Miracles come in all kinds of packaging and in all sizes. To me, the birth of a child is remains the biggest miracle of all. Many births come with little effort, no trauma, and no extenuating circumstances. That is not always the case as is seen here with John and Amanda Tyler. The birth and life of their twin boys, Stone Sullivan and Graham Lawrence is nothing short of answered prayers as Amanda McKeithan Tyler tells the story of the birth of Stone and Graham.
“The Journey to become parents was different from what I had envisioned. John and I had been married for a few years when we decided to pursue growing our family.
After months of trying with no success, I was referred to an Infertility doctor. For four years, we were in and out of the infertility doctor’s office trying different routes. Finally, after an IVF treatment, we received a phone call that I was not only pregnant but with two.
After many years of heartache, praying, and emotional and financial stress, John and I were excited to be told there were TWO. With a due date of March 5, 2011, we had eight and a half months to prepare and await arrival of our babies.
At six months, I was growing quite large (measuring 36 weeks for a single pregnancy) and felt great. On December 8th, at 27 weeks and 6 days, I had a regular two-week appointment with ultrasound. All was great and there were no signs of any issues. After returning back to work that day, my water broke. What? What was this? I have 3 months to go? Everything was going, looking great...
I was transported by co-workers to the ER where my OBGYN met me. John was working an hour and a half away, so my Doctor stayed by my side talking, praying with me and assuring me all would be ok and that it was nothing I had done to cause my water to break. At John’s arrival, my doctor spoke with both of us, telling us that they were going to be transporting me to USA Women’s and Children’s Hospital. This facility had the level of care that my boys were going to need.
I was numb to reality and had no idea what our future held.
Once at USA W&C, they stabilized me and gave me a steroid shot that would help increase the development of the boy’s lungs. At 28 weeks, this is a key development stage. Within 12 hours, I went into labor. On December 9, 2010 at approximately 4:30 am, I delivered Graham Lawrence Tyler at two pounds and three ounces.
At delivery, there were two teams of five from the NICU and a team of five assisting with delivery.
At this point, the doctors stopped delivery and I was 100% bedridden, not even able to have ice still with second child. The goal was to try to keep Stone as long as possible for further development.
Wow! I had given birth to a child! Something I had wanted and prayed for years. But, I couldn’t see, hold or nurture him. His life was in the hands of the NICU doctors and nurses and I had to trust God and the NICU team to take the best care possible of this little guy.
With lots of emotions, anxiety and fear, for two days I laid in the bed, visited with lots of family and friends, ate and drank nothing and prayed a lot. Only God knew what the future held with John and I and our family.
It was 48 hours from delivery of Graham (Baby 1), that I went into labor with Stone Sullivan Tyler. December 11, 2010 at approximately 8:30 am, Stone was born at two pounds and six ounces.
Again, Stone was carried by a team in an incubator immediately to the NICU. No seeing, holding, nurturing of yet my second child.
Graham and Stone were both stabilized and would be expected to stay in the NICU for three months, my estimated due date of March 5, 2011.
At this point, I was moved to a regular recovery room and was released from hospital within 3 days. This was a very hard, difficult day. Not only had I not been able to hold, snuggle and love my children, I was now leaving them at the hospital while John and I went home.
Thankfully, we only lived 1 mile from the hospital.
A week from delivery, I returned to work. John and I got into a daily schedule where we visited the boys three to four times a day around both working. Through God’s Grace, we were given the strength to face each day, doing what we could do for our children emotionally and financially.
There were many ups and downs thru the next two and a half months. Each day, sometimes by the hour, was a different status, sickness for both children.
Through the many tears, prayers, and God’s Strength and Grace, John and I grew closer to God and it strengthened our marriage. We cried, prayed and worked together to do what we needed to do for our two boys.
Stone was able to come home two weeks before Graham. This was yet, another difficult day.
I hated leaving Graham “alone” at the hospital.
Once home, both boys were on oxygen monitors for three months 24 hours a day. I stayed home with the boys for eight weeks before returning back to work. A nanny kept the boys for two years at home. As preemies, the doctors do not recommend day-care until their immune systems can strengthen.
For a month or so, we were not allowed to have visitors or go anywhere. This was hard, because John and I are very outgoing and like to go places.
For three years, Graham and Stone saw development doctors. Neither child ever had any issues and are still clear at age 7.
Today, we have two healthy, thriving little boys. They are true Blessings from God who we treasure and are thankful for daily. Even though the journey of starting and having a family was different from what I would have chosen, I am grateful that God gave me Graham and Stone. Because of this journey, I believe John and I have a stronger marriage, are better parents and are ultimately closer to God.”
John is the son of Philip and Kay Tyler and Amanda is the daughter of Lynn and Theresa McKeithan.