"She told me that I needed to go right over to the hospital, couldn't even stop at home and grab anything. Just right over."
Alicia and Carl Clendenin were your typical nervous first time parents of twin boys. The Bedford couple went to her regular checkup and found out their little boys were only 22 weeks along in their 40 week journey in trouble. All signs pointed to Alicia being close to going into labor, and the boys were way too little to survive. The doctors gave the about a one percent chance of making it through the next couple days.
Carl said, "It was overwhelming for us because we had just walked in, we had plans to hang some baby pictures and things in our nursery and all of a sudden our world got flipped upside down where they told us in 24 to 48 hours and our babies would die."
Once she got to Toledo Hospital, the doctors gave it to them straight. They had three options, do nothing and wait it out, sew her cervix shut and risk the babies lives and Alicia??s life or terminate the pregnancy.
Alicia said, "We had the cribs all set up, the nursery is all painted and it??s like, how could you actually terminate the pregnancy when I could feel the babies kicking, they have their own personality." Carl said, "I think it??s a situation that only parents can understand that you love something even before you see it and they are asking you to make a conscious decision of ending that."
They decided to leave it in God??s hands and wait it out. Alicia spent the next month lying flat on her back. She he used a bed pan and even ate lying down. At 26 weeks along, the babies could actually survive, so she held on. But then there was more bad news. One of the boys, Elliot, was growing and the smaller one, Liam, wasn??t. They had to make another heartbreaking decision.
Carl said, "Do you want to let that take its course, do you want to let him pass to buy the other one time or do you want to take them both out and risk both of the premature."
Alicia was at 26 weeks and she and Carl had to decide if they would give up Liam's life to save Elliott.
"They basically told me that he might not survive," Alicia said between tears. ""That was pretty hard to take in because it seemed like we were back to square one again."
"I was terrified. I didn't know. I thought I was okay. Everything was going to be okay and then you get that kind of news! So we just waited it out again,?? she said.
And at this point, Carl said he was doing everything he could to stay positive for Alicia. "Even if I had to fake it, there's no way I could let her give up because that was the only reason they were still in there."
So they held the course... And waited. They watched the clock for two weeks. "We were walking on eggshells, like it could be any day. It could be any hour," said Alicia. Carl said, "Of course we wanted to pray for a miracle that our babies would survive, I think really what we wanted to pray for though, was the strength to accept the decision whether or not we were destine to have children or not."
And if the survival of his boys and his wife wasn't enough to worry about, Carl's life outside the hospital was crumbling.
"I lost my job, I lost my best friend, I lost basically what I've been working on for the last five years of my life. But it happened for a reason because I didn't have anywhere else to go. I had to be here."
Finally, their luck started to change. On February 27th, their doctor finally said its baby time and she was whisked into the operating room.
"My worst fear was to not hear them cry when they came out. And sure enough, they both were crying!"
Carl said he was so excited he even forgot his camera. Their cries were like a sigh of relief for everyone in the room.
"I was crying," said Alicia. "It was just a miracle because when they gave us 24 to 48 hours and every doctor that came in and nurse that came in said we beat all odds, we've beat the statistics, medical text books, everything. It??s just a true miracle."
She says she was just doing what she had to do to keep her boys alive and won't take one minute of their lives for granted.
"Cherish what you have because it could be gone in a split second."
Elliot was born at two pounds six ounces, and his little brother Liam was born at one pound nine ounces and are both breathing on their own. And this proud husband and father said, "It brought us to our knees and we got back up from it together."