Meet Zoe and Zaria - Our Miracle Babies!
Shortly after coming back from our honeymoon last year, Kevin and I found out that we were expecting. We were so excited and had plans for all the fun stuff that we would do with ONE baby (well, Kevin had all the plans). A few days later, we found out that we were expecting not one, but two babies!
Shock is the word that I’d use to describe Kevin's reaction. He was so stressed out, he had a headache for a few days days ( I know!). I didn’t have much of a reaction; deep down, I did not believe that I was carrying two babies. I still don’t believe that I have two babies.
My first trimster was so difficult as is expected. I just never imagined that I would be nauseous 24/7 for at least four months; I had to be medicated for it. My first month of being pregnant, I lost weight because I just couldn't eat, everything tasted and smelt weird. My head felt like it was going to explode from throbbing migraines and my back was in constant pain. It was just terrible to say the least!
Around 16-17 weeks, I finally started feeling better and for the first time in my life, I was looking forward to Thanksgiving! If you know me, you know I barely eat but I finally had an appetite and understood the love relationship that food lovers have with food :-).
On November 28th, the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, I was at work and just had a big lunch with my bestie. I went back to my desk and I was feeling very uncomfortable. All of a sudden, I felt a rupture in stomach. It literally felt like a balloon popped and I could feel warm liquid coming out. My first thought was that it was blood and I couldn’t stop saying to myself, ‘No, no, no, no!’ I ran to the bathroom and saw that my water broke. How could my water break when I was only 19 weeks pregnant?
I called my doctor’s office and I was told to go to the hospital right away. I called Kevin and for some reason, he already knew that something was wrong. I drove myself to the hospital, which was not exactly the best thing to do because I was speeding and almost hit another car. Luckily, the hosital was less than 15 minutes away from my job.
My husband met me at the hospital. I spent what felt like an eternity filling out papers and signing my life away. Finally, I was seen by two nurses; they run some tests and all I remember hearing one of them say is, ‘Your water did break. Unfortunately, you are only 19 weeks pregnant and the babies are not going to make it. They need the water to breathe. I’ll have the doctors come talk to you guys about your options. I'm really sorry!'
Sigh! Have you ever been hit by a truck? I haven't either but I can imagine it feels something like what I felt in that moment. My heart shattered into a million pieces. That was perhaps the worst moment of our lives. In just a moment, our whole world had just come tumbling down.
We had four doctors come talk to us, they basically said the only option at this point was to terminate the pregnany. They gave us two options - (1.)I could take a pill that would stop the babies' heartbeats and then I give birth to stillborns or (2.) they could go in and do a surgical procedure where they woudld cut up the babies in small pieces. Can you imagine someone giving you options on how to abort your babies? I don't know how anyone would have the heart to get rid of a precious life.
We were persistent in not getting rid of our babies so one of the doctors called a fifth doctor, who asked to check how much water was left inside. They checked and miraculously, there was still some water left around the baby. We found out later on that it was one of babies sacs that ruptured. They decided to keep me overnight for observation. That was just their way of saying, let's see if the babies survive overnight.
That night, my parents, siblings, bestie, and hubby surrounded my hospital bed and they prayed and prayed for God’s will to be done. That was the longest night of my life. I had no idea what they would find when they did the sonogram the next day. I was terrified to go to the bathroom for fear that I'd lose all the water and the babies would just come out.
The following day, they did a sonogram in the late afternoon. The babies heartbeats were still very strong and since we refused to terminate, they sent me home on bed rest and asked me to check my temperature every few hours. I had to go the hospital every week for observation and everytime they told us the babies may not make it, they might have breathing problems or might be deformed from being too close to the membrane. We could not stand them, matter of fact, we hated them! It's amazing that doctors push for abortion if they suspect the baby might have a disability or any other issues. They make more money from abortions than they do from deliveries. It's sickening!
The biggest risk to preterm labor is infection to the babies and the mom. The sac protects the babies from outside infections but once it’s ruptured, there’s no protection. If at any point, I developed an infection, they would have to deliver the babies right away. The doctors scared Kevin by telling him that if we didn't terminate, there was a chance that I could develop an infection and not be able to have babies in the future or I could lose my life. I didn't care about losing my life if it meant saving my babies. If there was a 0.01% chance of saving them, we were going to take it and that's exactly what we did. At the end of the day, we believed that God does not make mistakes, he gave us two babies for a reason and if he wanted to take them, he was going to do so in his own time without us having a hand in it.
The hospital would not admit me because the babies had not reached the age of viability, which is 23 weeks. To the doctors' dismay, we made it to 23 weeks, a day before Christmas. I was scheduled to be admitted at the hospital that day but I wanted to spend Christmas with my family so I scheduled my admission for the day after. My water continued to leak the entire time.
On December 26th, I packed my bags and was admitted to the hospital. I had no idea how long I’d be staying in the hospital, it was going to be as long as the babies stayed inside. My job was more than kind enough to let me work remote the entire time. It made me busy and helped ease my stay in the hospital. Kevin was working remote too so he literally stayed with me at the hospital every day and night for an entire month.
The hardest part about being in the hospital was being monitored twice a day for at least two hours straight while I lay in bed. They had to put monitors on my stomach to read the babies' heartbeats and if at any moment, there was a drop in one of their heartbeats, I had to stay on for another hour or more. It was torturous.
On January 27th, around 1am in the morning, I started having some contractions. I had just been on the monitor for four hours and I really did not want to go back on so I tried to go to sleep but I couldn't. I had told Kevin to spend the night at home because the hospital was sucking the life out of him. The contractions kept getting worse and by the time the doctors checked me, I was already 5cm dilated. We were about to have a birthday party!
They took me to the operating room for an emergency C-Section. Zaria was born at 4:39am at exactly 2 pounds and Zoe was born at 4:41am at 2 pounds, 2 ounces. Kevin made it just as they were finishing. It wasn't until around 5pm that I was able to see the babies. Zaria's lungs had collapsed after birth and it took them a while to stabilize her. Her lungs were not as developed as her sister's since she didn't have fluid in her sac that aid with lung development.
It was so surreal seeing the babies that tiny and in an incubator. I can’t even begin to describe to you how hopeless you feel as a mother and how heartbreaking it is to go home everyday and leave your babies at the hospital. I had to pump breastmilk every two to three hours and take it to the hospital for feeds. Thank God I had so much milk for the girls; all the freezers at home were filled with bags of milk.
Zoe (pictured above) stayed in the hospital for 6 weeks and Zaria was in there for 9 weeks. Zaria stayed longer because she took a while to start breathing on her own without needing a little bump in the oxygen and she had terrible reflux that would cause her heart rate to drop. We named her Zaria, which means ‘princess’ in Hebrew. Her middle name, Mira, is short for miracle. Zoe’s name means ‘life’ in Greek and her middle name, Lanae, means ‘precious’ in Old German. She is a precious life :-).
During this very difficult time in my life, I learnt a lot of life lessons but perhaps the most important lesson I learnt is that God does not make mistakes and nothing surprises him. I could have complained throughout this entire ordeal but I knew that God specifically chose me and allowed to go through everything that I did for a reason. My doctor told me, ‘I don’t know what kind of God you pray to but your babies are a miracle!’ The nurses told me that the entire staff will be telling my story for a very long time because none of them could believe how long I lasted after my water broke. If my story encourages just one person and helps to save one life that would have otherwise been terminated, then it was worth everything!
Thank you for reading my story! Until next time, stay blessed!