“Great are the works of the Lord; they are pondered by all who delight in them.” Psalm 111:2-3
I remember celebrating an uneventful 32 week milestone with the twins. 32 weeks! Yay! We were getting farther along in the third trimester! It had been five weeks since I was released from the high-risk maternal unit for low fluid, and for the first time — despite tiredness and a return of nausea — the pregnancy felt mostly ‘normal’. The twins’ fluid levels were holding steady. Their movements and dopplars and size were great. I felt confident we would make it to 36 weeks.
Tuesday morning, June 10, at 32 weeks & 3 days, my water broke. I was sitting on the bed, saying good morning to the girls, and my water broke. In spite of the rush of adrenaline, I felt a deep calm. We scrambled to get ready to go the local hospital & waited for my parents to come and get the girls.
Anna, five, said to me that she was afraid I would die or the twins would die. I said, “I really think by the end of the day, we will have two little boys.”
We went to the local hospital, where I was put through various checks to make sure my water broke. They didn’t think I was in labor (not dilated at all); my contractions were intermittent & not at all painful. Then I was cleared for transport to the hospital about 2 hours away, where my maternal fetal specialist worked. I had my first ambulance ride, sirens blaring. Rust followed along in our car.
Once at the hospital, the goal was to stop any contractions & determine if I was really in labor. At noon, my contractions were still inconsistent, I wasn’t dilated, and I wasn’t in much pain. I won’t describe in detail the next few hours — I want to get to the best part — just: by 4:30 pm, I was a full 9 cm, with wave after wave of contractions, and the magnesium they had given me in hopes of stalling labor 48 hours wasn’t working.
“Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man!” Psalm 107:8
They were prepping the OR for me (in case of a C-section), and as they were almost wheeling me out the door, little Grayson was born with a beautiful fierce little cry. Less than a minute later, Noah made his entrance en caul — which means his bag of waters (amniotic sac) never broke. The L&D nurse and resident OB carefully opened the sac. I remember the L&D nurse shouting down the hall, “RUN! RUN! The babies are HERE! They’re HERE! NOW!” All manner of NICU staff, nurses — honestly, I don’t even know whom! — rushed into the room. I laid eyes on both of them, the NICU staff began to care for our precious preemies, and before they transported them to what would be their first home for the next 20-27 days, they let me see them one more time. Then they were gone. I was in a daze. Rust was in a daze.
But here are the beautiful, extraordinary details of their birth… these details which gave me deep peace about the timing of their birth, their prematurity, our NICU stay…
After sweet Noah & Grayson were taken to the NICU, the L&D nurse & my maternal fetal specialist told me that being born “en caul” was rare, very rare (some say 1 in 80,000 births!), and that those babies throughout history have been considered special.
Noah also had something called a velamentous cord insertion — something that even with all the ultrasounds & monitoring had not been detected. This type of cord insertion leaves the vessels exposed, instead of protected into the heart of the placenta, and are “vunerable to rupture,” as the article says. If that were to happen, Noah could have died in utero.
My maternal fetal specialist said that when they know about velamentous cord insertion, the way they deliver those babies is via C-section — ready? — en caul. In their sac. Exactly the way Noah was delivered.
Noah was delivered in the safest way possible in the midst of a crazy, fast, unexpected premature delivery.
Or as several nurses & staff commented, God delivered him in the safest way possible.
It still takes my breath away.
Our mouths were filled with laughter,
our tongues with songs of joy.
Then it was said among the nations,
“The Lord has done great things for them.”
The Lord has done great things for us,
and we are filled with joy.
I am so thankful for the crazy-fast, unexpected, chaotic way our Thunder & Lightning came into the world. I am so thankful they were born in a hospital where the NICU was right down the hall, the staff responded so quickly to our sons’ quick delivery, and they were in immediate care. I am so thankful God arranged every detail perfectly, and where we did not know of the danger Noah could have been in, He oversaw their very special delivery.