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Woman Risks Life to See God's Promise

Shannon Woodland - 700 Club Producer
Danielle Thompson - 700 Club Producer

Natalie says, “I had been having pain in my stomach and it would be so bad that it would kinda put me to the floor.”  

Doctors couldn’t find the source of Natalie’s occasional, but intense, bouts of abdominal pain.  In 2005, two months before her wedding, one of those attacks sent her to the ER, where an ultrasound revealed a 3-centimeter fibroid tumor on her uterus.  

Natalie says her doctor “assured me that women have this all the time and that it's not a big deal.  So since she didn't worry about it, I didn't worry about it either.”

But the tumor started causing more and more discomfort.  So, months after her wedding to Paul, she went in for surgery to have it removed.  Thirty minutes later, the surgeon came out to tell Paul the tumor had grown from 3 centimeters to 15.  

Paul says, “She showed me two photos and it looked like the size of maybe like a cantaloupe, and she points to this little bump on this cantaloupe-looking tumor and says, ‘You see that little bump?  That's actually her uterus.  The tumor's completely encompassing the uterus.’  So she says, ‘There's just no way to be able to remove the tumor without having to move-remove the uterus.’”

They stopped the procedure and the couple went home to discuss whether to go through with the hysterectomy.  A few days later her doctor called, insisting that it was her only option.

Natalie says the doctor told her, “‘Don't hold on to any hope for having children.  It is impossible. And this tumor needs to be removed.  It's very dangerous.  We just need to do this hysterectomy.’  Right when she told me that, I hung up and I was mad.  I was angry.  I didn’t like that that was being taken away from me.  I went to the Lord right away and I said, ‘God, what is Your will in this?  What do You want?  What do You want to do?’”

Paul says, “I told Natalie, I said, ‘You know, I can believe the Lord will take this tumor completely away, however He wants to do it, however He's going to do it.  You have to decide for yourself what you're able to-to believe for, and I'm going to believe with you.’”

Natalie says god reminded her of Psalm 128, the blessing that was read at their wedding.  She looked it up, and one verse stood out.  She says it was verse 3, “‘Your wife will a fruitful vine in the innermost parts of her home, and she will see her children around her table like olive plants.’  And then I was like, ‘That is for me!’  And I held on to it and I didn't let it go.”

Natalie declined the hysterectomy.  For the next five years, the couple tried to get pregnant as the tumor continued to grow.  It got so large people thought she was pregnant.  Natalie says “I would just say, ‘No, I'm not pregnant, it's a fibroid tumor.’ And they’re just like, ‘Oh I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry.’  And I said ‘No.  I know what I look like.  I am believing for a miracle and I’m waiting for a promise.  God has promised me that I would have a child.’”

Meanwhile doctors kept insisting she have the procedure, because now the mass was pressing into her organs and could cause kidney or heart failure.  With the prayer and support of family and friends, Natalie and Paul constantly asked god for guidance.

Natalie says, “I asked Him specifically, ‘Do I do the hysterectomy or I don't?’  And He said, ‘No.’  And every time I went to the Lord regarding it, He told me no.  I had times where it was really hard.  And I just went on my face before the Lord until I got peace back again.  And when I got that peace, I was so confident that the Lord was in this.”

Paul explains, “It’s not easy.  It never is.  When it’s walking by faith, and just really the Lord doing it through you, the less and less you really consider your abilities and just rely on His.”

Then one Sunday at church, Natalie stopped to greet her pastor before taking her seat.  Later in the service, he announced that God had revealed something to him.  Natalie says, “He said, ‘This girl doesn’t even know that I’m talking about her right now.’ And he says, ‘But when I shook her hand, the Lord said pregnant.’  And he turned to me and he said, ‘Natalie, this is you.’  And he says, ‘And the Lord says to you right now, nothing's impossible with Him.’”

Then in April 2011, while out with Paul on her birthday, Natalie believed the impossible had come true.

Paul says, “She's like, ‘You know, I think I want to go home.  As a matter of fact, let's go stop by the Rite-Aid and get a pregnancy test.’  And I’m like, ‘What? Pregnancy test?’”

Just as Natalie suspected, the test was positive.  She says, “I was ecstatic.  I was just like ‘I knew He would follow through!’”  

But with the tumor putting Natalie and the baby at risk, she started seeing Dr. Douglas Montgomery, who specialized in high-risk pregnancies.  He made sure the couple understood what those risks were.  He explains, “We would-would lose the baby or have an extremely premature birth of the baby, or have a medical complication of Natalie where we can't continue the pregnancy, her life's in jeopardy, the baby's pre-viable, we need to deliver the baby to save Natalie's life.”

Then at 28 weeks, one of many possible complications arose.  Natalie developed a blood clot in her leg.

Dr. Montgomery says, “And it was at that point that I was concerned for her life because if that blood clot were to break off and go to her lungs, it was large enough to where she could die from what we call a saddle pulmonary embolus, and so that was very concerning to me at that time.”

Natalie remembers, “So even though I'm getting in the natural, ‘All these things are going to happen to you, you're going to die, it doesn’t look good, it doesn't…’  The Lord's telling me, ‘No.  You're not going to die.  You are healthy, you are whole.’”

Dr. Montgomery decided to transfer Natalie to the ICU at Los Angeles Medical Center, where she would be monitored 24/7 in case the clot broke loose.  For now, he put her on a mild blood thinner to keep it from getting worse.  Natalie says, “He told me that he didn't want me to die, but that's what it's looking like. And I told him, ‘Dr. Montgomery, I'm not going to die.  I did not come this far for this to end this way. The next time you’ll see me I’ll be holding my baby tumor free.’”

Once there, Paul stayed by her side, fasting and praying for his wife and unborn child.   He says, “I have to get before the Lord because I don’t know what to do.  I know what I feel the Lord is saying, I know what the doctors are saying, and then I feel, you know, the tug and pull of faith versus fear.”

After two weeks, one of Natalie’s doctors came in with results from an ultrasound.  The clot was gone.  Natalie says, “So when she told me, ‘Oh, that heparin must have worked.’  And I said, ‘But you told me that it would not take the blood clot away, you told me it would just keep it from getting bigger.’  And she's like, ‘I don't know.  I don't know what happened.’  And I said, ‘I know.  It was God.’”

On October 19, 2011, Heaven Faith Valcarcel was born via C-section, weighing 3 pounds 13 ounces.

Natalie says, “She was so real, and it was so God.  It was very surreal.  This has been done completely by His promise.  It was impossible in the natural but in the spirit it was possible.”

Paul remembers, “Just being a first-time dad being with a little girl, it was, you know, it was awesome.”

Two months later, Natalie had the hysterectomy to remove the tumor, which had grown to 18 pounds.     
Dr. Montgomery says, “The real remarkable part of this is Natalie's faith, not through-through one pregnancy, but yet through 5 to 6 years, and then to take on all of the negative comments that come on with all the risks that she had to face.  And I really am struck by how God worked through her and brought that - she built my faith during this.”

Heaven is a healthy little girl who loves Jesus.  For Natalie and Paul, she’s living proof that God hears their prayers.  Paul says, “We believe in a God who has done greater, and you know, He did it in Jesus.  And He just says, ‘Just believe Me, just trust Me, see Me, know Me,’ because we can’t do it on our own.

Natalie adds, “Jesus is the answer to everything.  And because I know I can trust in His promises, I trusted Him all the way.  He is the only one who can pull you through something like this.”

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