Monday, 9 May 2016

Failed IVFs and miracle babies:The late Archbishop Benson Idahosa's daughter-in-law, Laurie, opens up

Rev. Mrs. Laurie Whetstone- Idahosa was born in Wilmington Delaware, USA to Pastors Gary and Faye Whetstone. She married Bishop F.E.Benson Idahosa in 2002. She is the mother of three handsome boys, Feb Jnr, Nathaniel and Judah. 

She currently serves as the Senior Pastor of CGMI (Church of God Mission International) Church Unusual, Director of Campus Life at Benson Idahosa University Benin City, Board member at Faith Mediplex Hospital, and executive member of Christian Women Fellowship International. She co-founded Big Ben Children's Hospital and Nathan American Academy, all in Benin City Nigeria. She has contributed numerous articles to various publications, with her most recent book titled “Every Woman’s Journey”, published in 2014.

In a post on her blog, she shared her intimate story. Read on

The Western world celebrates today as Mothers Day. This is one day on the calendar that I used to dread. I'd see children kissing their moms, celebrating... and all I could think about was how I so desperately wanted to become a mother myself. I remember many past Mothers Days when I would shed tears because the deep longing in my heart to become a mother seemed to be up against insurmountable odds. Today, my story has changed. Allow me to share my miracle story with you.                    
My husband, F.E.Benson Idahosa II, and I met in Benin City, Nigeria when I was 13 years old; our fathers (Archbishop Benson Idahosa and Gary Whetstone) were friends.  I’ve referred to my love for Feb as “love at first sight” because very soon after we met, the sparks of love began to flicker between us.

After many years, my dream came true when I was 28 years old; Feb made me his wife! I was the happiest woman on earth and smiled ear to ear all through our courtship and wedding day. I was so excited to be his wife! The next thing I couldn’t wait for was to be the mother of his children; I wanted so badly to carry his baby. 

During the first year of our marriage, pregnancy didn’t happen like I expected. Subsequently, I convinced my husband to go with me for a fertility check-up. He thought it was silly because he was so sure that we’d have our kids. Eventually, just to pacify me, we went for the check-up.

To our surprise, they did all the testing and came back to us with tormenting news. They told us that both he and I had very serious fertility issues and that we would never be able to have a child without In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF). The doctor looked at us both in our eyes and told us that we were 99.9% infertile.

My world felt like it crashed down on me. It was a journey I never expected to undergo. My husband on the other hand had steadfast faith and kept reassuring me, saying, “We will have our children! God promised it, He will do it!”

Following the logical path of thinking, we decided to embark on the journey of IVF. The next year, we gathered our money together from some investments we made before marriage and went for our first treatment. After $25,000, injections, surgery and so many stories that ought not to be told, we did our first embryo transfer. 2 weeks later, so full of hope, we went back to see if we were pregnant and my world crashed again; it didn’t work!

We repeated this process several times over the next few years, each time ending in disappointment.

The more treatments I did, the puffier my tummy began to look. Well-meaning friends and family would see me and think that finally I was expectant! They would rub my tummy and give me hugs of congratulations… all the while, I knew my uterus was empty. Empty! And trust me, I sooo longed for a baby.

After four failed IVF attempts, my husband and I decided to find another hospital which had a statistical track record of better outcomes. We went to New York Presbyterian Hospital, Cornell University. This time, IT WORKED!!!!!

I was finally pregnant! Hallelujah!

I carried that pregnancy like someone carrying an egg with a spoon; very delicately… although we were based in Nigeria, I refused to travel back during that pregnancy. I followed every instruction and went for every doctor visit. I was ready to be a healthy mom with a healthy baby.

On July 3, 2007 after a long labour and eventual CS, I gave birth to the most handsome baby boy. He had a full head of hair and to this day, I can remember that feeling when they brought him to me and we looked at each other, eye to eye. We quickly announced it to our family and to anyone and everyone. Across the globe there were celebrations and outbursts of thanksgiving! He was the first grandson born to the late Archbishop Benson Idahosa!

The doctors asked to monitor him overnight in the NICU because he was born via CS. We were so excited to have him that we didn’t give it a second thought. Early the next morning, the head nurse came to my hospital room and asked us to rush to see him. She told us that he was having trouble breathing and sustaining a blood pressure.

What happened next, one could never have prepared for.

We watched our miracle baby die.

Benson Idahosa III, lived for only 12 short hours.

The first time I held my miracle baby in my arms was when he was dead.

Throughout the grieving process, we discovered that there was a grace upon our lives that man can never give. We cried desperately; deep tears that I never knew I was capable of crying. Simultaneously a faith unlike anything that I ever experienced began to billow in our spirits. As dark as that time was, our resolve had never been stronger. We knew that we knew that we knew that we would have our children.

We buried our long-awaited son on July 9th.

During the burial service, Bishop David Huskins prophesied over us saying, “Within a year from today, God is going to give your family a cause to rejoice.” At the time, I was reluctant to receive this prophecy, knowing our arduous journey of infertility treatments.

We returned to Nigeria with empty arms but hearts full of hope and prophetic promises.

The doctors in New York told us that we couldn’t attempt another IVF for a year, so, we began to fit back into our life routine. We also began to embark on a project that the Lord had birthed in our spirits during the height of our pain; to open a hospital for women and children in Nigeria. We were awakened to the fact that if this could happen to us in America (where we had everything humanly available to attend to our baby), how much more is it happening in Nigeria where many medical facilities available are sub-standard, to say the least. The dream for Big Ben’s Children’s Hospital (BBCH) was birthed.

By November of 2007, I still had not gotten a period since the delivery of my son in July. Figuring it would eventually come, I didn’t give it much thought; however, one morning, on a whim, I decided to do a check. I had drawers full of home pregnancy tests and I just decided to take one. To my surprise, it read POSITIVE!

I was pregnant again, and this time, completely NATURALLY!

God had worked a miracle in our lives! We travelled back to America for medical care.

The morning of July 9, 2008 (exactly one year after the burial of our first son and the prophecy) I gave birth to a healthy, handsome baby boy! To God be the glory!

Feb Jr. is our son’s name and he is alive and doing very well. He is in elementary school and excels in everything.

God answered our prayers and kept His promise toward our home!

When Feb Jr. was 2, I started being concerned as to why I wasn’t getting pregnant again. We wanted a sibling for our son. We went back to the doctors for testing and they told us that we were worse off than before. While they acknowledged the miraculous nature of Feb Jr.’s conception, they told us, “Nobody wins the lottery twice.” I was convinced that we should try another IVF, which I did. Sadly, it failed, just like all of the others before it.

I returned to Nigeria and within two months, I got pregnant naturally! Naturally, I say, naturally!

On November 14, 2011, we gave birth to yet another son, Nathaniel Benson Idahosa.

“Nate” is a 4 year old already, and is an exceptional joy to have in our home.

While still breastfeeding Nate, birth control was the furthest thing from my mind. I assumed that I had natural birth control, only to discover that I was PREGNANT!

AGAIN! Another natural conception to the Glory of God!

Judah Benson Idahosa was born on January 2, 2013 and is now a thriving 3 year old with the energy of 100 men!

God has given us our heart’s desire. We are raising three boys, all naturally conceived. Our marriage and love for each other has been strengthened through the journey of infertility and infant loss.

God is faithful to His Word! He will always do as He has promised in our lives. He never fails His children. Though it may seem like it’s getting worse and it may feel impossible, keep your eyes on Him with expectation. He is the giver of life and never fails. Whether He does it naturally or via medical intervention, He is the one that does the miracle, and He will provide yours as well.

My prayer for you is that you will follow the path that God has for you and that your prayers will be answered as God has planned, in Jesus' name!

I am currently the Senior Pastor of CGM, Church Unusual in Benin City. You can keep in constant touch with me through:
twitter: @IdahosaLaurie,
Facebook: Laurie Idahosa,
Instagram @IdahosaLaurie.