Want to meet a truly inspirational family? If you don’t yet know ITMI’s Richard and Brooke Nungesser, get to know them! Start by reading the incredible story of how God is building their family, one miracle at a time.
We are STOKED! You should know that in nearly 13 years of marriage we have never prevented God from giving us children. At 21 I was diagnosed with a tumor at the base of the brain on the pituitary.
It’s one of the leading causes of infertility in women because it affects your endocrine system. I was told very clearly that I would never have children because my prolactin levels were extreme and my body always thought I was pregnant.
And so I told this awesome guy I was dating that it was likely I would never have kids.
He could run if he wanted. But he stuck around. For 5 years of marriage, he let me cry on his chest because what the doctors said appeared to be very, very true.
Five years into marriage and my 30th year of life, after I finished jumping off cliffs and mountains, I thought, “Gosh, I just may be pregnant.” And we were.
Adelyne was born. Not only did the angels rejoice, but our hearts. And they haven’t stopped since!
Richard, Brooke and Adelyne Nungesser
I Started to Sense Something Was Wrong
About a year after Adelyne was born, I started to sense something was wrong. I went back to a specialist where I had another MRI and more blood tests. It was confirmed that my pituitary tumor was there and acting up.
I went back on meds. They were horrible. Nasty. Life altering. I could hardly work. I could hardly take care of my baby. Life was simply about taking the meds and surviving.
Later in the States, I even went to a different specialist, an endo/gyno who solidified that if I did not take my meds (bromocriptine), it was likely I would never get pregnant again because my tumor was acting up.
After lots of consideration, because at this point we miraculously were given Adelyne after 5 years of marriage, I couldn’t take my meds. They did not just knock me out from 9pm-7am. They knocked me out to the point where I nearly fainted on adelyne one morning at 10am after taking them the night before while rich was gone.
At that point I thought: nope. What if something happened to Adelyne while I am lying on the floor unconscious? Thus, the meds stopped even with the full knowledge that without them it was highly unlikely we’d get pregnant again with my tumor telling my body it was already pregnant.
A Short But Precious Unexpected Life
And yet, 5 years later, when we did not expect it, God gave us our 2nd baby. Baby Sam.
We only had our baby for 1 trimester, but what we learned through our baby’s short, short, short and beautifully precious life is that God is so gracious and good. And life—life is sooo beautiful—no matter how short.
Just as our baby’s little fingers and toes developed and he/she started kicking around, the little heart stopped one day.
No one knows why. But we do know we found this baby to be as miraculous as Adelyne and we treasured every week we had with this baby. And we value life even more after this baby.
The loss of this baby taught us more compassion than we ever thought possible.
After losing our baby, we accepted the fact that God was perhaps only going to give us an only child, Adelyne. At this point, I’m 35.
We used to talk about the number 7. Seven kids would be awesome and loud and fun. But as Adelyne got older and I, Brooke, got older, we thought, “You know, we have 1, but we have a best friend in Adelyne. She brings so much joy to our lives.”
Pregnant Again: Guardedly Rejoicing
Then, as we were celebrating the 10-yr-anniversary of Bread of Life and our 11th year of marriage, Rich and I learned we were pregnant again! I rejoiced, but this time I guarded my heart. From the start. Literally the start; at week 4 I was in such intense pain. It was as if a bomb was exploding in me. There are no explanations.
And Max…oh man. He was so much trouble! My contractions were so frequent at about 23 weeks.
I thought, “How will he survive?” and yet he did. He even stayed in until week 34. Then my contractions started and never stopped until he came. When he came he was so early and yet huge because of all my amniotic fluid.
And he was, well, newborn ugly. And yet the most beautiful thing we had seen in a long, long time.
Unfortunately they found an infection in his lungs.
They called it newborn pneumonia, and they immediately took him to the NICU. He was on oxygen/feeding tube and incubator a couple days.
His neighbors were 2lb babies. My little sick kid looked like a giant next to those precious little fighters. He was on antibiotics for 8 days before he was released with an all clear.
Oh the joys we found in having a baby at home! And OH! The fun Adelyne had in her little brother: changing diapers, sleeping with an infant, etc. Of course Max kept having [health] trouble (you all know his story).
Big sister, Adelyne holding newborn Max.
Max in the hospital.
But 1 year later we’re going to focus on celebrating his victory instead!
That Brings Us To Today
Which brings us to today. No, we did not prevent ourselves from getting pregnant again. Why not since we had a kid under 1? Well, when it takes a LOOOOOONG time to get pregnant, why prevent what gift God may give?
And give He did! When Max was 11 months old, we saw two beautiful pink stripes appear on a dollar store pregnancy test! I was certain. My husband not yet convinced.
So he changed out of his pjs and ran back to the dollar store and returned with about 10 more tests. He would stare at the tests as we took them. Talk about an eternity! When you watch those tests, it seems as if an eternity is passing before they turn for you.
We did tell Adelyne early on we were pregnant. Why? At nearly 5, she already experienced the loss of life in Baby Sam, and at 6 the near death of Maxwell. We felt that in trials and joys of life, we’d rather have her with us, on the same page, realizing that life is a gift no matter how long or short God may give it. In life there is sorrow but there is also victory.
So that is why we told Adelyne early on. So she would be on the same page as us, her family.
Boy was she excited! She can’t make up her mind if she hopes for a boy or girl. A boy so she won’t have to share a room, a girl so she’ll have a sister. Kids are truly laugh-out-loud characters, aren’t they?
Max, well, he’s a toddling 13-month-old now, so he doesn’t appear to care. As long as he gets food and loving, he’s a satisfied little chub-a-love!
Adelyne (7) and Max (1) announce the addition of their newest sibling!
And…praise the Lord…this gift that is now 13 weeks (as of July 3, 2013) appears to be going strong!
I am due the 1st week of January 2014. Baby will be born in America, Arizona, at Chandler Regional Hospital and will be welcomed by a huge slew of grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. Will be cuddled to smithereens before we whisk a very little one off to Poland, where we once again will legally reside.
2014 will bring about GREAT and wonderful changes in our lives. Ones we never thought possible when we married in 2000…and yet God made probable.
All glory to God!
What do the next 6 months hold?
Currently, Richard and Brooke are in the States. They’ve extended their first furlough in ten years while they await the arrival of their third baby.
Richard went back to Poland for a little while over the summer. He was needed there to be with short-term missions teams, help Bread of Life Moldova, check in with Poznan International Church…and I’m sure many more tasks that keep their multiple ministries afloat in their absence!
Part of their ministry in Poland is enabling Polish nationals to serve the poorest of the poor through Bread of Life. Without their advocating for Bread of Life in the States, the ministry of Bread of Life would be greatly hindered. They continue to meet with supporters to encourage, update and share gratitude with them.
Richard serving the poor on Moldova.
They’ve also been using their time in the States to catch up on some of the bigger Bread of Life projects, such as launching a new international website. Keep an eye out for the launch of this website in the fall of 2013.
And lots of family fun and ministry! This family knows how to love people and celebrate life. You can’t help but join them when they are around!
How Can We Pray for the Nungessers? Richard says…
Please pray for Brooke as she experiences cramping and tiredness too. She’s had some sever bleeding but I think everything is okay for now.
Please pray for us as we figure out how to handle the upcoming financial cost to giving birth in the USA. (just being here for the extended stay will increase their income tax burden)
We are still trying to find the best option to cover the health needs of Brooke and the baby since we are staying the States longer then expected. Then of course cover the needs of Adelyne, Maxwell and myself with Stateside insurance. We don’t have the answer to this challenge but we hope that God will lead us in the right direction.
Want to be a part of the Nungesser’s ministry? Stay connected with their projects at international.pl or breadoflife.pl or partner with them financially.