Health, Stillbirth

Heidi – She Is Resilient – Part 1

It was June 2002 and I was six months pregnant with our first child. The Monday morning of the Queen’s birthday long weekend I woke up, wondering if what I was experiencing were ‘Braxton Hicks.’ My husband Mark suggested we go for a walk to see if the pain would subside. As we walked the pain only intensified, I tried my hardest to will it away but the pain remained. Increasingly concerned I contacted my dad who is a doctor he suggested that I contact my obstetrician. I called his office but it was a public holiday and so the call went straight to his answering machine. By 4.00pm I asked Mark if he would call the hospital and explain my situation. They called me back after contacting our doctor advising us to meet him at the hospital. He wanted me to have a scan and check my baby’s heartbeat. I was anxious; it had taken so long to get to this point, to finally believe that I would be a mum. Surely God didn’t bring me this far to have me robbed.

The nurse put me in the observation room and proceeded to check for the baby’s heartbeat. She was looking increasingly concerned as she moved the stethoscope around, and moments later said, “I think I am only picking up your heart beat, I can’t be sure, but we’ll wait for your doctor to come and do an ultrasound and scan.” With those words I just held my face with both hands and started to cry. My mind was racing, I turned to Mark and said, “We have to worship Mark, we have to worship God.”

I had come too far in God to question Him now; I needed Him no matter what the circumstances. Mark had called our pastor and friend Jake Betlem to pray, and within minutes Jake was on his way to the hospital. His beautiful wife Kerrie arrived not long after; they both felt they needed to be by our side no matter what the outcome. Next thing I knew I was being wheeled with Mark, and Jake in tow, to the ultrasound room. It was here that I heard the words I dreaded the most, ‘I’m so sorry Mrs Wysman but your baby daughter has died.’

I don’t think there are words to describe the feelings that flooded my mind and body. I was trying to think what I had done wrong. Was it this, was it that? I couldn’t get off the roller coaster of emotion and physical discomfort I was in, even if I had wanted to. My body took over, our baby had died and my body was saying she needed to come out – now! In the background Jake paced the room praying, only stopping to give Mark a helping hand when needed. Kerrie stood on the other side of the bed supporting me through an ordeal that I was totally unprepared for. Mark and I hadn’t been to any of the antenatal classes yet, so I was doing it blind. Mark and I, though scared and tired, were swept up in the surrealism of it all. When I lost my focus on my Lord, Mark knew what to do and say; “Think of God Heidi, say His name, say “Papá.” Even now when I say Papá” tears stream down my face.

At 12.32am Tuesday the 11th June 2002 our precious daughter, Paris Heidi Wysman’s physical body entered this world; her spirit had already gone to be with Jesus. She weighed 250grams, had dark hair, and to Mark and I she was perfect.

“Every good, and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.”
James 1:7

When everyone left, tears ran down my face. My heart was broken into a million pieces. “God please help me to see you in this, Help me Lord.” It was hard enough going through labour, but now I needed Mark and yet, he needed me too. Mark had also just watched his wife go through labour and had lost his daughter, his firstborn child. I was wondering if I had anything left inside of me to give and I’m sure he was feeling the same. We did our best to just ‘be’ that night. We cried, but we didn’t speak out aloud the questions that raced through our minds and the longings for answers that would never come.

Most women go through a labour and talk about how their ‘pain’ or ‘discomfort’ is worth it for their bundle of joy at the end. I had no bundle of joy, my arms were empty and my heart was heavy. I had visited the foot of the cross once before when I first met the Lord and understood His love for me, and I felt like I was revisiting that place again. I was back at the foot of the cross relying solely on God’s mercy and enduring grace to keep me buoyant; to keep Mark and I focused on God and see what He would resurrect from all this.

Around this same time a gentleman who I loved dearly lost his battle with cancer and I remember becoming dismayed. In all of my 14 years of serving the Lord, I had never experienced such an intense fight going on, on the inside of me. The very anchor of my faith was now feeling the full force of this storm. I remember coming home from church one night, and picking up my Bible, that I love so much, and throwing it to the ground in frustration Who the @#! do you heal God? Who?I was crying hysterically as I picked up my Bible, trying to fix the ruffled pages I had bent. The pain I was feeling was no longer just about losing a daughter, but feeling betrayed by God, the one I loved and trusted the most. My poor husband looked at me in disbelief. I turned to Mark and said “Who’s more powerful – God or the devil?” He, by this stage, was really nervous, and answered “Well of course God is.” I yelled back, “Only if you BELIEVE He is.”

This revelation hit me with such force. I was taken aback. The power of God rests in what you believe in your heart. We live in this reality, whether we are believers or not. It would be no good declaring from my mind various truths about God, if I didn’t know them to be true in my heart. I realised that I had to be fully convinced of who God is, and what He has done for me. It was time to allow the truth of God’s word go even deeper into my heart. I had quite a journey ahead of me but what a miraculous journey it turned out to be.

Read Part 2 of Heidi’s story

 Heidi Wysman

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