{Turning tragedy into thanksgiving} Jonah’s story.

Written by: Doreen Sacrey

My name is Doreen Sacrey. I was born in Newfoundland and met my husband Raymond when I was 18 and we married 2 and a half years later. Almost two years married God decided to move us from Gander, Newfoundland to Nova Scotia and there we decided to live our life. After 2 years of marriage we decided to try to have a baby not knowing it would take 3 years.

One night after so many disappointing pregnancy results, I said to Raymond we need to lay hands on my stomach and pray that God would bring us a baby. A month later our prayers were answered. My father’s words to me were “Doreen this child you are carrying is a miracle and I will tell you why when he or she is born.” I was really sick and people told me when I get to 3 months I should be feeling better. Well that didn’t happen. At 5 months I had to wear a back brace because my back was so bad and at 24 weeks I was spotting so the doctors took me off work. At 33 weeks the doctors sent me to the IWK hospital in Halifax because I was really ill and had to go and have surgery due to kidney problems that I had as a child.

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After 4 days in the IWK on January 17, 2002 Jonah Darren Esau Sacrey came into this world weighting 4lbs 13oz. Being 6 weeks early, he was perfect to me. The doctors said he had a heart murmur, but other than that he was ok. Jonah was so little and had an IV in his head. All I did was cry. The doctors told us Jonah just needed to feed and grow. So they had decided to send us back to Kentville hospital on Friday. Nine days after Jonah was born.

On that Friday there was a snow storm so we couldn’t leave until Monday. Not knowing, Saturday, the first time Jonah was in my room since he was born, he would get really sick again. On Sunday a doctor told us there was a cardiologist coming to check on him the next day. On Monday morning Jonah’s doctor told us he was fine and there was nothing to worry about. My husband decided to leave and go back to work thinking all is good. Monday night the cardiologist told me and my brother in law Dwayne Philpott who had been working in Halifax for the past month that Jonah’s heart is enlarged because it was working so hard to pump the blood through a narrowing in his aorta which only had a clearance of 1 mm. All of his energy was going to his heart to keep the blood flowing. He couldn’t keep his body temperature up. He couldn’t even stay awake enough to feed so he had to be fed through a tube.

Jonah had a coarctation of the aorta and needed it repaired. Without surgery they were only giving him 4 days to live. I felt like my world was crashing down around me. I just begin to cry. Dwayne called the family to break the news that Jonah needed surgery the next day. All I could do that night was hold Jonah and sing every song I could think of. I began to sing, He’s touching you now, He’s touching you now, I feel His presence and I feel His power. I sang that for hours to him.

The next day Raymond, our pastors Duane and Heather Collicutt and my brother and sister in laws Darren and Elizabeth Sacrey who were youth pastors at the time came to visit. After Jonah’s surgery the doctors told us Jonah had a hole in his heart and he would need many more surgeries as he grew.

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Jonah spent 5 days in ICU after his surgery, because of a collapsed lung. The doctors said, he would need that same surgery again in a year and open heart surgery at 2. He would also need another surgery at around 16 and maybe again at the age of 40. I thank God everyday for his life. After his initial surgery I said to my father, “why did you say that Jonah was a miracle?” He said to me that Jonah was a miracle because when I was a little girl the doctors told them I couldn’t have children due to issues with my kidneys. I had no knowledge of this and here before me was the reflection of Jesus.

There was so much prayer for Jonah here in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. I believe he was a miracle and God had something great planned for him. After 4 weeks at the IWK Jonah and I went home. Age one has passed and Jonah’s first surgery was still a success. When he was 2 the doctors decided to wait until 3 to schedule open heart surgery. At a check up at age 3 the doctors found another defect with his heart. He had a bicuspid valve. It should have been in 3 pieces but two of them were stuck together and needed to be separated. If this was done he would have to take antibiotics in the future if he ever needed any dental work because any bacteria entering his bloodstream could kill him.

Through it all we believed God was going to heal Jonah. Our faith was strong and we knew God was in control. When Jonah was 3 he had some tests done to see when they were going to do his surgery. During this Jonah had to be asleep for 5 hours. After 3 hours I was looking at him in a crib when he spoke the words, “I’M ALL BETTER”. I said to Raymond, “did you hear that?” He repeated the words again. I knew right then that God had healed him.

So the doctors came with the report saying the hole in Jonah’s heart is no longer there and the valve has separated. Previously they had told us that the hole in his heart was to large to grow over and that he would need surgery to fix it. I begin to cry. I told the doctor that I would’ve been surprised if you said that he was sick. I believe God healed him. The doctors could not explain it and he said whatever you believe in must work.

The full hour car ride home I cried, praising God once again for his faithfulness to us. We got in the van and the music began to play. Let the healing waters flow in this place. I remind Jonah that his scar on his back is like the scars on Jesus’ hands and feet. That miracle was born and given to us.

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Jonah his now 12 and enjoying grade 7. He loves Lego and dreams of being a Lego designer. We are so thankful that as of his last check up in March, Jonah is still healthy and only had that one surgery so far. He might need his aorta repaired in the next 2 years, but we are always trusting God no matter what.

I’m glad to report I gave birth to Rebecca 2 years later with a very high risk pregnancy, but healthy. God has blessed Raymond and I here in Nova Scotia for 15 and a half years. We are faithful members of Kingsway Assembly Pentecostal Church. We are involved with youth and worship ministry. Raymond also plays a part on the board as well. Sometimes we have to go on a journey to have a testimony for others to see the power of God. This is our testimony and this was our journey.

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Born 1976 in Birchy Bay, NFLD. Parents Esau and Ruby Combden. Have 2 older brothers Jerry and Terry and a sister Kathleen. Moved to Gander when I was 17 to study Legal Assistant. Married my husband Raymond Sacrey on June 7, 1997. Moved to Nova Scotia 1999. Worked at McDonald’s in Coldbrook, NS as Assistant Manager from July 2000 to May 2014. Had Jonah 2002, then Rebecca 2004. Now I’m Assistant Operation Manager at Pete’s in Wolfville, NS. Raymond and I will be celebrating our 18th anniversary in June.

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