June 11, 2014 was a day in which our world would be forever changed. My wife and I went in, for what we thought, would be a routine ultrasound for our identical twin boys. What we soon learned was that this visit would be anything but routine. After our visit with our OB, he said he was going to admit us to Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, IL for preterm labor. What we didn’t know at the time was the severity and urgency of the situation. Upon arriving at Lutheran, we were quickly given a room and within thirty minutes my wife was taken in for an emergency c section. We were only 27 ½ week along. While in the room, the nurses and doctors worked diligently and ultimately were able to hold off on the c section and continue to pregnancy.
Returning to our Labor and Delivery room was a whirlwind of emotions. The doctors and nurses that day were a Godsend. We continued our stay at Lutheran and learned that our boys were in trouble. One of them had too much amniotic fluid while our other son barely had any. The doctors decided to try and remove some of the amniotic fluid through amniocentesis in hopes to regulate the fluid between our two boys.
Then on June 17th at 4:00am, our world came crashing down. During an ultrasound we discovered that one of our sons, Brody, didn’t have a heartbeat and we lost him due to Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome (TTTS). This was the moment when we entered a club that no one wants to be in, members of a deceased child. This was also the moment when we had to decide if we were going to deliver at 28 ½ weeks our other child, Carter. Through the trust and faith of the doctors, we decided it was best for Carter’s development to try and continue the pregnancy as long as possible. Through the grace of God, Carter began to gather more amniotic fluid and at 32 weeks on the dot, at 5:55am, Carter was born. He was 3lbs and 13oz and measured 16 inches long. At 6:00am though, the joy turned to grief. Carter had since been transported to the NICU and Brody now had been born. This was our formal induction to the club who has too many members to count.
This is our journey and my reason for running. As my wife and I have shared our story, we have come to discover that there are so many others that have shared an often too familiar experience. While our experience was forever life changing and part of you dies through the experience, we are one of the lucky ones. Carter, now 4 years old, will be off to kindergarten in the fall and is an active, healthy, happy and miracle to us. Though not everyone is as fortunate as us. However, through the journey we met people who are truly angels. The doctors, nurses, social workers, ultrasound technicians, custodial staff and volunteers who helped us through this difficult time are people who will never know how deep our appreciation runs. A simple smile and “hi” is a very powerful that was demonstrated frequently and with sincerity. Members of this club understand it is the little things that can make a difference and to each the little things can range as wide as the ocean.
So I thank you for reading our story and the reason to why I chose to run the 2019 Chicago Marathon. I am not a runner by nature but this is bigger than myself and my family. Unfortunately, Brody joined the countless number of angels who were unable to fulfill their dreams of playing and living happy, joyful lives. We as parents unfortunately joined the club whose members are more than the eye can see. But through it all, my dream is to help and bring light to those who can’t. By sharing our experience will not only keep Brody’s memory alive but also all of his angel buddies in heaven.
Jim, Steph, Carter(4), Cooper(2) and Brody
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