Christmas Saved Us
This was something I originally wrote on Facebook, on my personal page, as a status update. To which my friend Ashley was like, "You know... you could blog that and then you could share it with people who aren't on Facebook. It's a good testimony." It's long and personal and I don't really have any photographs to share but this is the first time I held them in the NICU and their most recent Santa picture. Then to now. It's been a roller coaster for sure.
So I'm just copying and pasting the post here - and while I am no longer laying in bed snuggling them and I am currently baking a cake I am just as thankful this afternoon while I'm rushing around my house like a mad woman as I was this morning while I was relaxing with them.
First I want to say something I didn't add on Facebook: I don't know why God saved us/spared us. There are more deserving parents than me who have lost kids. More amazing moms than me who have buried their children. Kids who deserved life as much as mine or more and aren't here anymore. Just this morning one of my couples posted a picture of a small, 11 ounce baby born yesterday who will celebrate her first Christmas in the arms of Jesus instead of in her mother's arms and that broke me. That could easily have been a photo of the twins. Our story could have included a chapter like that and I feel guilty that I have both of my girls with me this Christmas the same as I feel blessed.
I can't speculate as to why God leaves some children here with us and brings others home to Him. I do know one of my friends was going to commit suicide and then saw that the twins were born early. I hadn't seen her in years but she was my three-legged race partner in elementary school and we've been in touch enough that she waited to kill herself until after she saw what happened to them. But then... she felt guilty taking her own life after watching the twins fight to live. She's still here today. & even if THAT isn't the reason God let them live - sometimes I wonder if it is or I think that would be a good reason when I try to understand why my girls left the NICU in my arms and others left the NICU to be with God. I've watched other parents lose kids to cancer or tradgedy and show other people what it means to be fully committed to Jesus even in that despair and bring people to Christ in that way. I've watched people lose their kids and lose their faith, also.
"Why" God lets children die is a question I don't think even biblical scholars can answer in a way that makes us feel better about it. It's the first thing people who are anti-Christian use as an argument for why they don't believe in God. & it's a hard argument to argue with even though it doesn't change the fact that there is a loving God no matter what horrible things happen here. I have no answer.
I have had three miscarriages. One on my birthday while the twins were in surgery. I've also almost lost the twins and been prepared to lose Brooklynn twice in her life. I once prayed in the NICU that if He was going to take her... to take her right then because I couldn't bare to see her suffer anymore. He didn't, though. I am so thankful. I'm also very, very aware that many many parents do not get to leave the hospital or the NICU with their babies. & I do not think I deserved to more than them. Or that my girls deserved life more than their kids. & I realize that Christmas means something very different to the parents of children walking with Jesus than it does to me. & for those parents - I want you to know I love you and I feel for you and I pray for you. I think of you every time I think of how close I came to losing my kids. I think of your kids whose names that I know and whose faces I've seen and they are remembered.
I do know that God saved my girls through divine intervention and I do not believe in coincidences. I don't know why - but I do know He did. This is how:
Original Post from Facebook (copied and pasted):
Five years ago I was alone in the hospital in Murphy (again) & crying in my bed because I just wanted to spend Christmas at home and the doctor had just told me it would be a few more days at least before I could leave. I was throwing up blood and couldn’t stop passing out. My friends and family were two hours away and the weather man was calling for a dangerous winter storm the next week.
I was so depressed I wouldn’t get out of the bed and the nurses made me wear some sort of compression machine to avoid blood clots. I was refusing to eat, shower, or move really.
Throwing up blood was normal. & I was not willing to engage in conversation. I was on suicide watch at the hospital. I wouldn’t return the phone calls of my best friends.
If I’m being honest I was trying to will myself to sleep and hoping I was finally sick enough to just not wake up. It’s really hard to describe how sad and alone I was and how sick I was. I was as small six months pregnant with the twins as I was in high school. I remember editing weddings in a hospital bed and crying. It was the only thing I MADE myself do because I didn’t want anyone to be mad at me for not getting stuff back on time.
I remember a bride’s mom asking me if her daughter’s fall wedding would be done before Christmas and crying because I was so sick but didn’t want to disappoint her. So I made sure when I got picked up by the ambulance the paramedics grabbed my laptop. I wanted to quit photography and felt like a failure at everything I had been so sick for so long and didn’t know how I could do any of my 2014 weddings. Hannah La Falce (an angel I didn’t thank enough back then) had shot a few of them for me in 2013 and mailed me the cards to edit while I was hospitalized. I was overwhelmed and giving up on life, truly.
My normal OBGYN was spending Christmas Eve with his family so the new doctor in his practice was on call. She tried to ask me about the twins and got one word answers (if you know me then you know that’s unlike me). She tried to make me get out of the bed to eat and I just stared at her.
So then she says something like, “You know what. It’s almost Christmas. I know you aren’t due for an ultrasound again until February but let’s go see the twins. It’ll make you feel better.” & she wheeled me in my bed down a long hall to an ultrasound room hoping seeing them would cheer me up enough to eat or move or do something.
I didn’t look at them at first.
But I heard, “Well... let me go get the doctor I think my measurements are off,” from an ultrasound tech trying to be cheerful sounding. I looked over at her and asked if she suspected twin-to-twin and she looked scared for me(something I had Googled on accident and saw horrific images from). “I have to get the doctor I’m not allowed to say.”
My heart sank. I texted my dad and mom and my ex-husband while I waited. The doctor came in and looked them over. Wheeled me back to my room... and then told me Baby B was sitting in much less fluid than she should be and she was almost 1/2 the size of Baby A so they’d need to transfer me immediately in the am to Chattanooga where a specialist could do his best to save them.
Another two hours from my friends and family on Christmas.
That week is a blur. I can’t recall many moments except sitting in a cold hallway waiting for another ultrasound. Suddenly my family was there in my memory. & then they were born a week later when that doctor realized Brooklynn was unresponsive and he couldn’t send me to Cincinnati for a surgery ... we were out of time. So he took them Jan 2nd at 1.6 & 2.4 lbs.
Three months of NICU time later and I saw that On Call OBGYN again. Who told me she took one look at me on Christmas Eve and felt God nudge her to do the ultrasound: she thought to help cheer me up. She said she realized when she saw the twins how dire their situation was and that she believes God wanted her to know to save them. So He nudged her. She said she never does ultrasounds “just because.” Had we waited until February like we were supposed to I would have lost them both. Every doctor we saw agrees. She said she thanked God for nudging her and considers them a Christmas miracle.
I consider her one.
If I had not had such severe hyperemisis my entire pregnancy I wouldn’t have been there when she was. I wouldn’t have been so sad. She wouldn’t have felt like I needed to see them for Christmas. & they would both be dead.
Nobody realized I had preeclampsia because I was so sick the whole time until I got to Chattanooga and the twins were delivered. My OBGYN told me he thinks if they hadn’t been delivered when they were he would have lost all three of us.
But we’re all here, cuddled up and ready for Christmas - because a Christian doctor took pity on me and felt like the best way to celebrate the birth of her savior, Jesus, that night was to show a mom her tiny miracles to cheer her up. & because of that - the twins were saved. & I can’t imagine my life without them.
So many things had to fall into place that evening for her to be at that hospital and for her to see me in the state I was in and react to it the way she did. So many bad things happened to get me to that level of depression. But.
God works in mysterious ways. & He has an intricate and intentional plan, always.
If one thing during that pregnancy had gone more easily she wouldn’t have felt compelled to let me see them. If I hadn’t been all alone on Christmas Eve. If she hadn’t seen how many time I had been admitted. If she hadn’t been a Christian ready for Christmas. If she wasn’t a new mom herself in a new town feeling alone.
I think of her, Dr. Pushpa, every Christmas Eve. & through their birthday.
Right now I am laying between them while they snore and I am planning our day. A day we will spend with family and friends and baking cakes and preparing for Jesus’ birthday and my heart is so thankful for her & for Christ.
If it wasn’t for His birthday - I wouldn’t be celebrating theirs on January 2nd.
So Happy Birthday, Jesus.
& Thank you God for using Christ’s birthday to save them.
& for using them to save me.
Merry Christmas, everyone.
**I did find a few photos from the NICU on my external hard drive as I was posting this. & one of each of them from their first Christmas photo shoot with Amber Hatley, which honestly feels like it happened a lifetime ago.**
[the first time I held them together at almost two months old]