How to Pray When God Seems Silent

Waiting for Baby Bird

I call my friend on the phone. “You’ll never believe what happened to me today,” I moan.

“Oh no!” she says, in her most sympathetic voice. “Tell me everything.”

I launch into the story, holding back no detail because I know this friend will appreciate all the nuances, including the messy parts where I wasn’t my best self, and love me anyway. “Can you believe that?” I say when my story is done.

            Silence.

            “Hello?”

            More silence.

I look down at my phone. CALL FAILURE, the screen shouts, in obnoxious red letters. I have a feeling the call dropped a long time ago. I have just spilled my guts, but no one was listening. . .I feel like an idiot.

Have you ever felt that way in your prayer life? You show up for prayer, bare your soul to God, beg Him to have mercy on…

View original post 1,168 more words

Advertisements

FINALLY! A REASON TO CELEBRATE CHRISTMAS

I have a reason to celebrate this christmas!
 
We are naming our first child after 10 years of battling with infertility.
 
I cannot describe the feeling. I still wake up and cry; i cry when i stare at her beautiful brown skin and light brown eyes; I cry when i sit to wash her clothes; I cry when i put her to the breast for feeding; i cry when i remember God’s goodness over my life; I cry when she cries. But i cry with joy; a joy i never knew could exist within me; a joy that has overshadowed my soul and my heart.
 
My story?
i was the first to get married among my friends and sisters. I belong to a family of five girls and numerable female christian groups from secondary school and university. Our wedding ceremony was a celebration and since we had kept ourselves ‘holy’ till that day, our honey moon was bittersweet and with time, extremely sweet.
 
I had a wonderful first year of marriage characterized by the usual “when are you getting pregnant”, “slow down on work ooo, have a baby”, etc. We could care less as we were very happy together. We did everything together; cooking, washing, going out for social functions, etc.
 
After two years we decided to actively try for a baby. We still attended social functions together till our 5th year when i started withdrawing. The shame was too much for me to bear. We were attending weddings and naming ceremonies every weekend; sometimes two or three in a week as most of our friends got married around that time but we were already 5 years with no baby.
 
In the 7th year, i thought i will go crazy. The tension in the marriage begun. Two christians who kept themselves for each other now hardly spoke. My husband’s family had started giving him pressure to find another woman to have a baby with. This further created a gap between us but God was with me throughout.
 
In the 8th year, i miraculously conceived. This was the greatest victory i had ever received; I felt like Hannah who was finally getting her Samuel until i lost that baby in the 6th month. My heart stopped beating; my mind stopped working. I lived like a vegetable. I couldn’t pray; I couldn’t eat.
 
When i got pregnant in the 9th year, I couldn’t celebrate. I had seen too much; i feared too much; i cried too much but look at what God has done. Today, my baby girl is in my arms, breastfeeding. Someone will call me mother too.
 
I have a reason to celebrate!
#PregnancyTales #BaabaCofie #LMBSERIES

Anything for a baby… Part 2

#PregnancyTales by #BaabaCofie is a series of fertility and pregnancy – related true life stories of Ghanaian families.

Continued…

4 years ago
I never thought I would get to a point where I will walk myself into real danger but I did. My husband’s friend encouraged him to seek deeper spiritual help if the pastors were not helpful. Uncle T, as we all call him, recommended a spiritualist whose huge billboard I had seen at the outskirts of town.

Hanging at the entrance of his shrine was some dead animal’s carcass which emanated the foulest smell I had ever experienced. We walked into what seemed to be a clay bread oven with only one window and a grey coloured pot seen at one corner of the room.

I had no idea what was in store for me. We were ushered in by a young lady of possibly 12 years who barely wore clothes but had green leaves in her mouth. We sat in front of Mallam Akom whose front row teeth protruded unusually from his mouth. Mallam spoke gently, asked my name, what the issue was and promised to help.

He took out 6 pieces of carpenter nails; from the pot and placed them in a cushion-like material. He then asked me to chew the nails and the material. He them took two more nails, ground them in a local grinding pot and asked me to drink. Although I was terrified, I quickly drank the grounded nails and placed the other in my mouth and started chewing. The rusted nails tasted terrible; 20 minutes later, he asked me to take the nails out one by one and place them back in the pot. This procedure was repeated 3 times. I went home that day with a terrible stomach ache and a headache. I was so scared. We tried getting pregnant after that for several months but nothing happened.

Last year
I woke up with the usual anxiety and fear of “when will I have a baby?” My husband had started talking about getting another woman pregnant as the pressure from his family was mounting fast. As I went out to catch a bus, Naaki, my neighbor, started her insults again. “Someone will snatch your husband from you. Instead of praying for a baby, it’s lipstick you like”. I had heard that before but that morning I couldn’t take it, I just couldn’t take it anymore. I went back to the room, took a kitchen knife and stabbed myself. I immediately started screaming and people came around, took me to the hospital and I survived. “Why did I do that”, I asked myself repeatedly. I wondered if I was going crazy.

After my suicide attempt, I had become persona non grata in my neighborhood. Parents warned their kids not to come near me; I loved kids and would always buy sweets for those in my neighborhood but I had to stop. I also quit attending church because I felt I had become a laughing stock in society. I completely lost hope.

3 months ago
I chanced on an interview about infertility on TV and decided to pick the number and call. Following up on the call, I was asked to come in and see a doctor. I was reluctant; I had seen all this before. However, my first appointment changed my mind. The doctor was extremely professional. He asked me to run a test of my eggs. I took my results 3 months later.

Yesterday
He explained to me; “Auntie, your egg quality is very bad. It seems your eggs have been overstimulated and now are not strong enough”. The doctor explained. I started shaking and wanted to pass out. I just needed to vanish in thin air. He then asked me “have you drunk any strange substances; it seems your womb has been damaged quite extensively”, he said. Then he gave me his final blow “you need another woman’s eggs to be able to have a baby; it’s the only way out”, I quickly thanked him, stood up and rushed out. I walked for a long time not knowing where I was going till I got to a trotro station and sat in a bus. How do I tell my husband? My marriage is over, years of toil had been wasted. “God has disappointed me”, was all I could say…

Picture: courtesy crosswalk.com

#PregnancyTales
#BaabaCofie
#lmbseriesfear 2

Anything for a baby… Part 1

#PregnancyTales by #BaabaCofie is a series of pregnancy and fertility- related true life stories of Ghanaian families.

My husband couldn’t visit his parents for fear of the issue coming up again- “get yourself a woman who can give you children”, they have insisted several times. He didn’t particularly blame them but he wanted to be a faithful man.

As I sat on the bus on my way back home from seeing the 7th fertility specialist, my tear-swollen eyes could produce no more water as my heart could no longer bear the anguish. It has been 13 long years of struggling with infertility and I heard the worst news ever- my egg quality was so bad that even an IVF is unlikely to help me. I need another woman’s egg to be fused with my husband’s sperm. How will he ever agree to this?

10 years ago
After I had two miscarriages two years before, I was put on a pill for a month to stabilize my cycle but for the past two years, I had not conceived. “God’s time is the best”, my husband always said but I was never convinced.

In our third year of marriage, my husband a man of God who practically saw all our issues spirituality and invited us to his church for prayer. I was baffled; he asked that i strip naked in front of him so he pours some special oil on me, which I did. Afterwards, my husband had to buy some special water of gh s800 to be used for bathing for 2 weeks.

8 years ago
My next door neighbor had started openly embarrassing me about child birth. She had 3 kids. One day on my way to work, another pastor who happened to preach on the bus I sat in gave me revelations about my life. “You’re struggling to have a child”, he said. “The Lord says I should help you”, he added. I was overjoyed and quickly took his number.

For the next 3 years, this pastor became my confidant, counselor and best friend. He told me how my husband’s family was bent on destroying me and preventing me from having a child. He was also on my payroll. I had to practically pay for every prayer session, every counseling session and sometimes his personal items. It was tough, but I was getting desperate.

4 years ago
I never thought I would get to a point where I will walk myself into real danger but I did…

To be continued…

Picture: courtesy diamondcelebrities.org

#PregnancyTales
#BaabaCofie
#lmbseriesfear

When the Tables Turn! Part 3

#PregnancyTales by #BaabaCofie is a series of pregnancy and fertility- related true life stories of Ghanaian families.

Continued…

Padmore knew better than to take a woman to his house. He drove Nana Ama straight to her home and told her “he is still your husband not matter what. Go and sort this out with him”. Nana Ama was fuming; she couldn’t get the thought of her pain out of her mind. She was becoming more bitter as she opened the door to her home. She sat down on the sofa staring into space and cursing Captain in her head. That was when he came out of their bedroom.

“Sweetheart”, he knelt down in front of Nana Ama, “i am really sorry for all the pain i caused you. I confronted Kwabena’s (his son) mother and she confessed I was not his father. She held me responsible because at the time the real father had just passed and she couldn’t care for him financially. I am so sorry. Forgive me and let’s work on this together”. Nana Ama starred at him and uttered not a word. After about a minute of silence, she got up and walked away; she couldn’t be bothered. “Nana, Nana”, Captain called her severally but she completely ignored him. She went straight to the guest room and locked herself.

Around 2am, Nana Ama moved to their bedroom and hit Captain so hard, he woke up in a fright. “Nana, what is wrong? Are you okay?” He asked. “You are a beast, you are the worst human being i have ever met”, Nana screamed at her husband with all the strength she had. She poured out 4 years of anger and frustration on the man amidst breaking the lamp stands and other glassware in the room. She went wild! Captain was dumbfounded. He tried to hold her down but somehow her physical strength had been increased 10 times more by her emotional distress. Nana Ama ranted and raved for about 20 minutes till she broke down to weep. Captain then took her in her arms and comforted her.

3 days later…
Nana Ama took a week off from work so had been home. Captain had sent Kwabena back to his mother in a quite cruel way so she had the house to herself and that was when it started. One of her previous boyfriends, Carlos, who moved to Canada two years ago, was in town and had hooked up and boy, at the right time. She had become so cold towards Captain and could not be bothered. Her family, especially her big sister, had warned her several times to desist from committing adultery. Everything in her life didn’t matter; she was bent on getting a divorce!

One year later…
Nana Ama almost fell down as she rushed to the bathroom to throw up again. It was the third time this morning and she knew she had to see a doctor. Her husband was now getting worried about her. Immediately she got to the hospital, she threw up again so she was admitted and her husband called in to get her clothes and some items for admission. After a few tests, the doctor came to her side and gave her the news; “Congratulations ma’am, you are 6 weeks pregnant”. She was ecstatic! She had to call her husband. She spoke immediately he picked up the phone, “where are you?”. I am in the house packing a few things to bring. How are you feeling now? He asked in a worried tone. She burst out laughing “CARLOS, WE ARE PREGNANT!

Picture: Courtesy Onyx Truth

#PregnancyTales
#BaabaCofie
#lmbseriespadmore 3

When the Tables Turn! Part 2

#PregnancyTales by #BaabaCofie is a series of pregnancy and fertility- related true life stories of Ghanaian families.

Continued…

“We need to get Captain to see the fertility doctor at all cost”, Padmore said. He used his authority as the HR manager to write an “unofficial letter” requiring Nana Ama and her spouse to run an HIV test and other medical tests as a prerequisite for her promotion. These tests were to clear her and her husband of any possible ailments that can inhibit her success in the so called new role.

“Mr. Padmore”, Nana Ama said teasingly, “I thought you were a Christian and don’t tell lies”. He laughed so hard, tears flowed down his cheeks. “This is a litmus test, not a lie. Take this and pray that it works”, Padmore said. “It worked like magic but not without resistance. “How come you never told you were getting a promotion? I don’t know why they need my tests too. What kind of promotion is it?” I don’t know how I managed to answer all his questions without shaking or looking frightened. I had never lied to my husband about something as big as this.

The doctor had been briefed by Padmore so he was prepared for captain. He ordered for blood, urine, semen and stool samples. Nana Ama was frightened and excited at the same time. She didn’t want to do this to him but she had to. The results were ready in 3 days and Nana Ama and Captain sat in front of a rather surprised looking doctor. “Sir, I am sorry but you have a fertility condition we refer to as azoospermia. “What’s that?”, Captain quickly cut in. “You have no sperm in your semen sir”, the doctor said. “There’s nothing wrong with me. I have a son”, Captain screamed, banging his hand on the doctor’s table. “That’s not possible sir, I will advise you take the test again and do a DNA test because you cannot make a woman pregnant.”

Nana Ama sat in her chair frozen with shock and disbelief. Captain picked up his phone and ordered her to follow him. This time she did not. “Go home, I will come later”, she said. For the first time in their marriage, Captain obliged.

She stepped out of the hospital with tears freely flowing down her cheeks. The only person she could think of calling was Padmore, who rushed to pick her up. “Let me drop you home”, he said. But she didn’t want to go home; she didn’t want to face him; he hit her for his impotence; he hit her for nothing. “I am not going back Padmore. Tonight, I am spending the night in your house”. Nana Ama added.

To be continued…

#PregnancyTales
#BaabaCofie
#lmbseriesPadmore 2

When the Tables turn! Part 1

#PregnancyTales by #BaabaCofie is a series of fertility and pregnancy – related true life stories of Ghanaian families.

He hit me till my gums started to bleed; i felt helpless, hopeless and ashamed of myself. I hated him but did not have the courage to show it because it was my fault; i deserved this and his anger was understandable – I was unable to get pregnant after 4 and half years of marriage. The beast i call my husband had a child early in life and had totally regretted marrying me; a song he sang everyday to everyone he met. His son was 11years old and he lived with us because the mother was financially unstable. I took care of his boy as though he were mine but that did not stop him from hitting me whenever my period shows up. I couldn’t take it anymore.

3 days later…
I had learned to confide in no one else but God. I felt i would be betraying my husband if i ever opened up to anyone about this. However, this morning, i woke up feeling i was in a cage struggling to breathe. The pain of his torture had slowly suffocated me and my heart had become clouded in grief and unbearable pain. I had lost a lot of weight and i couldn’t even smile at a joke; i had to talk to someone.

Padmore was the Osofo of the office. He will typically lead morning devotion and i really admired his faith as he was a widower. He seemed so strong and sure of a good life. “Padmore”, i went to his office very early before the morning devotion. “Hey, you have never visited me in my office. Nice to see you. how are you?” he asked. I do not know what happened or why it happened but when i opened my mouth, no words came. I burst in uncontrollable tears. i wept in agonising pain as Padmore quickly placed his arms around me to comfort me. The next 10 minutes was the best and the worst in my life. i truly wept.

“Nana Ama, God is in control. Whatever the issue is, it is not too much for Him to do” Padmore said. I begged to differ. “God is not in control”, i told him, “He has never been in control”. I was angry, sad, frightened, and too many emotions i can’t describe. I then shared the entire story with him.

His first question was “have you seen a fertility specialist?”. “Yes i have but the doctors tell me there is nothing wrong with me”. Padmore then encouraged me to go with my husband. “That man says he will never see a doctor. In any case, he has a son”. Padmore, i do not know what to do.” But Padmore had a plan…
#lmbseries
#PregnancyTales
#BaabaCofie

picture: courtesy Zambia Daily Mail

To be continued…padmore

The Joy in Pain; The Pain in Joy… Part 2

#PregnancyTales by #BaabaCofie is a series of fertility and pregnancy – related true life stories of Ghanaian families.

Continued…

We slept well that night. My son was not a cry baby- this was great and a relief because I had heard horrific stories of babies who hardly slept at night hence little sleep for parents as well. Since my husband slept in the hospital as well, he woke me up every 4 hours to breastfeed. I enjoyed it.

The sound of the doctors on duty woke me up. They were doing their ward rounds. When they entered my room, I was still struggling to wake up fully. I sat up and introduced my husband to the team. They exchanged pleasantries and he was declared as ‘the man of the moment’.

Then a nurse signaled at a doctor to look at my son. One look at him and they quickly checked his heartbeat. Within seconds, one doctor grabbed my son and literally run out of the room. The sleepiness vanished as I chased after them, started to scream, asking where they were taking him, etc. I sat on the chair in front of the mini Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at the hospital since they had refused to allow us in because I had become hysteric. Who wouldn’t be? Yoofi tried to calm me down but I saw through his own fears and was not in the mood for consolation.

Two hours later, the doctors called us into an office. Long story short, our son had passed! He was not breathing properly and was beginning to turn blue. First time parents had no clue about baby colors and breathing. They suspected a ‘hole in heart’ case. We lost our son on the second day.

I had done no wrong to anyone so why this? If only I had paid more attention? If only I had accepted that my mother in law comes around to help? If only my mum was around? If only if only… #PregnancyTales #BaabaCofie #lmbseriespain

The Joy in Pain; The Pain in Joy… Part 1

#PregnancyTales by #BaabaCofie is a series of pregnancy and fertility- related true life stories of Ghanaian families.

I held my son in my arms as he screamed his lungs out. As he cried, i smiled. my heart was filled with so much love; i didn’t know i could feel this much love and care for another human being. This, however, is not just another human being. He is my flesh and blood- a part of me.

“You are supposed to breastfeed him, not admire him”, one of the midwives alerted me. I quickly placed him on my left nipple and the grasp was instant although no milk flowed. I wondered when the milk will start flowing since this was my first baby. I was told to breast on each breast for an hour each till the milk started pouring. I did not mind at all. I had forgotten the 18 hour labour i had just gone through and all i wanted to do was to hold him, love him and care for him for the rest of my life. “Motherhood is a wonderful thing”, i said to myself.

My husband was coming back to Accra from a working trip to Sunyani and was so disappointed he couldn’t be at the labour ward. I missed him too but it did not matter, he would see his baby soon. As i lay down to finally get some rest, i was again assured of God’s love for me and how far He had brought us as a family. We have been married for just over a year and here was our bundle of joy to cement His grace upon us. I delivered at 6:15am, my husband, Yoofi arrived at 4pm and from his looks, he came straight to the hospital with this lovely vase of fresh flowers. I was overjoyed. This can only be the gift of God, no-one else… To be continued.
#PregnancyTales #BaabaCofie #lmbseriesJoy

The Dream

#PregnancyTales by #BaabaCofie is a series of fertility and pregnancy – related true life stories of Ghanaian families.

I ran as fast as my big belly could carry me but it was to no avail. They were catching up with me and fast. How does a pregnant woman outrun two men?

It was dark, and the environment was unfamiliar. The quarter moon was my only illumination and I just couldn’t figure out where I was or who was chasing me.

I knew had no chance so I stopped running, stood there and wept. I had little energy left in me after what seemed like a marathon and the thought of shouting didn’t occur to me. As they drew closer, however, I realized one was a woman and the other a man. I was confused! I was scared! I was not sure of who I was anymore. I could see their faces. Ah one looked so much like my former English teacher from Secondary School but why would she be chasing me. Didn’t she recognize who I am? Then again, wait a minute. I know my English teacher passed a few months ago. I had to run again. But they were too close. One of them grabbed my hand as the other poured very cold water on me.

I screamed with all my strength. Then I heard my name “Kukie, wake up, wake up”. That was my husband and that was a dream. I slowly drew myself out from my bed and felt a pain in my abdomen. As I stood upright, blood poured out like an open pipe. I was losing my 5 month old pregnancy. #pregnancytales #lmbseries #BaabaCofiedream