Saturday, December 17, 2016

Stories of Hope - Suetta's Story

Suetta is a fellow TTTS mom.  We met shortly after her TTTS journey began and have had some great faith discussions on facebook.  

We were so excited to be pregnant with our third baby. We had prayed for this pregnancy for about 6 months. I knew quickly that something was different with this pregnancy. I was sick, which I hadn’t been with my two other pregnancies, and I just felt different. I wasn’t sure how far along I was, but knew I was feeling movement early. I had an U/S to see how far along I was and I was 10 weeks and they also saw 2 babies!! We were so excited! But they were having trouble seeing a membrane that separated them, so I had to go see a specialist. They found the membrane and I thought things would be fine. At 16 weeks, we had another U/S to check the babies because the specialist said that around 16 weeks is when you can see the TTTS. The U/S confirmed they did have TTTS, but it was mild. We had weekly U/S from that point til the end of the pregnancy. The boys were growing at the same rate the whole time. At 20 weeks we had a growth scan and both looked great. Fluid levels were off, but their bladders were always visible. At 21 weeks, we saw our donor twin swallowing on the U/S. What a special moment that was and what a special memory my angel allowed me to have! I relaxed after this appointment and thought things were great. U/S one week later at 22 weeks, changed my life. I knew right away that something was wrong. I could see by measurements that the donor twin had not grown at all and the U/S just didn’t look right. When the U/S tech went to get the doctor without finishing the U/S, I knew but didn’t want to believe what was happening. The doctor confirmed that one twin no longer had a heartbeat. The other twin looked good, but the doctor said the next 24 hours would be the most critical. We had another U/S one week later and our surviving twin was looking great. We knew each week , that I could go into labor at any time. At 29 weeks and 3 days, I went into labor and delivered 2 beautiful baby boys. One pink and crying, and one gray and still that already had gained his wings. This experience has changed me in so many ways. I could not have survived this loss without having God to help me through.

I was born and raised Mennonite, so church and God have always been a part of who I am. Growing up, I did not have many friends, and often felt invisible. I was taught that God is always with us, but didn’t understand what that meant and didn’t feel it. I accepted Christ at the age of 12 and found a peace that I never could have imagined. And then the crazy teenage years started and I wanted to fit in. I struggled with staying close to God. My parents have always lived out their faith and showed me to believe that God is always in control. When I was around 4 years old, I had a cousin that was stillborn, and I remember that even while we were grieving, there was an unexplainable peace that surrounded us.

I was very blessed to not have much loss in my growing up years. I struggled a lot with not fitting in at school. I now see, that I started to believe that I wasn’t good enough, even for God. This led me to search other places to find happiness, and neglect my relationship with God.  I’m so thankful that before our loss, we had found a church that had helped me get my relationship with God back on track.

When we started this journey, I was blissfully ignorant of how quickly things could go wrong. I prayed every day for our babies, and fully believed that we would have a good outcome. The day we found out we lost our one baby, I wondered where God was. Did I not pray enough? Was it because I wasn't living a good enough life? What had I done wrong to deserve this? What was I supposed to learn from this?
God felt so far away.

I will never forget how God showed himself to me during those dark days after our loss. Whether it was a phone call, a card, a meal, or just someone giving me a hug, it was like God was sending me love in so many ways. And then I remembered.......My biggest fear after finding out about the TTTS was, if it came to the point of needing surgery and then we lost one or both, would I feel responsible for the loss? It sounds crazy even to me now, but I didn't want to have to make that decision. I believe with all my heart that Trevor, our angel, gave his life so that his brother Travis, our survivor, could live.

My faith has increased significantly since our loss. The way that God provided for us during that time was unlike anything I could have imagined. My husband lost his job one week before we delivered our babies at 29 weeks. (Trevor had passed 7 weeks before we delivered). At the time, I thought that was the worst thing that could have possible happened. How would we support our family with a baby in the NICU without any steady income? But each week, we had what we needed to keep going. God always provided. With my husband not having a fulltime job, it allowed us to spend more time together and at the hospital. Our families were a huge help during this time also and were a huge support system for us.

My hope came from my faith that my parents have shown me from the time I was little. For the first time in my life, I FELT my faith and saw God in ways I never had before. Today, I still rely on God for my hope. I see this loss not as only a negative, but I see so many positive things that have come from it. Of course I would still love to have both my boys here to love and hold, but knowing that my angel is in the arms of God and will never know pain or sadness is a comfort and blessing.

 During our TTTS journey I found these scriptures helpful and encouraging:
John 11:35- Jesus wept- even Jesus knew sorrow and how much more he must certainly care when we hurt!
John 3:16-For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life....God knew the pain His son would suffer and yet He still gave him up because He loved me so much. And He understands how much I hurt because He gave up His son too.

If there anything I could tell someone going through a journey where God doesn’t answer their prayers the way they thought he should, where he doesn’t fix it, where all the hopes and dreams you believed were your destiny aren’t at all what the outcome is to always keep trusting and praying. God is painting a picture for us and right now it might not look pretty, but when he is finished, it will be beautiful beyond anything you have ever seen. When you feel like God is invisible or has forgotten you, find someone that can encourage you. I found for me the best way to see God, is to do things for other people. When I bless other people, I always find myself blessed.

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