Sadie and Gage

2017 Just for J 5K North Texas Recipient

Our family prayed for another child for over two years before we were blessed with our twins. Going into the pregnancy we had zero risk factors and at 20 weeks we were thrilled to find out the twins were boy / girl twins which would balance our family as we have a 6 year old boy Hunter and 4 year old girl Lauran. At 23 weeks, 6 days into the pregnancy I unexpectedly went into labor. When the clock struck midnight the nurses did a happy dance as "every day counted" and they were hoping with medicine they could buy us a few weeks. Unfortunately, my water broke and our twins had to be delivered at exactly 24 weeks gestation (16 weeks early). Gage Marshall was born first weighing 1 lb 9 oz, 11" long. I will never forget the tiniest little beautiful cry that he made. One minute later, Sadie Ann was born weighing 1 lb 7 oz, 11.22" long and also cried so perfectly. After having time to recover from the c section, I was taken to see the babies. They were the tiniest, most beautiful blessings I had ever laid eyes on. 

Every baby is a miracle, but these two defeated all odds and fought so hard to survive. At 24 weeks, you can see through your baby's skin and it looks red and sticky. Their legs are smaller around than your pinky finger and their eyes are still fused shut. They could literally fit in the palm of your hand. They had breathing tubes, and more wires and IVs than can be imagined. The survival rate for 24 week babies is about 50%, but since they were twins it was much lower than that. I remember telling a friend we didn't need a miracle, we needed TWO! But the truth was we needed a million miracles for every step of the journey. We didn't get to touch the babies until they were 10 days old, and the only reason they allowed that is because both babies were dying before our eyes. Their lungs, which were actually particles and mass instead of developed lungs, were failing their tiny bodies. They were on the highest form of life support and there was nothing else the doctors could do. We prayed like never before and miraculously both babies fought and made it through the night. Can you imagine not being able to hold your baby when they are born? After waiting over a month (34 days), I got to hold the babies for the very first time.  To say this journey has been the hardest thing we have ever been through would be the biggest understatement ever, but seeing Gage and Sadie's fight helped us put one foot in front of the other! The babies were on ventilators for over 3 months, had every type of infection you could dream of, brain bleeds, intestine issues, and many life threatening scares, but after 5 months (151 days) in the NICU we got to bring our miracle babies home. 

Today Gage & Sadie are 8 months old thriving at home. Both babies had to have surgery on their eyes due to ROP which saved their straight on vision but compromised other parts of their vision. Sadie had to have heart surgery and Gage still requires oxygen for respiratory support. Both babies are followed by countless amounts of specialists and are at high risk for developmental delays. Even though they are 8 months old, developmentally they act like they are 4 months old. They continue with weekly physical therapy and occupational therapy. We have such an amazing team of NICU doctors and nurses, specialized pediatrician, therapists, cardiologist, eye doctor, neurologist, etc.... We feel extremely blessed and grateful for every individual who fought for them and continues to fight for their well being. We are also so blessed by the friends, family, and complete strangers who have helped us pick up the pieces of our broken hearts every step of this 8+ month journey. It is a complete honor and blessing to now be part of the Just for J family, becoming part of an organization that is doing really great things for families. We have no clue what the future holds for Sadie & Gage but we do know we are enjoying every second loving on our miracles! -2017