The Bryans – triumphant through faith
In December, Eric and Marcia Bryan will herald their 20th wedding anniversary.
Looking back, the Bryans opened up their lives to Family and Religion, revealing the heartaches, disappoint-ments and the tie that held the family together - their steadfast faith in God.
After a few years, most couples anticipate the addition to the family unit and the Bryans are no different.
After losing four children during childbirth in six years, Eric's wife did not have it in her to try again.
The final loss was the worst as she held her son in her arms for a few minutes, but just like all the others,
The couple said they gave up all hope of ever being parents the
When Marcia found out that she was pregnant again, she had a 'don't care' attitude as she expected death to snatch her child's life like the rest.
The couple had reason to be hopeful as their daughter, Antonia, made her entrance into the world on October 25, 2004.
Then there was the dÈj‡ vu moment. Little Antonia had breathing problems and Marcia thought that was it.
But the church, Miracle Tabernacle Church of God of Prophecy, rallied around the couple, turning up at the hospital to pray life into their miracle child.
Two years later, they had to storm the throne of Heaven again as Antonia developed pneumonia and, for a while, it was touch and go.
After all the trauma they went through to have a child, the Bryans were content just having one child.
"After Antonia was born, knowing what we had gone through, we didn't plan on having any more. But God had a different plan," said Eric.
It was not an easy pregnancy the next time around as Marcia was in and
out of the hospital with all sorts of complications. Eric ended up losing his job at the time as he had to take days off to take care of his wife and young child.
Marcia ended up having an emergency surgery, and it was heartache for him as the anaesthetic wore off and he could hear her cries of pain from the doorway where he stood waiting.
"I was at the door praying as usual when they took the baby out. The doctor ran past me in a hurry with the child, after which, my wife came out on the bed all in pain enquiring about our son," he said.
The couple had to deal with another major hurdle, which saw them digging deep into their faith, as the doctor informed them that their son, Anthony, only had a 20 per cent chance of surviving.
"I immediately cried out, 'Lord, not again!'" Eric said he pleaded with God to "do it again" as He had done with his daughter. In fact, that plea became a song he later wrote and entered in the JCDC gospel festival.
His son was placed on a continuous positive airway pressure machine, which is used to help patients with breathing problems.
According to Eric, it broke his wife's heart to see her baby hooked up with so many needles, but he stayed there and sent up unending prayers, with prayer warriors from the church joining in faith with him.
"One day, I was there praying and I said, 'Lord, I declare this boy's lungs healed right now in the name of Jesus' and the baby ... sneezed. I smiled and said. 'Lord, if this is You, let him sneeze again', and he did!"
His son was not out the woods yet, but encouraged now, Eric continued his prayerful warfare.
His prayers were answered when, for the first time in two weeks, his wife could finally hold their son and breastfeed him.
It was sweet victory for the Bryans as, at one point, he said the doctors gave up hope as they said they had "used up all his veins and could not locate another. They ended up trying a vein in his head.
On January 27, Anthony celebrated his fourth birthday and is now enrolled at Brown's Basic School. Antonia, who will soon be 12, sat the Grade Six Achievement Test with her eyes set on Glenmuir High School.
For the Bryans, it has been a rough road, but through it all, their love for and faith in God have seen them and continue to see them through the obstacles of life.
"When you keep God at the centre, you can ride out any storm," said Eric.