1st Miracle for Premature Twins — part 5

When I finally got pregnant, I was 24 years old and thought I had control of my life. I expected to have a healthy baby, take a six week leave of absence, and return on schedule to my career.

Everything looked good those first several months of pregnancy. My eight week ultrasound looked normal and the morning sickness was controllable. Then, at the 20th week, the doctor told me I was measuring too big. He thought it was either diabetes or “multiple gestation.” I just assumed it was diabetes and went in right away for the diabetes test. Then I followed-up on the appointment that the nurse scheduled for me to get an ultrasound. Since everything looked normal during the eight week ultrasound, I didn’t expect to find anything different this time. However, the minute the nurse put the scanner on my belly, we couldn’t believe it. There were two heads and two bodies. It was twins! Even the nurse hadn’t expected this new revelation. I decided to not tell my husband over the phone so I carried the big news with me all day during work until he picked me up from the bus stop that evening. When he asked how it went, I handed him the first ultrasound photo and said “this is baby A” and then the second photo and said “this is baby B.” He said, “Oh, so what did they say?” He thought I was handing him two ultrasound photos of the same baby. So I repeated myself and emphasized the baby A and baby B. We pretty much spent the rest of the evening standing around looking at each other in shock.

Not long after this discovery, the doctor instructed me to take maternity leave and lay on my back as much as possible. It wasn’t easy to stay on the couch while watching my husband cook and clean.

By the 27th week, I had a lot of back and low abdominal pains and found out on the 29th week that I was dilated to three. The doctor scolded me for not realizing that I was in labor and sent me to the hospital so he could put me on medication to stop the contractions. At the time, there was a new drug to speed up fetal lung development but it was not approved yet by the FDA so we could not use it.

After a week in the hospital and on medication that kept me awake all night, the contractions began again. Then the drama began and they transferred me to Abbott Northwestern Hospital. Abbott has an underground tunnel to Children’s Hospital where they were better equipped to care for premature infants. That is when one of the doctors told me that the twins had a twin-to-twin transfusion and were therefore creating too much amniotic fluid. This caused me to be too large and, thus, sent me into premature labor. That explained why at 30 weeks I was already outgrowing maternity clothes.

The doctors knew what they were doing when they took me into the operating room in case natural delivery did not work. After just a couple pushes, Jessica’s heart rate plummeted so the doctor ordered the anesthesiologist to put me under and the girls were born by cesarean with 20 doctors and nurses in the room.

Born 10 weeks premature, Jessica was 2 pds, 12 oz. and pale because she didn’t receive enough blood during the twin-to-twin transfusion and Rachael was 2 pds, 15 oz. and red because she received too much blood that did not circulate, which overloaded her organs. Therefore, Jessica needed a transfusion for additional blood and Rachael needed a transfusion to replace her “sludgy” blood.

The first couple days were very difficult and the girls were on 100% oxygen with maximum pressures. On the second day, Rachael hit a critical level and the doctor told us that they were giving her all the oxygen they could but the oxygen levels in her blood were still not high enough to survive. He asked if we wanted to baptize her. There were now people from all religions praying and lighting candles for the girls and we embraced the promise of James 5:16.

Then our first miracle happened. Rachael’s lungs collapsed from the pressure of the respirator. This was good because now the doctors could insert a chest tube to release the air, reinflate her lungs, and give her the oxygen levels she needed. Over the next week, she needed seven chest tubes and they had to keep repositioning her little body in ways that would allow the air to rise and escape from the tubes.

In the meantime, Jessica also reached critical oxygen and pressure levels but her lungs were stronger and did not collapse. Because she had to sustain pressures for a longer period of time, her head bleeds were a little more advanced. However, by the grace of God, it didn’t manifest itself in any way.

It was a sad and empty feeling leaving the hospital without my babies that week. My husband and I filled our days over those next three months driving 30 miles to and from the hospital to touch the girls and talk to them so that they would know they were loved and someone was waiting for them to come home. We hated to leave after visiting with them because their progress was so much better when we were there. Whenever we returned home from our visits, we would call the hospital to check in one more time before going to bed for the evening and, invariably, the nurse would always tell us that the girls’ readings dropped after we left.

Once we were past the first critical week, it didn’t occur to me that the girls’ lives were still in danger until the doctor told us on their tenth day that Rachael’s kidneys were failing and they had done all they could do for her. Then he went on to say that we should be prepared to give them permission to pull the plug. There was so much air leaking from her lungs that there was a good chance it would get to her heart, which would lead to death. God gave us extra strength and hope during those days that can only be described as “a peace that passes all understanding” (Philippians 4:7). I came to know the God of miracles and will continue with His next miracle in my next post.

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