On Sunday 17th February, together as a church family we thanked God for what he has done in Hannah Eliana Joy Norman. Family is a gift from God, made particularly clear in this gift of baby Hannah to Sam and Bethan.
Hannah’s been on a quite a journey.
The pregnancy was going fine until the 20 week scan, where we were told something was wrong and were sent to Great Ormond Street Hospital. The cardiology team there told us that Hannah had a tumour growing over her heart. A few days later we were told she had only one week left to live. So we prayed. That’s all that we could do. And we are so grateful for the 100s of people who prayed with us.
The week went by... and she was still alive. Another week, then another, and then a few more: God was miraculously sustaining her life. He didn’t take her tumour way, but He kept her heart beating despite it being there. After a few weeks more her life was at risk again, with a bag of fluid around her heart. But God worked through our consultant, who found us an amazing operation where they drained the fluid and saved her life.
After a month or two of waiting and praying with God, who continued to keep her heart beating, we had a birth plan, which was amazing. Our prayer the week leading up to the c-section was based on Genesis 2, which we were looking at in church, where God breathed life into Adam. We asked that God would breathe life into her when she was delivered. And on the second of January when she came out, she screamed her head off! This was God’s miracle: she wasn’t just alive, she was thriving, and the consultant who was waiting in the room walked straight out as he knew he wasn’t needed. Our God-given miracle was alive through the actions of our Saviour who had walked us through this journey. That’s why we wanted to dedicate her to God, because her life is given by Him; she is made in His image; and we pray that one day she will choose to live for Him.
Her first name is Hannah, which means grace. God’s grace has been so abundant in our journey. In the peace he has given us; in the sleep we have been able to have; in the prayers of hundreds of people; in the strength he has provided; and so much more. In Corinthians, Paul talks about his ‘thorn in the flesh’ and prays three times for it to be taken away. God says to him: “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness,” and we know that to be so true. When we were so weak and helpless, God’s grace was everything to us and His strength shone through.
The second name we gave her was Eliana. We wanted to name her after our
consultant Elena, but Elena means “the bright one” so we changed a couple of
letters! Eliana means God has answered - and He has in so many ways; most of all
in sustaining Hannah’s life.
The third name we gave her was Joy. Somewhat because we didn’t want her initials
to be HEN, but mainly because even through the sorrow of her pregnancy, and
definitely now through the beauty of her life, we have been able to rejoice in what God
has done: in his salvation; in the hope of a heaven where there will be no suffering or
pain; in the joy of new life.
It’s our prayer that this joy will never fade from our lives.