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Friday, February 09, 2007

Sisters Together Again


Rhea And LeOra's Story


All was well enough until my 20th week of pregnancy. That is when our lives changed forever. I had been growing increasingly bigger day by day (literally) for a couple of weeks. I then began to contract because I was so big. We were away from our doctor on a business trip (my husband got his real estate license) But we luckily had a routine appointment with our Maternal Fetal Medicine specialist
at week 20.

We walked into his office and turned on the ultrasound machine, and we immediately knew there was a problem; Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome. Our babies shared a placenta and the blood vessels were not formed properly. One baby was receiving too much blood, and the other was not receiving enough blood. The baby who had too much blood was producing way too much amniotic fluid (as a release) and the baby who didn’t have enough was not producing any fluid and she was stuck to her womb wall. I had no idea a baby could survive without amniotic fluid. But they can under certain circumstances. This time, action set in before shock could. This was a good thing!

We were on a flight to Seattle that night to see a TTTS specialist. There is a laser surgery they can do to the placenta to try and correct the blood flow. Unfortunately, by the time we got to the hospital in the morning it was too late for the surgery. I was dilating and going to deliver within a short time if we didn’t do something.

I was in the hospital for two weeks in Seattle on very strict bed rest. We did weekly amniotic fluid reductions and a cerclage to help my body maintain the ability to keep the babies. The babies were tested continually and I was finally stable enough to fly to another hospital closer to family.

Mind you, we live in a tiny town. This meant that my husband had to fly home and pack up our belongings and our son and move to where the specialist hospital was. Luckily, it was where my family lived and my brothers had an apartment for my husband and son to live in 5 miles from the hospital. We were very taken care of not only by people here on earth, but by those who are beyond our view.

I was in the hospital for six more weeks, still on strict bed rest. It was very hard. But as mothers, I think our instinct is to do what we have to do. All was pretty routine for the first five weeks; weekly amniotic fluid reductions (two litter’s worth on average), daily testing of the babies’ health, and managing to stop bouts of labor that would try to kick in to high gear.

All routine changed at week seven in the hospital and 26 for the babies. I was in the testing center chatting with all of the sweet nurses that had become my friends, when a mother’s worst nightmare came true. My little LeOra started to pass away. Her heart began to slow down and they rushed me to labor and delivery, we got the machine on in time to see her last heart beat. I watched my baby pass away. Only a mother who has been through that can really grasp the feeling and experience.

I was blessed to have a doctor who was able to administer to my spiritual needs as well as medical needs. This was a blessing. We prayed together. During this prayer I breathed a deep sigh of comfort. I knew all would be well. I did not say easy, I said well. My precious husband arrived soon after our baby passed and we shared our sorrow together.
Our Father in heaven was with us during this very poignant time. I know He knows us and is with us during these hard times. I understood something I hadn’t fully grasped before about our Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ. Our Father let His son die for us. He knows how it feels to watch a child die…. He knows my aching heart.
I found hope at the thought that I still had little Rhea and she might still make it. We had to keep trying for her sake. So we did. I was in the same chair in the testing center five days later when we found that Rhea was retaining fluid around her skull and in her abdomen. This was not surprising. But it was what we were waiting for; a signal from her that it was time to deliver. (Mind you, by this time Rhea was swimming in amniotic fluid. A whole had been made so fluid from LeOra could flow to Rhea, Just a little side note.)

I was taken in for an emergency C-Section. My husband came with me and my wonderful Dr. rushed over from another hospital he was at to do the delivery. This meant a lot to me. The whole procedure felt like it took forever. When Rhea was born they rushed her to the NICU. After I was stable, my husband brought LeOra over to me so I could see her. She was beautiful. When you deliver a still born baby you don’t quite know what to expect. It was not an alarming experience. She was my baby and I could see her spirit. Physically, she was not scary. She was just a darker skin tone then what she normally would be. They brought her to us dressed in a cute little outfit and a beautiful pink blanket. It was a precious moment to hold her.

Rhea was in the NICU for eight days. We sat by her side every moment that we could. We talked with the doctors and just waited. We celebrated the good moments, took in her emanating love and spirit, enjoyed the presence of little LeOra that was close by as well as our grandmothers who had passed away. Rhea was named after my grandmother and LeOra was named after my husband’s grandmother.

We cried with Rhea as we knew that she was in pain. Her body was retaining fluid and her kidney’s would not kick in to cleanse her body. On day five we learned that she had severe brain damage. As a mother who had already watched one of her children die, I did not want to let Rhea go; no matter what! Until day number 8; Rhea was having tiny seizures and she had to be completely sedated. This is when we had a family prayer. My father in law led the prayer. We were told and comforted in the fact that our little Rhea’s time here on this earth was short. We knew that she had a mission to fulfill in heaven with her sister and we would be holding her back if we kept her any longer.

We decided that if we knew the answer there was no reason to prolong Rhea’s stay here on earth. We called our family together and the nurses helped us hold Rhea for the first time. We held her and loved her. After a while we allowed them to take the ventilator off and we continued to hold her. I carried her in to the room where everyone had gathered. As we walked in to the room I could sense that Rhea was unsure if I would be alright if she died. She was also physically struggling without the ventilator. It was all very subtle and not scary. But it was a tender moment. I held her close and whispered in her ear that all was well. I would be alright and she could go. She left her body shortly after that.

A couple of days before the family prayer that gave us our final answer of what we needed to do; Rhea had a doctor who could tell that she was far from healing. She hinted without telling us straight that it might be a good idea to take Rhea off of the machines. At this moment, I was not ready and I was completely confused emotionally and spiritually. I wanted to know why when we knew so clearly that Rhea was trying her best to fight and stay with us, was she not making it? Why did I have to let both of my babies die? It just wasn’t making sense; until the shift change for the Doctors. That night Rheas doctor was a kind man who we had never met. He just happened to unexpectedly get called in to that shift that night. No Coincidence.

He called us in to his office and it turned out that we had much in common spiritually and personally. It also turned out that he and his wife had lost a daughter before in a similar way. I told him my feelings, and I will never forget the part of his answer that hit home for me. He reminded me that our Father in Heaven who is all powerful and omnipotent is also obedient. He can work miracles and He does. But most of the time He has to follow the same laws that we follow; His Laws. There is a law of health. If the kidneys don’t work, the body will die. It is the circle of life. It is not a punishment or something to make us hurt, it is a law. Now, seeing that Father knows all things; my destiny as well as Rheas; if it was mandatory that Rhea stay on this earth at this time, than He would have made it so she could stay. But it wasn’t.

I believe that both of my little girls are companions in Heaven going about their Father’s business. And you know who their escorts are? Their great grandmothers; isn’t that beautiful?

Though I know with out a doubt I will see my babies again and I will have the chance to raise them after the resurrection. Even though I know that all is not lost, I still mourn. I still grieve, I still hurt… and that is okay!

November 8, 2006

Dear Friends and Family,

We have found so much strength from the many of you who have written to us and prayed for us. The spirits sustaining power has been with us these last several days. I wish that I had a more positive update. But that's not necessarily the case.

Baby Rhea's doctor called us in Monday evening to give us the results of a head ultrasound that was done that morning. Unfortunately the results clearly showed that Rhea had a severe brain hemorrhage in her brain as well as fluid that was pressuring the outside of her skull. As you can imagine the outcome results of this condition would most likely be severe handicaps.

Leif and I took this information and kind of set it aside because we could only choose one problem to focus on at a time and the Kidneys and bladder were our focus. But the next morning (Tuesday 7th) we went in to visit Rhea with Leif's parents who came into town and we could clearly sense that she was not well. Many times throughout the day we witnessed what were are suspecting were seizures.

The time came in the morning where Leif's dad gave Rhea a blessing. The spirit was strong and the Vail was thin. We knew we had many angels in our midst. As Mark gave the blessing, it became clear that it was Rhea's time for release from this life. It was a hard moment, yet it was so clear spiritually and physically, that we knew we had received the word from the Lord that gave us our answer and permission and it was our responsibility to act upon that. We waited until as many family members could be with us as possible, and then they let us hold her. We held her with the ventilator on for a while. Then we turned it off and held her until she was gone. Rhea's body fought long. We all got to hold her for a long time and feel of her sweet spirit. Leif and I marvel at the strength and comfort from the Lord that we received throughout the nights events. Rhea was at such peace. It was a beautiful feeling.

So, our little girls have gone back home and are serving our Father in Heaven along side their namesakes Grandma LeOra Baron and Rhea Westwood Stanger. I will not tell you that Leif and I are not missing them and mourning their loss. But I can tell you that there is no greater gift then knowing that we have a Father in Heaven who is very much aware of our lives and the journey that we are facing. We have learned that He has to follow the laws of physical nature just as we do. This is why He can't step in every time a beautiful child or loved one is dying. Yes, there are miracles. But most of the time the law is clear and everyone has to follow it.

We have all been blessed with a Savior who has made it a sure thing that all who die will live again. Leif and I will do all that we can to live worthy to raise our little girls after the Resurrection. This will be a precious goal and experience to work towards.

Thank you all for your Love and Support throughout this long journey. We will be forever grateful! We love you all!!

Leif, Lena, and Jakob Baron
October 27, 2008
As I was journeying through the loss of my twins, I found healing through writing. I have created a website with some of my thoughts about Baby Loss. On this website you will find a few thoughts from me during poignant times along the path to healing as well as articles I wrote titled: Please email me if you are interested in these articles. I am currently trying to make their PDF available. For now email me at MammaBaron at Yahoo Dot Com

SHOULD WE SEE THE BABY OR NOT?


WHAT MIGHT THE BABY LOOK LIKE?


SHOULD WE BURY THE BABY OR NOT?


HOW DO I STOP MY MILK FLOW?


WHAT DOES A BABY LOOK LIKE AFTER THEY DIE?


AS A NURSE, DOCTOR, OR HOSPITAL EMPLOYEE, WHAT IS MY ROLL?

October 27, 2008
This is a link to the first posts on this blog. They are written by me while I was in the hospital with the girls. September-October 2006

6 comments:

MrsD/Jacque said...

Though this is not a loss to heaven, I am sorry for your loss of expectation of seeing your little girls grow up.
I cannot wrap my brain around the loss of a child and the effects on a family, but I know the sorrow I feel for the pain of my friends and acquaintances who have.
My prayers are with your family as you live without them, with the hope of seeing them again.
blessings, Jacque

http://jacquedixon.com
http://growingingraceonline.com

Lena Baron said...

Thank you Jacque! Good to hear from you again! I was just pondering this morning how I feel that I have taken another step in my healing process by moving forward with my education. I think I will make a post about this thought... Thank you for your prayers!

Ev said...

I had no idea you went through this trial in your life. I am so sorry! I enjoyed seeing your blog. Chanelle also did a child loss website to help people. She miscarried 2 babies. You look happy. The best to you!!!

Garry and Mindy said...

I came across this blog quite by accident. This looks like a very old post, but I still wanted to comment. I was not expecting such a tear-jerking story when I read about your twins. I went through TTTS last year and was grateful to be able to keep my 20 month old twin boys. I'm sorry for your loss, but you have such a peaceful attitude about it. The months we spent on bed-rest, in the hospital, and NICU were some of our toughest trials, but I can't believe how much it teaches you about the gospel! Thanks for sharing!

Janiece said...

Years have past since you wrote this post and somehow I stumbled across your blog...
I cried for you, but yet I could feel the comfort of the Spirit that you were lead by our loving Father in heaven.
Your testimony is beautiful.
I hope you do not mind that I stood quietly listening on the still spring evening. My spirit has been touch and my testimony grew.
Thank you

Grateful Gardners said...

You have an amazing gift for writing. What a precious story of your girls! Thanks for sharing! I can't even imagine the experience you have had but so glad you were able to see the had of Heavenly Father in it all. What a grand reunion you will have someday to hold these sweet girls in your arms. You are amazing!

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