By: Jennifer Murray

The Anatomy of a Miracle….

[Yet Another Disclaimer: Due to some medical vocabulary used in this post, I’m giving it a PG-13 rating. I want to give you a heads up this because I know many of you read this with your families.]

I was recently involved in a serious phone conversation with a sweet mommy-to-be, who I met briefly through my perinatologist, Dr. Sumners. She was 13 weeks pregnant with triplets and considering a TAC (Transabdominal Cerclage) Surgery to prevent cervical incompetence and preterm labor. Her decision had to be made by the following day, due to the risks involved and the rapid growth of the uterus entering the 2nd trimester.

Having this discussion brought back many memories of sleepless nights, praying over this decision in our pregnancy. Unlike a transvaginal cerclauge, the TAC involves a incision similar, if not wider to a c-section, and believe it or not the uterus is removed during a portion of the surgery, so that a band can be tied around the base of the cervix! Isn’t medical technology fascinating? To think that little Brooks, Clark, Isaac, and Henry were outside of my body at 13 weeks and then placed back inside of me for another almost 20 weeks is nothing less than incredible! It was one of the toughest decisions of our lives, but for us it came down to if we didn’t would we look back with regret of “I could have done more” if we lost the boys before viability. God truly gave us a “peace that passes understanding” as we went from that week onward.

Is it because of the TAC that I was able to carry quadruplets to 32 weeks (the average gestation of quadruplets is 29 weeks)? We’ll never know. God gets the glory for their lives and I know that He has placed doctors, technology, medicine, etc. in our path as part of His amazing plan, for which I am increasingly grateful. Every prayer was answered according to His sovereignty.

I’d like to close this post with a recording of Dr. Gentry explaining to our church congregation the seriousness of our mono-mono quadruplet pregnancy just days after my surgery. He explains it with such grace and accuracy. I encourage you to listen as it explains in great clarity questions that I often face concerning infertility, mono-monos, the TAC, and the risks of a quadruplet pregnancy. If you only listen to one portion fast forward to his prayer at the end – I think you’ll be amazed at how God answered our prayers specifically.

(The following illustrations should visually complement the audio.)

Two Outer Sacs, Two Inner Sacs
(Typical Fraternal Twins; Isaac and Henry)

One Outer Sac, Two Inner Sacs
(Typical Identical Twins)

One Outer Sac, One Inner Sac
(Our Rare Mono-Mono Twins; Brooks and Clark)

(We’re the only known set of quadruplets with a surviving set of mono-mono twins!)

19 Responses to “The Anatomy of a Miracle….”

  1. Joy
    February 20, 2008 at 10:09 am #

    Wow…once again I am amazed at the miracle of your little boy’s lives. I had no idea they are the only known set of quads with surviving mono-mono twins! God is good!!!

    I remember how much we weighed the decision to do the TAC…I cried and was extremely scared and ultimately Dr. Sumners told me I was too far along to do the surgery, but I can greatly appreciate the difficulty of your decision. It really is amazing to think that they were outside of you and then placed back in only to grow for another amazing 20 weeks! I love your story…makes me cry every time!

  2. Williams' bunch
    February 20, 2008 at 10:46 am #

    Praise the Lord! Thanks for sharing that audio clip…I listened to it all. I’m sure you all are overwhelmed with gratitude when you think back on the times when you didn’t know how it was all going to turn out…and now looking at your four precious boys. I found your blog a little bit before the birth-I have enjoyed so much seeing the Lord’s hand and His work in your lives. That is amazing that you all are the only ones w/set of mono-mono twins. I am so happy for you all…I love your story.

  3. Marathon momma
    February 20, 2008 at 12:07 pm #

    Thank you for sharing that! Truly amazing. God is SO good. Thank you.

  4. Mrs. Wilson
    February 20, 2008 at 1:28 pm #

    Wow. Isn’t God AWESOME!?!?!

    Happy Birthday Quads!

  5. Danielle
    February 20, 2008 at 1:52 pm #

    WOw. I had no idea it was so rare.. and that your kiddos were such miracles… I mean I knew they were miracles… but the fact that you are the only known set of quads w/ a surviving set of mono mono…. that is a testimony of the God we serve. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Gen McNulty
    February 20, 2008 at 3:04 pm #

    Jen,
    WOW! Beautiful and AMAZING!
    XOXO
    Gen :)

  7. Meredith
    February 20, 2008 at 3:30 pm #

    Amazing. Thank you so much for sharing your story. I don’t think you realize how much you are providing a ministry to people all over the world. As I listened to the recording I glanced over at your world map with the dots showing the visitors to your page. Do you realize how many you have shown God to? Your boys are miraculous in more ways than one and I thank you for sharing your story and your faith with others. I believe in prayer and especially the power of a church family. Congratulations again for making it through the first year and all its trials!

  8. Anonymous
    February 20, 2008 at 4:02 pm #

    Just curious, are all mono mono twins identical twins? And, are Brooks and Clark identical?
    ~Bea

  9. The Murray Crew
    February 20, 2008 at 4:05 pm #

    Bea – You are 100% correct =) Sorry, I know it’s confusing!

  10. HalleysAngel
    February 20, 2008 at 4:06 pm #

    Sounds like you made a wise decision after all to have had that TAC done when you did. You have 4 beautiful boys to show for it. I believe in GOD and he is good and all..but no matter how much praying you do, you cannot keep a cervix from opening up prematurely on prayer alone..so I am glad to see that you are willing and smart enough to accept some medical intervention in your lives and not just rely on prayer alone to have kept your boys inside your uterus. I know some people only pray on things and will not allow medical interventions because it isnt “gods way” and I applaud you for seeing the light and realizing that your boys are here thanks to medical advancements and those incredible doctors and nurses. Prayer was just the cherry on top!

  11. Jenny B
    February 20, 2008 at 4:08 pm #

    Jen you and your hubby are such amazing parents! It’s amazing the things mothers will go through for their children. I’m left with a hideous scar from the quads but SERIOUSLY i am so much happier having them than i would be with a prettier tummy. Thanks for sharing. I have a friend that is contemplating a TAC. Did your insurance cover it? hers is fighting it. just curious! Luv ya guys!!

  12. ChocChipCookie
    February 20, 2008 at 4:11 pm #

    Wondering if the mono mono twins were really meant to be one fetus that maybe split in two to create two babies? Just unique to see one sac, both inner and outer as if it was meant to be just one baby in it! Either way, blessings on your four miracle babies. They have come a long way and are blessed beyond measure!

  13. debi9kids
    February 20, 2008 at 7:55 pm #

    Wow! What an amazing blessing!
    Just incredible.

  14. Barbara Manatee
    February 20, 2008 at 8:50 pm #

    How amazing! So many prayers, so many miracles! What a testament to your faith and trust!

  15. PatriciaCook
    February 21, 2008 at 5:29 am #

    Do they make the C section cut in the same place that they do the TAC incision or is it a totally new incision? Also, is there any risk of going into labor from this procedure since they have to remove your uterus?

  16. The Murray Crew
    February 21, 2008 at 7:47 am #

    ChocChipCookie:
    You are partially correct, Brooks and Clark were one baby still by the time the chorionic and amnionic sacks had formed. They split much later in development than usual for identical twins. In fact, if they had split a day or two later, they would have most likely been conjoined, which is even more rare than mono-mono twins.

    However, God knew before I was even born that He would create Brooks and Clark, so technically, they were always MEANT to be two babies. :)

    patriciacook:
    Yes, same incision location. Yes, risk of labor is there, as with some other risks, but Dr. Sumners has done about 200 of these (most in the world) and has not lost a single baby because of it yet. So the risk/benefit was determined to be worth it.

    -Brad

  17. twinsx3
    February 21, 2008 at 4:43 pm #

    Wow, your family gets more amazing all the time….thanks for sharing. May God continue to bless your family. Your Dr. is also amazing. How wonderful that he was close to home for you. Does he go to your church or did you ask him to provide the explanation for you?

  18. The Murray Crew
    February 22, 2008 at 7:55 am #

    twinsX3:
    Dr. G is an OBGYN who is an elder at our church and a personal friend. He was our 24/7 emergency number during the pregnancy and such a HUGE blessing in our lives. He had the medical expertise along with our shared faith to help us through everything.

    -Brad

  19. The Gerwer Babies
    February 23, 2008 at 9:01 pm #

    How bad of a quad mom am I, I didnt even know half that stuff.
    It is so great that you reach out and help so many HOMs out there, i know i am so thankful for the help and support you have given me!! You ROCK!!!

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