Our miracle baby story. by Tarah Tugman

b727074b-3e59-4d33-9008-a409f894f038In the fall of 2000, we learned that we were expecting our first baby. We were absolutely thrilled. Our due date was May 13th, 2001, which happened to be Mother’s Day that year. We had our 20-week anatomy scan in December and baby was modest. We heard a healthy heartbeat but we did not learn gender. We traveled to Indiana after Christmas and our entire family was so excited. On January 10th, 2001, I started experiencing some pain. I went to my obstetrician and we received the devastating news that baby was coming early. We prayed and prayed in that exam room for a miracle. They rushed me to the hospital and despite their best efforts, I went into labor at 23 weeks. They monitored my contractions and baby's perfect heart rate all night long. Every heartbeat echoed in the room. 14 hours later, at 9:46 AM, on January 11th, 2001, I delivered a beautiful baby girl. We named her Grace. She weighed 1 lb and .2 ounces. She was 11.5" long. She was born sleeping in Jesus. She was absolutely perfectly formed. I remember holding her and taking in every little detail about her. She had 10 long fingers like her Daddy, 10 toes that looked like Mommy's, a tiny button nose, the start of dark hair, and heart-shaped lips.   It seems just like yesterday. We were given hospital photos, a memory keepsake box, a birth certificate, and a death certificate. We then had a memorial service and burial. I struggled for years with grief. I never gave up my faith in God, but I struggled with fully trusting Him. I thought after having Grace we would immediately have more children. As the years passed, we struggled to conceive again. We visited doctors, had a lot of tests, and even tried fertility drugs for a year. Nothing. No answers. In 2003, the devil began to battle me with fear, anxiety, and panic attacks. I ended up in three different emergency rooms. My husband and I received several words from the Lord through a dear sister at church. We were told that He had put us together and to prepare for the ministry He had for us in our church. We were told that He would give us the desires of our heart. It was spoken over us several times that we would conceive, but God remained silent. We felt the Lord calling us to work with the young people in our church. However, every time that I got together with them I could only focus on the fact that our Grace wasn’t there. For a long time, I wrestled with the Lord in the things He was calling me to do. I kept telling my husband that I just felt restless and without purpose. About 5 years ago, we began meeting with our young people for monthly youth services. It was like a healing balm. We were the “youth ministers” and it was ministering back to me. The Lord began blessing our services and pouring out His Spirit. I began to feel healed and whole again. In March of 2013, I reached out to my local Right to Life. I wanted to share Grace’s story. The group had dwindled to a handful and needed as much help as possible. I started managing their Facebook page, created a Twitter following, and designed a website.  It was mentioned that we needed a pro-life outreach for teens in our county. I, once again, began to feel God calling me to step up. In September of 2013, we started Caldwell County Teens4Life. I meet once each month with 8 young people who are passionate for the Lord and their stand for the unborn. The Lord has opened the door on several occasions to share Grace’s little life with others. In November of 2013, I “met” Lisa Metzger from Cities4Life Charlotte.   I started reading about Cities4Life and was just amazed. My husband and I felt drawn in and received training in January of 2014. We began to spend our Fridays calling out to women & men to spare the lives of their babies. Some of those babies were not much younger than my Grace. We witnessed some of the darkest souls and demonic spirits. This was totally outside of my comfort zone and yet, I knew it was where God wanted us. I stopped feeling so restless and began to feel like God had given me a purpose. I began to see that He was working all things for our good. On April 4th, 2014, we learned something amazing. After 13 years, we were expecting! My doctors took every precaution for what they labeled a "high-risk pregnancy."  My entire pregnancy went wonderfully and I  gave birth on November 19th to our little miracle. Her name is Ava. She is the answer to many, many prayers. She is living proof that God still performs miracles. God gives “beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.” He alone can use our deepest moments of despair for His glory. He can take us at our weakest and mold us into who He needs us to be. He is the God who gives and the God who takes away. Blessed be His name!