“Life doesn’t always turn out like you hoped.” I had heard that phrase many times before in my short 28 years of life. However, I never really knew what it meant until last October.
On October 11, 2010, I was 22 weeks pregnant with twin girls. My husband and I were enjoying the long weekend together; we went to eat with friends, relaxed in his apartment, and just truly enjoyed being with each other.
It was my first pregnancy, after trying for over two years and it had progressed very smoothly so far. I was growing steadily and I was just starting to really enjoy being pregnant. I was feeling the girls move and kick very often, sometimes constantly for an hour at a time! We hadn’t decided on names yet, but we had a few in mind. The nursery was getting prepared and we were getting excited.
That weekend, I noticed some slight bleeding and felt a slight pressure from the babies. It didn’t concern me or my husband too much, so we went about our plans with friends as usual. However, Monday morning starting at 2 a.m., things started to change. I had some cramping that woke me up and was somewhat painful. I decided to wait and see if it would go away. I had heard about Braxton-Hicks contractions and cramping, so I thought maybe it was nothing of concern. When the cramping continued regularly through the early morning hours, I woke up my husband and expressed worry. We agreed that I should go to the ER and get checked out, still thinking that it was nothing major.
At the ER, I was immediately placed in a wheelchair and taken to the Labor & Delivery floor, where they prepped me for an exam. That’s when my world turned upside down.
I was 5 cm dilated and very effaced. Those cramps were contractions and I was going into pre-term labor. My girls, at just 22 weeks in the womb, were in jeopardy of being born.
My thoughts were a jumble of concerns, and I struggled to focus on what was happening. The nurse explained that I would be transferred to another hospital where there were expert doctors and a NICU.
I was scared. But fear is not of the Lord, and he calmed me by bringing to mind the song “It is Well.” I meditated on that song for the next few critical hours. Through the ambulance ride to the other hospital, through the slew of doctors and nurses and explanations about what would happen, through the medications that were supposed to stop my contractions.
I knew my God was with me through all of it. He was there when the contractions didn’t stop. He was there when we decided to deliver “Baby A” because she was coming, ready or not. He was there when we named her Joanna Katherine. He was there when she was born and for every one of the 40 minutes that she was alive. He was there to call her home. God was there. And it was well with my soul.
1 John 4:15
“If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God.”
God knew what would happen next. He knew every day of my life before I was even born! And He knew that neither the cerclage nor the medications would stop my labor, that I would suffer from pulmonary edema, that the doctor’s would decide to break my water and move forward with the next delivery…and he knew that little Rita Elizabeth would be born exactly 2 days, 10 hours, and 38 minutes after her sister.
Rita, weighing just a little more than her older sister, joined Joanna to be with Jesus just a couple of hours later.
Later that morning, I was transferred to the ICU for a few hours of safe-watching, and then transferred again to a regular room. My last two days in the hospital were a true blessing from God in the midst of tragedy. My absolute favorite people gathered in my hospital room, sometimes two at a time, sometimes 10 or 12! And those precious people, through the grace of God, helped me recover from those unimaginable circumstances. We laughed. We watched football (Roll Tide). We talked and talked and talked.
I’m so thankful for so many things that week. God’s provision in this trying time still amazes me.
I’m thankful that I was with my husband that particular weekend, at that particular time and place. God knew what we needed and placed us in just the right circumstances to receive.
I’m thankful for my family and friends, who came and gave support and prayers throughout that week. I’m thankful that they got to see and hold my precious girls, to share in my joy.
I’m thankful for the hundreds of people all around the world praying for my girls, my family, and me.
I’m thankful for the access to scriptures to read and for those who read to me.
I’m thankful (immensely so) for the incredible doctors and nurses that took care of me and my babies. I will never forget their kindness and compassion.
I’m ever so thankful to God who blessed me with a wonderful, Godly husband. He was an amazing dad, too.
I wish I could say that I understand why this happened. But I can’t. I don’t understand how two precious young lives could be taken with no explanation, nothing “wrong”. I don’t understand how I could lose this pregnancy – my first after trying for over 2 years. I don’t understand why the prayers of hundreds for a miracle were answered with a “no”.
I don’t understand it, but I accept it. Because God is who He says He is. He is love.
Every day I think about what God wants me to do now. Now that I’m no longer a mother, no longer a teacher. And he reminds me that I am still and will always be HIS.
“I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.”