The Day My Life Changed

 I will never forget January 17, 2013 – A year ago today.

Hours after my water broke, we were handed a printout of statistics and given the option to keep or not keep the babies. This was clearly not an “option” in my mind. Of course we were keeping these babies! I did venture to ask, however…

Me: What are the odds of them being “OK”… if born today? 
Doctor: Probably 50%.

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It was the morning of January 17th, still dark. A few weeks into busy season, I awoke to another work day. Something told me to work from home. I didn’t feel right. I remembered an important meeting that day and piles of work to be done and pushed the thought aside, moving about my routine.

If you know me, I’m not one to exaggerate and am highly skeptical. That said, I will say – without a doubt – something different happened on this particular morning. I still clearly remember, when I approached the top of the stairs outside our room, I experienced a tangible darkness, a shadow move across the space. It feels strange typing this, but it was very real.

Feeling uneasy, it felt right to do a devotion. Keep in mind, I was far from being devout at this time but over the last few months Matt and I had started to migrate back to a relationship with God. I was so close to Him when I was young, but my wild college days and career obsession had led me astray. Nonetheless, in honest attempt, I set aside five minutes to read a few verses.

I proceeded to shower and brush my teeth and then it happened, my water broke. Under normal conditions this would be an exciting event. However, in this case, I had yet to start my third trimester. I laid on the ground with a towel not knowing what to do. Matt proceeded to rush me to the hospital.PicMonkey Collage Final No Text
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For those who haven’t read the Birth Story tab of this blog, The doctors prepared for the worst – potential and likely delivery to occur that day. I was put on magnesium, thought to slow contractions and help protect the babies’ brains, along with steroids, to accelerate the babies’ lung development. I was in complete shock at this point.
My doctor calculated exact gestation to be 25 weeks and 4 days. I faced the realization that — at any moment — I could potentially deliver babies that might not survive and if they did faced many risks associated with not being fully developed.

I remember lying there with heart rate monitors on my stomach. I felt entirely helpless. I have never felt so dependent on God – praying for his grace, compassion, love, and faithfulness. I remember being scared to move as Ford, the twin with the ruptured amniotic sac, was positioned low, towards my left hip.  I hated to think that I could cause any pressure on him, as he had lost cushion of the sac.

photo-4 I can’t remember who sent me this encouraging verse (Isaiah 40:28-31) while I was on bed rest but - thank you.

“Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.”IMG_0484Risks went down each day, but they were still there. Over analysis made Matt and I feel hopeless at times. We had to constantly remind ourselves that the situation was in God’s hands, and that these were His babies. It was only when we trusted Him that we felt peace. We volleyed between analysis and peace during my 3 1/2 weeks on bed rest prior to the delivery of Ford and Wyatt.

 It was on the 6th day after the 28th week, one day shy of 29 weeks, that I started to feel unusual cramping in the afternoon. Six hours later, it was safe to say that I was in fact laboring. I can’t describe the feeling of unwillingly going into labor.  Something that should be so special felt so terrifying. I was taken to the operating room for a C-Section. I remember hearing their first cries and looking at Matt. They were the smallest, sweetest cries I had ever heard. These babies that I had felt so close to over the last few weeks by simply watching their heart rates and feeling them move now became so real.

I wasn’t able to see them as they were rushed to the NICU for stabilization. Matt followed a team of about 10 doctors and nurses to watch. I was wheeled into the NICU about an hour later to see my babies for the first time. The amount of equipment in place only allowed for me to see small portions of their faces as I looked through the glass incubator. Regardless, they were the most beautiful things that I had ever seen. I hated seeing them struggle to breathe despite the support. I hated the fact that I couldn’t have given them more time.IMG_0488WyattandFord0030photo-6 WyattandFord0162

photo-7 photo-5 WyattandFord0106Moments before checking out and having to leave the babies behind, this was the view from my postpartum room window.IMG_0425I now have these two gifts from God home with me. I thank Him for the health that they have so far. I love them so much, and it sickens me to think that there was even a chance that I could have lost them.About Me B&WThese babies are miracles. All. babies. are. miracles.About Me Babies IMG_1250 WyattandFord0065

My heart goes out to anyone that has undergone a similar or more challenging experience. That said, what are we to do when life seems far from a miracle. I have actually struggled with this concept a lot. When Matt and I were both kangarooing in the NICU, as our babies’ beds were feet away from the operating room door, we could hear a mother mourning the loss of delivering her stillborn child. Nurses acted awkward as we probably weren’t supposed to hear this. It was painful to hear. We didn’t deserve what we were holding in our arms. Not in the slightest. Why?
I don’t know if I can look at the ugliness and pain of the world and say, “it was meant to be” because God is always good. However, each day there is a battle between the dark and the light. Spiritual warfare. We aren’t in the perfect eternity of heaven, yet.

While I avoid saying… “it was meant to be”, we can try to see how God NOW MEANS it to be. We pull the light out of any situation despite how ugly and painful and dark it might be. Pull out the good… even if there is just a small glimmer of hope… because this is what God will use to heal and transform. Of course we can turn away, I am far guilty of this… but the darkness can consume us.

You might think, well it is easy for you to say assuming everything turned out for you… and you’re probably right. However, please know that I had to come to a place while on bed rest where things were entirely unpredictable. I didn’t know for weeks if these beautiful babies I looked at in their incubators had encountered serious brain bleeds making them unable to function, if they would be able to see, if they would be able to hear, or move, or have the ability to grow normally. We didn’t know what was ahead. None of us know what lies ahead. However, it was the notion that this fallen life is only temporary that brought me through the tunnel of darkness I encountered.

THIS FALLEN LIFE IS ONLY TEMPORARY, even though there are distractions: Promotions… and houses… and clothes… and cars… and picture perfect families where twins aren’t being pushed around in wheel chairs (my mind would often go here on bed rest)…

THIS FALLEN LIFE IS ONLY TEMPORARY, a short time or blink of an eye, to bring glory to God in all of our efforts… until one day we see endless perfection in life after death… until one day we see the face of God and He says, “Well done, my good and faithful servant”. This is where you want to be. Holding life loosely as we rise up and look onward. Please, if only one person reads this… this is where you want to be.
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“… those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength.
    They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint.”

Photos of babies once home - J. Carmon Photography