Ruth Wong and her husband, Leong Ho Wan, were grieved when their unborn baby girl, Faith, whom they had tried for four years to conceive, passed way at 26 and a half weeks. All photos courtesy of Ruth Wong.

Ruth Wong and her husband, Leong Ho Wan, were grieved when their unborn baby girl, Faith, whom they had tried for four years to conceive, passed way at 26 and a half weeks. All photos courtesy of Ruth Wong.

“Why would You play such a cruel joke on us? Why couldn’t You have just closed the door right from the start? Why crush us like this?”

Finally pregnant after struggling with infertility for almost four years, Ruth Wong, 32, and her husband never expected their unborn baby girl to be torn from them at just 26 and a half weeks.

Nothing seemed to make sense. Hadn’t she been the answer to their prayers? Hadn’t they received a word from God to name her Faith? Why, then, had this happened?

Small as a mustard seed

The bad news had come at the baby’s 20-week scan.

“It was a very tense atmosphere,” said Wong, a secondary school teacher, who recalled feeling uneasy when her gynaecologist repeatedly asked other doctors to come in to look at the ultrasound.

The bad news had come at the baby’s 20-week scan.

Wong and her husband soon learnt the reason behind the doctors’ murmured concerns: Baby Faith’s weight was in the 1st percentile.

She was later diagnosed with an early onset of intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR), which happens when the foetus does not receive enough blood flow and oxygen and, as a result, is too small for its gestational age.

There was not much that could be done. The plan, they were told, was to wait 10 more weeks for the baby to become more developed, before possibly delivering her.

In the meantime, all they could do was wait and pray that little Faith would grow, said Wong, who had to go for scans and consultations almost every week.

“Faith may be small, but maybe her story would be powerful enough to be a testimony to God,” thought Ruth Wong.

But as the weeks drew on, the situation did not improve. Wong grew increasingly anxious. “Cognitively I was aware that God is in control. But humanly, maybe it was the maternal instincts, it was very difficult not to do anything about it,” she said.

They decided to seek a second opinion at another hospital. But the prognosis they received was equally grim: Faith’s chances of survival were slim, and there was nothing much that could be done about it.

There were many sleepless nights, said Wong.

On one such night, Wong got out of bed to search up the words “small” and “faith” in the Bible. She was led to Matthew 17:20, where Jesus had told the disciples:

“If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, it is enough. You can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there.’ And it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” (New International Reader’s Version)

She felt like God was speaking to her through this verse, encouraging her that something good would come out of this situation. “Faith may be small, but maybe her story would be powerful enough to be a testimony to God,” said Wong.

Spinning out of control

More bad news hit.

Wong was found to have preeclampsia, a potentially fatal pregnancy complication characterised by high blood pressure, and had to be warded to be monitored.

“It felt like we were just waiting for bad news – either bad news for me or bad news for the baby.”

If her blood pressure became too high, baby Faith would have to be delivered as soon as possible, or Wong’s life would be at risk.

But doctors were not confident that the baby was sufficiently developed to survive out of the womb. Wong said they also told her that if Faith was born below a minimum weight, they would not resuscitate her.

“At that point I really felt like things were spinning out of control and everything was out of my hands. It felt like we were just waiting for bad news – either bad news for me or bad news for the baby.”

All she could do was to surrender herself and her baby to God. She spent her time in hospital listening to sermons and filling her mind with the word of God.

She took courage in the reminders that God would never leave her nor forsake her (Deuteronomy 31:6) and that He would work things out for good (Romans 8:28).

“At that point, we were not sure what kind of good it would be – whether it was that the baby will grow, or whether she will be delivered and survive, or maybe she won’t survive but something good will come out of it,” she said.

Saying goodbye

These assurances prepared her for what was to come.

On April 27, 2020, five days after Wong was warded, nurses found that little Faith’s heart had stopped beating.

“In the midst of it all, my husband and I were both very calm, and we were resting assured in the promises of God,” she said.

“Baby Faith, daddy and mummy love you and will reunite with you one day.”

After Wong’s nine-hour labour and delivery, the couple was even praised by a nurse for handling the loss of their child with much grace.

“Baby Faith, the fighter that she was, had fought the good fight, finished the race, and kept the faith,” Wong penned in an Instagram post that same morning.

“While we love her as earthly parents and are sad to lose her, we’re comforted to know that she’s in the hands of her Heavenly Father who created her wonderfully and loved her far more abundantly than we ever could.

“Baby Faith, daddy and mummy love you and will reunite with you one day.”

Grappling with grief

The grief continued to sink in.

A few days after she returned home from the hospital, Wong began to feel angry and disappointed with God.

Questions flooded her mind: “Why are You so cruel? Why couldn’t this have been a happy ending? Why couldn’t this be an episode where you were a Healer? Why would you help others have successful pregnancies when You wouldn’t let me?”

“I just felt that God was being very unfair,” she admitted.

“Why would you help others have successful pregnancies when You wouldn’t let me?”

She found no answers to her questions. But she saw God’s hand of comfort through the people that He surrounded her with during her grieving moments.

Her church family sent them food and flowers, and spent time with Wong and her husband, offering them their presence and a listening ear.

Other women who had gone through miscarriages also shared their stories with Wong, which helped her to feel that she was not alone in her pain.

“In a way that was a reality check for me, like I’m not the only one suffering. I’m not the only one going through hard things,” she said.

In her tear-filled moments, Wong was also greatly comforted to know that Jesus was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief (Isaiah 53:3; John 11:35).

“I was reminded that on this side of eternity, there will always be pain and suffering and tears. And so we can only hang on to God’s promises, like the comfort that He gives and the hope of eternity.”

Rainbows for remembering

To cope with her grief, Wong picked up different activities, including making macramé rainbows. (Macramé is a form of textile produced by knotting techniques.)

“That hope may not be in what we do, or what we hope for, but it’s a hope in Christ … He is a promise-keeping God.”

“For me, rainbows hold great significance. I’ve always been very excited when I see rainbows and I think it’s because rainbows always appear after a thunderstorm. But more than that, they are a sign of God’s promise and faithfulness,” she said.

She had initially made the rainbows to thank friends and family for getting them through a rough year. But, at her sister’s suggestion, she began to sell them on Instagram for a good cause.

That was how Project Faith (@proj.faith on Instagram) was birthed.

She hopes that these rainbows can be visual reminders of joy and hope for whoever receives them. “That hope may not be in what we do, or what we hope for, but it’s a hope in Christ. He’s unchanging and He is a promise-keeping God,” she said.

Wong hopes that these macramé rainbows will serve as a visual reminder of God’s promises and hope to whoever receives them.

Wong has committed to donate 10% of the proceeds to organisations close to her heart. So far, she has supported the Alzheimer’s Disease Association and Angel Hearts, which uses pre-loved wedding gowns to make clothes for stillborn babies.

The hospital had dressed little Faith in a gown from Angel Hearts after she was born, recalled Wong. “Someone had lovingly made something for her, and that helped us to know that we were not grieving alone.”

Faith that moves mountains

It has been a year since little Faith’s passing and Wong’s questions still remain unanswered. But her understanding of the situation has grown, she said.

“As small as she was, she had moved mountains within us, breaking down our unbelief and drawing us closer to Christ.”

“We can never comprehend why all this happened. But I suppose that’s faith, right? Faith is trusting God even when He doesn’t answer our prayer. Faith is resting in the confidence that His plans are best for us even though we can’t see it then.

“Even till today, I still don’t see how losing a child can be good. Yet, looking back, we really see how God had used baby Faith to grow our faith in Him. As small as she was, she had moved mountains within us, breaking down our unbelief and drawing us closer to Christ.”

As Christians, they know that physical death is but a temporary separation.

“We are comforted to know that Faith is no longer suffering and is in the hands of her Heavenly Father who loves her far more than we ever could. We can look forward to a joyous reunion in heaven.”


IF YOU LIKED THIS STORY, READ:

From stillbirth to adoption: When God turned a couple’s heartbreak to happiness

Standing firm in suffering

Joseph’s take: Suffering can be fruitful

About the author

Gracia Lee

Gracia is a journalism graduate who thoroughly enjoys people and words. Thankfully, she gets a satisfying dose of both as a writer at Salt&Light. When she's not working, you will probably find her admiring nature or playing Monopoly Deal with her little brother.

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