The last couple weeks have been such a whirlwind, and I must start by expressing our extreme appreciation for all of the prayers, texts, calls, meals, messages, and words of encouragement. It has been so humbling to be loved the way we have been loved through this process. But one other thing this experience has taught us is just how great God’s love is and how He can use what challenges, stretches, and even terrifies us for His purpose and glory. I want to take this opportunity to share how God has revealed Himself to us over the last couple weeks. Forgive the length of this post, but I hope you are encouraged by what God has done in our lives.
Melanie’s pregnancy was relatively complication free up until its final couple weeks. She began experiencing swelling in her legs and feet which got progressively worse. We were originally scheduled to be induced when the twins hit 38 weeks, but at our 36-week appointment our doctor saw how Melanie was suffering and sent us directly over to the hospital to be admitted and deliver. However, there was a different doctor at the hospital who was not looking at Melanie’s symptoms but only for signs of active labor. As a result, she sent us home – frustrated and tired.
Melanie’s symptoms continued over the weekend and we called the doctor on Monday, March 12. They told us to go into the hospital where they ran some labs and determined Melanie was exhibiting signs of preeclampsia. The doctor said that normally wouldn’t be a reason to deliver before we hit the 37-week mark, but the labs they ran showed a downward trend from what they ran the previous Friday so he decided we needed to deliver. Right from the beginning, God was demonstrating that those things that seem outside of our control are part of His greater plan. Had we not been at the hospital on Friday and had those tests run, Melanie probably would not have been admitted for delivery when she was.
Monday night was a long night as they began the process of inducing labor. We got little sleep as this process took about 12 hours into Tuesday when we were finally ready to have some babies! Delivery went pretty smoothly for the babies as they both seemed pretty healthy. Madelyn required some observation on her breathing, but both girls were doing great.
Over the next couple days, however, things seemed to start piling one thing on top of another as both Melanie and the girls began to struggle. Melanie, weakened by a hemorrhage during delivery, struggled to get rid of all the fluid she had before delivery as well as all of the fluids they gave her through induction, delivery, and two blood transfusions. Madelyn began to lose weight and became jaundiced to the point of requiring being on a bilirubin blanket for a couple of days. Makenna was also struggling with jaundice, but not as much as Madelyn. However, she struggled more with her weight. She lost nearly a pound in 3 days, dropping from 6 pounds 5 ounces to 5 pounds 8 ounces. The doctors were becoming concerned with her weight and Madelyn’s jaundice, but we continued to pray.
By Friday, Melanie seemed to be bouncing back, although she was still retaining fluid. The doctors said this would naturally go down over the next couple of weeks and discharged Melanie from the hospital. But, the girls were not yet discharged so we were able to stay in the hospital with them. Thankfully, the next day, both girls had put on weight and the jaundice was reducing and the doctors were ready to discharge the twins.
We were excited to finally be going home and began packing our things. We had some final consultations with a nurse who shared some symptoms for Melanie to be on the look out for. After that discussion, Melanie looked at her mother and I and told us she was feeling each of those symptoms and needed to be checked out. Because she wasn’t a patient anymore they took her to the ER and as quickly as things seemed to be getting better, they accelerated downhill from there. Melanie had “stroke-level” BP and was diagnosed with post-partum preeclampsia. They treated her with blood pressure medicine and asked if she wanted to go home or be observed for one more day in the hospital. As much as she wanted to go home, she took the more conservative approach just to be safe. This proved to be the right choice because the next day Melanie was having severe headaches, and Monday morning she awoke with facial paralysis.
The facial paralysis on top of her BP and headaches pointed directly to a stroke and within seconds our room was filled with 25-30 doctors and nurses all working on Melanie. They rushed her off for a CT scan to check for signs of active bleeding on the brain. They found nothing but said an MRI would be required to check for a clot. Monday was such a long day for Melanie waiting for the MRI. But on top of that they were still trying to figure out what medicine to give her for the most severe headache she had ever had. Monday was miserable.
Early Tuesday morning, about 3 AM, our nurse came in and began prepping Melanie’s IV to give her a blood thinner. This clearly pointed to a blood clot on the brain, so we called the neurologist and he confirmed this is what the MRI pointed to. Our hearts were heavy at the severity of the diagnosis, but we were glad to finally know.
Through all of this we continued to pray, and we know that many of you as well as our family, friends, and hundreds of people we don’t even know were lifting us up in prayer as well. I wholeheartedly believe that God heard our prayers because, quite abruptly, the nurse came in Tuesday around 10 am and said she had orders to stop the heparin. She didn’t know why, so we were left waiting for an update from the neurologist. They finally came in on Tuesday afternoon to say that what originally showed as a clot on the MRI was actually a granulation tissue, just a normal part of her anatomy. They had 2 separate neurological radiologists read her scan and come to the same conclusion independently.
You can believe what you want to believe about this, but my mother-in-law said it best. “If the Lord can turn water into wine, He can turn a blood clot into granulation tissue on an MRI that has already been taken.” God is a healer, He is the Great Physician, and I believe He healed and protected my precious bride from something that could have taken her life.
From last Tuesday to Wednesday they ran one more test to check her neck to rule out any other major issues. Those results came back negative and we were finally ready to go home last Wednesday after nine days in the hospital. As we packed, we looked back at the time with hearts full of gratitude to the Lord for keeping His hands on us through it all. We reflected on the entire process and saw that He had a plan all the while. Had the twins not had the challenges they had, we would have gone home on Friday or Saturday. This could have led to a catastrophic event had Melanie’s BP spiked at home while trying to unpack and get things situated at home. God saw this and kept us where we were safest and could be under the care of the doctors and nurses who provided such wonderful care for us.
But there was a greater purpose beyond all of this. As we were waiting to leave on Wednesday we learned the real reason the Lord took us through this whole process. One of our nurses, a fellow believer, came to say good-bye before we left. She shared with us that we would never know the impact we had on the floor that week. She said that her fellow nurses were talking about us and our positive attitude through this trial. This nurse told us about the testimony we were sharing without even knowing it and expressed her excitement because she was able to tell her friends that the difference they noticed in us comes only from the Lord.
I don’t say this to elevate ourselves. I say this to brag on our God. We saw His plan in keeping us there to ensure Melanie’s care, but ultimately, He was using this process to show the life changing power of His love to those that don’t know Him.
Perhaps the most common question people have is how God can allow painful experiences in our lives, or why He causes these things to happen to us. As I have said before, we live in a fallen world and the devil is out to attack those who love the Lord. I want to encourage you that in the midst of the warfare you find yourself in to always keep your eyes focused on the Lord. I will close with two short scriptures to encourage you on your journey and through whatever this life may bring.

  • James 4:8 – Come near to God and he will come near to you.
  • Romans 8:28 – And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

No matter what you experience, trust that He will remain close to you, trust that He will see His will accomplished, and trust that He will work your pain out for your good and His glory.
This weekend we celebrate the crucifixion and resurrection of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Our Good Friday service starts Friday evening at 7:00 pm. Our Resurrection Sunday Service starts at 10:45 and all are invited and welcome to join us. Bring your families, friends, neighbors, anyone you can. Let them come and hear the amazing truth of God’s love directed at them from the beginning of time.
In His Service,
John McRae