, then driving to Paarl for tea and cake. Once home, we settled in for an evening outside in our courtyard, while we chatted and braaied and savoured one of our last few evenings together, just the two of us. Good thing we did that too, because just after midnight my contractions began.

I remember being aware that these felt different to the Braxton Hicks that I had been experiencing and after a while of not really being able to sleep, Jacques told me to call Debby (at 2 in the morning!) We chatted briefly and she told me to time my contractions, try get some rest and that they would see me in the morning. The contractions gradually got closer (and a bit more intense) but I remembered to breath through them. God helped me to hold on to His word and promises when things became a bit more challenging. Debby and Vania arrived the next morning, less than 24 hours after I had just seen them (!) as we prepared to welcome our baby into this world when he was ready to join us.

Debby encouraged us to go for a walk to speed up labour, which really helped to take my mind off of the discomfort I was experiencing. I squeezed Jacques’ hand A LOT!
Once back home, Jacques prepped lunch, Vania massaged my back (as I tried to remember to breathe…) and things carried on as per usual.

As labour started to progress, I got into the birth pool to ease the contractions. Unfortunately it eased the contraction so much so, that they slowed down! So out I got and off we went to the bathroom which was where, later, after a good few pushes, prayers and help from my husband, Samuel Luke Lombard was born. A perfect baby boy who arrived into this world at 7pm, the 11th of January 2019, on a Friday night, the Sabbath. God brought our baby into our arms by covering us with His peace and provision.

I love what Eve says in Genesis 4:1 “ “By the LORD’s help I have begotten a son.” I could not have done this in my own strength. We give God all the praise and glory because He was with us and covered us the whole way through.

Debby placed Sam on my chest as soon as he was born, and those sweet moments I will treasure forever. Not once did I feel pressured, rushed or scared to birth this baby. I was in my home, alongside people whom I trusted and that made me feel safe and secure. God answered every prayer and desire of my heart. He gave me my miracle!

In the following days postpartum, Debby and Vania were constantly on call and available to us for any assistance or questions of any kind. No question or concern was too silly. Jacques and myself rejoiced in our little cocoon of newborn bliss. We now have a happy, healthy and absolutely edible four month old boy, who brings us so much more joy that we could have ever imagined.

God knew what we needed to experience and learn in those waiting seasons, so that we could learn how to depend on Him alone. Samuel is my constant reminder that God hears my prayers, that He is always faithful and that He delights in giving good gifts to us, His children. 🙂

“He makes the barren woman live in the house as a joyful mother of children. Praise the LORD! (Hallelujah!)”
Psalm 113:9 AMP