Testimony by my amazing friend, Heidi…
To cut a long story short when I was 16 years old I collapsed while horse riding. Scans revealed a lump the size of a rugby ball. After finding the right specialists I was rushed to theatre for an operation. When they opened me up they not only discovered the tumor but the worst case of endometriosis that they had ever seen, especially in such a young girl. The Doctors said I was a lost cause and that there was nothing medically that they could do. The damage was so extensive that one of the doctors told my parents that I would not survive the operation. They didn’t even know where to start to fix things. However, Dr Nell, one of the specialists had a son the same age as me and felt on his heart that I should have a chance to live. All the specialists in the room recommended a complete hysterectomy immediately but this Dr spent 7 hours operating and doing the best he could to fix things. I then spent 3 months recovering in hospital in high care. It was at this tender age of 16 that I was told that I would never be able to have children.
The next 10 years my life consisted of operations and treatments every 6-12 months. There were so many operations that I stopped counting. At 20 years of age I was put in a state of menopause because my body couldn’t handle oestrogen. At 23 I married my wonderful husband! He inherited a wife going through menopause with hot flushes, huge medical expenses and a bone density of a woman of 80years old.
During these years my other organs also got infected. I contracted Peritonitis, so my heart muscle was weakened and I had other serious complications. To cut a long story short my husband married me knowing full well that I could not have children. We did try to adopt at one point but were unsuccessful. Then by our surprise after 3 years of marriage I was miraculously pregnant. When I received the phone call from the Doctor I actually fainted! This was impossible! I had been through extensive chemotherapy and had been in menopause for 6years! I had 17 operations and I had been told that I could not have children. So I was in shock! The Drs were also in shock. Unfortunately that little baby did not survive, the heart had stopped beating at 14 weeks and I had to have a D and C. This was a very sad time for my husband and I but we were both also excited at the same time because we had fallen pregnant. Perhaps we could conceive again? However this thought was cut short as I was then diagnosed with SLE (Systemic lupus erythematosus). This condition meant that I would definitely not be able to conceive again and it also meant more medicines, more tests and more treatments. Due to other complications I could only be treated with chemotherapy. This was a very serious life threatening condition.
To cut another long story short 2 years later I began to feel very nauseas. I often suffered with nausea due to the medications I was taking but I felt something was wrong. To my surprise test results showed that I was pregnant! This time the doctors weren’t happy. They said it was too life threatening and that neither myself or my baby would survive. The Doctors told us not to tell anyone because they didn’t believe we would have our baby. You can imagine how excited we were but this was dampened with this negative news. It wasn’t until I was 20 weeks that people started to notice so we told everyone. But the Doctors kept telling us not to plan for the baby because they didn’t think the baby would survive. Things were too dangerous for the baby and for me. I was admitted to hospital during the 2nd trimester of the pregnancy and I nearly lost her. However, my husband and I ignored the Doctors advice and we did plan ahead and make provision in our lives for our baby. It was a very difficult pregnancy and test results showed that my baby had downs Syndrome and many other conditions and disorders because of my condition. They also said she would have a heart block. Throughout the pregnancy the Dr’s kept telling me to abort her but she was our gift from God and we weren’t going to do that. We believed God that she would be born perfect and on 1st October 2002 Minka was born prematurely at 31.5 weeks by C-Section. She was a small baby but a healthy birth weight for her gestation. She was also born perfectly healthy! Minka stayed in the neonatal unit for 4 weeks and they did every test known to man but she was perfectly healthy in every way! All the Doctors were so stressed during the pregnancy and now they were all amazed at this miracle. We were so in awe of what happened and all of what I had been through fell away.
One week after Minka came home from hospital things got worse for me. My mum had come to help so I could get some rest. However after I woke up I felt unwell. I had a bath but then realised that something was terribly wrong. I ended up collapsing as I tried to get out the bath. I heard a voice that said “Heidi get up” but all I could manage was to crawl to the door to where my mother was and I collapsed again. My mother heard the bump and when she came to see what had happened she found me on the floor. She called my husband and I remember him yelling at me saying “Heidi you are not going to leave me, it is not your time to go!”. I had a blood clot in my lung, which casued me to have a cardiac arrest and I died. At the hospital the Doctors gave up and said “she’s gone” but my husband kept telling them to keep trying. To please my husband one Doctor kept trying and praise God I was revived! I was then admitted to intensive care.
My poor husband was home alone and had to look after a premature baby. Minka had just been released out of intensive care now here I was in intensive care. What was amazing was that during the time I collapsed Minka slept through for 24hrs. As a premature baby she had to be fed every 2 hrs but she was fast asleep during all this time. I remained in a coma for 2.5 weeks. My husband had a premature baby at home who was still learning to suck and a wife in hospital in a coma and was not sure if I was going to live. But I survived and I also had my miracle baby! The Doctors were not sure what state I would wake up in as they didn’t know if I had brain damage but praise God I was fine.
When I came out of the coma they brought Minka to me and I put her straight on my breast and she began to feed. The Doctors said it was not possible for me to breastfeed but with some help with stimulating my milk supply I fed her until she was 9 months old. I had to stop feeding at 9 months because I started chemotherapy again.
In 2002 the year after Minka’s birth the Doctors decided to put a marina (IUD device) in me. They said that I would never be able to conceive again BUT just in case I had another miracle conception they inserted this device. They definitely did not want me to fall pregnant again. I was nearly killed by the previous pregnancy and the doctors said that they couldn’t go through that again. I was also placed on Warfarin for the rest of my life because I was told I couldn’t live without it. Adding chemotherapy on top of this it was definitely not recommended that I ever think of pregnancy again. My husband and I felt so blessed to have Minka and we felt at that time that we didn’t even want to ask for another baby.
Unfortunately in 2007 my health went from bad to worse. We went for a break to Europe and skiing in Italy. While holidaying in Italy my body decided it couldn’t fight anymore. When we arrived back home I was seriously ill and after endless tests and medications the Drs had no cure. I was very sick. SLE is where the immune system attacks itself. It attacks all the major organs and every other part of your body. I had blot clots in the brain, in my eyes and my heart was also affected. It was like having strokes in the brain. My blood vessels were also exploding and this came out on my skin and they became infected. My lungs were also affected. The Doctors had never seen a condition this bad and a body where it was so widely affected. The Doctors told my husband that I only had 2 weeks to live. Coming from a medical family with lots of Doctors we were not going to give up. My uncle in Canada was trying to find specialists for me and was sending medications over to me. Other Doctors in Germany were also able to help. I started different therapies, used machines and oxygen tanks at home to help but the disease was wining.
While I was seriously ill in bed God spoke to me. I had a vision of him walking with me on a beautiful beach and he said he was going to take me to a place of peace. Being so sick at the time I first thought God was talking about Heaven and that He was preparing me for death. But He had given me a miracle child and I had to be a mother. The Doctors had said that this was the end. But I saw myself walking down a beautiful beach with God holding my hand and I new that I would be healed and whole! I then knew that was what God wanted for me. Not to die before my time but to be healed and have a full long healthy life span.
I experienced God’s peace like never before. I had so much pain and no strength of my own left. And each morning God would tell me to get up and start the day and miraculously I would find the strength to get through the day, even smiling. I knew it wasn’t me doing this but God carrying me. I just had to lift my legs out of bed and keep my eyes on Him and each day became easier!
Besides all of my health issues this was also a difficult stage and horrible time for us in our Country. We were losing our business as the government was taking it over. We also knew it was not a safe place to raise our daughter as we were surrounded by violence where people were often being killed and others raped. God moved many miracles for us and the outcome was that we moved Countries and became Australian citizens in 2009.
I was still on chemotherapy and I brought a whole suitcase full of medication with me to Australia. My husband often joked that I rattled because I took so many pills each day. However, since I set foot on Australian soil I have never been so healthy and after walking on the beach one day I felt led to stop talking all my medication. Not long after this a friend of mine heard part of my story and she herself arranged for me to go and see a doctor as she was concerned for me and felt I needed to be looked after. But I knew what God had promised me and I was living in it. I didn’t want all that treatment again.
After being in Australia for a couple of months a friend invited me to Nerida’s ministry and I attended the Thursday meetings. It was there where I got to learn about God’s amazing love and goodness all over again. At first I didn’t go with the view of having another baby but I enjoyed the teaching and fellowship with other like-minded women who would pray and encourage me. I soon realised that there was no reason why me being a believer not to have more children. Prior to this in my heart I had never even wanted to think or even ask God for this because I felt that he had already given me so much already. He gave me my miracle daughter and he gave me a new life! In a way I was just happy to be healthy. All the tests still showed that I still had the condition but there are no active manifestations. For the first time in my life I felt really healthy! To even think of being able to get pregnant again and to have another baby just seemed too good. It was like a cherry on the top and at first this was too much to believe for. But one scripture the Lord gave me was
God is able… to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, Ephesians 3:20
In 2010 I was referred to Dr Burton a gynaecologist who did a CT scan to see how the marina (IUD device) was doing and where it was. This device had been replaced in 2009 and the doctors had actually stitched it in place. After experiencing many operations throughout my life I didn’t want to have another one to remove the contraceptive device so at the next meeting Nerida prayed for me And guess what?! I had a couple of scans and even a body scan to try and locate the device but it was nowhere to be found! This is medically impossible and on my notes the Doctor drew a couple of question marks!
I continued to go to the New Life Ministries meetings to grow in God’s Word. However, in November of 2010 the Doctors found a growth that needed to be urgently removed. Due to the size and location of the growth a complete hysterectomy was scheduled with more chemotherapy treatment. However, Nerida and the women at the meeting prayed for me and the following week scans revealed that the lump had completely disappeared! The sonographer thought there was something wrong with the machine so I was taken to another room but that machine also showed the all clear! Due to my condition the Doctors still wanted to go ahead with the hysterectomy but I didn’t want to go through with it. They gave me December off and planned to perform the operation in the January 2011. This was great because my parents had come over from South Africa to celebrate Christmas with us.
On December 24th, the day before Christmas I knew that God had given me the best present I could ever have. I knew in my heart that I was indeed pregnant. I did a test a couple of days later and it confirmed that I was indeed pregnant! The Doctors were all completely shocked! They didn’t even think that there was a possibility that I would conceive. They even tested me 4 times to make sure! This was so exciting.
In January 2011 I was referred to the high risk centre at Royal North Shore hospital in Sydney. Both Dr Nicholls and Dr Giles the heads of their departments were very sceptical about my pregnancy. There are 3 high risk pregnancy clinics, I was immediately placed in the highest level unit 3. With my medical history they did not ever believe that there would be a baby and they expected me to miscarry. But as the weeks progressed they were amazed. I had so many specialists looking after my case and they were also very intrigued by me. This was an academic hospital and I often had the final year students sitting in on sessions and listening and taking notes. From weeks18-22 I had a lot of bleeding. Nerida and the women at the meeting prayed for me and my baby kept on growing. This pregnancy was not without challenges but every prognosis did not occur and Chloe was born safely and perfectly healthy on the 23rd August 2011. She is a beautiful, healthy baby and I survived the pregnancy!
Whenever I went to the high risk clinic which was every Tuesday and Friday for 20 weeks, often a Dr would stop and tell me how amazed they were at my baby and pregnancy. Some even said that they started to believe in miracles again!
Some days I still need to pinch myself because I am no happy that I have my beautiful healthy Chloe and also my daughter Minka! I am also blessed that Minka will not grow up in Australia on her own as all our family live overseas. So now besides myself and my husband Minka now has a sister to share her life with. This was once a distant dream I had and for a long time I never thought it would happen. No doctor ever believed it would. With all the Doctors medical knowledge they cannot explain how I conceived and had a perfectly healthy little baby!
Your journey may be different than mine but I want to encourage you not to give up hope! I want to leave you with the Scripture God gave to me and I pray this will bless you too!
Ephesians 3:17-20 I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
Watch Heidi’s Testimony!
A short version of Heidi’s testimony was recorded in November 2011 and is available to watch on YouTube here http://youtu.be/Fu004jma9Ls
To view other video testimonies visit my YouTube channel.