Saturday, February 8, 2014

BIG Things Come in Small Packages


One month ago on January 3, 2014, I delivered our twin boys (Coyt and Cannon) at 26 weeks. Cannon passed away just over 24 hours later and Coyt joined him in heaven about 13 hours after that. This is our story of life, love and loss. For whatever reason, I feel compelled to share our pregnancy journey in my very first EVER blog post. I hope it will help another family or mommy that God had similar plans for.

When We Found Out
On August 1, 2013 I took a pregnancy test to confirm that I wasn't pregnant. (I really didn't think I was) Obviously it did no such thing - it was positive! I was shocked and scared, but excited all at the same time. We have two boys- Cross, 6 and Crue, 5. They are only 12 months and 10 days apart, so clearly we waited a while before having the "discussion" to grow our family. And at that, we hadn't officially decided on a timeframe yet. I wanted to think of the perfect way to break the news to Gary. So I stopped at Target on the way home and bought a little something for this daddy-to-be-again:


A blood test confirmed the at-home pregnancy test and we kept our little secret quiet until our first appointment. We did share our news with Cross and Crue who had the most dramatic, yet hilarious, reaction:



Our First Appointment - Another Surprise
On Monday, September 9, 2013, we went to visit Dr. Lamar - the BEST OB/Gyn. We actually saw him in the parking lot when we got to the clinic and he said "Hey guys! How 'bout that!" He was excited to see us again. When we arrived at the clinic Gary said "Let's go check on our children." WHAT?! He said he had a dream the night before that we were having twins. I just laughed...but didn't tell him that I too had a weird feeling that there were two. I will say though, I was much sicker with this pregnancy than with Cross and Crue...I chalked it up to either my being older or that it was a little girl.

We got prepped for the first sonogram. I immediately saw a baby on the screen. My love for our baby was magnified in that moment. Dr. Lamar said "there's babyyyyyyyyy..." - he drew out the last syllable for what seemed like forever until he ended it with an 's'. My reaction, "Did you just say babies?" Tears began to roll down my cheeks as I looked at Gary's blank stare into the monitor and Dr. Lamar still hadn't responded. He then said there were definitely two and he was looking for a third. There was a third yolk sac that just didn't develop. Oh my...I was in shock...I laughed and cried all at the same time. Gary just continued to stare at the monitor, haha. [Crazy side note: my sister had fraternal twin girls just 18 months prior and twins don't run in any of our families! They do now...]

Dr. Lamar confirmed that they were identical twins seeing that there was only one placenta, shared between them. He said these kind of twins are not his favorite because of the risk of Twin to Twin. That's where one twin could take on more blood and nutrients than the other. I remember thinking to myself "I bet the chances of that are slim... God's got this" - and never gave it another thought…for now anyway. We were excited to share our news and humbled that God would bless us with TWO of His children.


We had already gotten creative (thanks to Pinterest) with how we were going to announce our pregnancy to the world (or FaceBook...), but obviously had to make a slight change! I told Gary I had a feeling that I would have to change my chalkboard art. How crazy?!


Ready, Set, Grow!
My prepping for the arrival of TWO began immediately as I prayed constantly for these guys. I remember being in a constant state of humble thanksgiving. Maybe I was doing an okay job as a mom after all for God to trust me to raise two more of His children. So humbled.

My belly grew quickly!










I had absolutely no complaints about my pregnancy (once the 13 weeks of nausea passed). I felt great and even got out and ran a little every now and then. I was more health conscious about this one than I was with Cross and Crue, stocking up on lots of fresh fruits and veggies and eliminating a majority of my caffeine intake. Yep, I sacrificed my daily dose(s) of coffee! My biggest cravings were crunchy tacos (from Taco Casa only), peanut butter with celery or apples, and cheerios for breakfast - EVERY morning. 

We made plans for turning the playroom into a nursery. Ikea has some GREAT organization solutions for Cross and Crue's toys (which would be moved to the family room!)…and they are very reasonably priced! We already had childcare situated for them - my Mom's willingness to keep them (in addition to my sister's twin girls!) was a huge blessing. The planning for their arrival and lives was so exciting! Not to mention, I LOVE shopping so picking out the perfect cribs, highchairs, swings, strollers…ah!...This was too fun.

We looked forward to every appointment especially since we got to see our TWO babies on the ultrasound monitor. It was easier to see the multiple heart beats and it was also important to monitor their growth since they were identical.

Gender Reveal
At 17 weeks we had a routine check-up with Dr. Lamar. At this appointment we asked Dr. Lamar if he would take a look and see if he could determine what our little ones were. We had some close friends planning a gender reveal party for our family (they were literally waiting in the parking lot for the envelope!). Dr. Lamar was confident in what he saw and without letting us know the secret, he slipped it in an envelope and we passed it on to the hostesses. It was definitely a long day after that! SO many people had their fingers crossed that they were girls, simply because there are no Ohmstede girls - ALL BOYS! Gary was confident that they were boys. Surprise! He was right! And I quickly fell in love with the idea of having FOUR boys. I loved being a "boy mom".



The Facebook Announcement
At 19 weeks, we had our "big" ultrasound that measures the anatomy of the babies. This is the routine ultrasound where most learn the gender of their baby. Everything looked great! Now we press on until our next routine appointment at 21 weeks with Dr. Lamar where he would begin to see me every two weeks to make sure I wasn't at risk for pre-term labor too soon.


Our Greatest Fear Becomes a Reality
Over the next two weeks my belly grew significantly! I began to swell and gain weight quickly. My family and friends literally did double-takes at my belly because the sudden growth was so noticeable! All these signs meant something. Something serious.


Monday, December 2, 2013
My check up with Dr. Lamar was at 1:30pm today. What began as an exciting moment to see our twin boys on the "big screen" ended with a phone call to a Perinatal in Plano with a strong recommendation to get us in as soon as possible.

Our twins are identical, sharing the same placenta. There is, however, a membrane separating them into separate sacs. 10%-15% of twins such as ours will develop Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome (TTTS). It's a rare and serious disease where one baby takes on a majority of the nutrients (he's called the Recipient) from the placenta, leaving the other baby with very little (he's called the Donor). 

When we looked at the "big screen" to see our sweet boys (Coyt and Cannon), the doctor pointed out that Coyt (the "donor") was nearly suran-wrapped by his sac, with very little fluid. You can see in the video below. Coyt is on the right, barely moving, while Cannon (the "recipient") is bouncing around on the left. It broke my heart to see Coyt so restricted. They call him the "stuck" baby.





Gary and I could both sense the fear in our doctor. What a scary moment! We were asked to wait in the waiting room while Dr. Lamar consulted with a specialist to set up an appointment. Gary told me not to "google" anything…I knew that meant it was serious. I held back the tears. I had a meeting scheduled at work in half an hour that I had to get to. Who was I kidding, I couldn't focus…all I knew is our babies were in serious danger. My boss graciously covered my meeting and without hesitation relieved me of any obligation to return to work that day. 

The appointment with the perinatal was set for that Friday morning in Plano, TX. I was really hoping to get there sooner, but I knew God was in control and if we needed to be there sooner, He would make that happen. And He did, actually. 

I must say from this moment on, I didn't take for granted a single movement that I felt in my belly. I was in a constant state of prayer for Cannon and Coyt. I talked to them out loud often so they could hear my voice and feel my love for them. I was so very scared of losing them.

Tuesday, December 3-Wednesday, December 4
The next 2 days were filled with fear, anxiety, and anger. I was fearful knowing that at any moment we could lose one or both of these babies...and that I wouldn't know until the next sonogram. I was anxious about everything that would follow the loss of one or both babies - How would we tell Cross and Crue? How would I be able to cope with delivering one or two still-born babies? What in the world is God teaching me through this? Then, I would become angry knowing that I have NO control over protecting the lives of our twin boys. There is nothing at all that I can do. I would also get angry with myself for being fearful and anxious. God wants me to put my trust in Him, not dwell on the worst-case scenario. Isaiah 41:10 says "So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." Philipians 4:6-7 says "6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." I needed the peace of God to guard my heart and mind. To guard my heart from the pain I felt when I would think about the 'what-ifs", and guard my mind from thinking too far ahead and worrying about tomorrow.

I then realized that I needed to lose the prideful position I had taken in NOT asking others to pray. I wanted to be strong on the outside, even though I was/am very weak on the inside. It is also my personality to not ask for help...just do it myself. (See, God really IS teaching me through this trial. God is awesome.) No one ever said that asking for prayer was a sign of weakness. But when you let your "self" get in the way, preventing you from asking, then you become weak. At least I did. God WANTS us to pray together with other believers.

Thursday, December 5, 2013
Today is the first day I've woken up and not spent my morning feeling overwhelmed and in tears. I felt a great sense of peace. I felt like everything really is going to be okay. Dr. Lamar asked us to come in at 11:20am. He just wanted to confirm again what he thought he had seen, before we made the trip to Plano. It was just as he thought. Dr. Lamar gave me a hug and gave Gary his cell phone number. He was adamant that we keep him in the loop. This very well could be the last time we saw Dr. Lamar for our pregnancy - which was very sad for us. We truly love our doctor. A winter storm was headed our way and we received a phone call from the Plano Hospital who moved our appointment from Friday to today at 4! We jumped in the car prepared to weather the storm.

It took us three hours to make the two hour drive to Plano due to the sleet and snow. The Perinatal walked in to begin the sonogram. After literally only a glance at both babies, he ordered the nurse to make contact with the Fetal Surgery Center in Houston. My heart dropped. We did about 30 minutes of sonogram tests. Dr. Trimmer confirmed that it was Twin Twin. There were a few different treatments for this disease, depending on the stage. He told us he was referring us to a fetal surgery center and asked if we had a preference. He offered Houston, Philadelphia  Colorado, Cincinnati, etc. We chose Houston since it was the closest to home. He said he would make contact with them and send them our ultrasound video. We left and the doctor said he would be calling us within the hour after the consultation with the Fetal Surgery Center.

We received Dr. Trimmer's call as we were checking in to the hotel in Plano. The information we received went something like this: Without a recommended laser surgery procedure, there is a 0% chance of either baby surviving. (Okay God, you've eliminated the decision-making process there...) With the surgery both babies have an 80% chance of making it. They scheduled us to come in Monday morning for an evaluation (this was Thursday night). However, the Houston doctor looked even more thoroughly at the sonogram and called Gary personally to see if we could be there tomorrow (Friday). God had consistently intervened to speed up this process. I was confident that He was in full control. But even trusting in God's plan, I was still fearful of the unknown. 

Friday, December 6, 2013
Gary's dad left Wichita Falls at 3:30 am to meet us in Plano by 8, on the icy roads, so we didn't have to go alone. The plan was to meet with the Fetal Intervention team as soon as we got there for an evaluation. At that point we would know what is next. This evaluation lasted several hours. 

Left to right: Dr. Shami, Jane, Dr. Belfort, Dr Ruanno

After meeting with the team of fetal surgeons (from literally ALL over the world: Brazil, Iran, and South Africa), we had more answers. We are in stage 2 of TTTS. Coyt had very little fluid and his bladder was not visible, a sign that the disease was progressing quickly. Cannon had a significant amount of fluid. Both babies were sick and in serious danger. The surgeons would like to move sooner than later in performing the laser surgery procedure. They would be severing the vessels of the placenta where the babies were connected. This would give them each their own share of the placenta, and would ultimately allow Coyt to begin producing more fluid. They would also remove fluid from around Cannon to give him a more accurate amount. They wanted to move quickly, but because my placenta is anterior, they would have to perform an additional procedure laparoscopically in order to get to the location they need. This procedure had more risk involved for the babies, and slightly for me.

Dr. Belfort felt comfortable waiting until the next morning to see if the fluid levels increase (creating the space they would need to avoid the laparoscopic procedure). They decided to admit me and conduct a scan early Saturday morning. Dr. Shami gave Gary his cell phone number in case we had any questions...so blessed to have a caring team of surgeons. 

Me? I'm failing miserably at staying strong. Statements made by the surgical team during our 2 hour evaluation continue to go through my mind. "We might can save one." "This is a very serious disease." "You have a very high risk pregnancy." "These kids are not currently viable." "One option is to terminate the pregnancy." I was at the point of not even knowing how to talk to God. I just wanted it to be over.

Saturday, December 7, 2013
This morning I woke up super early - like 5:30! My heart was bursting with so many emotions. It was the perfect time to spend in prayer. Funny how that changed things for me. I soon felt an overwhelming sense of peace. I had complete faith that these boys were going to make it, and so was I. Now, maintaining that faith just meant me keeping my focus on Him. I've always taught that to my teenage girls through bible studies and Sunday morning life groups, but I never really had a GOOD example to share. Boy do I now! Sounds crazy, but I am thankful for God bringing me to this scary time because it truly has brought me closer to Him.  


My doctor came in to do the sono and everything was as stable as it could be for stage 2. This was a great thing! It meant that we could post-pone the procedure another day. Each day we could buy meant the boys were getting a little stronger. Sunday and Monday also revealed the babies were stable! We had a fetal echo on Monday and it showed slight leakage in the valves of both hearts, but there was nothing that indicated a need to rush into surgery. More good news! God was giving us more time - this time was so valuable, now that I look back.

My Mom and Dad made it to Houston tonight! They had been stuck in Wichita Falls due to the winter storm. It was very difficult for me to get through the first few days without them there.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Last night I began having contractions. They were anywhere from 2-7 minutes apart. Because of the excess amount of fluid, my body thought it was time. Our fetal intervention team came in and said today was the day for surgery. I still felt good about God's plan. I didn't know what it was, but I knew I could trust Him. I was confident that our little fighters were gonna make it.


Fetal Surgery
This was my first surgery and I had no idea what to expect. They had to give me a general anesthetic to put me completely out due to the additional laparoscopic procedure. What normally takes about 45 minutes took my surgeons at least 2 hours. They went in to sever the vessels of the placenta where the babies' cords connected and said it was more complex than normal. They also removed 1.5 liters of fluid from around Cannon! Overall, the surgeons said the procedures were successful. 

Recovery was a different story. I was in severe pain and had a terrible reaction to the morphine. Gary ended up calling Dr. Shami's cell when my flesh turned as white as the sheet. Dr. Shami was there quickly and whatever orders he gave were followed and I was eventually back to normal. I was on magnesium sulfate for the next 36 hours or so in an effort to slow down my contractions. Being on mag is the worst… Side effects for me: extreme increase in body temperature (we had the room thermostat on 60 and I was burning up!), dry mouth, cold-like symptoms (couldn't breath), extreme muscle weakness (not allowed to get out of bed), just plain awful. But the benefit of this stuff is that it aids in the development of the babies' brains. And for these guys, I would do anything. 


They did a scan each morning and each morning looked a little better. Coyt's bladder was now visible! And he was producing fluid…it was so sweet to see him finally have room to wiggle! Cannon didn't have quite as much room to move around after removing so much fluid, but he was still on the go!


Gary bought me these precious Willow Tree figurines, "Two Together".
After a few days more of observation and GREAT progress reports for the babies, I was released on Friday, December 13th to return HOME. I was given orders for 7 days of strict bed rest, and then moderate bed rest until the babies were born. [Moderate meant I could get up to make myself a sandwich if I HAVE to, but make it quick.] Now (at 23 weeks), I am at an increased risk of premature rupture of the membranes (my water breaking), since they literally put a hole in my uterus. I will likely deliver the babies anytime between now and 32 weeks. We will follow up with our Perinatal, Dr. Trimmer, in Plano each week to monitor the babies closely. Our fetal surgery team said we shouldn't be back in Houston;  it was rare that they saw their patients again. 

The 6-hour drive back to Wichita Falls was terrible after surgery, but I couldn't wait to get home and see Cross and Crue. It isn't often that we are away from them. Between my career and their sports, I cherish what little family time we get. Yes, I'm that mom that wants her babies with her all the time - but I don't apologize for it ;). I love my guys...especially my husband, of course. 

Post Surgery & Bed Rest
My first day back home was emotionally very hard. I never realized how much being a mommy and taking care of children requires. Even a 5 and 6 year old! I couldn't help them get breakfast, or get their basketball uniforms ready. And on this day I was going to miss their very first basketball game. I didn't want to hear from everyone else how their game went…I wanted to be there. But I had two other little boys to take care of. Cannon and Coyt needed me right now. I had to remain obedient to the doctor's orders…bed rest. It truly is harder than people think and I don't wish it on anyone. 

Between recovering from surgery, being on bed rest, and also taking nifedipine to reduce my contractions, I was very slow to move and often dizzy. I would get discouraged because I couldn't take a full shower without feeling dizzy and having to cut it short. This is hard for someone who typically washed their hair and ensured smooth legs DAILY! That's okay, this routine was only temporary and far worth it for Cannon and Coyt. 

So many helped us by bringing meals and just sending an encouraging text here and there. We are still amazed at the love others showed our family.

We had a goal to get to 28 weeks, giving the boys a 90% chance of survival at birth. My co-workers made a paper chain made of links with encouraging messages. There was one for each day until we made it to our goal. I cried when they brought it to me! I cried A LOT these days. This was so thoughtful - such a great idea.




Our first follow-up in Plano with Dr. Trimmer was exactly 7 days after surgery on Tuesday, December 17th at 9am. Since Plano is two hours away, we decided to drive down the night before and stay. It was nice not to feel rushed. Dr. Trimmer said things were looking pretty good for our first follow-up! What a relief. Coyt did appear to be a little anemic, but that was to be expected since he was the donor baby. He had "donated" a good supply of blood to Cannon prior to the laser surgery. The boys were very active and even waived at us a few times. We love them so very much.

Another week went by and we enjoyed spending Christmas with our families. Cross and Crue had the best Christmas ever thanks to my amazing co-workers who took it upon themselves to do our Christmas shopping for us. I never even thought about not being able to shop! 

"Above all that has happened, we continue to have faith and are excited to celebrate the perfect birth of Christ. Two weeks post-surgery and we have so much to be thankful for. Who knew fetal surgery even existed?! Many of you have sent prayers, meals, texts/e-mails, financial support and gifts for our boys to open on Christmas morning. I'm not sure how we could ever thank you sufficiently, but please know that your kindness has been beyond what we even thought we would need. We will go to Plano weekly to check on the babies - and after a few weeks we will go twice a week. One baby (Coyt) is anemic. If that worsens, we will have to go back to Houston for a fetal blood transfusion. If it remains the same, it would likely mean a blood transfusion at birth. I believe God will prove to us and the doctors that HE is in control once again, and the anemia will "disappear". I am on bed rest until they are born to give them a greater chance of continued growth in the womb. I am 24 weeks now. The babies will be delivered at the Medical Center of Plano since they have a level 3 NICU. We will get to know the Plano area extremely well over the next several months. Thank you friends and family for loving our family like your own. We love you all, Merry Christmas!
-Angie Ohmstede, December 24, 2013 via Facebook

On Friday, December 27, 2013, we went for our 2nd follow-up in Plano. We were eager to see our boys again, of course. After the appointment we were going to stop at Ikea to purchase the cribs and a few other things for the nursery. I was so excited to get the nursery put together. I had a friend who was going to decorate the nursery for us since I couldn't be up and around. I couldn't wait to see how it all came together! Here was the plan for the nursery, thank you Pinterest! -



We got to our appointment and had to wait nearly an hour. Once we got back, Dr. Trimmer began the scan. We understood all the measurements and numbers at this point. I actually caught Dr. Trimmer referring to one baby as "a" when it was "b"…he said they had to have switched places then. That's weird, they were separated by a membrane…how could they switch places? I then knew something was wrong when Dr. Trimmer stopped in the middle of the ultrasound to hand me a box of kleenex. My heart dropped when he said he was going to make a quick phone call to Dr. Belfort, our head surgeon in Houston, because it appeared that the TTTS had returned and was looking to be stage 4. Dr. Belfort said to get to Houston immediately and not to eat or drink anything as we would likely be heading right into surgery. 

Could this really be happening? My heart was so heavy. I thought for sure that we were in the clear. I didn't want to relive the Houston nightmare. The painful surgery and recovery. The constant worrying if the babies were gonna make it. I didn't think I could handle anymore. We were supposed to have a good appointment, and then stop at Ikea to buy their baby cribs...

I am thankful that we chose not to bring Cross and Crue with us to this appointment, and instead Gary's mom came. God totally revealed himself there. We needed her there with us. We got in the car and headed straight to Houston. My Mom and Gary's dad made plans to carpool down ASAP and arrived in Houston that evening.

More Bad News
Friday evening, December 27, 2013 - When we arrived at the hospital, Dr. Shami was waiting for us. We went into evaluation for what seemed like hours. Dr. Shami didn't say a word throughout the entire ultrasound. When he finished, he gave us the run down. Coyt had severe anemia and had developed hydrops. They were still sharing the placenta somewhere. This put us at stage 4 TTTS, but to repeat the laser procedure again would be too challenging. The membrane that separated the boys had torn and they were now sharing the fluid. That's why they had switched places! I think they just needed to be closer to each other :). Our only hope was to attempt a fetal blood transfusion the next morning on Coyt. They also reminded us that Cannon too was very sick, as his heart had been pumping too much blood and was at risk for heart failure. Dr. Shami ordered the blood and I was prepped for surgery the following morning.

We had to make a very difficult decision before this procedure. There was a chance that Coyt would not tolerate it. Dr. Shami needed to know if we wanted to continue the pregnancy should Coyt not tolerate the surgery (thus giving Cannon a better chance at survival), or deliver them both knowing that Coyt would likely not survive with hydrops and Cannon only had a 50% chance of surviving outside the womb in his state. We met with a neonatologist who shared with us that in her 20+ years she had never seen a 25 week old hydrops baby survive outside the womb. This was the first most difficult decision to make as we chose to continue the pregnancy should Coyt not make it. I can't explain what led us to make this decision, but I know that Gary and I prayed about it and we both had peace with it.

Saturday morning, December 28th - For this procedure, I was awake with only a local anesthetic as they used multiple needles to go through my belly to give blood to Coyt through his umbilical cord and also into his belly. They had given me "sleepy medicine" to help me relax, but had to take me off because I wasn't breathing well. That experience was horrible. I woke up to hearing the surgeons discussing where to place the needle and then feeling the placement of the needles. I quickly became nauseous and the rest involves a bag for me to gag in along with severe back pain from lying so long on the operating table. In the end, the procedure went well and praise God, Coyt was tolerating it! Recovery from this procedure was much better than the last. I did have to be on the magnesium sulfate again, but I'll take it!

We would begin to see results within 3 to 4 days. We had been scared, sad, angry, and confused but at this point we were adamant that we stay strong and have faith knowing that this is part of God's perfect plan. We were totally equipped to handle this through Him. 

Each day (for the next few anyway) there was slight improvement shown in the ultrasound doppler readings. Dr. Belfort broke the news that we would remain in the hospital until Cannon and Coyt made their debut. We kinda figured that already! We grew to absolutely love our nurses. They had a passion for their work and it was evident in every encounter we had. They remembered us from our stay two weeks prior. It was our home away from home.

New Year's Eve News
Today we witnessed one of God's many miracles. When we went for our ultrasound, the hydrops was completely gone! We heard our doctors say "Wow, I've never seen anything like it", "This is a Christmas miracle" and "What a New Year's gift". My heart was full. Coyt and Cannon really are fighters! God's strength is enough and is so real when you fully rely on it! The doctors celebrated with us and also let us know that things can change quickly, but today's news was good. We were scheduled for a fetal echo in two days, on Thursday. I rested well on New year's Eve and started 2014 with a heart full of hope for my precious boys. 

Speaking of precious boys...All this time in Houston, Cross and Crue have been at home in Wichita Falls enjoying time with their cousins. On New Year's Day, Gary's brother Greg decided to drive down to Houston from Wichita Falls to bring them to us. This meant a lot to me. Gary and I both missed them terribly and having them around would give us a sense of normalcy. They arrived and were full of questions! It felt so good to have them there.

What does this button do, Mommy?

We had big plans on Thursday after my fetal echo! We were gonna take them to the children's area of the hospital where they have a huge train display and fountain…and McDonald's of course! Unfortunately, the fetal echo revealed the "at anytime things can change" card. Both babies were very sick, again. 

Shortly after the fetal echo, our doctors gathered in our room to propose a procedure that had never been done in the womb. In addition to another blood transfusion for Coyt, they would remove blood from Cannon and replace it with saline. This is something that a neonatologist would perform on an infant, but in the womb posed risks that were unknown. We were given the option to go through with this experimental procedure, or do nothing and let the pregnancy ride its course. We had no idea what the risks were, and neither did they since it was experimental, but we were so very confident in the work of our doctors and we trusted them to perform the procedure. They are well known throughout the world for their research and work. [Why we love our team of doctors so much: in the next hour before surgery, Dr. Belfort researched this procedure and found 4…only 4!…known cases in the world where it had been done. He has a passion to do whatever he can to save babies - even our babies.] 

I mentioned before the last procedure that we had to make a decision as to whether or not we wanted to continue the pregnancy if Coyt didn't tolerate it. This time we made the decision to deliver them if one of the boys showed any intolerance. They were both showing a better chance of survival than the previous week. I remember looking at Gary and telling him I couldn't lose one. We had to deliver both of them. I was 25 weeks and 6 days, so they were prepared to deliver the babies if necessary. They had a pediatric cardiologist in the operating room who monitored both babies throughout the entire procedure. There was also a team from the NICU prepared to take over if the babies had to be delivered. It was all so very overwhelming.

The surgical team in their pre-op huddle.
The surgery was at 9:00pm on Thursday night, January 2nd. I shared my terrible experience from the last anesthetic with the anesthesiologist so this time he gave me a heavy dose of anxiety meds and only a small dose of pain meds during this procedure. I don't remember a thing and apparently my breathing was just fine. As always with me, it took longer than expected but everything seemed to go well! The babies were still cozy in my belly and stable! Another 12 hours of magnesium for me! 

We've Done All We Can
January 3, 2014 - The next morning Dr. Belfort came in to check the babies. He said the babies appeared to be tolerating the procedure. We would go for another fetal echo today. I hadn't felt Coyt move much at all today. I tried not to worry thinking it was due to the mag and anesthetic. And both babies were on 24-hr heart monitors, so I constantly listened to their heartbeats. We went for the fetal echo, not learning much of anything new. Nothing worse, but nothing to jump up and down about either. The valve leakage was still there but not any worse. 

When we returned to my room from the fetal echo, they hooked me back up to the heart monitors. Within the hour my nurse came in with a strange look…and then another nurse. They put an oxygen mask on me because Coyt's heart rate had dropped to 80. The oxygen helped and his heart rate went back up. Dr. Belfort and Dr. Shami stopped in just to check on me and asked why I had the oxygen mask. When I told them about Coyt they became concerned. "These kids are so sick" said Dr. Belfort. They looked at Gary and I and said they have done all they can. It's now time for us to tell them what we want to do. We either continue with the pregnancy and see how it plays out (most likely losing one or both boys), or we deliver the babies prematurely (26 weeks) and allow the NICU team to take it from there. 

I looked at Gary with tears in my eyes and said "we can't lose them". We decided to deliver the boys and pray. As soon as we said the word, Dr. Shami clapped his hands and said "lets go". A large team of medical personnel stormed in and rushed me to the OR for an emergency c-section. I had never been more scared. I was alone in the OR (except for the chaos of the doctors and staff) literally shaking as they prepped me for surgery. In that moment I thought about all the people who were praying for Coyt and Cannon. It brought tears to my eyes to think that people loved them enough to pray for them. God gave me peace right then and the hope I needed to believe that Coyt and Cannon were gonna be okay. They put me completely under with a general anesthetic and I woke up in recovery. 

Cannon was born at 7:17pm and Coyt followed just 10 seconds later, also at 7:17pm. They took Gary back with the boys. I wasn't able to see them just yet. On a scale of 1 to 10, my pain was a 20 after the surgery. I had never had a c-section and had no idea what to expect, but this was by far the worst physical pain I had ever felt in my life. I was transferred to post-pardum two hours later and Gary came in with pictures of Coyt and Cannon on his phone. They were so precious.

Cannon Ray Ohmstede
2lb 8oz - 14 inches

Coyt Ryder Ohmstede
2lb 4oz - 9 inches
Cannon (left) - Coyt (right)
The next morning I was very slow to move but we made our way to the NICU. I was anxious to meet my new baby boys. I fell in love with them immediately - I actually loved them from the moment we knew they existed, but there's something about seeing them for the first time that magnified that love. I knew they would be hooked up to ventilators and have tubes, etc., so I was prepared for that. I really wasn't prepared for how tiny they were! They were absolutely precious. For both Cannon and Coyt, I slipped my hand into the incubator and pressed my finger firmly against the tiny palm of their hand. They couldn't wrap their hand around my finger because it was so tiny but they wiggled their feet a little. When I went to pull my finger away they each would follow it as if to say "don't let go". I didn't want to leave them!

The neonatologist briefed us on their health. He said last night was a tough night. Neither of their hearts were pumping blood well. Beyond that, there were so many issues he listed, but the medical lingo was so foreign to me. None of it mattered - I knew God was in complete control. We continued to pray for a miracle.

I vividly remember the doctor saying "These babies are both very strong for what they are facing." Cannon and Coyt always seemed to amaze the doctors. They were fighters.

We went back in forth to the NICU throughout the day to love on our boys. That night around 10:15pm, we received a call from the NICU asking if we could come down to answer a few questions. I didn't feel like is was urgent because they weren't adamant that we come.

When we got there Dr. Mandy said they had just had a very scary moment with Cannon. He said he had crashed and they had to bag him and give him 2 shots of epinephrine. He said they didn't think they would get him back but then all of a sudden he started to improve. At first, I didn't realize the seriousness of the situation - God brought him back because that's what He's supposed to do... And everything was going to be fine, right? We stood by Cannon and held his tiny hands, encouraging him to keep fighting. I was so proud of him. 

While we stood there, he began to crash again. A team of doctors and nurses rushed in. As Gary and I stood back, my heart sank. I felt helpless as a mommy. They were fighters, and they were supposed to be okay. We watched them bag our sweet baby and again give him two shots of epinephrine - they brought him back.

Dr. Mandy walked over to us and said they would probably see several episodes like this. He said he couldn't figure out what was causing it. The things that would normally cause these episodes weren't present in Cannon's case. They would continue to work on him just as they had been for as long as we wanted them to. But he also had to give us the option to stop them at anytime. He pulled his computer over to us and showed us all that Cannon had been through in the past 24 hours. He explained everything in such detail as if to reassure us they were doing everything possible. For the third time, Cannon crashed again. Dr. Mandy excused himself and joined the team as they worked to save him again - and they did.

I didn't know what to do. I looked at Gary, heartbroken and in tears, and said "He's not ours". When our battle with TTTS began, I told God, "These our your boys, they aren't really mine - please protect them". I was reminded of that as I watched Cannon fight for his life. Gary and I looked at each other - both waiting to hear the other's thoughts. I said "I can't do it" and Gary said "He's so sick". I knew at that moment that God was telling us to let Cannon go. Gary was right, he was so sick. We couldn't put him through this any longer. I just wanted to hold my baby and it was time to give him to our mighty healer.

Gary signaled the doctor. They began to remove tubes from him. They handed him to me wrapped in a blanket. In that moment time stood still. I felt so many different emotions. I was sad and hurt, of course. But there was also a feeling of peace. You know that feeling when you've sought advice from your parent and felt good about the decision they led you to? I felt like we sought advice from our Heavenly Father and we were led to make the best decision for our child. We were giving Cannon back to our creator, and this time it wasn't just the words of my prayers - It was really happening.

Cannon only lived for a few minutes after that. They were the most painful minutes I had ever felt, but I have the most precious memories. To have had the opportunity to hold this little guy as he fell asleep in my arms only to awake in the arms of Jesus was a great privilege. My goodness, he was beautiful...




I cried until I felt like I couldn't cry anymore - for that moment anyway. I walked over to Coyt's incubator. I told him to be strong, that his brother was in a better place now and we needed him to get better. I just knew Coyt would be okay. I had to be strong for him.  

We went back to the room and the nurses were already aware - there was a broken heart posted to my door. This signaled others to not enter unless they went through my nurse. My only thought for the rest of the night was that I had met my sweet Cannon that morning and said goodbye to him that night. 


The next morning, Sunday, started out with a desire to go see our little Coyt (of course). I wouldn't even let Gary shower! My Dad and sister arrived this morning so Gary and I took them to the NICU to meet Coyt. When we got there, the doctor was insistent that we talk and pulled chairs around. He had been studying Coyt extensively trying to figure out why they weren't seeing any change in his vitals. He had been given various medicines in attempt to adjust the acid level of his blood. His blood pressure, heart rate, etc. had strangely not been affected by the medicines. They had done an ultrasound on his brain and there were several white/gray spots with a pretty large spot toward the front of his brain, indicating damage. Dr. Mandy basically told us that his condition was terminal and even if he miraculously lived, he would have severe brain damage. 


I sat through this conversation completely numb. I had felt such hope for him when I woke up this morning. I was so sure that he'd be okay and that we'd be there for a few months until we could bring him home. How could things be any different if I felt so confident? I now believe God had given me hope throughout this entire journey to keep me from crumbling. I had asked Him to give me strength and He did. He knew what was ahead of us. 


It was time to give Him our precious Coyt. We had options, of course, but they all involved keeping him alive with medicine. God gave Gary and I both peace to let him go. 

They unhooked Coyt from his ventilator and removed the tubes. Dr. Mandy told us that Coyt's heart was much stronger and it would probably take him longer to pass. That didn't make me feel any better. As I held him I continued to pray for a miracle. Maybe he would miraculously improve - and I wouldn't have to say goodbye. God, please let us have one of our babies. I had to accept God's plan for Coyt, and it wasn't any easier being the second time. I took comfort in knowing he would be reunited with his brother.








After an exhausting 12 hours, I just wanted to go home. My doctor agreed to release me the following morning. 

I began to think about all the plans we had for Cannon and Coyt. From the outfit they would go home in to their first day at church, to their first visit to my work. I was so happy that they didn't have to endure the pain and suffering of this world, but I was so broken. I trusted God's plan and I believed in it, I just needed Him to tell me why.  

What God DID show us was that His timing and provision was a blessing in disguise. The very first fetal surgery bought Coyt and Cannon three weeks in the womb and the second procedure bought them a fourth week. The third procedure kept them alive long enough for us to deliver them, meet them, talk to them and hold them. I thank God everyday that I was able to hold them. 

Goodbye Houston

The next day, Monday, January 6th, I woke up expecting to feel eager to pack my things and go home. To go back to where life felt normal. Instead, I woke up with an overflow of emotions at the thought of leaving the hospital without my babies. I admit, it's the first time throughout this entire process that I've said the words "it's not fair". In that moment, God wrapped His loving arms around me and reminded me that I'm not alone. My Heavenly Father who comforts me and gives me strength was and is right there with me. And He has my baby boys. They are no longer sick. They are perfect. They are loved. 

"Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created." Revelation 4:11



Although this marked the end of our pregnancy, our journey doesn't end. I will share the most difficult part of our journey (returning home) in another post. I think this one is long enough. :)



105 comments:

  1. Angie, you are strong beyond belief. You are a beautiful example of the love of Jesus. Because you choose to share your journey...someone will see how it is possible to get up in the morning. And put one foot in front of the other. Some Momma who may not know Jesus, will learn to live one breath at a time.. Thank you for sharing your beautiful story. And your beautiful babies. Heaven is so much closer when your baby is there. ❤

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  2. Your blog showed up in my FB feed. We do not know each other. Your story is beautifully written and heartbreaking. I hope the memories of holding your babies comforts your heart.

    Deniece

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  3. I want to thank you for your story. I just went through cancer. I went through many feelings. I was scared, and as I laid there going through chemo every three weeks. I didn't think it was fair. I thank God I can get up and go each day now. I am going to make the most of my life. Thank you! I have two boys also. I am crazy about them, they just turned 13 and 17. I spend every moment with them, that I can.

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  4. Angie,

    thank you so much for sharing your heart. Megan Carlson is my good friend, and I believe I met you during her wedding festivities! She had kept me posted on everything going on with y'all. Know that prayers were being lifted up for y'all from Malaysia, Japan, and now they are continuing in Albania. God has and will continue using Cannon and Coyt's stories for His good. I've realized on my mission trip that this life is about loving people and teaching them about the love of God through your story, not forcing your beliefs on them. Those two boys of yours have a BEAUTIFUL story. Thank you for telling it for them!

    I pray God's peace over you and your family. That God would cover each of you with His love each and every day.

    Much Love,
    Addison

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  5. Thanks for sharing your story. There are so many of us struggling with similar stuff, so please know you are not alone!

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  6. Thank you for sharing Angie...I'm so sorry you and Gary had to experience such heart break....like Caroline said above: "There are so many of us struggling with similar stuff, so please know you are not alone!" This is all too true.... my thoughts and prays are with you and your lovely family.

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  7. Angie, reading your words gave me such peace of mind. I,too have walked such a similar road. Our sweet Kale was born at 42wks 2days and was brain dead. A NICU team tried experimental things, but ultimately failed. We didnt known who God WAS, but he led my husband and I to removing our son from life sustaining measures and taking him home to pass peacefully. That experience has led me close to my heavenly father, but I am always looking for affirmation . reading your story has given that to me. Hearing so many of the same phrases. "So proud of thm" "like getting good advice From your parents" its all there. The numbness, the pride in your children, the difficult decisions that seem to come (initially) so easily. God bless you, Gary & your boys!

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  8. I can't even begin to explain what a powerful post and blog you have. God has truly gave you a testimony and it will help so many people. I will pray for you every single day. I have a 7 year old son who fought a rare and aggressive muscle cancer at age three. I now know that walking that path let me to my ministry. My husband is a pastor and has been for the last ten years and I too had the "it's not fair" feeling a time or two. I am just so very proud of you for sharing this story, your life, with all of us. May God richly bless you until that GLAD REUNION DAY! God Bless. Lori Harper, Mount Ida, AR

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  9. Angie, your blog showed up on my FB feed and I was intrigued as most mothers would be by the small fact that another mother had taken the time to write about her life as a mother. After all the saying "It takes a village to raise a child" is so true and what better way for mothers to learn, from other mothers. I never knew what I was going to read or feel but I clicked on the link and proceeded to fall captivated by your beautiful love story. Your words intrigued me but mostly your heart felt and genuine love as a mother stole my heart. Your love for our Lord and the path he set for you and your family bonded me to words. Im so sorry your family had to go through this and I have shared your story so other mothers, Christians and non believers could read all about what has happened in your life. From your story, I pray at least one person can understand the love and mercy our heavenly father has for all of us and accept his love, the way you and Gary did. Will pray for your family always. Love from Ft Worth Texas. XO-Alicia Young

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  10. Your blog came up on my FB feed as well. I want to thank you for sharing your story. While reading your story I felt like you were writing a lot of mine. I lost my sweet Austin 8/11/13 at Texas Children's in Houston at 5 weeks. We are from McKinney, TX. At 12 weeks found out our boy had a 10% chance of survival to birth. We went to specialist after specialist to try and get answers as to what was wrong. Never an answer but our little boy kept fighting. At 27wks while in Houston I went into preterm labor. Labor was stopped with all the horrible drugs you mentioned and I was kept on bed rest and anticontraction meds. For the next 7 wks I was in and out of the hospital 4 times. Had fluid drained twice. A million ultrasounds and still no idea how it would all end. At 34wks my body couldn't take the 3 min apart contractions and the building fluid anymore so drs rushed a C-section. As soon as our son was born he was rushed away. I did not get to see him till the next day. On that day all I remember hearing is he is so sick but a fighter. he fought so hard for 5 weeks amazing doctors. Twice they said this was it but he would fight back. But sadly the time came. The first time I got to hold our son was the last but I am so thankful for that time. Also so thankful he is in a better place and not in pain. He would have had a hard life. Shortly after he passed we found out that he had a very rare syndrome. Costellos syndrom. 200 cases world wide. Our sweet angel was really one in a million well actually one in 23 million. I cherish every moment I got to have with him and those moments can never be taken away. Our loss has brought us even closer as a family. I thank god every day for our amazing 2 yr old girl that keeps us going and reminds us we are so very blessed. After reading your post I no longer feel like we were alone in our struggles. At the time we always felt so alone. the strength you show in your blog gives me the strength to want to share our story. Thank you for that. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your beautiful family.

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  11. You are such a strong woman to be able to go through something like this and still come out living for your family. My prayers are with you. I cannot imagine going through your ordeal, and I thank you for sharing it.

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  12. O my goodness! Bless your heart!!!! That made me cry! I cannot imagine what u must be going through. I am so glad you have such strong fauth to get you through. Your family is in my prayers!!

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    1. by the way, I absolutely loved your boys reactions to you being pregnant. How cute!

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  13. you are amazing people. may god watch over you and comfort you. you have truly touched my heart.

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  14. You Are So Extremely Brave For Sharing Your stoRy!May God bless And keep You!

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  15. What an amazing story. Thank you for sharing. I will pray that God continues to bring you comfort. Blogging/journaling is a great way to help you with the grieving process.

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  16. Your post came up in my newsfeed tonight and I just want you to know how much your story moved me. My son is 10 months old and I can't imagine what you've been through. You are a strong, strong woman and I look forward to following your blog and sharing in your journey.

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  17. I am Crying for U & yours, But I know Your Faith in OUR GOD ,I worked in Labor & Delivery,then to nursery.I loved seeing Miracles,But We lost sometimes.. To see U hold your babies close to your heart,Hurt,yet knowing God has a plan,U &Gary made the hardest "unselfish" decision ever.. Let go ,Let God..Love the 2 U have, U were Blessed ,U know True Love.. U Know your Lord. The boys r with Him..U will see them again...

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  18. Your post has brought me so much strength as I miscarried my baby today. Your love for Him is simply amazing! Thank u in for sharing your journey.

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  19. You are such a great example of a Godly woman! Your strength amazes me. Thank you for sharing such a wonderful and painful experience. Your take on this event is truly the work of God!

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  20. So very sorry for your loss...your story showed up in my Facebook feed, heartbreaking, you are a priceless mother.....blessed...Thank you for sharing.....

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  21. Your story showed up in my FB Feed as well, and I do not know you personally either. However I concur with all the comments before mine that your story is not only extremely well written, but is also heart breaking and a true testament of faith. I have been unwell the last few years of my life and have had to have faith in God as well, but the strength and perseverance in not only your faith; but yourself as well is nothing short of epic. Though I have been ill, and will be for the rest of my life; it seems like just a speck of sand in comparison to your experience. I am a very strong person thankfully, and I give all the credit to my mother and grandmother for that. And your boys are lucky to have such a remarkable and incredibly strong mother as you. No words, embraces, or prayers will ever be enough to truly bridge the gap of the pain of your loss; but I sincerely hope they can help to make it a little more bearable. My family and I will pray for you and your family, and I hope that in my future trials that I can bear them with the grace, faith and strength you have show and share with all of us. - Brittany D Austin,TX

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  22. Friends shared your story on my Facebook feed. I just want to tell you, I bawled my eyes out. You are so strong, much stronger than I feel I could ever be. I can't even begin to imagine how hard this is for you & your family, but I sincerely hope for comfort & strength for all. Thank you for sharing. ...I feel like I should say more, by I just can't find the words, you are a truly amazing woman.

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  23. Thank you for being so brave and sharing your story. The honesty and trust that you have in our father God is amazing. What a blessing to read this blog post. Praying for you and your sweet family. The whole in your heart will never go away but the edges will soften with time. I pray you remember the happiness you felt during your pregnancy and your time with them and hold on to it always.

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  24. Thank you for sharing your journey. Tomorrow would be the one year birthday of my sweet nephew who is now in heaven. My sister in law in still heartbroken. I am anxious to share your testimony of faith in hopes of bringing some encouragement to her.

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  25. Angie, you faith is inspiring! After losing my daughter Emme 06-12-12 soon after birth at 40wks I know that the only way I am still standing is because of our Father in Heaven. I have yet to be able to write my story as beautifully as you have but you have inspired me to start! It fills my heart with peace knowing that Cannon and Coyt are sharing Heaven with Emme and all the other precious Angels. Thank you for sharing your story!

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  26. Thank you for sharing. May God be with you.

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  27. What an incredible story, and testimony of God's love and your faith. Thank you for sharing! I'd like to share this on our Frames of Love page on Facebook! Please check out our organization there. And at http://www.framesoflove.com

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  28. You are so incredibly strong. Thank you for sharing.

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  29. May God continue to bless you and your family! This is a great testimony of your strong Faith and love for God. You are strong woman of God and your story is going to inspire many. Thanks for sharing!

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  30. This is the most heart-rending and yet inspiring story I've ever read. I hope to find a link where I can subscribe to your blog and read future posts.

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  31. I cried and thought "what a string woman of God". I cant imagine what it feels lime to lose chid. I have 4 children and i thank God they are still here. I had a scare with my youngest daughter. She almost died, but she is now 11 years old. Your story was heart wrenching,but your faith in God was awesome!! And you will be rewarded for that in heaven when you are reunited with Cannon and Coyt!!God bless you,Gary,Cross and Crue!!

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  32. Thank you for sharing your story. What beautiful little boys you have, all four of them.

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  33. Thank you for sharing your story! I don't know when, where or even who. This story will change the life of someone out there. It will help them thru it. I wish I could be as strong as you. As godly as you! You are one amazing momma, wife and child of god!!

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  34. I too ended up here on your blog through my fb feed. Your strength, and your husband's strength, is awe inspiring. Your story, and Coyt and Cannon's legacy, is spreading like wildfire. It's reached Charleston, SC and has touched me and my husband. Your family will be in our thoughts and prayers.

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  35. Wow. I just happened to click on your story from fb. I am overcome with sadness but joy that you got to hold those sweet angels. And that they got to feel their mommy's touch. It is such a powerful feeling. Your family will always be in my thoughts & prayers. If you're ever in Austin I would love to meet you! Thank you for sharing your story.

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  36. You and Gary are both amazing. When I started reading your story there wasn't anything that could distract me from it even knowing what the outcome was going to be. When i lost a son ( actually I didn't lose him because i know exactly where he is) this was a devotion that I read everyday and this is what it said: It told of a gardener in the Master's flower garden, One day when the gardener went into the flower garden he noticed that several on his most precious blooms were gone. He was afraid to tell the Master, but when the gardener knocked on the Masters door and told him what had happened. he Master pushed open the door a little farther and there on the Master's table was the precious blooms sitting on the table. They were the Master flowers for the taking whenever He wanted them. I pray this story will help you and Gary get through this extremely difficult time and I know you will with God at your side.

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  37. Your faith is really inspiring. I hope you and your family continue to feel of God's love.

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  38. I don't know you but your blog showed up in my Facebook feed, My heart is just broken for you two. My wife and I lost our baby on 11/30 at only 11 weeks and I couldn't imagine holding my baby and having to let them go. May God continue to hold you in his arms of healing and he has your angels with him. You will see them one day!

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  39. Lots of prayers for you and your family through these difficult days! Thank you for sharing with us...such strength, courage and unwavering faith you both have.

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  40. What an amazing God we have,,, I do not know you , but yet I feel I have known you forever thru your story. God has plans for each one of us, and I could not imagin the pain you have suffered , but yet the faith you have is what will pull you thru. My thoughts and prayer re with you as you made that journey home to Cross and Crue..God BLESS YOU .

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  41. I'm a new reader & in awe of your strength & ability to put words to your experience & shine the light that's so evident from you. I'm a fellow multimomma with one in heaven & two here holding my hands in NC.
    You & your family will be in my thoughts & prayers!
    Suz

    In case you haven't discovered my friend Diana Stone's blog, Diana Wrote http://dianawrote.com. She's another Godly woman who lost twin boys in '12 & heaven reveieved another baby boy angel in '13.

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  42. Scrolling through facebook in the morning, and I came across this. Your story was so touching & moving. It made me cry. Iam praying for your family. God will show you the way for your family. God bless ♡

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  43. Angie,

    A friend of mine forwarded your blog to me via facebook. She forwarded it to me because my story is so similar to yours. I t pregnancy with a singleton and two identicals. All boys. I lost the twins to TTS at 24 weeks. We are from Minneapolis but we also went to Houston to try to save the boys. They actually passed away organ failture before we could do the fetal surgery. The WORST part about TTS is the heartbreaking decisions the doctors ask us to make.

    I just wanted to know that your story moved me so much and you are not alone. I went through this a little over 3 years ago. It does get better. Time does heal. But you never forget. I am glad my boys will have your boys as playmates in heaven. They will be having a blast waiting for us to join them some day.

    Thinking of you during this time,

    Kara Fairbairn

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  44. I'm so sorry you were also faced with the ugly disease of TTTS. Its a true roller coaster and the emotions to go along with it aren't fun at all. My boys developed TTTS when I was pregnant with them in 2009. My best friend was also pregnant with identical boys that same year (just 4 weeks ahead of me). Both of our experiences were different. Her sweet boys went to heaven when she was 19 weeks pregnant. She had acute TTTS (happens out of no where). Anyway….I'm not comparing stories, I just wanted to drop a note and say you aren't alone. I'm so sorry and was in tears reading about your sweet family. May the Lord be with you and bless you all during this really tough time.

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  45. This story showed up on my facebook feed. You are an inspiration, and this is such a touching story. Your boys were absolutely beautiful. I pray for the strength you need to get through all of this and I pray that you continue to have peace knowing your perfect baby boys are with God now. These precious baby boys will always be with you.

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  46. Prayers for you and your family.

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  47. I do not know you but I had to leave a comment. Praying for you as you recover. Thank you for sharing your story. God will use it (and already has, I'm sure) to bring encouragement to others. Blessings to you today.

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  48. You dont know me. I had your story on my fb feed. You are totally amazing woman and mother. Your story shows how amazing God is and that He is always in control. I will be praying for you and your sweet family.

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  49. Hi,
    It is so inspiring to hear your story. I had a triplet pregnancy and had rare severe complications. We also had surgery with belfort and his team and also lost 2 of our three. One of which we had to take off life support.
    It is hard to always trust in the Lord and his ultimate plan. But our babies are in heaven singing praises. I will keep you and your family in my prayers. The loss of a child is simply the most painful experince.

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  50. Prayers for you and your family. Thank you for sharing .

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  51. I lost my sweet Henry the same time you were going through all this. He was 21.5 weeks old. I hurt for you and with you. I'm so sorry.

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  52. Your story came up on my Facebook feed, as it did others. Your words were so perfectly written and although I am not in your shoes exactly, I think you get your story across in a truly amazing way!!! You show so many true feelings that many people run from, and let us all know that it really will be okay (even if it didn't go the way you had wished). I was sucked into your blog after the first paragraph, and I really think you should consider writing a book about your pregnancy and after. My family and I will be praying for you and yours.

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  53. My name is Amie, I lost a baby boy just over 6 years ago.. You handled all of this with more strength than I ever could imagine. I envy you and I'm so sorry for your loss.

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  54. This is so sad; Im expecting twin identical boys in April.. makes me think of them so much. Im so sorry for your loss I honestly dont know what I would do!! I know your very strong !!! Thanks for sharing this !!

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  55. You have the strongest family I have ever read about. I can't even imagine the pain and suffering, let alone being that trusting, faithful, and at peace with God. Wow. Truly, truly, amazing. I hope I can be as strong as you, someday. I wish you all the best. Thank you for your beautiful post.

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  56. I do not know you, but I found your blog through Facebook. I am stopping right now to say a prayer for you and your family. May God give you a peace that you don't understand and bless your family in ways you never imagined.

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  57. I found this in my fb feed and I just wanted to say thank you for shareing your story..you have brought me closer to god today and I didnt think that was possible..I felt all of your emotions thru your story...god bless you all...
    valarie hair
    norman oklahoma

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  58. I weep with you as I too lost twins to ttts just a few weeks before you. Our paths might have even crossed as I spent many days in December at the same hospital, seeing the same doctors.

    My blog post about our journey -
    http://ahartathome.blogspot.com/2014/01/there-will-be-joy-i-know.html?m=1

    Blessings and hugs from a stranger

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  59. What a sad but courageous event. God has received two beautiful Angels that will someday reunite with you and your loved ones. One day there shall be no more sadness...no more tears, just Family Unity and Happiness for eternity. Very saddened that this happened, but God always has a reason.....God Bless you and your loved ones.

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  60. Thank you for sharing your story. Prayers, Strength and Positive Thoughts are headed your way. May God Bless You All!! Marybeth (Hillsboro MO.)

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  61. I saw your story on facebook that a friend had posted, she is also a TTTS mom. I lost my boys to TTTS 6 years ago, on January 15, 2008. Your story hit so close to home, when I was reading and holding back tears it was almost like my story as well. Thank you for sharing, will be thinking of you and your family. <3

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  62. Such a touching and moving blog you have shared. I have twin boys who are now 19, but were born early as well. Your story caught my eye, basically as many stories do because of the word "twin." can't even begin to imagine the heartwrenching pain you and your family endured during this time. Our God is good ALL the time and praise HIM for knowing your heart, mind, body, and soul. I was very touched by your selflessness in allowing God to take hold of your babies again, although tough, your story of HIM buying you time to be able to share a moment with them, even if only a for a few moments, was a blessing in disguise and PRICELESS! I will continue to pray for you and your family during this time. Understanding why God does some of the things he does can be very difficult for us here on earth, but having faith and knowing that one day you will meet again will hopefully have you and your family on its way to healing. God Bless you all and I will continue to pray!

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  63. Praying for you and all your boys.

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  64. Oh my, my heart physically aches after reading this. I'm so sorry you had to go through this with your babies. But to know that they are blissfully happy in the arms of Jesus is comforting. His strength is made perfect in our weakness - he is an awesome God. But I can't imagine that pain, and just trying to, absolutely devastates me. Praying he continues to wrap his arms around your family and that he heals your hearts.

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  65. Thank you for sharing your story. I'll be praying for you, Gary, your boys, your parents, and your angel babies.

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  66. Thanks for sharing your story, prayers for your family.

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  67. Praying so hard for you and your family! I pray that God wraps y'all in his arms and gives you the strength to get through this tragic time.

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  68. As many others have said,I don't know you but I am praying for God's peace and comfort for you, sweet momma, and your dear family right now. May He bless you beyond anything you could ever imagine. -Sarah

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  69. Thank you for sharing your story and don't ever think that you are weak because from what I just read and felt you are a very strong woman and a strong mommy that knows not to be selfish even though it seems unfair keep the faith, for yours and Garys story isn't over it's just beginning ♥♥♥♥

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  70. Thank you for sharing your story. I know how hard it had to be to write it. I have lost two babies - my daughter stillborn on 11/23/11 and my son we lost at 6 weeks old to congenital heart disease on 10/23/12. I actually grew up in a small town not too far from Wichita Falls (Fletcher, OK) and now live in the Chicago area. During my pregnancy with my son, I too went to Texas Children's Hospital and had a fetal intervention done and had Dr. Belfort as my doctor. Him and the staff were absolutely wonderful. I am thinking of you during your loss and glad that I got to read about your little boys. I'm sure our babies are all running around together in Heaven.

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  71. Thank you so much for sharing your sweet story. You are an encouragement to me as a Christian that struggles with the whys. I will pray for your family and know that God will continue to watch over you.

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  72. Very heart felt. Thanks for sharing. I sat and read the whole story and was very touched by your faith, love of our Lord. God bless y'all.

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  73. Thank you for sharing! Your story is very powerful.
    May God bless you all with comfort

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  74. You are an incredibly strong and brave woman. A friend of mine lost her quads last year the same time I gave birth ty twins. I weep for you and her. I hope god continues to give you strength.

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  75. Thank you, for sharing with us, the story of Coyt and Cannon.

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  76. oh Angie, your story is a true inspiration, that broke my heart reading it. Although I do not know what it's like to lose a child(ren) like you experienced, I do know month after month the heartache infertility brings (which I'm not sure these can be compared). Your story only reminded me of no matter what happens, you have to trust in the LORD and HIS plan. Thank you for sharing your story, I'm sure it was not easy. I will pray for you and Gary during this difficult time. God bless!

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  77. Angie thank you for sharing your story, I am so sorry for your and your families loss. Yes God has taken them to do his work, and I'm so glad he gave you 2 beautiful angles for a while. God is amazing for what he does for us and teaches us. I believe for one this story your sharing is God walking you through with courage and hope for you and your family. It is very hard to say by to our children( I lost mine at 10yrs 11yrs ago- he was disabled), this will make you stronger, and know its ok to ask for prayer. Your babies just beautiful you both done well, you heard God and did what he needed for you to do. You will have more Blessings in your life. Stay strong and keep God with you may God Bless you and your family. Prayers God Bless

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  78. This is so beautiful, thank you so much for sharing. It's heartbreaking how many families are in this "club" and have lost children...but EVERY life has a purpose. I'm a college student, not even close to being ready to have children, but I admire you as a parent a great deal. I also love your children's creative names, names completely fascinate me. What I love most of all is the way God worked through you to turn something tragic into something that is also amazing. I can't wait to see what else you will discuss. God bless!

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  79. I am so sorry for your loss! Thank you for sharing your story. It reminds me of the song Bring the Rain by Mercy Me. I will be praying for you and your family.

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  80. I do not know you. Your blog came up in my newsfeed. You are so brave. I will pray for you and your family. Your strength is truly amazing!

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  81. THANK YOU for your inspiring post. You completely showed love, courage and obedience for the Lord in your darkest hours. As a mother this was heart wrenching to read. I pray many blessings for you and your beautiful family. God Bless, Bethany Keeling (Mayfield, KY)

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  82. As a perinatal hospice nurse (hospice for the unborn) I am privileged to journey alongside other families who also loose their babies to an adverse diagnosis. Your testimony will be shared with some of my clients who need to find peace and hope in their faith as you have. I will be praying for you and your family as you continue through your grief journey.
    Martha H., RN
    Wichita, KS

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  83. I am so beyond sorry for what you went thru. All I want to do is go hold my son at the moment and cry. I am due with our second in 4 weeks. I know that if this happened to me I wouldn't be able to make it. You are an extremely strong woman. I admire you. My thoughts are with you and your family. I am so so so so so so sorry for the physical, mental and emotional pain you had to endure.

    Warmth and Love to you and your Family.
    Marissa T
    Cincinnati OH

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  84. Angie, what a beautiful story you shared...your story is a true testimony of your love, faith and trust in the Lord our God. I can honestly say your story touched my heart. Your two boys are so beautiful and to know that they are sitting together in the hands of our Heavenly Father is just so comforting, they definitely are lil angels and filled their purpose while they were here on earth...look at how many people they are touching with their story and imagine how many more people will continue to be touch...so amazing! God is amazing...we will never understand why but to trust in Him and be as selfless as the two of you are is humbling. Thank you for sharing your beautiful story and may God bless you abundantly and continue to comfort your hearts. AMEN

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  85. Thank you for sharing your journey with me. I commend you on your faith and strength, and your husband on being right there. I absolutely can not imagine what you have been through, and I cried as your story told on. I hope you have found peace that your precious sons are in Heaven with God now. I now have to go give my daughter a hug and kiss because even though I had an emergency c-section, I have my child in the next room sleeping. I'm so sorry to have heard this happen to anyone, and again commend you on sharing your story.
    May peace be with you.
    Bethany B.
    Cincinnati, OH

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  86. Angie, your story showed up in my FB need feed...I will pray for you and Gary and for your boys, both here and in Heaven. While my heart aches for you, your faith in God is so encouraging. Blessings to your family, Szetorri (Torri) Porter

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  87. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. Thank you for sharing this.

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  88. I am so glad I found this! After going through an Extremely similar situation with my boys. It helped me realize that I'm not alone! Others have gone through the same pain as me. Reading your feelings about everything I realized the same thoughts went through my head at that time. Sending love your way and I know all of our angels are playing in heaven! <3

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  89. Thank you for sharing your stroy-you are an amazing example of an incredibly strong Christian wife and mother. I pray that God is with you and your family now-and forever-and brings peace to you all.

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  90. My heart is with you and my faith is strengthened by your story! Thank you for blessing us with your love and you will be in my prayers!

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  91. A fellow TTTS mom shared your blog with me and I just felt compelled to write to you.
    I am in tears as I type this message to you Angie...tears of sadness and heartache for you and tears for the way I can relate so much to what you have written. I experienced TTTS at 23 weeks in Dec. 2008 after a perfectly normal mono di pregnancy. We had the laser in the only place in Canada that does it successfully, Toronto. We were very reassured by the team we met there, their success rate of double survival was 65% and of one 90%, they rarely had any post surgery complications and felt very confident that the minor affects our recipient had on his heart would be problematic. They wasted no time and did surgery in 24 hours.
    And our world was shattered 12 hours later when we learned our recipient had gone to be with the Lord.
    We also experienced post laser anemia in our donor and had a fetal blood transfusion done. It was successful and we now have a little miracle, born at 34 weeks (after experiencing pPROM at 26 weeks) who will be 5 in 12 days.
    I did not really have a relationship with Christ then. I believed in Him but I didn't know what it meant to put all your trust in Him. My grief overwhelmed me at times but I was lead to give it to God thru a book called 'A Place of Peace' written by fellow TTTS mom, Jenny Hander. I continued to really struggle, my marriage struggled and then about 2.5 years after we lost our Cole we gave our lives to Christ, joined a new church and are now very dedicated to the Lord. I have to believe that God allowed me to experience the joy of twins, TTTS, the loss of Cole and my journey to find my way out of my grief for me to learn to bring it all to Him and to take the spiritual gifts He's given me to reach out to other TTTS families, to other loss families and to the public in general to bring comfort, support, awareness and even the ability to raise funds for treatment.
    Please feel free to message me through my blog if you would like to chat, to connect with some of the online TTTS communities that I am a part of etc.
    God Bless you for your honesty and transparency as you deal with the greatest heartbreak a parent can experience.

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  92. Your story was so touching and heartfelt. I'm so sorry for your loss and I know those sweet boys are watching over your family. I felt like I was right there with you during all this. You are a strong woman. I hope once I am done with nursing school in a few years, I can help those in life that will need me. Kudos to your family, your medical team, and everyone that supported you then and now. Head up!

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  93. Angie my heart goes out to you. We lost Morgan Mark Aaron & Brian Raymond Lee one by one to TTTS in 2010. I am now involved with TTTS Harm Reduction on Facebopok & elsewhere, our Objective is to make contact with any family who is experiencing or has experienced an Encounter with the murderer TTTS, with the Goal of Mitigating it's Harm as much as Humanly possible. I am quite saddened that we were unable to connect with you during your family's TTTS Experience. I don't recognize any of the posters here, they apparently are not among the over One Thousand families we have been able to connect with over the past 3 years. Our TTTS Grief Support Group on Facebook is Open to any & all who have lost to TTTS. https://www.facebook.com/groups/150273021690175/

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    1. Except for our Jodie Tummers that is. She runs TTTS Hope & Connections on Facebook & is an Invaluable Ally in the fight against the murderer. God Bless You.

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  94. You and your family are in my prayers for peace and healing. God bless.

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  95. What a glorious reunion you, Gary and the boys will have in heaven when the Lord comes to take us all home. I'm sure they are sitting at Jesus feet right now. Praying for comfort for you and your family.


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  96. It's taken me all day(and many tears) to read this post. My twin boys were born at 22 weeks due to PROM, my second son passed away when he was 5 days old. This brought back a lot of memories, I know the pain of making the decision to take a child off of the machines and let them pass quietly in your arms. You and your family will be in my prayers along with all of the little angels who have left this world too soon. Our story is at www.maravytwinwatch.com *hugs* from the Maravy family

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  97. I had twins in 2011 my son cesar was born at 24 weeks on aprol 20th and passed away 5min later but thank the lord his twin brother was born at 24 weeks and he will 3 may 25th to read ur story was very heartbreaking and u are a very strong woman

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  98. My heart breaks for you as I am a mother who had twins with twin to twin ryan and noah they were born at 25 weeks we had noah for 3 short months we went into kidney failure and our mircle ryan has alot of issues he is now6 his brain was damaged has cerebral palsy and is still on oxygen and his in kidney failure now but he is our mircle from god I am so thankful for the time we have with him it is so precious jennifer walker

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