“There’s a quote I’ve had written in my scriptures for years that’s helped me through tough times! It says: ‘Jesus’ brief stumbling while carrying the cross is a reminder as to how close to the very edge of our strength God stretches us at times.’ I’ve repeated that quote in my mind more times than I can count while going through this experience.
In the summer of 2018, we were shocked and excited to find out we were expecting identical twins! We weren’t planning on another yet — let alone two! Since this definitely would be the last pregnancy for us, we decided it would be fun to make the ‘twin news’ a surprise for everyone at the hospital. It was our little secret!
I went in for my routine appointment when the doctor told me we were having girls. However, they had Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome and my heart immediately sank, thinking the worst.
Twin-twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS) is a rare, serious condition that can occur in pregnancies when identical twins share a placenta. Abnormal blood vessel connections form in the placenta and allow blood to flow unevenly between the babies.
Without a moment to even let that acronym sink in, he told me I needed to ‘prepare’ myself in case I had to get surgery or the possibility of deciding which baby we would want to save if it came down to saving one. I was devastated. He continued to talk in a blur and all I could do was fight that urge to run from the room. I’ve had two previous perfectly healthy pregnancies. In my blind ignorance, I was telling myself this is something that shouldn’t be happening to us.
My husband was working while I was at that appointment so I waited for him to get out on lunch so I could share the news. I sobbed in the car as I told him what the doctor had said. Here is his 2-cents on our experience:
‘I met my wife in the parking lot at the school I was teaching at during lunch. The moment I saw her, I knew it was bad news, but how bad? I honestly was expecting the worst, so with the TTTS news, I was somewhat relieved for a moment but as she explained it, the anxiety soon built. The thought of possibly having to choose one twin to save the other made me sick. By not doing anything, we could lose them both through a form of negligence. It was hard to feel optimistic about the whole situation. From that point and several weeks forward, I didn’t like to bring up our twins and draw attention to them. To a degree, I felt like a coward-of-a-future-father to them. I didn’t like explaining our situation because I didn’t want people to get a read on me and how I felt about it. Sadly, it was just easier for me not to talk about it. I kind of took the ‘ignorance is bliss’ approach by not looking up statistics and other people’s positive and negative stories about TTTS. One of my main worries if this whole thing went south was that my wife would blame herself for the loss of our girls. I would remind her daily this is out of her control, so don’t feel responsible if things don’t turn out the way we planned. I would often have to remind myself the danger our girls are going through is in God’s hands. If they make it, it is because their trial has made them stronger.’
My high-risk doctor’s office became a second home I went in twice a week to check on our girls and weekly to my regular OB. It still hits me as I let myself feel that pain and anxiety again. I spent every moment of every day worrying if they were okay. Was that both of them kicking? Did one fall asleep or was this the moment I’d lose one? Every drive to the doctor was an internal battle of my thoughts, hopes, and fears. All of this mushed together made me feel a little bitter inside towards my Heavenly Father.
‘Am I strong enough as the mother growing these babies we love to endure this? I’ve had to rely on him during trials in my life already so why am I so shamelessly struggling to rely on him now? I’ve prayed more in the past 24 hours than I remember and I know he is here for me, holding out his hand and asking me to trust him. So why is knowing this hard?’
As we continued through this pregnancy, we were grateful to see the girls remained steady in the beginning stages of TTTS and there was no advancement with that. Don’t get me wrong, I was and still am very grateful but I was still struggling with this. At this point, we were 20 weeks and decided to announce publicly with family and friends because we just weren’t sure what the future would hold for us, so the jig was up. The delivery surprise was aborted. I needed to find someone who I could relate to on a woman-to-woman level. The support and love we received in return was overwhelming. We had friends putting our names in the temple weekly and continually checking in. It was a reminder we weren’t alone in this and it nudged me to accept more help with the pregnancy and our other kids.
Then at 30 weeks, I started experiencing pains I knew weren’t right. We called my sister to be with our other kids so we could head to the hospital. We were checked in immediately and found out we were at a 3 and 80% effaced. The doctor on call was preparing me and my husband there was a good chance we were having these babies within 48 hours and the realities of it. As he talked, nurses were poking me with needles, IV lines, and giving me medicine to help our sweet girls as a precaution. I kept looking over at Ry for reassurance. Inside, I was freaking out. Inside, I was starting to unravel. We had worked so hard to get here that just to go into labor now way before these girls should be here didn’t seem fair. Yet again, by some miracle, those sweet babies stayed in. I returned home on strict bed rest orders until they did arrive!
The funny thing about bed rest is it sounds amazing until you are on it and you realize how much it sucks! I still had two other kids and had to depend on family and my husband even more. (He seriously doesn’t get enough credit for all the work he did with his businesses and taking over for me!) I journaled, watched Outlander, and snuggled with the kids a lot. It gave me a lot of time to think about how I was at the end of my strength and somehow still holding on. I wouldn’t say my bitterness was gone entirely but I felt that load lighten as I reflected on how much my Heavenly Father had blessed me through this. I had the most supportive family and the best of friends to lean on. I still had my babies inside me and I was blessed with the BEST husband and kids! For whatever reason, this wild, emotional rollercoaster experience was meant for us. Our Heavenly Father has experienced this pain and joy for us and he knew. He knows how my husband and I feel trying to deal with this. He is always here for us. It’s the matter of if we allow Him in to help us.
Our story has a happy ending though! Our beautiful girls; Quincy Rose and Maxine Iris were born January 16th at 35 weeks! The joy of feeling Quincy on my chest was overwhelming. The tears fell as I looked over at my husband. I felt like I could breathe and let go of that fear I wouldn’t meet her. I could let go of the guilt I was trying so hard to not love her and her sister so much if I did lose one that the pain I had to prepare for would somehow be less. She was here! I could physically touch her, kiss her, and just breathe her in.
Five minutes later, her sister Maxine joined us! I counted her fingers and just cried as I held her tight. That feeling…that feeling of both our girls here was surreal! As we were taken back to our room and our other kids were brought in, it felt unbelievable.
I watched my husband hold the babies as our other two sat next to him to look at them and my heart was full! I love my family and am so grateful for this trial because it is a reminder of how close to the end of my strength I got and the help I received to be stronger.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Kolby Palmer. You can follow their journey on their website. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
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