This year my fraternal twins turned 21 years old. This was quite an accomplishment!
Twenty-one years ago, my mother-in-law was having knee surgery. It was a Tuesday. Our family, my husband, Mike, father-in-law, Ted, my sister-in-law and her husband, my brother-in-law, and his wife were all there to be with her. After her surgery, we went to lunch. No, it wasn’t in the hospital cafeteria, it was over 5 blocks away, and we walked there and back. I was 27 weeks pregnant (but looked full-term) and was supposed to start bed-rest that weekend. It was a rough walk to get lunch!
The next morning, I woke up to pain down my legs and thighs. I thought the walking had been too much and I was feeling sore. However, by the time I got to work, my water broke, and I was taken to the hospital about 45 minutes away. I was so naive I didn’t know to be scared.
I was assured by the nurses and doctors that they would stop the labor, but I would have to stay in the hospital until the babies were 34 weeks old to be safe. Didn’t happen. One of my babies had decided he was coming into this world regardless of what anyone else thought.
At 3:00 that afternoon, my twins, Matthew and Alexandria, were born weighing a little over 2 pounds and 14 inches long.
They were taken to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit where they were hooked up to respirators, pulse-oxygen machines, and heart monitors. They had more needles and lines going through their little arms, feet, and umbilical cords than I could have ever imagined possible. A mask was placed over their eyes to protect them from the lights. Their skin was translucent, making it possible to see and feel bones and blood vessels. They were literally skin and bones. Muscle had not fully formed, and there were no rolls of baby fat on their tummies or thighs.
I could only sit there talking to and praying for them because their little bodies were sensitive to touch. I was told they would be in the NICU until their due date. That was 13 more weeks! My heart was breaking into so many pieces….I already loved them so much!
For the first few weeks, they had bad days and worst days. Alexandria’s lungs were weak and would collapse almost daily. Both developed staph infections and needed blood transfusions every other day among other things. I hated leaving every day.
I prayed and prayed that God would keep watch over them and that His angels would surround them and protect them while I was gone.
On one tough day, Matthew’s pulse and oxygen rates kept dropping into unsafe territory. At one point the nurse started bagging him because he was not responding to anything else she tried.
As I paced, my mind yelled at the doctor to do something!
I started praying for God to intervene so this baby of mine would live.
Suddenly, it was as though a gentle weight on my shoulders was guiding me to my chair. I heard a voice in my heart that said, “Matthew will go home with you.”
That was all I needed to hear. Matthew would go home with me! My son was going to be alright. I was able to settle down and let God do His thing. Matthew’s numbers began returning to normal, and his skin turned pink again.
Alexandria had the worst time. She developed pneumonia in both bronchial tubes going into her lungs. She was unable to breathe on her own. The staff had to give her various drugs to paralyze her body so she would not fight the ventilator. Her skin turned gray from a combination of pain meds and the air forced into her lungs by a machine. All I could do was rub her head.
But she was a fighter!
Before she was 24 hours old, she had pulled the intubation tube out of her throat. The nurses would have to replace it 3 more times before she left that hospital.
After 10 weeks in the NICU, my babies came home. It wasn’t all that easy. They came home on heart monitors, and Alexandria still needed oxygen. But they were alive, and they were home!
God took care of my babies. He was faithful, and He had mercy on us.
He taught me that He loved these two babies more than I did. They were and are His. I am their caretaker, but He is their Creator and Father.
My husband and I surrendered all our rights to these two babies and gave them over to their Maker.
He gave them back to us. We have been loving and parenting them to the best of our ability for 21 years. We have made mistakes, but we have never forgotten who loved these two children first!