A Miracle called Ezek!
Christin and Aza share the miracle of how their baby was born.
Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him (Psalm 127:3)
We are Christin John and Aza Mathew, a normal couple who love to treasure every moment spent together. We hail from Wayanad, a beautiful district in Kerala, India. Christin works as a Quality Engineering assistant and I work as a UX/UI Designer. We are currently based in Singapore and our marriage journey began on 27 April 2019. I have known Christin for the past eleven years and ours was an arranged-love-marriage. Mr. C was 26 and I was 23-years-old when we got married. That’s a little about us, now let me take you through our miracle journey with God.
I suffer from PCOS (Polycystic ovary syndrome), an endocrine disorder that affects five to twenty percent of women worldwide. I also have a subseptate uterus – a uterine abnormality where a wall of tissue runs vertically up and down the middle of the uterus, separating it into two cavities. One percent of all women have this uterine malformation. I had consulted a doctor in Kerala before marriage to know if I had to take any medication beforehand. The doctor told me that though conception was possible with PCOS, I would have to wait at least for four years. But as I also had a subseptate uterus, I was likely to have difficulties conceiving. And that women with this condition would go through a series of miscarriages; first, when the mother is two months pregnant, second at four months, third at six months. By then the size of the uterus would be big enough for the fourth baby to survive. There was an increased risk of preterm birth as well. The baby would lie in an awkward position as there would not be enough space inside the uterus to rotate and bring his/her head down for a natural birth. As the baby would be in breech position, the mother would have to go through a Caesarean section.
Six months after our marriage, we were blessed to be able to attend the Christmas Mass by Pope Francis at the Vatican. God had planned it that way for us. We also could go to Mr. C’s favourite saint, St. Antony’s shrine at Padua. We placed our hands on my stomach and asked God to bless us with a healthy baby. Back in Singapore in January 2020, we attended an annual retreat by Fr. Daniel Poovannathil. We told Father about my health issues; he blessed us and asked us not to worry.
We had not tried for a baby as yet as we weren’t ready. After asking God and preparing ourselves through prayer we started hoping for a baby from January 2020. We told Jesus that we were waiting for a baby and asked God to prepare my womb. Even though medical science considered my conceiving difficult, we knew everything was possible with God. We started getting pregnancy detection kits in February. I would say that it was the most anxious time ever. No, we didn’t get a positive result. I never got my periods in February because of which we never tested in March.
Maundy Thursday was approaching on April 9th – our first Maundy Thursday after marriage. I was busy with all the household chores. We were planning a celebration for Easter. I somehow felt that I had to take a test that day, but didn’t have a test kit with me. When I asked him, Christin suggested that we take it the next day. But I had an assured feeling so Christin got the test kit for me and I tested. I never did see the so-called two lines we had been waiting for, the past two months. We were a bit disappointed. A few minutes later, I took the same test kit to the window. There, I saw a very faint line. I couldn’t believe my eyes! I screamed out and Christin came running to see. Tears rolled out of our eyes. We believed that God had placed our baby in our womb. We couldn’t thank God enough. We walked up to Jesus, Mother Mary and St. Joseph gave thanks and asked them to take care of us three. Something very difficult had just happened!
We went to a clinic nearby and the doctor told us that the baby was implanted to the left uterine wall, which was a happy thing for us. He explained that usually in similar cases, chances of the baby getting implanted to the wall in the middle of the uterus were high. Unable to get enough nutrients from the wall, the baby would not be able to survive. But in our case things were positive. We were one month pregnant then.
On April 28th I observed very light bleeding and we approached the doctor. He gave me hormone tablets and asked me to rest. Days passed by. I was working from home then and Christin was at work. On May 13th, while I was cooking I felt fluid gushing out of my body. It was blood. Being alone at home I rang Christin and asked him to come immediately but as the bleeding was heavy, I decided to walk to the hospital nearby. Suddenly I felt something sizable passing out of my body. I started bleeding even more. Blood was falling through my legs and onto the floor. I couldn’t manage and turned back home to check what was happening. I saw a very large piece of flesh. I held it in my hand and cried loudly. I knew it was my baby and I was heartbroken. Christin reached home by then and when I saw him I hugged and told him that our baby was no more. He was shocked to see me bleeding heavily. He had seen blood stains on the way while coming home and tried to console me as we rushed to the hospital. The time spent waiting to meet the doctor was the most heart-wrenching time. When we showed him the photo of the piece that had come out, he was almost sure that the baby was no more. But he insisted that we do a scan. With racing hearts, we consented. As he scanned, he said, ‘I can hear the heartbeat. The baby is fine.’ That moment was priceless!
We were two months pregnant by then. The doctor didn’t know what went wrong. It was a miracle we witnessed that day. I still had light bleeding for a few days and was on medication. But we prayed a lot and our family Rosary was very special. We always prayed the Joyful Mysteries and offered each decade for a healthy baby, safe delivery and full-term pregnancy. We prayed for pregnant mothers everywhere and for our baby’s baptism. We offered his organs to God and asked him to purify them. We knew that everything we did would affect our baby too and were very mindful about that. We were so much in love and we prayed that the same love would fill our baby as well. Our expected date of delivery, if the baby survived till full-term, was December 16. But we began to pray and ask God to give us our baby on December 8th, the feast of the Immaculate Conception. We prayed the Angel’s Army’s ‘leaflet for mother’ prayer every day. We also prayed St. Gerard Majella’s novena everyday as he is the patron of expectant mothers.
At three months, the doctor asked us to take the test for Down syndrome. We never took the test as we believed that if God had given us a baby that baby was going to be healthy. If there were any issues we had seven months left to ask for healing. We kept praying as the baby grew. This was the time when miscarriages could happen. Both of us clung to the Rosary and we became closer to God during those days.
At five months, it was time for our anomaly scan. By then we could feel very gentle kicks. The happiness we feel when we experience the baby moving is immense. We always used to play the song, Mary did you know for the baby. Whenever we played the song the baby would move. I started learning Bible verses for the baby and started reciting it over and over again. One of my friends asked me to keep reciting Isaiah 66:9. Shall I open the womb and not bring to birth? says Yahweh. Shall I, who bring to birth, close the womb? says your God. When we went for each check-up we sought prayer support from our Jesus Youth family. That was when we understood how precious each prayer was. When we knew somebody was praying for us, we were more confident too. Seeing our anomaly scan report, the doctor insisted we go for a Down syndrome test. He said that there was a dilation of the baby’s kidney, a sign of Down syndrome. Also a small cyst was found in the right portion of my uterus. He told us that the baby would have to be delivered prematurely through C-section at six months and we were to be prepared for that. He also said that a portion of the placenta was sticking to the wall dividing the uterus, which could cause heavy bleeding when the placenta was removed. We were upset hearing all this. But we offered this to God. We thought that if God could place a baby in a uterus like mine, he would take care of the rest. But we were adamant that we would not take the Down syndrome test.
We prayed and asked God to help us make a decision. We were not comfortable with this doctor and his lack of confidence to handle our case. So we decided to seek a second opinion but here too we faced a hurdle – no doctor would attend a patient who had crossed five months. A friend of mine suggested we meet the doctor she was consulting in another hospital and we managed to get an appointment. But for some reason we still don’t know, we never met that doctor. We came to know of another doctor who specialised in complicated cases and even though we were doubtful if he would see us so late in the pregnancy, we decided to try. Through a nurse friend there, we were able to get an appointment and meet the doctor. We still believe this was all God’s plan.
Our new doctor was very positive and straightforward. He gave me vaginal suppositories to strengthen my uterus and to prevent preterm delivery. We offered him in prayer as well so that God would help him to make the right decision at the right time.
The contract of our house was also coming to a close. We had been planning to move to a house closer to Christin’s workplace, so that he could reach home soon in an emergency. We started our house hunt and finally God gifted us with a house which had everything we needed. It was just ten minutes away from Christin’s office. The most important thing was that we had a church nearby.
Around this time, with the Covid situation and thinking that it would be difficult for us to manage alone, our family began to ask me to travel home. The best decision I took was to stay with Christin. I still cherish the happy times we had together when we were pregnant. Had I gone home, I would have missed all his pampering, our precious prayer time, the food he cooked for me and our outings. I have not gone for a single check-up without him. That was when we understood how important the presence of a father is for a baby in the womb. We knew that things were going to be expensive here in Singapore but decided to stay together and asked God to take control. We realised the meaning of the phrase, ‘We are pregnant’. Both of us went through all the difficult and happy moments together. All praise to God!
We were seven months pregnant, had our scan and the baby was surviving. The doctor asked me not to walk for more than ten minutes a day as my uterus was weak. I had been working from home then but had begun to experience work pressure all of a sudden. My boss was not happy with my pregnancy. They knew about my complications and asked if I could move to a part-time arrangement with half the salary. When we thought it over, we felt that I would still be doing a full-time employee’s job as we had people in our team working in different time zones. But they would pay me less. We prayed and made a decision. We knew how important our baby was for us and we didn’t want this stress to affect our baby. We were sure that God who took care of us so far would provide me a job later. And I resigned from my job in October.
We are so blessed to have friends in JY who are more than family to us. When I dreamt of having something they would bring it for me. Back home in Kerala, there is a custom where, at the seventh month of pregnancy, the lady’s family brings her a host of sweets and savouries. We had friends in JY who brought them for us, wishing us not to miss all that. We know for sure that nobody would do all this so selflessly, expecting nothing in return.
We were eight months pregnant and the baby was surviving in my uterus without any issues. The doctor said that the baby was not moving around as there was not enough space and if the baby did not turn head down, I would have to have a C-section. From the day I resigned my job we would go for Mass every day and get blessings from the priest. We believed that when I received Holy Communion the baby was also receiving it. Everyone at church would notice me with this big belly and they would bless me. One evening after Mass, I met a lady I had never seen before. She told me that she felt Mother Mary prompting her to say this to me. She asked me to pray ‘Hail Mary’ while I’m inhaling and exhaling during delivery and hold on to the Rosary. She also asked me to pray for the baby to move its head down. She said that God might be ready to give a blessing and that I shouldn’t miss it because I didn’t ask for it. This moved us so much. We prayed for it and kept what she told us in mind. She also gave me holy water from Naju, Korea. We applied that on my stomach and prayed to Mother Mary for healing.
We were nine months pregnant and our baby was surviving in my uterus without any issues. The head was still up. The Covid restrictions were tightening and nobody could travel down to Singapore. My mother was ready to come over to help me out but the government was not providing visas to foreigners. We prayed and asked for prayer support from whomever we knew. Family, friends and JY family prayed hard for us. Miraculously my mother got her visa approved. We were overjoyed and thanked God for the next miracle he took us through. She arrived here on November 13th and had to be in hotel quarantine for 14 days. We were so excited and we took her to all the places here in Singapore. I walked more during my pregnancy than before. We were so excited that Christmas was also coming up. We never knew when the baby was going to arrive so we finished the Christmas shopping early and set our house to welcome Baby Jesus and our baby. We set up the crib and Christmas tree together. I was super active during those days.
My due date was approaching and I went for my scan by November end. There our next miracle was waiting. The doctor told us that the baby’s head was still up and we would have to go through a C-section. He asked us if we were okay to have the C-section on December 8 2020. We were shocked. This was what we prayed for. That was when we knew God answers every prayer however small it was. We said yes.
One evening, Christin came home after work with a surprise for me. He handed me a letter. I was shocked. Covid had hit most of the companies very badly and many employees were going through salary cuts. Some of them lost their jobs too. That was when Christin got a bonus from his company – the exact amount we had to pay at the hospital. To all our friends who are scared to have children thinking about their financial stability. From experience I can say that God will provide. We say to all the beautiful couples who are waiting for their miracle, God needs no time to perform wonders. You just need his grace. When couples stay together in prayer, love and difficulties, nothing can let you down.
It was December 7th. We attended Holy Mass together and the best part is that we could attend confession as well. We understood how important it is to attend confession and purify our mind. We got special blessings from the priest that evening. Father told us that he had not blessed anybody like this before. We were so happy that we were going to meet our miracle the next day. My mom was so shocked to see our energy the day before delivery. I was super excited. I was going to miss my pregnancy belly. I wanted to take more and more photographs to show our little one. It was 3 am in the morning when we finished taking photos. I couldn’t sleep at all out of excitement. It was already the 8th of December and we had been asked to be at the hospital by 6:45 am.
We reached the hospital by 6:30. Due to Covid restrictions my mom had to wait outside. We got blessings from my Mom, family and we went in. I had a wrist Rosary with me. We were so excited and you won’t believe it, we just forgot about the delivery complications. I got dressed up for the C-section. They checked one last time if the baby had turned his head down. Baby’s head was still up. Christin was waiting outside and I went in to meet the anaesthetist for counselling. They then took me to the operation theatre. I held on to my rosary and started praying Hail Mary continuously as they gave me an epidural. They made me lie down and prepared for the C-section. Doctor came in and was getting ready. Finally it was time and Christin was allowed to come in. I held tight to his arms. Both of us started praying Hail Mary together. When the doctor started the C-section, I could feel the cut and I could also see what they were doing through the reflection on the lights above. Suddenly after many pushes and pulls our Doc lifted up the baby. He said, ‘Aza, it’s a boy’. Then we heard him cry. Tears were rolling out of our eyes. They put the baby on my chest and we kissed him. We whispered prayers to his ears. The doctor then came to us and told us that both of us were safe. He told us that we had survived a serious situation as there were chances for heavy bleeding, and that he didn’t let us know, not wanting us to panic. Our pregnancy journey ended there. All praise to the highest.
We named him Ezek Christin. He weighed 3.3 kg. He was supposed to be born at six months and was supposed to be in the NICU for three. In a country where hospitals usually charge $2000 (approx Rupees 1 lakh) per day for a premature baby’s NICU stay – an expense that would’ve been difficult for us – God took us through 38 weeks, 9.5 months. God blessed us with a healthy baby, safe delivery and full-term pregnancy.
Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart (Psalm 37:4).
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