This is a very personal blog because it is about My belief in God and how, when it was put to the test I had to choose between what I knew was possible for God, and what the Doctor's and their science wanted me to accept as the only possible solution.
I was delighted to find out that I was pregnant. All went well for the first six weeks and then the morning sickness started and it struck with a vengeance. Work no longer was a possibility as I could not even get out of bed without throwing up. I carried a bowl every time I had to go for checkups and then at ten weeks a scan provided the answer, I was carrying twins.
The sickness continued and I became dehydrated, and with nothing to actually sick up as I literally could not keep anything down I became quite ill. Both twins were fighting for the little nutrition I had and even with hospital admissions nothing seemed to be able to stop this affliction. Concern was growing as one of the twins was by now two weeks in growth smaller than the other. She was fading.
At 21 weeks the waters broke and a scan revealed that my little girl was now without her protective sac. My response was to pray for her and for her short life. I was told by the doctors that she would come early, however they were not sure how early. I was by now a permanent addition to the delivery ward, as the hospital was a small cottage one and there was nowhere else for me to go. I heard day and night the groaning of childbirth and the delights of delivery. I was scared I have to admit, not having given birth before, and not knowing what the outcome would be.
Precisely a week later (22 weeks) without labour pains and on my own while trying to pass my poo, I delivered my baby daughter into a bed pan. I was shocked and beside myself. I pressed the call button and five minutes later a midwife came to my aid. When she saw me she became cross and asked why I hadn't alerted someone of my situation. She took my baby away and I heard the little one cry. I asked the midwife what they were going to do to help 'Lucy' and she just said that the hospital did nothing with babies born this early and handed her back to me. I immediately asked for the chaplain. I cuddled my dying little girl clutching her to my breast. Two chaplains arrived at the same time both out of breath. One took charge and the other left. He baptised my baby, then blessed and prayed for me.
The midwife informed the doctors what had happened and also that Lucy's placenta had not presented itself at all and the cord was exposed. The doctors did not want to use the usual method of delivering the placenta via injection as this could start off another labour. I was given an ultimatum. If the cord did not come after twelve hours they would abort the second twin. I was their priority and infection was likely to set in and my life would then be in danger.
I looked at the doctor as he said these things in a matter of fact way. I had just lost my first twin and now they wanted to abort my other one. I was told that the fetus again would not be viable so better that it died and I could go on to have another pregnancy at some time.
My head exploded, words that were horrid to me rang in my ears, fetus - my baby's name was Matthew, (we had already named the twins when we knew they were boy and girl. They were real to us, a part of our family) Abort my baby - never all the time he was alive there was hope.
Lying down put me at a disadvantage, these men loomed over me with their answers that screamed to me as wrong. I was grieving, angry at the way I had been treated by the midwife. I was like a cornered lioness, no one was going to go near my unborn baby and I told the doctors that. They looked at me and told me that I was being very stupid, that I had to think of the bigger picture, they were right and I was wrong. In their opinion my life was more important and that was that. To me both of our lives were important and I wanted both of us to live.
I was attached to a drip with antibiotics and when all the medical staff had gone and left me to grieve, I prayed to God. I prayed protection for myself and my unborn son. I prayed that the cord would stay uncontaminated for as long as it was still connected to me. Then I talked to Matthew, I told him the situation, that we were in this together and we were in God's hands. He would pull us through no matter what. I told my son to stay put and not to go getting ideas into his head that he too must enter the world early like his sister had.
The twelve hours came and went and the placenta was still intact but the cord had disappeared. The doctors could no longer see it. It had retreated. The doctors then changed their mind about terminating my baby and decided on giving me steroid injections to develop my baby's lungs as they said he too would now make an appearance sooner rather than later. I noted the difference in their attitude, even though nothing was said.
I was then transferred to a private room, free of charge, on the maternity ward. There I was handled with care and consideration. Every so often I had to talk to my son, when I felt a few labour pains. I knew when he was moving down to present himself for birth as the cord would present itself outside by about six inches.
At 24 weeks the date of viability in our country, the nurses started to contact the major hospitals in London to see if they could take a special patient. My friend had told me that if the nurses could get me into a certain hospital I would be in the safest possible hands as it specialized in preterm babies and complicated pregnancies. Again I prayed. None of the hospitals had free spaces and the desired hospital only had a cot in the SCBU (Special Care Baby Unit) but not a bed for me! But the nurses took a chance and sent me there anyway. Of course, I prayed that a bed would be found for me after I had arrived. After a snail pace journey, with only the lights flashing, no noise, in case the movement and siren started labour I arrived at my new home.
I was taken immediately to the labour ward as I had started having contractions. Again an encouraging talk to my son that the time was not right yet to be born, he settled down and we were found and given another private room, free of charge, for as long as the pregnancy lasted.
Here we became minor celebrities. It was a training hospital and doctors were brought in to see the rare case. They were told that they might never see another one of it's kind. We were scanned and computerized, my son's image was put on as an example of a 24 week old baby for teaching purposes. Each day when there was no delivery I was congratulated. The cord remained uninfected for another three weeks.
At 27 weeks I smelt fish, I knew instantly that it was time to give my son permission to be born. That night I thanked God for His compassion and for giving my son the best chance of surviving. The following day after all the doctors had been in to say good luck, I was taken up to the delivery suite. My son was born barely breathing with around twelve professionals attending. I saw him for a second and then he was taken to be 'worked on'. Six hours later I saw my tiny son, who weighed only 900 gms, with wires coming out from all sorts of places. He was wired literally for sound. He was on a ventilator that breathed for him. I knew from here on in he was in the best of medical hands and we had him baptised so that he was marked for God right from the beginning.
On the ward the Professor in charge came to see me, he had given me the private room, and had wanted only the very best for us. When I first arrived he had told me that he was very sorry that I had lost my first baby and that he wanted to do everything he could to save the remaining twin. I told him that I truly believed that God had been active in looking after my son and me, and he could not disprove this. He said that he had never seen anything as extraordinary as this case.
In the SCBU tiny amounts of your milk are given to your baby, it has to be checked first for infection, as this can be fatal to the premature baby. My milk came back positive, my life force for my baby was infected and I had to go on antibiotics and the milk sterilized before being given to him. This was yet again another confirmation that my baby and myself had been protected by God. The infection had actually been in my body, long before the fishy smell and we had been kept safe from it. I have to say that I never felt in danger of my life.
On the day that we buried our little Lucy, Matthew became very ill. When we got back to the SCBU the nurses were on full alert for my husband and I. They were not sure how to tell us that our son had taken a turn for the worse. Something was wrong with him and they didn't know what. When I saw him he looked grey, he kept not breathing. So I talked to him again and said that his place was here with us, we loved him and we wanted to see him grow up. We were not allowed to hold him so I just put my hand into the incubator and stroked his head. His heart rhythm calmed and he perked up. His stomach was bloated and we talked about maybe he needed to do a poo. (Now this is where it had all started, the need to do a poo!) A sliver of a suppository was given to him and his relief was noticeable after I had changed him for the fifth time! He did a sterling job completely drenching the incubator with faeces. The nurses gave me the job of cleaning up, but believe me I was happy to, my son was alive.
For three months I went in every day to see my son, to see the miracle of life struggle and win. I would read to him and the other babies, sing and pray for their healing and growth. After a month I finally was allowed to hug my baby. Just before we were transferred back to the cottage hospital a night nurse told me that my son would cry and cry after I had left him at 8 pm each night. So we made a tape to play to him so that he could go to sleep reassured.
The day we bought him home was the end of an exhausting journey. All he had to do was grow and we in our turn continued to thank God for our blessing.
I do believe to this very day that there is a magnificent God, who loves us unconditionally, who heard my prayer the day my daughter died. Who honored my total belief in His Power to save both my son and me.
That is why I do not think science has all the answers, that there is a Power so great that it can not be put into facts and figures, or explained by knowledge, it is beyond all of that. No man could have saved my child and me. Their answer was to destroy one in order to save the other. That never entered my mind, it was both or nothing and I believe that both was possible for God. Man's knowledge was limited, God's was open to the impossible.
This is my witness.