A South Carolina mother of twin boys who were born prematurely at 19 weeks is sharing her bittersweet story of love and loss, and has also addressed the issue of abortion, stating that the thought of a mother intentionally ending their child’s life in light of what she just experienced “shook her to the core.”
Amanda Powell and her husband Jon learned at 12 weeks gestation that they were expecting identical twins. However, just three weeks later, she was hospitalized with a subchorionic hemorrhage and placed on bed rest. At 19 weeks, she lost a large amount of fluid and discovered that the bleed had caused the amniotic sac to break around one of the babies (each twin had their own amniotic sac, but shared the same placenta).
The Powells were consequently given a bleak prognosis for the boys’ survival.
“We were informed of all the scary risks and that we had a greater chance of maternal and fetal complications than we did survival for our twins,” she recalled. “Even if we were able to prevent labor for a few more weeks for a higher chance of survival by medical intervention, we would be faced with severe medical issues.”
“We were terrified and devastated. Ultimately, we could decide to induce and essentially terminate the pregnancy (there was a zero percent chance of survival at this gestational age), or we could go home and wait,” Powell outlined. “We decided to go home and wait…”
While the couple had hoped that they could hold on for another three weeks so that the twins would be far enough along to survive outside the womb, Powell went into labor that same day.
“I fought my body with every contraction and exhausted myself trying to close my entire body up,” she recalled. “My OB informed us that after the first baby was born that she would try to put a stitch in my cervix and hopefully stop labor for the second baby. Given the fact that they shared the same placenta, this was extremely unlikely but not impossible.”
However, it was discovered that the second baby’s sac had also broke, and both children were born within hours. The Powells’ heart broke, knowing that their sons, who they named Walker and Clark, did not have enough lung development to survive.
“They were very much alive at birth, and Clark even startled to our voices a couple of times, which made our hearts feel joy even in the midst of so much pain,” Powell outlined. “Everything about Walker and Clark was absolutely perfect and I will cherish the time we had with them in the hospital for the rest of my life…”
The Powells held their babies and sang songs to them, counting their fingers and toes and studying their faces, giving them love until their final breath. Amanda says she takes comfort in knowing that all her boys knew in those hours was love.
Among her writings on the painful experience and the thoughts and emotions that followed in observing other pregnant mothers, Powell addressed a woman who had spoken about having an abortion and “colorfully expressed her opinion on being pro-choice.”
“It shook me to the core to listen to someone speak of ‘terminating’ their pregnancy. You chose to kill your child, but I had no choice for my boys,” she wrote. “My husband and I refused to induce and end my pregnancy, even when we were told how unlikely any good outcome would be. We loved our unborn children so much that we would risk it all for that small chance of saving their lives…”
Powell said that the woman’s words caused both anger and sorrow to rise up in her.
“I felt sorry for you. Your actions and words sadden me, but you have no idea what you are fighting for,” she stated. “You don’t know what it’s like to hold your tiny baby in your arms for the last time.”
Powell said that while she was tempted to feel hatred toward someone fighting for the right to kill children, she instead decided to pray for the woman to have a change of heart.
“I prayed that God could come into your heart and guide you to a better path,” she wrote. “I prayed for your forgiveness and I prayed that you could forgive yourself and move forward.”
Powell prays for herself and her husband as well, as their hearts seek to heal from loss.
“I pray that you can continue to smile through the tears. Remember to show your children that it is okay to grieve and share this hurt,” she wrote in a note to herself. “Pray for your husband because he lost so much too. I pray that you continue to cling tight to your faith. You will hold and kiss and sing to your twin boys again. And it will be a glorious day.”