Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Celebrating life!

When the phone rang in my hospital room, I grabbed the receiver. Laying flat on your back for weeks on end was a little lonely. As much as I prefer face-to-face conversations, I was desperate to talk to anyone, and the phone was ringing!

"Carol, I am calling to make sure you are filled with the spirit of the resurrection Sunday today," the distinctly Egyptian voice of my obstetrician was on the other end of the receiver.

His wonderfully soothing voice, his calm manner were playing a huge role in keeping me sane as doctors, nurses, residents and fellows worked around the clock to keep our babies from arriving too too early.

When he left me on Good Friday, things were looking a bit bleak. My body could not be convinced that I was not full-term. But my babies needed more time. They desperately needed more time.

Waking up on Easter Sunday still pregnant was a miracle. And my doctor was celebrating with me even as we celebrated the holiest miracle of all -- Jesus' resurrection!

We had shared our faith, my amazing doctor and I. The day he sat down with Wade and I to discuss "options" for improving the odds of this pregnancy:

"I have to tell you that the number of babies can still be reduced," he said. "But I will have nothing to do with that. You will need to see one of my partners."

It took me a minute. I had assumed he meant the possibility of miscarriage was still high. We had discussed that before. When I realized he was referring to aborting one of my three, I burst into tears. 

"No. No." I said. "How in the world would we do that? These babies are our's. These three babies are our's."

And through my tears I told him my story:

When my original obstetrician read the first ultrasound -- the ultrasound she only ordered because I was having some issues that made us fear I was having a miscarriage -- she told Wade and I to go home and come back the next week. With a shocked voice, she told us there were four sacs. Four. But, she said, there only appeared to be life in two. Two. Twins. She was 99 percent certain we were having twins. Go home, she said, and we will do a follow-up ultrasound next week.

I prayed all week. "Oh Lord, four babies? Can I really handle four babies?? Or were there four and we have lost two little lives? That makes me so sad."

And so I stayed on my knees all week asking -- begging really -- God for a peace that when we had the ultrasound the following week that we would see the children He intended for us to have. That if there were four I would rest in the peace that He would provide the skills to care for four babies at once; and if there were two that He would provide the peace that those were our intended. That I would rest in that knowledge.

I was completely unprepared for the doctor holding up THREE fingers. THREE had not been an option. She said four or two. Four or two.

But there were three. And I smiled. Ok, God, I trust you. I trust you.

God intended for us to have three babies. I trusted God with my body, with their lives and with the selection of this Godly obstetrician who affirmed his belief in the sanctity of life. I would not reduce my pregnancy.

Oh, my three were still born incredibly early. But I was in full labor at 19 weeks. Their arrival at almost 29 weeks was an absolute miracle. Their life from the first breath is an absolute testimony to the power of God.

At my six week postpartum visit, my dear doctor told me I was his miracle story. I smiled, but told him we both knew God worked the miracle. He patted my hand and said, "Carol, when you went into labor at 19 weeks, my partners thought I should let you deliver, grieve and start over next year trying to have a baby."

I was shocked.

He continued, "I told them they had not met you. They had not heard your story of your incredible faith -- of how you asked God to show you on that ultrasound the children He wanted you to have. I told them I would do everything in my medical power to help you fight for these babies."

Wade with two babies, me with one as Dr. Ray Pritchard leads our Baby Dedication Ceremony.

I know that some reading this will say, yes, Carol but your boys suffer with Cerebral Palsy. You could have prevented that by reducing your pregnancy -- or delivering at 19 weeks. And I say, oh friend, have you met my children??

Benjamin rolls into a room and changes it for the better with his smile, his wit, and his creative mind. His life has great value. He makes the world a better place. And dear ones, because of where he was located in the womb, he would have been the one aborted. I can not imagine a world without this young man. I look at him and give thanks that in our stubbornness we chose LIFE for him. Life.

Then I look at Mason and Claire and try to imagine a world without them. Let me tell you that the world would not smile or laugh as often without Mason -- his laugh is contagious. But he is not just funny, he is smart and I know he is going to do amazing things with his life. His life.

And my beautiful Claire -- my girl that I insisted had to be in there when the docs pulled out two boys first -- restores my belief in people. She has such a passion for the marginalized -- orphans, special needs, impoverished. She works tirelessly to advocate for children that the world has forgotten; she works to learn/improve her sign language skills so she can take the Word to those who can not hear it. I pray to be her when I grow up. And I know that her life makes the world a better place!

Do they have obstacles? Absolutely. But, we chose life. We trusted God with my body. We trusted God with the plans He made for our children before He knit them together in my womb. We trusted God.

I give thanks every single day. But especially -- oh so especially -- this week. Friday is Benjamin, Mason and Claire's 17th birthday. SEVENTEEN!

Seventeen years. It has been 17 years since that beautiful phone call. It has been 17 years since I was flat on my back for ten weeks praying, hoping, praying that I would be a mommy to three beautiful babies in God's time.

Happy birthday, Benjamin, Mason and Claire! You have blessed me, your Dad, and all who come in to contact with you for 17 years! This next year is full of big changes, big decisions and amazing discoveries. I am so thankful that God allows me to be on the front row of your cheering section -- I will always be on the front row -- watching how He uses you and your beautiful, amazing lives!!

So, my friends, I have to ask: Are you filled today with the spirit of the resurrection Sunday?


Madison Anne said...

It is wonderful to know you. I just regret that we moved so far away that we are just now reacquainting the friendship through FB. I know your mom is busting at the seams proud of you as you are such a witness for our Lord and it is quite evident that your triplets are shinning their witness as you and your husband have led them to do. I rejoice with you this Easter and know that you all will be a blessing to all who know you. Anne

K said...

Happy Birthday, Benjamin, Mason, and Claire!!

This post was so moving for me. My parents went through a strikingly similar journey with my brothers and I, and it hurts me to even think about what my life would be like if my mom had listened to the doctors and reduced. The idea that perhaps we wouldn't have been born prematurely and I wouldn't have CP is completely and utterly irrelevant to me. I can't even begin to fathom life without my brothers. They are my everything, and I'm sure your three feel the same way about each other.


Joni said...

Love this, Carol! You have a beautiful family and you're doing an amazing job as their Mom!

AZ Chapman said...