Category Archives: God’s Name

On My Arm They Will Trust – Zoie’s Birth Story

It’s Zoie’s birthday today!  Ten years ago God delivered her into this world… And He delivered me.

One week old
One week old

It’s a miraculous story and a testimony of God’s faithfulness.  I recorded it in a notebook 10 years ago.  It’s difficult to share because of its personal nature. But possibly someone who reads it will be encouraged in their faith.

A gruesome picture is posted later. If you don’t want to see it, stop reading this and go read your Bible or something else instead. 🙂

It’s  a picture of a placenta and an umbilical cord.  But not just any ordinary placenta and cord.  The placenta was larger than normal and you’ll notice an odd-looking, white-colored umbilical cord.  There’s very little blood in it.  Normally, an umbilical cord looks purple due to the veins of red and blue blood flowing through it — the red blood vein bringing oxygen to the baby and the blue (oxygen depleted) blood vein returning from the baby to the placenta.  It’s the cord of life from the mother to her child.

Here’s the story of Zoie’s birth and of how God showed Himself strong on our behalf.

Early Monday morning, August 18th,  in my 16th week of pregnancy, I woke up to use the bathroom and noticed a small amount of bleeding. Eric and I were greatly concerned. We prayed but the bleeding continued.  My heart became discouraged.  I had anxiety and feared the loss of the baby.  At one point I was pretty certain that I would miscarry.

On the second day of this struggle, I was lying in bed reading my Bible.  This scripture stood out to me:

“Comfort” … “And on My arm they will trust.”  Isaiah 51:5

As I read it, I felt the Lord was near me.  And I saw something.  I saw myself as a lamb safe in a shepherd’s arms.

I also smelled a beautiful fragrance, unlike anything in our home. It smelled like a flower garden.

Ephesians 5:2 says that Christ has given Himself for us as an offering to God for a sweet smelling aroma.

I  had just been thinking about how the Holy Spirit is present with us to be a Helper. It’s one of His covenant names – Yahweh Shammah– He is present. Jesus said that the Father would send us the Holy Spirit as a Helper.

“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things…” John 14:26

On the third day, I was again lying in bed. I cried out to Yahweh. He heard and answered my prayer.

Psalm 34:4 “This poor man cried and the LORD saved him out of all his troubles.” 

I picked up my Bible and opened to Zechariah 9 .  As I read, I  felt authority over my baby and my life.  The Holy Spirit brought life with Verse 12.

” Even today I declare
That I will restore double to you.”

Faith rose up in my spirit and the Lord led me to declare this day for the bleeding to stop in the name of Yahshua.

The bleeding stopped!

That evening, I gathered the children and told them how God had healed me.  I read Isaiah 51:5 “And on My arm they will trust”.  I told them about the vision of a shepherd holding a lamb in his arms and the comfort I felt… as though I was that lamb.

Twelve-year-old Anna jumped up and ran to get something. She brought me a picture.

Shepherd and Lamb

” Do  you remember this?” she said. “I showed it to you when you were doing laundry the other day.”

I remembered Anna coming to my side and saying something to me as I loaded up the washer.  I had glanced her way and briefly acknowledged her. I remember not wanting to be bothered at that moment.  I remembered  the anxiety I felt as I loaded up the washing machine.

But I didn’t remember what the  drawing was.

After she left, I remember staring at the water filling the washer. As it poured in, my tears poured out to God.

Anna normally didn’t sketch pictures.  It was very unusual. Sitting on the couch that evening, we looked at the drawing together.  This time I paid attention.  She showed me her mistakes in the drawing. She thought the fingers were too short.  I thought it all was beautiful.

A few weeks later,  I told  a friend about  the bleeding. She told me that bleeding at 16 weeks was a symptom of a condition called Placenta Previa.  It is  when the placenta attaches to the uterine wall in the wrong place.  Instead of being high, the placenta is low and grows over the cervix. Without a cesarean, both mother and baby die because the placenta ruptures as the baby tries to come out. The mother bleeds to death and the baby suffocates due to lack of oxygen.

But I knew that my Healer had healed me.

And I knew that our Shepherd was leading us.

“And those who know Your name (Provider, Righteousness, Healer, Peace, Protector, Shepherd,  & He is Present) will put their trust in You; For You, Yahweh, have not forsaken those who seek You.” Psalm 9:10.

“The Name of the LORD is a strong tower.  The righteous run to it and are safe.” Prov.18:10.

The pregnancy continued on as normal… and we moved to Chile. That’s another story.  Life was full of challenges and discouragement was at the door, yet I felt healthy.

In Chile, I was on a hunt for a humidifier.  The city we lived in did not have clean air. Our neighbors frequently burned their trash and the smoke would smog up our bedroom.  I wanted clean air during my labor. I thought I’d get more oxygen in the air by pouring hydrogen peroxide into a humidifier.  But I could not find a store that sold humidifiers. Chileans didn’t use humidifiers and had never heard of them.  And Amazon.com didn’t deliver to Chile.

Eric and our children would often get out their instruments to play. The song Breathe especially ministered to me.

Breathe

This is the air I breathe
This is the air I breathe
Your holy presence living in me

This is my daily bread
This is my daily bread
Your very word spoken to me

And I I’m desperate for you
And I I’m I’m lost without you

This is the air I breathe
This is the air I breathe
Your holy presence living in me

This is my daily bread
this is my daily bread
your very word spoken to me

And I’m, I’m desperate for you
And I’m, I’m lost without you

And I’m desperate for you
And I’m, I’m lost without you.

I’m lost without you.

I’m lost without you.

I’m desperate for you.

I suppose the words of this song ministered to me because I felt pretty desperate for God.  I felt very dependent upon Him, which is where I needed to be spiritually. Possibly it was one of the reasons He moved us to Chile.

I was due the end of January. Being in the Southern hemisphere, our seasons were opposite.  It was a beautiful warm summer day when my water broke on February 6th, eight days after my “due date”.  We were downtown Talca walking. I told the children that the baby would be here any time!

The day passed and  there were no contractions.

On February 7th, I noticed a little bit of  fresh bleeding along with the leaking water.  I understood how the Israelites must have felt at the edge of the Red Sea.  I had a Red Sea before me and pharaoh’s  army  behind me.

I was desperate for Him.  I was lost without Him.

That day  came and went… still no contractions. I was getting very uncomfortable and slowed way down.  This gave me time to focus on scripture.

The word of God promises us that if we draw near to Him, then He will draw near to us. God was using this time for me to draw near, –very near — to Him. And during this time He spoke scriptures that gave me strength to make it through the test ahead:

“Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him…”Ps. 91:14

“In the fear of the Lord there is strong confidence and his children will have a place of refuge.” Prov. 14:26

“For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him” 2 Ch.16:9

“Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. ..Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.”Rev. 2:10

Finally, I had regular contractions throughout the night.  I did not sleep. My heart was beating with anxiety and it did not let me rest. That next morning the contractions came closer.  They were still easy and not painful. But I was very tired from not sleeping. I would tell my heart to be strong and courageous.  But I felt exhausted and dreaded the labor. I lacked the energy to eat the frozen raspberries Eric brought me.

The night before, the LORD had told me to rejoice despite the circumstances.  I determined to do just that.

Then I had a breakthrough experience as I began rebuking the fear in the name of Jesus and rejoicing in the Lord.  I looked out our bedroom window and shouted to the distant Andes Mountains, telling them to praise the LORD!

I felt a burst of strength and energy. I even jokingly asked Eric if I should go and run around the house. That’s how strong I felt… quite amazing as I had been exhausted.  But I felt delivered from a spirit of fear that had been plaguing me throughout the pregnancy.  I no longer had an anxious heart. It was like a dark cloud looming over me had parted and the sky was now clear.  God had given me the strength to endure what was to come.

About noon, I began bleeding more during  contractions. This is serious because the placenta can rupture as the baby’s head starts down the birth canal.  If it ruptures, both the mother and child are in mortal danger.  But I had peace in my heart that the LORD was in control.

I went to relax in a tub full of warm water. The contractions continued and got closer together but still were mild in strength.

The contractions were mild until about 2:00 P.M.  Then I went into transition.

I heard the LORD tell me to get up and squat to deliver the baby.  For some reason, I felt stubborn and resistant.  I was so comfortable and thought that maybe I could just deliver in the nice warm water.

But I felt His unction again.  This time urgent and stern.  I recognized my stubborn resistance and decided that I better obey immediately.

With Eric’s help I got out of the tub, walked over to the bedroom and squatted.  Immediately, the contractions shifted into high gear. They grew very strong and back to back. With the second push,  the head was out. I pushed again and out  came the baby — crying hard. Zoie was born at 2:17 P.M.

Right after the birth, a large amount of congealed blood plopped on the floor as I stood up.  It was thick and coagulated.  A portion of the placenta was torn and was hanging out.

Eric called to Anna who came running into the room. She held the baby while Eric got me up onto the bed.

Normally, blood is flowing through the umbilical cord and it continues to pulse for about 10 minutes. Normally, we wait until it quits pulsing before we cut it. But there was no pulse. There was almost no blood in it.  Instead of being thick, strong, and purple, it was limp and white. Eric tied and cut the cord quickly as I was still having strong contractions.

Then Eric helped me to the bathtub as the warm water helped dull the pain of the contractions. I continued to bleed.  I had never had difficulty delivering a placenta before.  But this time it was very difficult.  The placenta was retained for about an hour and a half. Just before the delivery of the placenta, I cried out, feeling as though I could not continue.  Shortly thereafter, I delivered the placenta.  It was twice the normal size and had ruptured.

Eric caught the placenta in a large deep bowl.  Then he took a picture of it because it looked so huge and strange to  him.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Matthew heard the cry of a baby and headed up the stairs to see the new arrival.  As he stepped up to the doorway, he smelled a strong scent of blood.

I lost a lot of blood and was very weak. I stayed in bed for 5 days afterwards because every time I tried to get up, I’d start to pass out. All the red streaks in the whites of my eyes disappeared and my bulging veins were flat.

Zoie Kay Marshall was perfect. She  was born at 2:17 pm on February 8th, 2006 and weighed 4 kilos and was 51 cm long.

She acted and looked like a normal infant in spite of the fact that she quit receiving oxygen from the umbilical cord sometime before delivery.  We don’t know for how long she went without oxygen from the cord.  We did not realize the magnitude of the miracle until several days after the birth.  We were talking about the picture of the placenta that Eric took. It was so large and filled with blood. And the cord was so white.  As we  looked  back on the situation we realized all the more God’s strong hand of deliverance for both of our lives.  We can also look back and see why scriptures on “life” and “Christ who is our life” were standing out to us the few months before Zoie’s birth. God was her cord of life!

“Zoie” means “the Life of God”.   The breath of God had sustained her.  He was providing her with air. “This is the air I breathe!” The crown of “LIFE” — the Zoe life of God. On His arm I did trust and He showed Himself strong on my behalf!

I could not help but worship Him as I looked out the window and gazed  at the distant Andes,  wanting the mountains to also sing to our Creator!

Shout to the LORD all the earth let us sing. Power and Majesty praise to our King! Mountains bow down and the seas will roar at the sound of Your name! …Nothing compares to the promise I have in YOU!

Today, Zoie is a healthy, energetic and talented little girl.  She enjoys playing the violin and loves to read.  Last month I heard much about the characters in Little Women Zoie also loves playing  with the baby goats on our goat farm.

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One more special thing…

Earlier in the pregnancy, back in Kansas, I desired to have a girl and name her Zoie.  Eric  thought I was going to have a boy and wanted to name him Aaron. This saddened me because I was really hoping for a “Zoie”.

Before we told the children that I was pregnant, 10 year old Abigail told us she had a dream that I had a baby.  The baby in her dream had a girl’s name but was wearing boy’s clothes.  That is exactly what happened!

In my attempts to follow my husband, I had given away most of my baby girl clothes and had  brought mostly baby boy clothes with us to Chile. I only brought ONE girls’ outfit! (in the photo at the start of this post.) So, just like in Abigail’s dream, we had a baby with a girl’s name dressed in boy’s clothes – but only for the first few weeks!


The LORD is truly our deliverer and our refuge.  And those who know Your name (Provider, Righteousness, Healer, Peace, Protector, Shepherd & He is Present) will put their trust in You; For You, Yahweh, have not forsaken those who seek You. Psalm 9:10.

And on Your arm they will trust!