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Everything is in God’s Hands

I am a long-time reader of Love One Another, a frequent participant of spiritual retreats organized by the Movement of Pure Hearts, a member of that movement, a student, a wife, and, since November of 2006, a mother of twin boys — Casper Joseph and Simon Peter. On our wedding day we were solemnly enrolled in the Movement of Pure Hearts for Married Couples. For us that was a great honor!

I would like to tell you about a great mercy that God has worked in our lives. In April of 2006, in the presence of our wonderful parish priest and friend, my husband and I were united in the Sacrament of Matrimony. A month later, by the grace of God, I conceived a child. Both my wonderful husband (I wish every woman one like him!) and I were delighted. When we learned that I was expecting twins, we were doubly delighted. This was yet another gift to us from God.

My doctors considered my pregnancy a difficult one. Numerous problems arose. Even though I was not working at the time and trying to rest, I landed in hospital four times. Each time I was told I was about to have a miscarriage. But I knew that everything was in God’s hands. He had granted me the gift of motherhood and only He had the right to decide this and other areas of my life. When in mid-October I found myself in hospital for the fourth time, I was in my sixth month. I thought they would patch me up as before and send me home. But God decided otherwise. I remained in hospital for two weeks. Finally, to my great relief, the doctor told me I could go home. But at two o’clock in the afternoon, just as my husband arrived to pick me up, my water broke. I passed only a small amount of water, and since I was expecting for the first time, I had no idea of the danger that this signaled. After an immediate examination, it became clear that I was in labor. When I learned this, I began to shake with fear. But this was not the worst of it. It was what the doctor told me after this that really terrified me. “You are in your sixth month,” she said, “you are carrying twins, and the entire pregnancy is at risk. There is no chance of saving the babies and I will not undertake to do so.” I began to beg her to change her mind. I assured her that the babies were big enough to warrant making an effort, that they deserved a chance to live. I knew then that everything was in God’s hands.

After a brief consultation, the doctor agreed to run a USG test in order to determine the babies’ weight and decide on a course of action. I prayed that the babies would not be too small. (It turned out after birth that one baby weighed 590 grams and the other 650 grams.) But weight alone was not the most important factor. The babies had insufficiently developed organs, especially the lungs, which are the last organs to develop in fetal life. Once again the doctor tried to talk me out of my decision to have the babies. She told me there was a great likelihood that the babies would be burdened by serious ailments; that there could be complications from the caesarian section I would have to undergo; that the operation would leave me feeling very ill — as if this was important then. I did not stop to consider any of her arguments. All I knew was that, since she was telling me this, there was a chance of delivering the babies alive. God had his hand on my pulse. At last, upon my agreement, the doctor instructed the staff to prepare me for surgery.

Surprising as it may sound, throughout all this time — during these moments when the life of death or death of my little ones was being decided — I felt God supporting me. I felt a great peace fill my entire being, and it was this that enabled me to decide to have the operation. The hour in which my babies were born was not without significance. Casper was born at three thirty in the afternoon and Simon at three thirty-one. God’s mercy was at work. For as long as I was conscious, I prayed the chaplet of Divine Mercy. Meanwhile my love ones — my husband, mother, and sister — waited and prayed for me in the hospital corridor. 

Right after the births, the babies were transferred to the neo-natal intensive care unit and connected to a respirator. Their insufficiently developed lungs were still incapable of breathing on their own. For days Casper and Simon remained in an incubator, connected to a respirator, on drips, antibiotics, with venflons attached to their heads. Meanwhile I was taken to the post-op ward, where my husband and I chose names for our boys. The nurse (my cousin) christened them — in extremis — that very day. The following day, after the boys had survived their first twenty-four hours, we decided we would have them baptized by a priest. The same priest who had married us duly administered the sacrament. This meant so much to us. It was during the ceremony (at the moment of anointing) that I saw my boys for the first time. (I recount this only because it is so rare for a mother to see her child for the first time during Holy Baptism.) I saw them at the very moment they became children of God.

Every day that the twins survived was God’s immeasurable gift to us. The doctors told us that everything was in God’s hands, for the babies were still very undeveloped. (The boys opened their eyes a full two weeks after they were born.) Every day we prayed the chaplet of Divine Mercy. We placed all our hope in the Lord and begged Him to do with their lives as He saw fit. “Lord,” I said to the Father, “these are your children. Do with them what you deem to be right. Only help me to accept your decision, whatever it should be.”

As soon as I began to feel a little better, I began to seek the help of various prayer groups. I contacted all my loved ones, all my friends in MPH, begging then to pray for my little babies. The response was incredible. Every day I felt that deluge of prayers, which filled me with a sense of peace and security. Our request for prayers reached even the Holy Father, Benedict XVI (thanks to a priest who was then staying in Rome) and our intention was placed on the tomb of Servant of God John Paul II. It felt as if the whole world were praying for us. What a wonderful thing this was! How could I now entertain any doubts at all? We never stopped praying. Every day, beside the boys’ incubators — and later beside their cribs — I prayed decades of the rosary. You might say that my boys and I prayed “together.” Our Lady watched over then, especially when I could not there. I also prayed for the intercession of the saints, especially St. Joanna Berreti-Molli, St. Faustina, St. Padre Pio, and Blessed Karolina, patroness of the Movement of Pure Hearts. This was not the first time the latter had helped me. I also prayed to Servants of God John Paul II and Fr. Jerzy Popieluszko. I thank them with all my heart!

From day to day we expected things to get better, but this was not always the case. Twice Casper had to go back on assisted breathing. Both boys had many infections, especially of the lungs. They were treated with antibiotics, since their immunity systems were very weak. Later they had to undergo laseroscopic surgery of the eyes in order to be able to see well in the future. The surgeries were successful.

  In the end, Casper had to spend 105 days in hospital, and Simon 110 days, sixty of which involved being assisted in breathing with the aid of a mechanical device (a respirator). Even now, because of my babies’ extreme prematurity, we have to take them to specialist clinics for rehabilitation.

I know that my boys will require a great deal of care and support, but that is what parents are for. God has given me a chance to be a mother. For this reason I feel called to carry out this life-giving role to the very best of my ability. The first thing I have to do now is thank all those who contributed in whatever way to this great miracle in our lives. Thank you all for your prayers. Prayer opens us up to the all-powerful love of God and that is when He works miracles. Praise the Lord! Please continue to pray for our young family and dear little ones. God bless!

Anna, Michael, Casper and Simon

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