Shortly before I found out I was pregnant, God convicted me about sharing His Word with others. It wasn't that I didn't want to share the Word of God; I didn't know how I should go about it without leaving them confused, uninterested, and annoyed. In church one Sunday, the pastor said, "Share your testimony". After a week of pondering, I concluded, "Oh well, I'm off the hook because I don't really have a great testimony ... at least nothing that would interest anyone. It certainly would not be moving enough to lead anyone to Christ."
When I accepted Jesus at the age 10, I remember standing in front of the church with tears of joy running down my face. Throughout my life, God has answered many prayers and spoken to me through the Bible. I even witnessed a few "odd" things that surely non-believers would think I made up. I asked, "Who would want to hear that?"
When the topic of witnessing came up again, however, I asked God to give me a testimony. I was in no way expecting what I was about to receive. After having a very emotional week, I sat down to read the Bible. God spoke to me and told me "This is all within my plan." I had absolutely no idea what that meant. A few hours later, I felt the urge to take a pregnancy test. When I saw it was positive, I got so weak in the knees that I had to lay down. I was pregnant with baby #3! After the initial shock, we were very excited. At nine weeks, I went for my first doctor's visit which revealed that I was carrying twins.
At 15 weeks, a high-risk doctor told us that our identical twins were girls. I was so excited! However, he also told us that my twins may be developing signs of Twin To Twin Transfusion Syndrome (TTTS). Having already researched twin pregnancies, I knew what this meant. It was not good news. TTTS is a disease of the placenta that affects approximately 15-20% of identical twin pregnancies. When a single placenta is shared by the twins, abnormal blood vessels develop, essentially connecting the circulatory systems of the babies. The result is an unequal exchange of blood flow, creating serious complications that endanger the health of both babies.
I returned to the doctor weekly and at 17 weeks I was put on complete bed rest. At 18 weeks the TTTS had progressed enough to require a risky surgery, which occurred at 19 weeks in Miami. We were thrilled to see their hearts beating and legs kicking the morning after surgery. Although surgery caused contractions that were difficult to control, we were elated that our babies survived! Our goal was to control contractions and keep the babies incubated until at least 32 weeks. My never getting off bed rest was difficult for us with two young children and no family in the area, but I was willing to do whatever it took.
I realized, however, that God was not done with my testimony. I had been so strong, but I became physically, emotionally, and mentally exhausted when a routine appointment a few weeks later revealed that the smallest twin had fluid around her heart. I soon realized that I wasn't the one in charge. God wanted me to trust Him. I knew he had my family's best interest at heart. I believe in the power of prayer and that God can work miracles. I knew He could save my babies if He chose to. However, the rational, human part of me remembered that God doesn't always choose to work miracles the way we humans see fit. God's answer to my prayers was simply "Trust me!"
I prayed, had hope, and knew that God could spare the life of Maren, my smallest twin but part of me wanted to remain cautious. I gave it to God and surprised myself in the process! I felt honored that He loved me enough to build my character and my strength. I witnessed the power of prayer the entire time. My original thought of what the power of prayer meant was that God would heal my children. Instead, I was now able to gain strength and see that my interpretation was not HIS interpretation.
Once I gave it to God and fully trusted Him and His plan, I was able to give my children back to Him. I've always said that God has a miraculous sense of humor, and Todd and I witnessed that on several occasions. We became so "at peace" that when we received disturbing news that things were getting worse, we burst out laughing. I distinctly remember saying "Wow, God, I asked for a testimony and You are really determined to make it a good one!"
Things did get worse. On Sunday, July 5th, 2009, the ultrasound showed that Maren's little body was shutting down. She was dying. The twins needed to be delivered at only 29 weeks. Their prognosis was not too great because of the TTTS. Payton was born first weighing 3 pounds 1 ounce and Maren, a minute later, weighing 2 pounds 6 ounces. They were in such poor condition that they rushed them by me so fast I didn't get even get a glimpse of a tiny foot. I had to wait 12 hours to see them – the longest 12 hours of my life. Again, I had to TRUST!
A week and several blood transfusions later, my girls were surprising the doctors. Not only were they going to survive, but they had no lasting birth defects!! Praise God!! Payton was in NICU for six weeks and Maren was in for eight weeks. Both of them left the hospital without any monitors or tubes. Amazing!!
I know that God now expects me to do something with my testimony. He loved us enough to strengthen us and then reward us with two perfectly healthy, beautiful girls.