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For as long as I can remember I wanted to be a mom, and I always believed that it was part of God’s plan for me. Little did I know that my journey to becoming a mom would be a difficult one, full of ups and downs and constant surrender.

There are so many things in life that we take for granted and unfortunately, it sometimes takes a hardship to make us take a step back and recognize where we need to put our trust. I just assumed that becoming a mom would be as easy and natural for me as it was for so many others around me. However, it took 2 years of trying before we got pregnant for the first time, and 10 weeks into that pregnancy, we found out we had lost our baby (which we named Poppy). We were absolutely devastated. How could this happen? Where was God in the midst of our heartbreak? Thankfully we have a wonderful community of family and friends that helped us work through our loss and I was reminded that we need to continue to put our trust in God. He is good.

We lost Poppy in the summer of 2010 and that fall, God blessed me with a new, amazing teaching position. While I knew that I always wanted to be a mom, I had come to terms over the years with my gift for teaching. Throughout that fall, I really came to be at peace with my calling as a teacher and put all my energy into my teaching. In the back of my head and heart though, I couldn't shake the desire to still be a mom. I kept giving my dream over to God and began meditating on verses from the Bible that talked about having children. As I began to search out Scripture, I came to realize that every barren woman in the Bible eventually was able to conceive (Sarah, Rachel, Hannah, Samson's mother, Elizabeth). My faith began to build as I realized that even though my journey had not turned out the way I thought it would, it was far from over and God still had good things in store for me and my husband, Ty.

One of the women in the Bible that I have always been drawn to is Hannah, the prophet Samuel's mother. Her story is told in 1 Samuel 1 -2. Hannah was barren and it obviously troubled her so she prays a prayer of petition and surrender: that the Lord would remember her, grant her a son and she would give him back to the service of the Lord (1 Samuel 1:11). Verses 19 and 20 go on to state that the Lord remembered her and she conceived and bore a son, Samuel, one of the most significant prophets in Israel's early history.

The phrase that stuck out to me the most in Hannah's prayer was "remember me". I was stumped by that phrase, yet fascinated at the same time. Why would Hannah pray, remember me? And how could God forget her? Isn't he all-knowing? As I researched the phrase, I came to discover that to "remember" in the Bible is not merely to recall to mind; but it is to express concern for someone, to act with loving care for them. When God remembers people, he goes into action on their behalf (The Zondervan NASB Study Bible). Of course God was not just bringing Hannah back to his mind because he had forgotten about her, but he was acting on her behalf, with favor. This shed a whole new light on the subject! Another instance where God "remembered" was in Genesis 8, when Noah, his family, and all the animals were afloat on the ark. It was going on 150 days, and likely Noah felt completely forgotten about! But God caused the water to subside and eventually they came to rest on dry land.

It was January 2011, when after meditating on Hannah's prayer for some time, I stood in the shower and simply said, "Lord, remember me." Instantly, I heard in my heart, "I did remember you, on the cross." I was so blown away by this realization. The realization of my dream that I was striving and often begging God for was available for me at the cross. God acted on behalf for me by sending Jesus to die on the cross and break the curse of sin and death (Gal 3:15). We have been given everything we need pertaining life and godliness through Christ Jesus (2 Peter 1:3). Even though I had not seen the fulfillment of the promise that was for me, I had hope knowing that my desire to have a child was remembered on the cross and already taken care of. All I had to do was trust and wait on him. This was so freeing for me. I didn't have to worry whether I was going to get pregnant again or bear children, God had remembered me on the cross and it's his will that I be fruitful and multiply (Gen 1:28)!

About that same time (January 2011), Ty and I started noticing 11's popping up everywhere we went.  I was teaching grade 7 at the time and randomly, students would pipe up and mention when it was 11:11. It seemed every time we looked at the clock it was 11:11. At first we didn't think too much about it, but after a while we began to wonder if it was more than coincidence (and we do happen to believe that not much is coincidence with God...!). We were not really sure what it all meant at first, so we began searching out scripture for different 11:11 verses. I stumbled upon Hebrews 11:11 which talks about Sarah having power to conceive, even though she was old (and it should have been impossible), because "she considered him faithful who had promised." We also discovered, after talking to different friends and leaders, that 11 represents transition (mostly from disorder to order and alignment) and double faithfulness.

Toward the end of February, to our surprise and excitement, we discovered that I was pregnant again. Along with the joy and anticipation, came a heavy dose of fear and trepidation. Of course, my mind continually wanted to wander back to what happened with Poppy and it was a struggle to constantly bring my thoughts and fears to submission before God (2 Cor. 10:5). On top of that, we had different situations throughout the pregnancy where fear wanted to enter in. Different ultrasound results showed the potential for areas of “concern” and while I understand that the role of medical professionals is to provide different case scenarios, I was so thankful for our wonderful midwife, Heidi Coughlin of HOPE Midwives, who brought us balanced perspectives and gave us the power of choice! The chance of our baby actually having health issues, according to the reports, was so small, but hearing them nonetheless definitely tested our faith. After having 2 ultrasounds, we turned down the third (with support from Heidi) because we had been praying and believing for the health and wholeness of our child and we weren’t going to stand for anything less. Again, we used scriptures and declarations to speak life and health into our baby and to bring peace to our own hearts and minds.

One of the blessings of having the second ultrasound was that we found out we were having a girl, which we were super excited about. God had given us the name Sophie Grace long before we ever conceived and we really believe that her destiny is rooted in her name. Sophie means wisdom and Grace is God's unmerited favour and operational power. Sophie's due date was November 6, 2011, which I thought was cool because it contained 11/11. But Ty took it a step further and began believe for her to be born on 11/11/11. As the days drew closer to her due date, Ty and I had really established in our hearts what we wanted for labour and delivery. I believe that the pain and strife of childbearing was brought on by the curse in Genesis 2 when Adam and Eve originally sinned, but that the curse of sin and death was broken when Jesus went to the cross (Galatians 3:13). So I really began to ponder what “redeemed” childbirth could look like. What did God originally have in my when he designed a woman's body for childbirth. I was so moved by articles and birth stories from the Fall 2011 issue of Birth Issues that gave new perspectives on pain and childbirth. Society and media have created this picture of how miserable giving birth is, it’s a little wonder anyone does it anymore. And in the midst of their portrayal, they strike fear in the hearts of women (and men) about how difficult childbirth will be. Now, it doesn't take much investigation to figure out what fear will do to the body. When we're frightened, we tense up, have restricted breathing and our heart starts racing. For a woman who is trying to deliver a baby, that is going to complicate matters! The prenatal classes Ty and I took, talked about the importance of relaxing every muscle, breathing calmly and deeply and settling your heart and mind. In other words, allow your body to enter into peace. I believed that if I walked in rest and peace, I could have a natural, pain free, complication free labour and delivery.

Sophie's due date came and went and Ty really began going for the possibility of an 11/11/11 delivery. I, on the other hand, wasn't so sure... I had an appointment with Heidi on morning of Thursday, the 10th. She didn't think I was progressing along very fast, but we used a couple of tricks to try and naturally induce labour. Heidi had always given a disclaimer though that if the baby/labour wasn't ready, the tricks wouldn't work. My mom arrived around noon. We had lunch and did some errands and I didn't feel a thing. At 3:00pm I took an herbal cocktail that Heidi gave me and she instructed me to take it and then rest for a couple of hours while it absorbed into my system. By 5:00pm, I started having some dull cramps in my lower abdomen. I'd had them off and on the past couple of weeks, so I didn't think too much of them, so we ordered supper. By 7:00pm, the cramps we coming fairly frequently so I figured they were probably contractions. We shipped our dog off to friends and I tried to settle in to watch a movie, because I knew the early stages of labour could take several hours. However the contractions were coming every 5-7 minutes, so it was a little difficult to focus on the movie!

We had decided to have a homebirth and deliver in the water, so Ty went to setup the birthing tub in our living room. I decided to move to our bed to wait out the contractions. I started playing worship music and Bible verses. Ty joined me and was a champ at rubbing my back through each contraction. While I certainly felt the contractions, they were by no means unbearable and I probably had only 1 moment (just before my water broke, I believe) where I thought, "if I was in the hospital, I'd probably want something for the discomfort". But I pushed that thought aside and focused on working with my contractions to get Sophie out. By 9:45ish, Heidi arrived. We also had Kym, our prenatal coach with us which was great because she made sure I stayed hydrated. And my mom, of course was awesome at getting things done around the house. I by 10:30pm I was in the birthing pool (only regret was not getting in there sooner...) and I remember be amazed at how fast the time seemed to be going by. At about 11:00pm, my body wanted to start pushing, but I still had a couple of centimeters left to dilate. Heidi had me making motor boat sounds with my mouth to prevent my body from bearing down, which even then seemed hysterical, but totally worked!

The longest part of the whole labour was probably from 11:00-11:30pm while I waited to finish dilating. I actually had to turn so I couldn't look at the clock and I just focused again on the music and letting peace wash over me. At 11:30pm, Heidi declared that I was fully dilated and could start pushing. I was ecstatic! I knew we were close to midnight, and 11/11/11, but I told Ty I wasn't going to hold the baby in. I honestly found nothing more satisfying than to be able to push and work with my body as it was trying to get Sophie out. And while it certainly didn't tickle, it wasn't at all unbearable. In 3-4 pushes, her head was out and on the very next push, the rest of her followed. Everyone was so surprised; Heidi said after that she didn't expect me to be so efficient! We quickly got Sophie up and out of the water and onto my chest, at which point I discovered that she had been born at 12:05am on 11/11/11. Remembrance Day. God is so faithful!!! She was so calm and peaceful and alert! Sophie heard my voice and looked up at me right away and then heard her daddy and looked up at him. It was spectacular and truly supernatural. I couldn't have asked for anything more in that moment. God's goodness and faithfulness and love so overwhelmed me. He truly had remembered me and our beautiful Sophie Grace had arrived.

Sophie is approaching her first birthday as I write this, and as I look back over the past year, I am in awe of what an incredible gift we have been given. Sophie brings so much joy and life, not only to us, but everyone she comes in contact with. We are so blessed and 

thank God everyday for entrusting us with her.