EXCLUSIVE: Great Things Come To Those Who Wait, Trust, And Keep The Faith—Miriam Quiambao's First Pregnancy At 43 Proves It!
As Miriam's hands instinctively caress her growing belly while she speaks of God's perfect timing, tears well up in her eyes when she remembers that she's 11 weeks along a pregnancy she waited and prayed for for four years.
Motherhood suits her; these moments are the happiest she's ever been.
Trust in the plan
When Miriam Quaimbao married author and entrepreneur Ardy Roberto in 2014, they had no doubt in their minds that they wanted to become a mom and a dad. Ready to take on the double-edged sword of parenthood, this loved up pair tried to conceive. One full year passed with no results. Soon, a doctor's appointment would reveal that they were practically infertile. Miriam and Ardy were shaken and heartbroken, but not without hope, and never without faith.
"At that time, I kept asking God when I would become pregnant. I asked Him why there were so many women out there who don't even want to have children, and yet they get pregnant. But with us, why was it taking this long, and we want kids. We're not getting any younger," Miriam reminisces, reflecting on the doubt she once felt about God's plans for her.
Set in her conviction of wanting to become a mother, this woman of spiritual resolve, along with her husband, formally considered looking into other means of becoming parents—adoption and in vitro fertilization (IVF).
"Whether it be through IVF, adoption, or surrogacy, a child is a blessing and a reward from the Lord. No matter where it comes from, it is a blessing," Miriam expounds.
I love this photo with my ministry partner and hubby @ardyroberto. It was taken at the recently concluded IDConference at @ccfmain. I learned so much about building relationships to share the love of Christ — as a partner, as a parent, as a friend and as a discipler. I feel that this conference has really equipped me to be a better ambassador for Christ. . People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. #MakeJesusFamous #Discipleship #IDC2018 #MinistryPartners . Thanks @rivagalveztan For the photo. And @mango for my shawl.
It was exactly this attitude towards welcoming a child into their lives that led them to their adopted son Joshua who was but a tender six-year-old when he officially became part of this blessed family. The loving son is now all grown up at 10, and is happy, cared for, and just as prayerful as the adults who raised him—and he'll be welcoming a baby brother or sister, soon. ("I'm excited. I want it to be a girl, because my mom's the only girl in the family," he quips, giving his mom even more reason to smile).
But no one is more excited about the littlest member of the family who's due to say hello by March than Miriam. She waited for what felt like an eternity and beyond for her body to host the biggest miracle known to man—and a miracle Miriam's journey of motherhood truly is.
Little did she know that she was but a hair's width away from losing her baby forever, until God himself had intervened in his own special, wise way, allowing his plans for Miriam to finally, finally unfold.
My heart is full! A bouquet of flowers, a handwritten love letter, opening car doors from my son, a dip in the pool with the family, homemade chicken wings dinner and a family movie treat for the night with the ones I love. I love Mother’s Day weekend! Hope yours was just as lovely! ?????? #HappyMothersDay2018
Wait and see
After celebrating her fourth Mother's Day with Ardy and Joshua this year, Miriam still hadn't completely given up the idea of bearing a child. The idea remained an unsewn seed in her heart, as she and Ardy had attempted IVF once in the past but were met with disappointment. The embryo had failed to successfully implant.
"I grieved for this baby that I never knew. It was around that time when Courageous Catie died, and I was grieving vicariously for my baby while grieving for her. Her mother lost a child, and I did too. They got to experience her for some time, but I never did [with my baby]," Miriam recalls.
The desire for their union to bring about life was enough for Miriam and Ardy to call on science to fulfill this parental dream for a second, more crucial time. Miriam was already in her forties when they made the decision and was already considered at "high risk" of failed implantation should she have conceived. Wasting no time, Miriam scheduled an egg extraction on June 18.
But problems immediately arose that derailed their plans.
A lump was found in her breast during a routine IVF check-up, and it was suspected to be malignant. To add to the stress, results of the biopsy would be delayed as Miriam's IVF doctor was scheduled for an overseas trip and would only be able to deliver the results upon returning to Manila. Fortunately, biopsy results revealed no reason to worry, and her egg extraction date was then moved to July.
Come July, Miriam's body was uncooperative yet again.
For an egg extraction to be done, a woman needs to be on her period; Miriam's never came. It was extremely late for the first time in her life and it was making her anxious. Not once did she suspect that she was expecting, and the prospect of entering perimenopause even crossed her mind first! Pregnancy tests also came back negative, much to Miriam's confusion. As a final step, her IVF doctor prescribed her medication to encourage her cycle to begin in a week's time, and so that they could also begin the IVF process as planned.
With medication in hand, Miriam was almost literally stopped in her tracks and asked to take a pregnancy test for one last time by Ardy just for good measure. She was already more than two weeks late in her cycle and doctors had told her it might have all just been fluctuating hormones at her age, so another test would simply confirm what was already known—or unknown.
First, one line appeared. The test was negative. A few moments later, a second, fainter line became visible. It became clearer, bolder, and more unmistakable with every inhale and exhale of uncontainable excitement that Miriam was breathing.
There was no doubt about it; she was pregnant.
"A big smile cuts through my face and I rush out of the bathroom, jumping up and down showing my husband the results. We were so ecstatic! We were close to tears, like two children giggling and just so happy. Then we sat down to pray and thank God. Then we had a selfie!" Miriam beams, clearly reliving the moment in her mind's eye and feeling the joy wash over her once more.
Her gynecologist, sister and father, Joshua, and ministry were the next to find out about the wonderful news and all had only one sentiment for the couple: absolute and lasting happiness.
If there's anything this experience has taught Miriam so far, it's that God has perfect timing.
She narrates, "You know what's even more amazing? When I had my first ultrasound, I learned that the age of gestation was at six weeks and one day. That means it was conceived on June 21, the same week I was supposed to have my egg extraction and when we were waiting for the results of my biopsy. It was as if God had planted that lump so we wouldn't push through with [our plans for IVF].
"When the results of my biopsy came out, they had to run another test because they didn't remove the whole lump. And you know what? They didn't even see the lump anymore. It was as if God just put it there just to distract us!" Miriam laughs.
All of it, she says, was a series of miracles. The biggest miracle is, of course, the life that's now growing in her womb, but she also acknowledges the miracles of transformation that her personal relationships have gone through during her period of waiting.
Beginning with her husband, Miriam now feels her bond with Ardy is deeper than ever, and that their faith as a couple has grown infinitely. Miriam also believes that it was necessary to give herself ample time to bond with Joshua and get to know her first child before another big family change comes around.
Her baby on the way has likewise brought her own family together, with her relatives nothing but excited to meet the little one—and this goes for Miriam's mom, too, who couldn't wait for her to bear a grandchild but sadly passed away from years-long battle with cancer in 2015. Allowing her mind to remember what her mom was like in her youth, Miriam mentions that it will be her self-sacrifice and unflinching strength that she will mirror during her own journey of motherhood. It was family first for her mom when she was still going to work despite the chemotherapy, and it will be the same for Miriam whose center is found right with family.
Last but by no means the least, Miriam's weekly bible study group composed of fellow mothers was just as head over heels at the announcement and eagerly passed on books, advice, and wisdom.
Overall, the nurturing and care Miriam is getting are a result of her total trust in God's plan—His perfect timing—just for her.
Keep the faith
As a Christian woman who strongly believes "that all our days have been ordained even before they came to be," Miriam takes pride in being living proof of God's roadmap for all our lives and knowing what's best for us at any point.
She is in awe of how her life has turned out to be and hopes to be able to share her rock-solid faith with other women going through the same, often painful, process of waiting to be blessed with a child. Her advice is simple, but with herself as an example, has also been tried and tested: pray and continue to believe.
"At times it's not easy, and you can question God's plan. I can understand that because I went through the same thing, but He knows what's best for us and has a wonderful plan. Whatever it is, if you're still praying to get pregnant, continue praying. All these years, I've been holding on to God's promise."
Thanking God for the miracle of life and for answering our prayers. Ardy @ardyroberto and I have been praying to get pregnant for the past 4 years. In June 2018, we were resigned that perhaps God will answer our prayers through the miracle of adoption or through IVF but Praise God who is the author of miracles and the creator of life! By His grace, He rewarded our faith with the greatest gift: a baby conceived naturally!!! ???? There is more to this story and will be sharing it in my blog soon! Watch out for it! . Thank you to all who prayed for us and do keep us in your prayers for a safe and healthy pregnancy! May God bless you and answer your prayers too! #GodAnswersPrayers #PregnantAt43 #MiracleBaby #9WeeksPregnant
And now that the promise has been fulfilled, Miriam has responded with gratefulness and her first set of family sacrifices: rescheduling or giving up some professional commitments in the country and abroad in order to shield her and her baby from unnecessary stress, fatigue, and the chances of getting sick.
"As a speaker, I can easily be replaced, and seminars can be pushed back. But we've been waiting for this baby for four years, and I'm the only one who can carry this baby. Speakers are replaceable, but a mother is not. I have to know my priorities," Miriam says, beautifully.
Wiping a few tears from her eyes at the thought of all that she has surpassed and can look forward to, she concludes, "What touches me is the knowledge that this miracle is growing in my womb. It touches me how each of us were conceived this way, in the secret places, and how God has known us very intimately from day zero, when we were all but a single cell. God has great plans for us even before we are conceived. This makes me feel like I'm part of a miracle."
Great things come to those who wait, trust, and keep the faith—take it from Miriam, who's happily expecting for the first time in her life at 43.
Produced by Grace Libero-Cruz
Photography, video and video editing by Pat Buenaobra
Photography assistant: Renz Ortiz
Special thanks to Roven Calderon of Chuk PR and Weng Paz of Genesis Management
Photos from @miriamq888