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There are three times in my life that I think of as pinnacle moments. Times when my life felt like it was on such a roller coaster ride that all I could do was cling to the Lord with both hands & feet & trust that He was in control. Times I had to fix my eyes completely on Him - when I felt that to look down I would come completely undone. And do you know that after it was all over, after He had delivered me back onto my own shaky legs (although always guiding me...) I could look back & truly say "Thank you" - "Thank you for the hard times, thank you for the difficulties, thank you for each twist & turn that I had to endure, each loop- the-loop - every time I felt my life was turned upside down & around the wrong way & definitely not on the track I would have it on - Thank you". Because when I look back I can see that it was during these moments that my faith had strengthened, that my love for the Lord had deepened, that my walk was closer to Him. And each time He was preparing me for the next...
The first such moment occurred exactly 5 years ago today. It began like any other morning - as normal as life can be for a mother of two tiny toddlers who was heavily pregnant with twin boys. We were running late & I remember Dave being on the phone to our pastors wife about church plans while I rushed around getting a 3 year old Zai & a 1 year old Ellie ready. I was giddy with excitement because my baby shower was planned for that afternoon & I knew my sisters-in-law had been busy planning & had invited all my girlfriends, sisters & various female family members & I was so excited to be seeing them together!
It was in the middle of this craziness that I felt the first nigglings of things not going to plan. As my body made itself clear that something was not right, I rang the midwife to confirm that I'd better change our church plans. It didn't take long for us to be on the way to the hospital.
I was chatty at the hospital & although they were worried about my case (all twin pregnancies are considered high risk), the obstetrician wasn't too alarmed - we spoke quite openly about the difficulties of patients & we had a good laugh over our similar opinions of patient hygiene (I was a radiographer back in my old life). I was still eager to make my baby shower & asked her how long she thought this would take. She looked at me in surprise - "Honey you are in labour - we need to stop this thing - you're going to be in hospital for at least 2 days". I was definitely surprised as I had thought the braxen hicks contractions were quite painful this time around, but they had been like this for the last week. It wasn't long after this disappointing news that she decided an ultrasound was needed. I felt silly asking the sonographer to do an ultrasound on me outside normal hours (remember it was Sunday), but felt better knowing he was already in the hospital. This ultrasound would change my life. The diagnosis: TWIN-TO-TWIN TRANSFUSION SYNDROME. Eli (our recipient) was a very sick little baby indeed - close to death. Jud (our donor) was not much better with a very low rate of blood going to him. From this diagnosis, it didn't take long for a transfer to a major hospital to take place. I remember sitting in the ambulance thinking how crazy this felt - I hadn't even packed a bag. I really thought I'd be home that night.
As I sat on my hospital bed late that night (after they had finally slowed the labour & I'd had another round of ultrasounds from a maternal-fetal specialist - called in just for me at 10pm) it just seemed surreal. Had it been just that morning that I was planning what to wear to my baby shower? Had my worst worry been if we would be on time for church? It seemed life had taken a sudden turn & I really didn't know how to process it. I remember feeling the boys kicking away so strongly & questioning - surely the drs were wrong when my boys felt so healthy to me. I couldn't really work through my feelings - it had been such an eventful, exhausting day , but one thing I vividly remember was wondering what the next day would hold. I prayed so hard for my babies & for the outcome of this unexpected mountain in my path.
It wasn't until the next day that we really knew how bad it was - we were diagnosed with phase 4 TTTS - about as bad as it gets before losing one baby. Late in the evening Dr G laid out the options - do nothing which would guarantee death for both babies within the week; abort Eli to save Jud's life; early delivery that would most probably lead to death for both boys or an experimental laser surgery that may save both boys. That night as I cried out to the Lord, I finally gave them both to Him - I knew the whole time that they were His & just on lend to me, but as mothers we really want to hold onto our precious children - but finally I stopped praying for my will & was able to pray for His will. On Tuesday 7th March 2006 after being transferred to yet another hospital we underwent this life saving surgical procedure.
As I look back over those three days I can see that through it all God held me close. The amazing peace I had as we went into surgery was almost surreal - the "peace that passes understanding" is really the only way to describe it. I had never previously had any situations in my life where I had to rely on God so much - where even though I had no idea of the outcome, I had to just completely trust Him.
5 years has passed since that time & my boys have grown from tiny preemie babies to bouncing toddlers into beautiful little boys (or big boys as they remind me). Every milestone has been met - although a little late at times, they are on target now. They are bright little boys who are very excited about turning 5 soon.
Why did God choose to save my babies??
I don't know, but you can be sure we are teaching them that it is for a purpose, for His glory!
Although for them it was life saving, each time I look back at my part I see it as a faith journey - God used this to mould me into the person He wanted me to become (is still moulding me into...).
Thank you Lord that during the difficult times you are ultimately in control and have a plan!
Thank you for allowing me to get all emotional & share a bit more of our story on this special day where we as a family stop to remember our miracle...