Yeimi’s pregnancy was marked with fear. But this was not the typical nervousness of a first-time mother. The father of her child was a violent, abusive man, and the day he found out she was pregnant he began hitting her, accusing her of lying, of faking her pregnancy.
“He punched me and I hit a door and the floor,” says Yeimi.
“That night I started bleeding. It was the first of many times when I thought I was going to lose my baby.” Yeimi went alone to the hospital that night where she was admitted for three days. Doctors recommended bedrest, but Yeimi needed to work. She moved in with her parents, but every few days she would visit the hospital again.
Yeimi’s mother saw the danger and fear surrounding her daughter and encouraged the young woman to go to Lluvias de Gracia Church. A neighbor had told her there was a group there that helped moms like Yeimi.
“At first I was not sure,” says Yeimi. “I was never a believer … but I was desperate for help and I knocked on the door. I was welcomed by the pastor’s wife, Silvia.” Silvia saw a toughness, a hardness in Yeimi. But she also saw a scared girl who was already fighting for her unborn child.
“Yeimi looked like she was angry at the world and at God,” says Silvia. “She had a rough childhood and had worked since she was 11 years old to support her family. So when they asked for prayer I also talked to her about the Child Survival Program.”
That night, Silvia told Yeimi that she could come to the church anytime she needed prayer, advice, food or medical care. And right before her eyes, Yeimi’s anger melted away.
“That was the day I accepted Jesus as my Savior,” says Yeimi. “And as my mother and I left the church, I felt peace. I knew that God would take care of me and my baby.
Yeimi began attending regularly, and the staff began the process of registering her in the Survival initiative. But when she was six months pregnant she reunited with her boyfriend and stopped coming to the church.
“We went to tell her she was registered, but we could not find her,” says Mirna, one of the Survival staff members who had visited with Yeimi. “We went to her house several times to see her, but months went by and we thought she had left the community.”
Finally, Silvia and Mirna were able to track Yeimi to a public hospital where Yeimi had gone to seek help. Young and afraid, she had simply run away. But the church refused to give up on her. She was not alone when she gave birth. When doctors delivered the terrible news.
“The doctor told me to push,” says Yeimi. “And I did, but the doctor said, ‘I am sorry, your baby is dead.’ But then, he told me to keep pushing because he saw another baby! I was pregnant with twins and I did not know it!”
Yeimi’s moment of joy was short-lived when she saw her little girl’s purple face. Doctors told Yeimi that her daughter had been born with a birth defect, and she needed emergency surgery to repair her esophagus.
“The doctors did not give me much hope,” Yeimi said. “But I held on to the words that Pastor Silvia said to me in prayer.”