My husband and I had been trying to conceive for over 2 years and turned to fertililty treatments for help. The usual dosage was not helping, so they (my doctors) decided to double it. We were told that if we did not become pregnant with that, then we would have to consult a fertility expert for further treatment. We decided that was too big of a mess to deal with and if I did not become pregnant, we would just stop trying for awhile. To our suprise, I did conceive that month (Sept. 97)! We immediatly told the entire family the big news.
At apx. 9 weeks pregnant, I began having some spotting so I called my doctor's office and was told to come in for a trans-vag ultrasound. They wanted to be sure that I was not miscarrying the baby. We were astounded to find that we had 2 very healthy babies in my womb! The doctor quickly added that most women who become pregnant with twins (especially on fertility treatments) do not carry both twins to delivery due to the vanishing twin syndrome. We still told the entire family and began buying 2 of everything.
By my 18 week sonogram and visit, we were resting comfortably that everything would be fine. I was cautioned to 'take it easy' but told that no bedrest was necessary at this point. At 20 weeks, I began having braxton-hicks contractions and was assured by the doctors that everything was normal and fine, that I should drink plenty of fluids and time the contractions to be sure no more than 6 an hour were occuring. The contractions were not steady so we did not worry any further.
Upon my 21 week visit, they discovered that my cervix was beginning to efface and I asked if I was considered high risk at that point. They said that I was perfectly normal but should rest a little bit more. After 2 or 3 days, I still did not feel right so I revisited the doctor's office. They discovered that I was even more effaced and was told to start partial bedrest at that point (which meant getting up to use the bathroom, shower, eat and could go to church). Well, on February 8th, go to church is just what I did. After I had been home for apx. 2 hours, the nightmare began....
I returned from my bathroom with my mucus plug gone and tears streaming down my face, I knew everything was going wrong, but I still felt that if I made it to the hospital, the doctor could 'fix' everything and send me home. When we arrived to the hospital, they began monitoring me and discovered that I was having regualar contractions. They placed a cathator and then to our horror, they said that my water had broken. (They even performed a 'litmus paper test' on the water to confirm that it was amniotic fluid) We were told the doctor was on his way to examine me. The doctor said that since my water was broken, there was nothing to be done. We would have to wait until the babies came that night and no attempt at resuccitation would be made since they were only 22 weeks in development. I remember the horror in my mind at that point was so great, I could not suppress it. It built up inside of me until it came from my body with a horrendous scream that sounded worse than anything from a horror movie. I cried over and over "please let me die too, I just want to die with them!" They had monitors on me and on each of the babies (which we now knew to be boys). We could hear their little hearts beating steadily and an occasional kick to the monitor too. I had to ask them to remove the babies' monitors. I could not listen to them as they died. We had to make funeral arrangements and have a minister present since they would be dying that night (or so they said).
After several hours the labor had not progressed. My doctor said that he would like to do another exam to see what was happening. My family and church immediatly went to prayer, begging for God to intervene but mostly for his will to be done in the situation. He discovered that both bags of water were intact and that I was only dialated to 1cm. They immediatly put me on i.v. magnesium sulfate to stop the labor. (If you are unfamiliar with this drug, you can only remain on it for a couple of days at a time due to it's severe side effects, it relaxes soft muscle tissue such as lungs, eyes, and uterus, causing blurred vision, difficulty breathing, inability to eat or drink most anything and severe grogginess). The following morning they did a sonogram to be sure, and sure enough both bags were intact and both babies were perfectly healthy. I remained on this i.v. until Tues. night, and after I was removed, everything seemed to be going fine. In fact, they planned on sending me home on Thurs. I had reservations about leaving on Thurs., they had me take a shower to see if I would return to labor. That afternoon, I did start labor again.
The doctor did an examination and discovered that the bag of water was herniating through my cervix and was ready to burst. They immediatly started another i.v. of magnesium and transported me by ambulance to a perinatal/neonatal hospital in the area. When we arrived to the new hospital, I was assigned a new doctor, a specialist. She was the best I have ever met. She immediatly asked why I had not been placed into 'trandelenburg' position before. I had never even heard of it - that is when they elevate your feet to a position higher than your head to take the strain off of the cervix. Upon my examination there, they found that I was dialated to 4cm. My doctor then also started a drug (I don't know the name of it) that is a suppository to help stop the labor. She also gave me a shot of steroids to help the babies lungs develop a little faster. On Friday, I had a vision that was comforting and yet disturbing also. I was walking down a hospital corridor, quietly. There was a man standing near the end of the hall, I could not see his face, but I knew instantly that he was the son of GOD. Without saying a word, he held out his hands and I gently gave him 2 bundles which were my babies. He looked at me with love and peace, then truned and walked down to the end of the corridor into a light. Everything went great, and on Saturday - Valentine's Day, they took me off of the magnesium. Valentine's Day was filled with hope and prayers. Unknown to me at the time, my father had this same vision that night, only the man was my grandfather who passed away in his sleep early Saturday morning.
On Sunday morning, we held our own church service in my hospital room with singing, bible teaching and plenty of prayer. I was anoited with oil for healing and at the same time, my church was in service anointing a cloth for each of the babies for prayer. Just after lunch, I noticed that I was having regular contractions although my monitor was not registering them. The nurse came in to move the monitor and sure enough, it picked up strong, regular contractions. Once again, they started the i.v. of magnesium to try and stop the labor. The contractions kept getting stronger and stronger, we knew they were on the way. They unhooked the i.v. and decided it was too late. I was dialated to 6cm. now and in hard labor. Rather than taking a chance at delivering quickly when my doctor may have gone home (it was the weekend) they decided it best to break my water.
At 6pm on Sunday the 15th of Februaray, they broke my water and began hard labor. For over 45 minutes I pushed, and Samual was still not coming. They said that his cord was presenting first and that they had to push him back in and turn him but they needed to give me medication first. I refused because I needed to be awake for my babies. The doctor was reluctant but reached her arm in anyway to turn Samual. Samual Edward Douglas came at 6:50pm. The neonatoligist immediatly attempted to place a tube in his throat for life support, I called out to him, "Samual, you can do it, be strong, fight!" I'll never forget the doctor's words, "I'm sorry, he is too small to sustain on life support". He said they were cleaning him and then I could hold him. They handed me that little bundle. He was perfect in every way, just so tiny. He weighed 1 lb. 2 oz. and was 11 1/2 inches long. I kissed him and told him how much his mommie loved him, I couldn't stop crying, I couldn't believe his life was over! We knew that Samual was the largest of the 2 babies from sonograms, therefore I knew that Isac didn't have a chance at life. That must have been the hardest thing in my life, to push and labor for Isac to bring him into death, not life. Isac Dewayne Douglas came at 7:10pm. Again, we heard that he was too small to sustain on lifesupport. They cleaned him, and I held him. I remember feeling his soft skin. Telling him how sorry I was that I couldn't carry them longer, that I couldn't bring them life. I sobbed and said "go be with Jesus now". My husband held both of the babies, one in each arm. He was dressed in his blue scrubbs, the mask pulled down off of his face. He was smiling and looking into each of his son's faces, with tears streaming down his own face. It was like seeing a rainbow during a thunderstorm. I wanted so badly to breathe for them, to give them my own breath. I would have stood over them, giving them cpr every second if I could talke away their struggle to live.
The attention quickly changed to me, as they realized I was losing too much blood and was already anemic to begin with. I later lost consciousness due to losing so much blood. They kept coming to my room asking if we needed to hold the babies one last time, all I could say was that I didn't need to hold dead bodies. I had understood that they died just after birth. The nurses had dressed the babies and taken footprints, hand and foot molds, and pictures of them. We appreciate these things now so much. On Monday, I was getting ready to come home, that is when they broke the news to me about my grandfather dying. All I could say is "grandpa met them at the gate and he's holding them now" that is when my father told me about the vision he had with grandpa holding the babies.
We buried Grandpa on Tues. and the babies on Weds. Their burial plots are almost side by side. I think the worst part about grandpa's funeral was all I could think of was the babies and how I would have to bury them the next day. The worst thing about the babies' funeral was that my breast milk had come in. This made me realize that I would never feed them, bathe them, take them to church, we would not get to do the baby dedication in church that we had planned, there would be no bringing them home from the hospital. I had returned home with empty arms. Our church made meals, raised money for the funeral costs, they had sat at the hospital almost round the clock in prayer while I fought to keep them inside of my body. They cried with us, comforted us, we never knew we had so many friends. I never knew how much I needed people until that point.
A few days following, I found on some documents that the time of death for the babies was listed as 9:05pm. I didn't understand, I thought they died just after birth. Immediatly I began feeling guilt. Had I left them when they needed me most? Had they heard stranger's voices as they died? Did they lay there in confusion wondering where their mommie was? I could have spent 2 more hours with them! I fell to my floor, sobbing. I screamed out to God, "why, how could you do this to me? when I needed you most, you left me!" It was then that I heard the voice of God for the first time, he didn't speak aloud, but to my heart. "I came for them myself". I said "I don't understand!" Then God said again, "I never left you, I held your hand through the pain, when they were born, I did not send another (perhaps an angel?), I comforted them. I came for them myself." Then the phone rang, it was a lady from the hospital. I did not tell her my concern or questions. She said, "the babies technically lived for 2 hours, that is we were able to get a small detection of a heartbeat for that long. But technically they were braindead within minutes after birth due to lack of oxygen." I said to her "well, I held them just after birth" she said "then their mommie's voice is the last thing they heard or knew." Oh how this comforted me! At once my vision changed, I was in the delivery room and instead of handing the babies back to the doctor, it was Jesus who I handed them to. Also, the neonatoligist had said that much earlier babies are able to feel pain, clinching their fists and frowning, but he said that ours never did, they remained calm and quiet until the end.
There are so many things along the way that God has given me for strength. See, it is not by my strength that I get through this. I would never have survived, jumped off of a bridge I suppose. There are most days that I cannot get out of bed, it is then that I pray for more strength. Like everyone else, I became angry with questions. I had been in chruch, we had prayed but God still chose to take them, was he not listening, did he not care? NEITHER! The bible says that he cares for the sparrow and how much greater than that we are. God lost his child too, he knows our pain. The pain of seperation that I feel now from my children is the same seperation that God feels from us when we leave him spiritually. See, God never leaves us - NEVER - it is us who gives up and leaves him. How easy it would be for me to 'blame' God, but he did not 'do this to me'. He allowed it, for a greater reason than I could ever know, even if he chose to reveal the reason to me, I could never understand it. "His thoughts are higher than our thoughts". In the story of Job (bible, book of job) Satan comes before God and must obtain permission to harm Job. God only allowed it saying that Job was his most faithful servant and would not curse God, but turn to him for strength. Please read this story, if you have ever faced hard times, you will understand this story better than anyone could ever tell you. Also, in the story of Shadrach, Meshak and Abendego (Daniel chapter 3 starting at verse 12) they were men of God who were thrown into a furnace of fire so hot, it killed all of the surrounding men. I'm sure the entire way into the furnace they begged God to save them from their pain, which he did. They still were thrown into the fire, but when the guards opened the door, not only were the 3 men alive, they saw a 4th man, Jesus in the fire with them. See, God never left them, he even spared them from being destroyed, but they still had to go through the trials. God's word says that he (God) will never allow us to experience more than we can handle. The death of the babies was more than I could have handled, but when it became too much, he gave me the extra strength and comfort to go on. Here are 2 of my favorite scriptures in the bible. This one is my motto: Isaiah 43:1-2 "Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze." God is saying not if but WHEN we pass through the trials, he will be with us, that we will survive them through him. WOW! Another favorite is Nehemiah 8:10, "Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength." We can have joy through our grieving, but only through Jesus.
A book I definatly recommend to everyone is by Dr. James Dobson called "When God doesn't make sense". Please read these scriptures and this book. Feel free to write to me at anytime, I will do my best to respond to you.
AN UPDATE: Our ferret (photo under 'furry babies') died spring of 98, my grandmother whose mate passed on the day before the babies, died in October of 98. And, about that time, my husband and I turned once again to fertility drugs for help. I was praying one day and felt the lord tell me to open my bible to receive a scripture. I obeyed, and I KNOW the scripture by heart still, but have been unable to locate it again in the bible. It said 'I have tested you at the waters and you have been faithful, this is your reward'. I was baffled but yet felt confident I would be pregnant. The following month I did get pregnant again.
We have found out we are having a boy and he is due the middle of August. I had a cerclage (stitches placed in the cervix to hold it closed) on Feb. first and have been on bedrest. We are all doing well, please keep us in your prayers. We have named him Joseph Gary.
NEW UPDATE: Joseph Gary Douglas arrived July 30, 99 at 7:21 pm. He weighed in at 8 lbs 6 oz and is 21 inches long! He has a head full of dark hair. Amazingly, he looks just like his 2 brothers. He has Samual's round face, Isac's thin lips... so many resemblances. Honestly, I thought since they were so early maybe that is not what they would have really looked like, but now i know they were fully formed in every way! What a blessing Joseph will be in our lives.