Sunday, October 30, 2016

Twenty years ago

Twenty years ago today I lost twins.  Technically they died a week earlier but they were removed on this date twenty years ago....

There has been nothing up to this point in my life that shook me like their loss.  We had just had our oldest son after six years of infertility and were so happy.  I found out that i was pregnant because  of some dental work that required anesthesia and required a pregnancy test.   We were dumbfounded to say the least LOL  I had no symptoms and was already about two months along.  On my first office visit I had a sonogram and we found out we were having twins!  We were over the moon!  What's funny is when I found out about the pregnancy- in my heart I knew it was twins.  I also didn't feel that both would survive.

The pregnancy was different than our first one.  One thing that bothered me was that I didn't feel much movement.  At 19 weeks I had the AFP test (alpha-fetoprotein)  There was some slight concern that one of the babies had spina bifida.  However the doctor was reassured  us that having twins totally screwed up the test results and we shouldn't worry.  At the time we were living in NYC so I was sent to Beth-Israel for a diagnostic sonogram.  For a few days before the sonogram I hadn't felt any movement so that morning I drank some orange juice in hopes of getting them to move around.  On the way, I was concerned but honestly at that time of my life, I had never heard of anyone really having problems so I brushed the concerns away. 

When the tech started the sonogram and put it on Baby A.....I knew he was dead.  He was crumpled down and there was no movement.  I began crying and saying "he's dead"  Then she went on to Baby B and he was also dead.  She then ran out of the room to get the doctor.  I ran to the bathroom to throw up (that's what I do when i get upset)   

When the doctor came in, he confirmed that the babies were dead.  He also told us Baby A had severe spina bifida.  Baby B had no outward disabilities.  He felt that Baby A had died a few days earlier and Baby B had died more recently.  At this point I was a few days into week 21.  

To say we were devastated, is putting it mildly.  Then we had to deal with the babies being removed.  It took a week to set things up.  I wanted it done in a hospital.  At first our insurance was going to send me to an abortion clinic and I said "NO!!!!  I fought that because there was no way I was going to go somewhere and have my loved and cherished children removed in a place where women chose to end their children's lives.  

In the end I did have the "late term abortion" ( and that is exactly what the doctors called it) done in the same hospital our son Steve was born in, just one year earlier.  The only doctor who could perform this procedure was an abortionist that specialized in late term abortions.  I went into his office prepared to dislike him but we stuck up an unlikely friendship.  His office was just down from the newly built Trump Towers (in fact I don't think it was open yet)  His clients were mainly very wealthy women.  He had a team of doctors who did early abortions and while in the back rooms we could literally hear the suction machines- it was a bit overwhelming to me.  

However this man was very kind to me and compassionate regarding our loss.  As we discussed what was ahead, somehow he opened up to us and shared things about his family, things they were going through.  It was really an unusual situation.  My husband was able to minister to him and give him some advice about some situations.  Like I said it was a very unusual situation for us.  

So he started the process by inserting medicine and rods into my cervix.   That was awful.  When I stood up, I passed out.  He told us that happened often as it was such a shock to my pregnant body.  

That night I had to be alone, so I went walking.  Remember we lived in Brooklyn NY.  It was cold and windy that night.  My heart was just broken.  I walked and cried as I told the twins how much I wanted them and that I'd take them just the way they were.  Although I was afraid of what was happening in my body- carrying dead babies, I hated the thought of them being gone from me.  The memory of that night will always be with me.  It was such a personal time for me.  

The next morning I was admitted to the hospital.  My wonderful father in law had come up to stay with Steve and to help us as soon as he heard what had happened.  We actually had friends who were watching Steve for us that day so he could be with us at the hospital.  When we dropped Steve off, I remember having such a hard time saying good-bye to him.  

So I had a D&E (dilation & evacuation)  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dilation_and_evacuation  
This is basically a late term abortion.  The only difference is that our babies were already dead.  It's ironic that this is such a big issue right now in the news.  The doctor gave us alot of info about the procedure before and after it.  He said he was one of the few doctors who did these abortions.  In fact he'd never had one like mine with two dead babies and he was a bit concerned ( rightfully so as I had the worst complication from it)  He explained that because the babies were dead, there were less steps in the process for me.  I asked why an abortion like this was done since it was so dangerous and he told me that he mainly did them because the mother had learned her child had a disability from the same test I had done.... 

So in frank words-these type of abortions are mainly done because the parents learn their children have a disability.  I'm not saying this-I"m just repeating what the doctor told us.  I asked him how could he do this since he was just the nicest guy I'd ever met.  He told me he felt he was helping the moms to have a better life.  He said that was what he kept his focus on.  

So back to my procedure, I was treated so kindly by all the hospital staff and they quickly put me to sleep as I was an absolute mess.  When I woke up in recovery, I woke up crying.  I had the absolutely sweetest nurse, she was so very kind to me.  A few minutes after I woke up, I began to hemorrhage uncontrollably.  She called the trauma team into the recovery room and began a 8 hour fight for my life.  They called the doctor back to the hospital- by the time he got there, he was as white as I was!  He was scared (he admitted later he thought I would not make it) 

My nurse was a Christian (she actually went to Times Square Church which we were somewhat associated with) she went to my husband and told him to call everyone he knew to pray for me because things were not good.  He came in to see me and gave me a picture of Steve.  I showed everyone that picture and begged them to not let me die because I had a baby to take care of.  The staff (who all came to see me in the ICU) told me that they'd have to walk out and cry because they just knew I probably wasn't going to make it.   My husband told me I was a strange color and had what the old people call "death's dew" on my forehead.  

I had DIC disseminated intravascular coagulation)  From what we've been told, DIC is 99.9999% fatal.  In fact when I tell medical staff that I survived it- I've been told over and over again that I'm the first person that the person has ever met that has survived it.  I'ts the leading cause of maternal death and since my case I've know two women who have died from it.  And I know one person who also miraculously also survived it.   In order to save my life I had 19 bags of blood and bags of clotting factor.  That became another issue later......

So the staff fought for my life all that long day twenty years ago..... I prayed and prayed that I would live and not leave my family.  I'm grateful for the past twenty years!  

At times I could hear but not really see. they kept telling me to stay awake- to talk- to stay with them.   Finally they got the bleeding under control and were able to send me to ICU where I stayed for several days.  

I share all of this in honor of my twins.  That situation was just awful on all levels. But don't let anyone fool you about partial birth abortion or late term abortion.  it is NOT done to save a mother's life.  If a mother is in grave danger a C-section is done.  It takes only 30 minutes to set up for an emergency C-section.  A late term abortion is done over a period of about 24-36 hours.  The reason it takes so long is that the cervix must be slowly dilated or it will be damaged and make it impossible to carry another baby.  If there is a known problem for the mother, a c-section will be done.  In fact my doctor said later that a c-section would have been safer for me given the gestation age and the fact there were twins that had been deceased for at least a week.  Don't let anyone deceive you about late term abortions, they are done for one reason only-and that is to kill the baby for the mother's convenience.   Generally it is because an abnormality is found in the child.

After receiving so much blood I was a bit concerned.   A couple of months later, it came out that my hospital had received tainted blood from the NYC blood bank in October and November of 1996.  Of course I was just sick when i heard of patients who had Hepatitis and HIV from blood transfusions.  I thought surely with so much blood I had received, there was no way I didn't get some contaminated blood.  Thankfully I have rare blood and all the blood I received came from the NJ blood bank.  I did have to go through testing for years, because of the other blood products- that was overwhelming!   

Obviously my case was higher risk because of the fact I was carrying dead twins but it is a high risk procedure.  Please know this procedure is done daily.  Babies that are viable or near viability are killed mainly because they are disabled.  At times it is done because the mother waited too long to have a early abortion,  It's done because for whatever reason the mother does not want to deal with the child.  Are there ever cases when the mother's life is in immediate danger......NOT if they have a late term abortion.  Doctors will do an early delivery by C-section if there is an emergency situation.     Of course there are rare situations of women being diagnosised with cancer while pregnant. but that is rare and surely doesn't account for the estimated 18,000 late term abortions in the USA.  And generally those mothers opt for an early delivery in order to give the child a chance of life.  

So back to my personal story.....after the loss i went through the deepest darkest valley of my life.  It was an awful few years for me spiritually.  But I came through it with a real true faith in God.  It was so hard for me to understand WHY God let that happen to us.  I had to learn that God walks with us through trials.  He doesn't always deliver us from a situation but He does walk with us through it.  Those years were a bitter time for me.  But I learned so much through it.  Some things I learned were through knocks on the head and some things took awhile to deal with.....but I made through....

When Sam was born with all his issues and then when the accident happened with Selah, I had experience to draw from, knowing that God would not fail me or leave me.  Both times I determined that my heart would not get bitter, believe me I knew what a bitter heart could do!   Both times I literally made a confession to God that I would trust Him and not let my heart get bitter because of circumstances.  God has been faithful to walk through all of this with me.  

We had the twins cremated.  I could not stand to think of leaving them in NY since we knew we were not planning on living there all our lives.  One day about a month after their loss I was playing with Steve in our living room and a delivery man brought me a box containing their remains.  That was not how I was expecting to hold them for the first time.  I smelled smoke on the box, and that just broke my heart again.    From that day on, that box, has traveled with us and has lived in my closet.  Knowing this anniversary was coming up, I thought about getting a urn for them but could not handle going to a funeral home,  So I thought I'd just put them in a nice container I had.  So last night I opened the box for the first time.  It was hard.  So many memories came flooding back.  Twenty years have past, the address label was obviously typed by a "real" typewriter. When I finally go the boxes open, I found there were two plastic black boxes in there.  That was as far as I could go.  I've decided to paint the boxes.  I'm not a person that cries easily, but the tears were streaming down my face and my heart was beating fast while I was opening the boxes.  The only solace I have is I believe that one day I will be reunited with them in heaven.  I believe God used the situation to show His mighty hand to me.  Of course I do not believe He caused their death but He taught me His faithfulness through the situation.  God is not a genie who fixes every wrong in this world or in my individual life.  There's is nothing in scripture that teaches that God fixes every wrong.....BUT it does teach that ONE day every tear will be wiped away and every wrong will be made right.....


So what do I say to a women who has had an abortion?  Most have abortions out of fear and that is so sad.  Many have abortions because a doctor encouraged them to do it.   Most of them had little or no medical knowledge.    I've talked to dozens of women who have had abortions and all regret their actions, all of them grieve.  God forgives every sin, including abortion.

What do I say to a woman who is facing a hard situation due to different reasons?  Chose LIFE for your child.  Give the child up for adoption, many families would be willing to take your child even if it has a disability.  Turn to God and trust Him to with the situation.  God has a way of working things out.  Most larger cities have a pregnancy centers.  We have one in our small town.  We just went to the annual banquet for them and they had a mom there who shared that they've been involved with for 7 or 8 years.  They help mothers whether they keep the baby or adopt them.  They even offer counseling for women who have had abortions.

I believe pro-life all the way....I support our local crises pregnancy center, we've adopted, we've helped families, and I'd be willing to help anyone who wants to connect me at  theclanton5@aol.com
I can get you in contact with people in your area that would walk with you through your situation.  And by the way I'm against the death penalty too.

So twenty years later....I'll never forget my babies.  



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