Ten years ago today, God reached out His hands and placed in mine 2 tiny miracles to testify of His greatness and love. I stand in awe of how He has shaped these precious boys, who defeated all odds of survival, into young men that wholeheartedly love Him, serve Him, and praise Him for what He has given them...life, eternal life. John and Timmy, I love you more than all the stars in the sky, and I love Him for the gift He has given me in you. Happy Birthday, my sons. I am honored that He chose me to lead you on this journey as we walk together toward Him.
One month after our arrival in Texas, I discovered the news of my pregnancy. I was overwhelmed with excitement, fear, and the strange, but keen awareness of God's plan to do something great. A few weeks later, I found myself, for some odd reason, looking at my tummy asking God that if there were two, to please keep them safe and let them be a ministry all of their days. The next morning, at our first doctor's visit, we were given the shocking affirmation that there were two little heartbeats...Twins!
There was only one problem. They shared an amniotic sac with only a thin membrane separating the two of them. We were sent to a specialist who gave us the gravely frightening news that our boys had Twin-to-Twin Transfusion Syndrome, only giving them a 15% chance of survival. What we knew then was that they shared a sac, a placenta, and blood vessels that gave them little hope for life. What we soon learned was that they shared a bond, a love, and a faith that was greater than any statistic medicine could give us...and they had a God who was in the business of conquering the grave and offered hope for eternal life.
Through several painful weeks of amniocentesis reductions, we left with more bad news. The fluid in their amniotic sac were at dangerous levels. Baby A (Later called Timmy) was showing signs of anemia. He wasn't getting enough supply from the placenta. His blood vessels were stripped and weakening. Baby B (Later called John) was showing signs of heart failure. His heart was working too hard to compensate for the extra supply he was getting because Baby A was "sharing" his. We were then told we could terminate the life of one to give the other a greater chance to live. We opted to believe only God could inhale or exhale the breath of life.
We went to prayer meeting at Wedgewood Baptist church that night. Emotionally exhausted from the roller coaster of ups and downs we had been through. Five women walked over to us, laid their hands on my womb, and asked us to allow them to pray for our baby(ies) as God had led them to do. We left with an overwhelming sense of God's presence in my womb and a renewed faith that God's strength could sustain life.
I then had a procedure called a septostomy, where with a very long needle, they pierced the membrane between the two babies to allow the fluid to go from one to the other. As the needle went in, my little John reached up to grab it. We could see his tiny little little hand on the sonogram reaching up at the awareness of his surroundings. As fluid trickled into tiny Timmy's side of the sac, we could see him doing flips! Those precious lives were alive indeed.
The doctors were amazed at their progress from that point. Each day in the womb was a gift and we understood who was the Giver. At 31 weeks, after several weeks of contractions, Timmy began to show distress. His umbilical cord was constricting with each contraction and it was to the point of being safer for them outside the womb. At 1:03 and 1:04am on March 23, 2002, God brought those little bundles into the world where they could better serve Him. Timothy Elijah (2lbs 9oz) and John Emmanuel (4 lbs 3oz).
It was over 24 hours before I could see them face-to-face and a week before I could hold them. I will never forget their tiny fingers wrapped around mine as I held them in my arms; nervously giving them their first baths; swaddling them tightly together as they joined one another in the incubator; kissing their sweet itty bitty toes as they slept so soundly to my songs of plea that God would watch over them. Some nights I had to pry myself away home to rest. It was absolute torture to leave that hospital without them. John spent 4 long weeks in the NICU and Timmy spent 6 weeks. Finally, we brought them home.
The road has been long and difficult at times. Five+ surgeries, including emergency eye surgery to prevent blindness and testicular surgery to prevent infertility, have kept us always on our knees. But, through it all, God has been faithful to amaze us with His goodness. The boys have been always reminded of the miracle of life He gave them, both in their birth and through salvation. They celebrate today, 10 yrs with us and an eternity with the One who, for them, conquered the grave in more ways than one.
These angels have brought me joy from the moment I knew them and I will spend the rest of my days rejoicing in the gift I am so undeservedly given, to be called their Mama.
My cup runneth over. ..