‘I’m pregnant with triplets!’ Then my heart sank. I was in shock. ‘The doctor has to look at something.’: Triplet with omphalocele heals in utero, ‘I wake up thankful’

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“My husband and I met in ministry school in 2014. We got married 3 weeks after we started dating and have been on a beautiful journey ever since. When we first married, we knew we wanted 1-2 children, but with each child, our love grew and so did our desire to have a big family!

Courtesy of Rachel Rhodes

I was told at the age of 14, due to underlying health conditions, I would probably never be able to get pregnant, and if I did, I wouldn’t be able to carry the baby to a healthy point in the pregnancy. As the years passed, I suffered through multiple miscarriages and believed what the doctors said must be true. But I had a praying momma, and she assured me God showed her I would have my own children some day.

When my husband and I were ready to try for a baby, we consulted with my OBGYN, and she suggested doing a simple in-office procedure called an HSG which may or may not give us more answers as to why I had reoccurring losses. What we didn’t know until after the fact was this procedure can also cause an increase in fertility for 2-3 months following. Sure enough, 3 months later, I became pregnant with my first child, Ezra, and carried him to full term, delivering a healthy happy baby boy!

Courtesy of Rachel Rhodes

I got pregnant with my second child Judah 6 months later, then my third child Eli 10 months after that. After Eli was 1 year old, we decided to try for one more. We had 3 handsome little boys, but I knew God had given me a name for a girl, so I was believing for her. I began gathering girl clothes and blankets in a ‘faith closet’ as an act of faith. I knew I would have my baby girl one day. When I found I was pregnant, I wondered if this was our girl!

Courtesy of Rachel Rhodes

I excitedly scheduled my first appointment for this pregnancy. They did a dating ultrasound at 5 weeks along. The tech didn’t say much, and told me the doctor would be calling. I didn’t think much of it. Next thing I know, I get a call from the doctor telling me he believed I had a molar pregnancy (which looks like a cluster of grapes on an ultrasound), and I would very quickly need to go be rescanned because it could turn into cancer, and I could possibly lose my uterus.

I was shaking and confused. I had several people praying for me. I went to an ultrasound the very next day. They informed me this could mean I couldn’t have anymore kids and may have to do cancer treatments to ensure the ‘growths’ didn’t come back. They sent me to the ultrasound room. I talked for a minute about what I was being told, then she began the ultrasound. The first thing out of her mouth was, ‘Well, it’s definitely not a molar pregnancy!’

I was so relieved but still confused. I asked, ‘Well, what’s going on?’ She turned the screen to me and said, ‘You’re pregnant with quadruplets.’ She began to count, ‘1,2,3,4.’ I lay there in a state of shock. I was by myself and didn’t have a lot to say simply because I was in total shock! I asked, ‘How in the world is that possible!?’ She looked at my ovaries and told me she didn’t know for sure, but it looked like I had ovulated 2 eggs from my left ovary, and both of them must have split very early on. At my 7 weeks appointment, they did another ultrasound which revealed I lost one of the babies and now had triplets.

Courtesy of Rachel Rhodes
Courtesy of Rachel Rhodes

I was shaking. I couldn’t even drive. The logistics of this type of pregnancy were flying through my head. I thought of the financial side. How could we afford a vehicle big enough to fit this many kids? How could we afford that many diapers!? My doctor sat me down in her office and told me it’s not common, but being over 30 and having a history of multiples on my mother’s side may have played a role in this occurrence.

I immediately called my husband to tell him I didn’t have a molar pregnancy. He was so relieved! I said, ‘There’s more news though. I’m pregnant with triplets!’

I assumed he would pass out, freak out, and possibly cry! But much to my surprise, he was calm as could be. He felt grateful God would entrust us with this, and he assured me we would make it through this just fine. Next, I called my mom, and she was super surprised but also overjoyed. I remember her saying, ‘There has got to be a girl in there somewhere!’

When I went to my 1st Maternal Fetal Medicine appointment in Birmingham, I was 12 1/2 weeks pregnant. This was just a routine appointment to meet the providers and ask any questions since I’m having higher order multiples.

I got an ultrasound done and was enamored by how sweet they all looked. After the ultrasound, they put me back in the room to have my appointment with the OBGYN.  I was excited to go over my list of questions with her… but I never got to do that.

She came in and said, ‘We need you to come back to this other room to do a more in-depth ultrasound… we have to take a look at something.’

My heart sank. I immediately knew something was wrong. I began running through everything in my mind. They all had heartbeats: I saw it. They all had their legs and arms. What could be wrong with my perfect babies!?

By the time I got back to the room, I was shaking. I didn’t wait for the ultrasound. As soon as the door closed, I asked what was going on. What was wrong!?

The doctor began to explain to me that Baby C had a severe birth defect called an ‘omphalocele.’ This meant the baby’s guts (possibly the small and large intestines, liver, kidneys etc.) were outside of its body instead of in its belly. But the bad news continued. They explained to me that unlike a similar health issue called Gastroschisis, an omphalocele is usually (but not always) related to chromosomal abnormalities such as Down syndrome or other trisomy disorders.

Courtesy of Rachel Rhodes

They went on to explain that many omphalocele babies have severe heart displacement/defects, and this also greatly increases the chances of stillbirth. This isn’t an exhaustive list of the things they told me, but I couldn’t retain everything because I was crying and couldn’t focus.

They said my options were: 1) selective reduction… the answer was immediately no; 2) an amniocentesis to see if there were any chromosomal abnormalities… the risks outweighed the ‘benefits,’ and we didn’t really care to find out because we knew we were going to love this baby no matter what! The 3rd option was to do nothing and simply be closely monitored. This is the option we decided to go with.

They informed me surgery would be required after birth. After a while, we learned sometimes they aren’t big enough to have the surgery and have to live with their abdominal contents outside of their body for 6 months to a year.

On the way home I had a raging migraine. But I still managed to call 3 family members to ask for prayer. They all 3 immediately felt God was going to work everything out.

I had no peace. I tossed and turned at night. My thoughts were consumed with all the what ifs. I definitely did a lot of research about caring for a baby with an omphalocele, but at some point, I realized doing this was making me more anxious, so I chose to take a stance of faith and believe for a miracle to occur. I KNEW I had to find peace. I KNEW I was going to have to rely FULLY on God.

I woke up one morning, and I just felt peace. I had found my place of faith in God over this situation. I laid hands on my belly and prayed over Baby C… daily. Multiple times a day.

We chose to keep this information private and told very few people within our circle. Not because we were in denial but because we knew there would be nay-sayers, and there was no place for that in our hearts.

The weeks passed. Appointments came and went. It was confirmed again on an ultrasound at just over 14 weeks. I was sad. Because I was believing for a miracle. This wasn’t something that resolved on its own. I asked… the answer was always, ‘No, I’m sorry.’ There were only 2 studies I saw where this resolved on its own. So I prayed. I prayed everyday to be that 3rd case with unexplained resolution of the omphalocele.

If you didn’t know, the abdominal contents are typically all the way within the abdominal cavity by weeks 8-10…so seeing the omphalocele at 12 weeks… and then at 14 weeks… was heart-breaking. I knew this wasn’t a medical error at that point. I knew God would have to move on my baby’s behalf in order for him to be healthy. On the way home from my 14 week ultrasound, I prayed, ‘God…I have another appointment in 2 weeks. That is another opportunity for You to heal him! I’m trusting you… no matter what.’

Two weeks went by. I received several words he would be healed. It resonated with my spirit, but there’s always thoughts of, ‘You’re just crazy,’ ‘nobody should ask for the impossible,’ but still, I asked. Daily.

I walked into my 16-week appointment. The tech was sweet. She knew my momma heart had been broken.She made sure they all 3 had heartbeats before putting them up on the screen. And the ultrasound began. She looked confused. She wasn’t saying much. I lay there for an what felt like an HOUR. Finally, she told me…

There was no omphalocele. She asked to see the previous ultrasounds that showed the defect. I showed them to her… I was cautious about what she was saying. She looked at them in amazement. ‘That’s a huge defect! That’s definitely an omphalocele, but I can’t find it!’ I need the doctor to look!’

I asked her how sure she was. She literally told me she had been doing this for over 20 years and would stake her job on the fact there wasn’t even a trace of a defect on this baby. Every single baby I was carrying was 100% healthy as could be!

Courtesy of Rachel Rhodes

I KNEW MY GOD WOULD DO IT!!!  I could have done a dance in that ultrasound room! I saw the doctor next, and she confirmed she saw nothing. They said they were sending me back to Birmingham to confirm. But I knew. I knew God felt my faith. I knew I rested in Him, and I knew He answered my prayers and the prayers of everyone else who knew about this babies diagnosis.

I went to Birmingham, and they were just as amazed! They had no explanation. They said there wasn’t even trace of a defect! Multiple doctors reviewed my case, and one of them called me several days after my appointment to tell me God must be on my side because my baby was healthy now.

All I have to say is:

‘Mountains are still being moved

Strongholds are still being loosed

God, we believe

‘Cause yes, we can see it

That wonders are still what you do’

I want to give God ALL THE GLORY!! I’m not even deserving of such a miracle, but He blessed us anyways. I will forever tell of how my baby was healed even when the doctors said it was IMPOSSIBLE.

This experience has made me so much more grateful for the health of my children. It has opened my eyes to how many mothers out there needed hope when all the news they received sounded terrible. I wake up every morning with increased faith and an overwhelming sense of thankfulness.”

Courtesy of Rachel Rhodes

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Rachel Rhodes. You can follow their journey on Instagram. 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.

Read more stories like this:

‘Will she have brain issues?’ The doctor held my hand and said, ‘I don’t know.’ I’ve never been so scared.’: Woman births baby with Spina bifida, Hydrocephalus, ‘We’ve been through so much’

‘She’s in heart failure.’ I’d most likely never get to meet her. We could deliver our stillborn baby.’: Woman gives birth to high risk Down syndrome baby, ‘She defies all odds’

‘There are 3.’ My mind started racing. 3 what?!’ He said, ‘You’re going to have triplets. 3 babies.’: Woman gives birth to ‘non-NICU triplets’ after struggling with infertility, says ‘it was unheard of’

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