Tuesday, September 7, 2010

To my youngest children, on your birthday...

Dear Jacob and Audrey,
Some people wonder if God is still in the miracle business. I think your story will always show that He is and continues to do so through your lives.

It has been quite the journey the past 2 and a 1/2 months. The last week in June, I sat alone in a dark ultrasound room listening to the hum of the machine and hearing words that no mother should ever have to hear. "Sarah, I just don't know if your body is going to be able to continue this pregnancy to a viable state for your son and daughter." I was 19 weeks at the time. As we talked a little more, I learned that this would not be a miscarriage, but rather, I'd actually have to labor and watch you pass away to heaven. Thinking back to that day is still a very emotional one for me. I knew, whatever happened, I would never be the same person again. Never have I fallen so quickly to my knees and prayed...and continued to pray every second of every day.

As your story was spread literally around the world (I received so many e-mails from people I have never met), the two of you (and the rest of our family) were covered in prayer. I spent every day, there after, in bed. I only got up to use the bathroom and take a quick bath. I even laid in the bath tub (until I got that awful infection at the end) because I was afraid any pressure would just worsen the outcome. The contractions never stopped. They were constant from that moment until your birth.
We pulled out everything known to mankind to stop my labor. Many things that the specialists and nurses thought were crazy and dangerous. Looking back, I am amazed that God sustained my health to do some of the radical things that we did. I am so grateful that I had one specialist/perinatologist who fought on your and my behalf. He believed in doing anything possible, against his partners advice, and fighting for you. I spent the remainder of this pregnancy wondering how much more my body could take. I truly believe it is because of all the prayer that I was able to handle all the medications that they had me on. At one point, I was on Mag Sulfate IV, procardia, and a turbuteline pump all at the same time.
24 weeks...26 weeks...28 weeks...we were constantly in awe of God's work. We prayed that I would make it to September 1st. I kept telling people I wanted our babies to have a birthday that ended in "ember". It was even written on a white board in my hospital room.

It is no coincidence that mid day on August 31st, I knew I was quickly running out of time as I felt my body contracting more and more. I still prayed to make it to September.
I was transferred down to labor and delivery while Andrew and I watched the clock. We once again tried to stop labor. At midnight, we celebrated making it to September. We rested very little, but our time together that night was so special. We laid awake all night feeling you both move inside my belly...we watched all your little kicks and punches. We wanted to embrace those last moments of you both alive in my womb where I was able to protect you from the world.

The next day, my body continued to contract through all the medicine (even though we had continued to increase it) and we knew delivery was imminent. At 3:30pm, with much peace, we decided enough was enough as I was already 5cm. My dear friend showed up to be my labor and delivery nurse. Because of her, we were able to have the serene and peaceful delivery we so desperately desired after so many weeks of stress. Shortly thereafter (at 6cm), I decided to get an epidural...I was tired of being strong and needed to at least be pain free by that point.
Andrew and I, along with my dear friend and another nurse laughed, cried, listened to music, and prayed. Outside my window was the most beautiful crepe myrtle. The sun reflected a perfect glow off the blooms as it set. It truly was a picturesque evening. I recently told the story about how I always think of Ella when I see wisteria blooming...and now, I was always think of my Jacob and Audrey when I see a white crepe myrtle.

I had a moment of insecurity and fear with the first push with Jacob. I just could not stop the tears...I felt like I failed these little ones. I told them I was sorry I could not hold onto them inside any longer. I feared what the next few minutes would hold for my precious little ones. I knew it was no longer in my hands...not that it ever was in mine to start with. In that moment of crying I truly felt the calming presence of God. I felt His strength carry the burden away and somehow give me the mental strength to push a couple more times. At 8:46pm, sweet Jacob Pierce entered into this world at 3lbs. 7 oz. and 17 inches long. He was breathing, pink in color, and let out the sweetest cry the world has ever heard.

6 minutes later and barely even a push, our perfect little Audrey Helene became the youngest member of our family. She weighed in at 3 lbs. 2 oz. and 15 inches long. She, however, did not breath and started to drop her heart rate. The NICU staff was amazing with both babies and were very quick and calm in getting Audrey intubated. What I'm sure was only a minute felt like ages as I waited to here them say "she's ok now. We have her intubated and her heart rate is going back up." I think I held my breath the entire time.
At that very moment, they allowed me to hold Jacob for a few seconds. It was one of the happiest moments of my life. It was one of those moments where it felt like no one else was in the room...just he and I. I still thank God for that moment as it helped me feel calm and peaceful again. I think it is the one thing that kept me from falling apart when they whisked my children away.

The days have been long and with many ups and downs. The day I was discharged without two babies was possibly the hardest day of my life. There were not two more car seats. There were not pictures to be taken of "mommy holding her babies" while being wheeled out to the car. It was just Andrew and me...and my empty womb.

I had to leave my precious children in the care of someone else...two lives that were still so fragile and somewhat unstable...two lives that I had to leave so that I could make up for all the time I lost with my sweet Ella. My heart ached for time with her. But, my heart also ached to just be present for my other two new loves. I was also desperate to just be able to sleep next to my husband again...to curl up in his arms and feel safe and secure after being locked in the hospital for so long. My heart has never felt so torn in my entire life.

The journey is not over. The neonatologist warned us that the 10 weeks of bed rest and being in the hospital were the easy part. He said the roller coaster was really just beginning...and he was so right. Although we face at least 2 months more of the babies being in the hospital, I cannot help but feel so blessed.

I am blessed because I have felt my heart triple in size. I am blessed because I have become a completely different woman through this trial..for the better. I am blessed because my marriage is so much stronger because the pain we have suffered. I am blessed because I have felt what it truly means to be surrounded in prayer and seen what God can do through it.

And I am blessed because on September 1st, we celebrated not just one more birthday...but two. We continue to pray and believe that God will allow us to bring you both home. We pray that each day will bring positive news and renewed strength to our family.

Your journey has just begun my sweet little miracles. I cannot wait till that first night I awake to a babies cry...because that will mean that you are at home with us.

I love you a thousand times. Happy Birthday!


Tom said...

What a beautiful write up about your beautiful twins!

May God give you the things you will need in Faith to raise them as life goes on in time

Amber said...

Wow, that was so beautiful. I'm glad you can be home with your husband and Ella, But my heart breaks knowing that you have to be away from the others. Stay strong. We all will continue to pray!

The Del Angel Family said...

Praying so hard for y'all, Sarah. You are so strong. I watched my sister in law birth her twins almost 2 months early this year and have long stays in the hospital...and now they are strong healthy 8 month olds!!! You can do it. God has given you the strength to survive this. Love y'all!

Thea Nelson said...

Thank you for posting your story. We have never met. My friend Thea showed me your blog. As I read this I am starting my first week of bed rest. I am 20 weeks with a baby boy and a very similar situation (funneling cervix and contractions). Your story is an inspiration to me as well as a huge tear jerker. I will continue to follow your blog and the progress of your babies. They will be home with you before you know it. And you will be jumping in those leaves with Ella and trick or treating so soon. What joy lies ahead for you and your family. I'll be praying for you and the health of your babies daily.


Wanting What I Have said...

I am crying...and my heart is so thankful to God for the wonderful ways He has and is working in and through you and your family. We are praying for you and we rejoice with you! Thanks be to God!!! To him be the glory! Congratulations Ella! No doubt you are an amazing big sister! And happy birthday to Jacob and Audrey! We have prayed for you, precious little ones! And Sarah, congratulations to you and Andrew. Praying, too, that the sweetness of curling up in his arms and falling asleep brings quiet and peace and rest. May God calm your hearts and encourage you as never before!

With love!

Christine said...

What a beautiful reminder of God's faithfulness! I have been in your shoes with pre-term labor & my twin daughters were 36 weeks. Erin was 5 lbs. 4 oz & Jordan was 4 lbs. 4 oz. & they were tiny. They spent 2 weeks in the neo natal unit. I was exhausted & rented a breast pump & we went each day to see them & talk to them. They will be 17 next month but God brought my husband & I closer to Him through the process and we learned to trust and pray! God bless you, hang in there, He is so faithful & many are praying for you and your babies!

Miss said...

oh my gosh...that as so beautifully written. I feel as if I am experiencing your pain and joy and blessings and fear and heartache and celebration all in one!

You are amazing. I am beyond grateful to hear your marriage has grown thru this time...as you know this isn't how it always goes.

still praying!

Angela said...

Beautiful! God is so good!

Leah said...

I hope you don't mind me finding your blog. I was drawn to click on your name from the comment you left on Bennett's blog. We both mentioned, "one step forward, two steps back." Isn't that so true when you are living the life of NICU.

My daughter was born at 30 1/2 weeks and spent 1 day shy of 8 weeks in the NICU. Many of your words and feelings you write about I experienced as well. Thanks for being so transparent.

I have two more little one's to pray for now. :) Can't wait to see what God has in store for your miracles.