5 years post Twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

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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...



Marsel said...


Homeschool on the Croft said...

...and thank you for sharing. Oh, that is so precious. *They* are precious. What a story, and what blessings.
I can understand the 'peace that passes understanding' if you'll excuse the non-sensical structure of the sentence!. When our last baby was born, I nearly died. All the doctors and midwives thought I wouldn't pull throught. I too thought i was dying, and was able to hand my baby, our other 3 children over to Lord. I had such peace. God alone could give that at such a time.
Thank you for allowing me to go back to that time too... Praise God that we both have 'good endings', though in God's providence, *everything* is good... x

Mum-me said...

What a beautiful retelling, and beautiful photos to accompany. Thanks for sharing.

Ann at eightacresofeden said...

Thank you for sharing your story Renata - yes there are times when we just cannot determine the outcome through our own efforts or determination and we become totally reliant on God who sometimes heals miraculously and at other times guides the surgeon's hand, then there are others who must go through the devastation of losing their babies. I cannot imagine what that must be like. As you know my twins were born at 38 weeks in perfect health. I had never wanted a c-section but those girls both in the breech position just would not turn - I tried to make them - hung myself upside down on my husband's back stretcher at one point! And yes, sometimes your body just takes over - I knew too on the day when my waters broke in the city bookshop of all places, that all my plans for that day were out of the window. God gave me an incredible peace and I stayed so calm - my husband couldn't believe it when I rang and told him so matter of fact what had happened!
Do you ever pinch yourself Renata when you see your boys - I used to do it all the time! What an incredible blessing it is to carry, birth and raise twins. I never want to take it for granted.

Renata said...

Thank you ladies for sharing your stories - they both gave me goosebumps! God is amazing!
Yes, Ann - I do feel amazed & blessed to be raising twins - I never ever thought I'd have twins as there weren't any in my family for 5 generations! I hope I never take them or any of my children for granted!

Smilie girl said...

They are so very precious. It's fantastic to see the big boys they are growing into.
Thank you for sharing.

Grandma said...

Oooohhhhh!!! Thanks for sharing and thanks for the gorgeous photos showing their progress...My recollections of that time were a little different - trying to keep a couple of little possums happy, loved and not missing their mum too much, while trying not to show them our concern too much!! We were so busy with them that we didn't grasp the gravity of the situation at first...however, God is good (and even if he hadn't saved those precious ones, He would still be good!) but he very graciously brought them into all our lives. I know when I see them, I feel grateful for the miracle of their being here. Hey, actually they are all little miracles....(I wondered about the other two times where you felt that helplessness...I'm sure one of them was 11 May 2007, but the other one????)
Anyway, love you all lots! Tried ringing you before, will try again later. Lots of love and kisses and 'happy anniversary' with the darlings....Mum xxxxxxx

Darlene said...

Thank you for sharing such a personal and amazing story Renata. I enjoy reading at your blog and feel that God has led me to your site and I am very greatful.
p.s. I have twin girls that were premie's they are 25 now.

Quinn said...

I was reading a bio of Mary Bunyan to my oldest daughter yesterday and 2 of my younger ones woke from their naps and joined us as I finished the chapter where Mary's baby brother died upon birth. This led to a discussion whereby we were counting the people we knew who might not be here were it not for the advances in medical technology, myself included as I tried to enter this world two feet first 31 years ago today :)

Praise God he gave you wisdom to choose life -of both- rather than play it safe and just think you were choosing life. I'm certain He has something very special in mind for those handsome little men!

Farmgirl Cyn said...

Whoa! Renata...what a precious story of God's grace and mercy. Your boys (and entire family) are beautiful!
He is faithful....

In His grace,

Rachel~ At the Butterfly Ball said...

Hi Renata! Thanks so much for sharing the story of God's hand in your life and the lives of your little ones. He is SO GOOD! We are all doing well. Thanks for stopping over at my blog and asking! The early pregnancy tiredness is gradually leaving! So I am back up to most of my normal activities now. It is time to start our sping planting now so we'll be busy doing that for a while.

Amanda said...

Oh my word.

You should know that I'm a little teary right now.

You've hit on some serious faith here. A real encouragment to me and I thank you HUMBLY from the bottom of my heart for pouring your heart out here.

To see that last photo of them sleeping is so amazingly sweet and a wonderful reminder of God's love.

Praising God today for your family:


"Are These Kids All Yours?" said...

WOW!!!! What a MIRACLE!!!! Praise God for them!!!! What a beautiful story for HIS Glory :) Thank you so much for sharing..... :)

"Are These Kids All Yours?" said...

Follower :)

Have heard a lot about One Thousand Gifts book....would love to read it.


Camille said...

Precious post Renata! Thank you for sharing a piece of your story here...it is a blessing to read of God's faithfulness to any of HIS children! Your boys are adorable...*love* that last photo of them sleeping...SO SWEET!! Happiest of Birthdays to your twins. :)

Many blessings,

Shonni said...

They are so handsome and that last picture is just adorable. Praise the LORD for their lives and the testimony you shared today!!

blessedmomto8 said...

WOW Renata! I GOT CHILLS! You must have been so scared event with God on your side! AND look at them now, he has BIG PLANS for those two! GOD BLESS!

cathy@home said...

what an amazing story life is so precious

Leanne said...


Checking in today.

I adore, simply adore, your blog. I am learning a lot from you, since I became a farm girl (used to be a city girl) last year. I'm going to try the sourdough one of these days, and we are in the process of putting together a giant permanent greenhouse, and you inspire me!

But I have to sigh too, and this post was bittersweet for me.......as I lay here in my bed, with Pennie deeply asleep next to me, and today we said our final goodbye to Olivia. I too have learned to give things to Him Who gave all to us. He is sovereign and His will is always right and good and true and just. This was such a sweet post and such a good post and a testimony of you really trying to be what God wants you to be.

Thank you so much for all of your sweet comments on my posts. I purpose to visit your blog more often!! Thank you for your prayers the last several months. I know that your prayers have made all the difference for me.

Praise God for your boys! I know you are. Talk to you soon!

Anonymous said...

Like Grandma my recollection is a little different as well. My first response was the strong desire to protect my family. I remember thinking that the boys should be delivered then and there. Of course wiser opinions prevailed. After the surgery they didn't do an ultrasound and I remember standing outside the hospital praying that God would save their lives. The next morning I new God had done just that. How great our God is. Our miracle boys are very very strong, lovely, wonderful blessings that I just love to bits. Thank you Renata for sharing your thoughts and feelings.

aunty sel said...

It's hard to believe its been 5 years since all this happened!! They are so gorgous, I am so grateful to God that they made it through.
Thanks for sharing again Narn,

Jenn said...

Oh, Renata! Tears are running down my face after reading this! What an awesome wonderful Savior we serve. You have two absolutely beautiful blessings! That last picture just made my heart swell!

Anonymous said...

To God be the glory! Your twins are beautiful. I can relate in so many ways to your story. My boys also suffered from TTTS and were born at 27 weeks. They are now 16 months old.

Anonymous said...

To God be the glory! Your twins are beautiful. I can relate in so many ways to your story. My boys also suffered from TTTS and were born at 27 weeks. They are now 16 months old.

Jennifer aGlimpseOfOurLife said...

What awesome miracles!

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