I was excited at the news I was going to have twins. But 14 weeks into the pregnancy, my doctor performed an ultrasound and confronted me with shattering news: The twins, both boys, were suffering from a complication called “twin-to-twin transfusion.”
The doctor explained that the blood of one twin, Elijah, was passing through to the second, Nehemiah. Elijah was retaining no blood for himself. Consequently, he was literally starving to death. In a short space of time, this lack of blood supply had caused his tiny body to become stuck to one side of the uterus. Elijah was gaining barely an ounce of weight each month. He was “shriveling up like a raisin,” the doctor said. At this stage of development, we were told he had, at best, a 50 percent chance of survival and a grim 75 percent certainty of mental retardation. Test results, which included a sonogram, confirmed this prognosis.
Nehemiah, on the other hand, had complications because he was receiving too much blood. His tiny heart was oversized and working extremely hard as it struggled to circulate the expanded supply of blood. The doctor diagnosed him with cardiomegaly. His heart valves weren’t closing properly, which caused blood to flow back into the heart chamber. The heart had no rest. We were told it could give out at any time.
In an effort to become as educated as possible and give my babies every chance to live, I agreed to every test the doctors ordered. I saw the bleak results of each test with my own eyes. I spent countless hours grieving and praying over the young lives inside me.
Because Nehemiah’s blood flow continued backing up, his heart failed. His body and brain were not getting an ample blood supply despite receiving all of Elijah’s blood, and his organs began to collapse and shut down. By the 20th week of pregnancy, Nehemiah began to bloat as his body began the process of decomposition. We were told his brain was 95 percent damaged. He was now given a 0 percent chance of survival.
When we reached this point, the pressure increased for us to terminate the pregnancy. My husband, Isaias, was grasping for hope just as I was. He told the doctor we needed time to decide what we were going to do, knowing the decision would literally be a matter of life and death.
“Time?” the doctor said, obviously upset. “What more proof do you need? I can guarantee you these twins have no life in them anymore. It’s time to make a decision and let them go.”
The doctor said if Elijah passed, Nehemiah would soon follow. As long as Elijah lived, even though he weighed only a few ounces, Nehemiah had a chance of survival. If Nehemiah died, on the other hand, Elijah would have a chance of living because he would then keep the blood supply to himself that was now flowing through to his twin.
The situation was beyond complicated; it seemed the worst situation any parents could possibly face. No matter what we did or decided, one of our boys would more than likely die, and the other would be born deformed and confronted with health challenges that would not only alter our lives but also his from birth to death.
The doctor gave us a week to decide. A week is hardly time to decide on purchasing a home, let alone the future of two unborn children!
We prayed earnestly and continually, but nothing seemed to improve. Nehemiah’s heart was now the size of his chest, and because of amniotic fluid around his heart, abdomen and lungs, his bladder and kidneys began failing. We knew his life was more fragile by the moment.
The week passed and, remarkably, Nehemiah was still alive! His breathing was not labored, and his movements were normal. The doctor couldn’t understand it.
“For sure, Nehemiah is a fighter,” he said, “but this baby will be dead in three days or less—no more.”
That Sunday night, our church was having a miracle and healing service. During the service, a dear friend took my hands and prayed with me, agreeing in faith that God was going to bring both boys through this ordeal and that they would live and not die. We prayed that Elijah and Nehemiah would be perfectly whole, despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary. She told me to write the date on a piece of paper and carry it with me so I would remember the day God healed my twins.
I cannot begin to describe what that prayer time did for my faith. The words my friend spoke over me were the first positive words I had received in weeks.
We went back to the doctor the following Wednesday. As he worked the instruments, he said, “Here goes Baby B [Nehemiah].” He looked around and said it again: “Here goes Baby B.” Then an unmistakable look of confusion crossed his face. “Unbelievable,” he said. A few seconds later, he said it again, but with more emotion: “Unbelievable!”
Nehemiah’s heart had shrunk to its normal size. There was still evidence of fluid around his brain, but his organs were functioning, and there was little sign of sickness. Praise God!
The doctor seemed stunned. He looked completely flabbergasted. My eyes were brimming with tears, and I whispered, “God!”
The twins improved every single day. I was admitted to the hospital at week 29 and stayed until my delivery date five weeks later.
Before delivery, our doctor attempted to prepare us for the worst by telling us Nehemiah would more than likely take a first breath and expire due to exhaustion from the sickness. He said Elijah possibly would live. He ordered the neonatal intensive care unit team to stand by in the delivery room just in case.
On Feb. 2, 2004, the babies were born. They cried like normal babies and from the outset began breathing on their own. We were ecstatic!
As soon as the twins were delivered, the doctor asked a nurse to bring him a carton of milk and syringes. He placed my placenta on the surgery table and began injecting the vessels with milk to see which veins were clogged and how the sickness might have happened.
Isaias was videotaping the boys in the nursery when the doctor sent for him. He wanted Isaias to record him injecting the placenta. We still have the video of the doctor showing it to us. He pointed out where blood vessels from the two boys intersected, which allowed Elijah’s blood to move into Nehemiah. Then he showed us where the vessels clogged, which returned the blood flow to normal for both boys.
“It’s a miracle,” he said. “These blood vessels clogged up on their own as if performed by laser surgery.”
He told us no doctor would ever see such a thing. He was very clear there was “no sign pointing to how the sickness began, but there is evidence how it ended. We will never know how it happened.”
The doctor may never know how it happened, but we know God performed His own supernatural surgery and healed our twins. When Doctor Jesus performs a surgery, He doesn’t need an operating room, a surgeon’s scalpel, anesthesia or any other conventional thing. He just does His precise laser surgery with His word!
The doctor said Nehemiah would spend half his life having ultrasounds and echocardiograms in Texas Children’s Hospital, but this prediction, too, proved to be completely wrong.
I took Nehemiah to his first follow-up appointment on March 31, 2004. The report that came back showed his heart was completely normal. He had the heart of a normal baby! He had no more need of echocardiograms. Both boys are still perfectly healthy.
From beginning to end, this miracle had the fingerprints of God on it. He performed the whole thing on His own. He is a God who hears and answers prayer!
—Adapted from The Audacity of Prayer by Don Nordin