Around my first son Isaac's birthday in April 1998, I found out that I was pregnant. Everything went fine for the first part of the pregnancy. My boyfriend was happy and hoping for a boy, although I wanted a girl.
At 20 weeks, my doctor sent me to a specialist, Dr. Hasselein, for my ultrasound. I don't know whether or not she sensed something different. She said that due to my history, in which I had lost my first pregnancy at five months, and had been induced at 36 weeks because of pre-eclampsia for the birth of my first-born son, Isaac, she thought it would be best.
When Dr. Hasselein performed the ultrasound, he announced that I was pregnant with twin boys. My boyfriend was excited, since that was what he'd wanted. In announcing that, the doctor also informed me that they were a rare case of identical twins, where the babies shared the same amniotic sack, but thankfully were not conjoined. The twins were average weight and looked strong and healthy, lying head to head. Then he informed us of the complications: each baby had his own umbilical cord, but the umbilical cords were all tangled up. He said there was no way I would be able to deliver vaginally, I would have to have a c-section, and they were going to take them at 32 weeks. He also said there was a possibility that one or both could die if the umbilical cords tightened and cut off the babies' supply, so I was put on strict bed rest, which is hard when you have an 18-month-old you also have to care for with little to no help.
I started seeing Dr. Hasselein on a regular basis, and the twins were doing fine. Then the tables turned: at 28 weeks, Dr. Hasselein insisted I start going to the hospital twice a week so they could monitor the heartbeats. I was to go every Monday and Thursday.
The first week was fine. The next week (week 29), I went to the hospital and both hearts were beating strongly. When I returned on Thursday, only one heart was beating. The nurses called Dr. Hasselein, and he immediately came in with an ultrasound machine.
Unfortunately, one of the twins' hearts was no longer beating. I remember I didn't believe it; I was praying it was all a mix-up, and that everything would be fine. But it wasn't. One of my twins had passed away.
I was sent to another hospital to see four specialists, one of whom was on vacation. The three available specialists examined me at different times and all suggested different strategies. The first one suggested I deliver right away, the downside of that decision being that the live baby could either have a lot of problems or may not survive. The second one suggested I wait a few days and get steroid shots to strengthen the live baby's lungs then deliver. The risks in that case were that the second baby may still not survive and potentially have a lot of problems. The third specialist suggested I wait until I reach 32 weeks (3 more weeks) and deliver then, which would give the live baby a chance to become more ready to survive outside my womb, which still left the possibility of blood clots transferring from my deceased son to the live son, which could cause him to have seizures and convulsions. Those, in turn could cause brain damage, and there would be no way to find out if any of the above had happened until after the baby's birth.
I was sad, scared, upset and confused. Which course of action should I choose? What if I chose the wrong one and lost my second baby, too? I didn't know what to do, or who to turn to. So I turned to God and asked for help. Since I was not that good at hearing his voice, I decided to rest, and I asked him to have an answer in my heart and mind when I woke up, and I wouldn't worry about it anymore.
The next morning at 9 a.m., I was awakened by the specialists asking me what I had decided to do. God had put it in my heart to wait until I reached 32 weeks, so that's what I did. They kept me in the hospital the whole three weeks to continuously monitor my son's heartbeat.
During the following three weeks, I kept having contractions. The specialists said that because I had one deceased baby and one live baby, my body was confused and didn't know whether to abort or not. So they gave me medicine to ease the contractions.
During the second week (31 weeks gestational), during a routine ultrasound, I heard one of the doctors tell the other that my deceased son's head was caving in. This disturbed me very much, as I had looked forward to holding him when he was born. For some reason they hadn't wanted me to know, but the doctor finally explained to me that with him being deceased for three weeks prior to delivery, his bone structure would start to give out; he would start to decay and he would not look as you would imagine a baby to look. I was freaked out and sad, but I then thanked God for making me aware of this so I would know what to expect at birth.
I was basically alone for the entire three weeks. My boyfriend had decided to break up with me, I was going through custody battles over my one-year-old, my family was not supportive, and my friends had their own lives to live, so no one really came to visit me. The nurses were very worried about my mental state. They started sending psychiatrists, counselors, and the chaplain in to speak with me. They couldn't understand how I could be going through so much, yet be so calm and peaceful. What they didn't realize was that I had put everything in God's hands and trusted Him that everything would work out fine. That is why I was so peaceful. The chaplain understood, and visited and prayed with me often.
I was set to deliver on November 30, 1998 at 9 a.m. I was deathly scared of a C-section, or any kind of surgery. My mother, oldest sister, and friend said they would be there with me, so I felt more at ease.
However, on the day of the surgery, my mother did not show up, neither did my sister and friend. I was all alone. I went and took my shower and I remember crying and crying and telling the Lord that I was scared. I know He was there for me and would not leave me, but I prayed for Him to send someone in physical form also. Just when they were taking me to the prep room, the chaplain, who at that time was no longer working at the hospital, walked in to support me! I knew God had sent her to be there for me, and I thanked Him over and over.
She accompanied me through the surgery, and next thing I knew I heard a little voice crying out loud. My baby was fine! I was so happy, thankful and relieved.
He weighed three pounds, fifteen ounces and was nineteen inches tall. My deceased son weighed two pounds, thirteen ounces and was seventeen inches tall. I was sad for my deceased son and hesitant to look at him, so they wrapped him up in blankets and I held him while the chaplain prayed for him with me.
The doctor informed me that my son was having breathing problems because he had swallowed some of the amniotic fluid during the delivery, which contained particles of my deceased son. He had a breathing tube in his nose and mouth, an IV in his foot, and a tube down his throat that was hooked up to an automatic feeder set to feed him a certain amount every 30 minutes or so. A few days later, I walked down to the NICU to visit him, and he was crying. Call it mother's intuition, but I knew it was a hunger cry. I told the nurse that my son was hungry and needed more food, but the nurse argued me up and down that statistically, babies at his weight and prematurity level eat a certain amount. I told her all babies are different, and I knew that my son was hungry. She refused to feed him any more food without the doctor's consent and the doctor was not due until 1 a.m. It was only 6 p.m.
I was very angry, and even looked into getting him transferred to another hospital. I spoke to my aunt on the phone, who told me to pray about it. So I apologized to God for getting so angry, explained to Him what was going on, and asked Him to help. Then I went to sleep.
That night I woke up at 2a.m. and went to the NICU to speak to the doctor, who was was busy with another premature baby. So I went over to see my son. To my surprise, he had been taken off the automatic feeder, had no more breathing tubes down his throat, and he had been taken out of the incubator and placed in a crib! I was so happy, I cried and thanked the Lord because I knew it was His doing.
When the doctor came over to me, he explained that they had tested him and he was now able to breath on his own and drink from a bottle. He was progressing faster than expected. I was finally allowed to breastfeed him, which he handled very well.
I thanked the doctor and stayed with my son, holding him on my chest, and rocking him back and forth.
I was allowed to take my son home two days before Christmas, which is what I had prayed for. He is now walking and talking all over the place. He will be four years old this Saturday, November 30th and shows no signs of disabilities. He is slightly small physically, but mentally he is very smart for his age. I have since won custody of my first son and now have a third son, Ezekiel, age two.
I am currently 23 weeks pregnant with a baby sister for my sons, and I'm praying that everything goes fine with this pregnancy.
I am sharing this story to let you know that there is nothing that God can't handle. If you're having complications or problems with your pregnancy or with anything in your life, call on the Lord and He will take care of you.