Some mommies go through more than others do. Some mommies experience things others never will, and to look at them, or to have a simple conversation with them, you’d never know what they have been through. Once you find out, and learn their story, you feel for them, you admire them and you wonder how they do it, each and every day.
Maybe you know a mom whose baby spent the beginning of its life in the NICU. Maybe you know a mommy whose child has a disability. Maybe you know a mommy who has lost a child. I know mommies in all of these situations and more. Situations I have never, and pray I never, experience myself, but I know who to turn to if I do.
This is Jodie’s story.
(not home daycare provider / personal photographer Jodi, a different Jodie.)
Jodie and I met through her brother, who was a close friend of mine in highschool. She is his older sister, and was always very nice to me. We became and have remained, friends.
Already a mommy of two young and busy boys, Jodie and her husband Jeff were thrilled to find out in the fall of 2008 that they were expecting again. It wasn’t long before they found out they were expecting twins…Jodie was going to be a mommy of 4 boys.
After the initial shock and fear wore off a bit, she started to imagine her life with identical twins. Although nervous, she began to get excited for this new journey she was about to embark on.
At a routine ultrasound in December, Jodie’s life was changed forever by 4 little letters: “TTTS”, which stands for “Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome”. As Jodi explains,
“The disease occurs in identical twins and results from a shared placenta. Within the placenta there are vessels that form that instead of linking just each baby to it, they link the babies to each other. One baby takes in nutrients from the placenta and when done with them instead of them going back in to the placenta to be filtered and reused they travel to the other baby. The baby who gives is known as the donor and the baby who receives, the recipient. The signs of a donor baby are less or no amniotic fluid, no urine in their bladder and a smaller size. They can also, further into the disease, have heart and organ problems. Our babies were the same size but our donor baby had no amniotic fluid and no urine but other than that he looked very good. Our recipient baby, however, appeared to be more affected. He had a full bladder, lots of amniotic fluid and his heart appeared to be somewhat affected, perhaps working harder than normal”.
The journey that Jodie had envisioned had changed, in the blink of an eye. The very next day she found herself in Toronto’s Mt Sinai hospital, in surgery to try to save the life of her unborn babies. The day after that, 2 days after she first learned there was a problem, Jodie and her husband Geoff were told the heart of one of her unborn babies had failed…the baby they had named Cole, who was still inside her, had died. The other baby, who they had decided to name Cameron, was responding well to the surgery, however his condition would be extensively monitored until his birth, as any number of things could go wrong at any time. She was 22 weeks along.
Jodie returned home, faced with the unimaginable challenge of preparing for Christmas with 2 young sons, protecting another son inside her, and grieving the loss of yet another, also still inside her, where he would remain for another 12 weeks.
The first week of January, at 27 weeks pregnant, Jodi was admitted to Mt Sinai Hospital in Toronto following complications with Cameron’s pregnancy. A couple of weeks later she was transferred to St Joseph’s Hospital in London, where she would remain until Cameron was born.
34 weeks into her pregnancy, the day arrived….
Every good and perfect gift comes from Above
We are blessed with twins to cherish and love
Born together to grow apart
One in our hands and one in our heart
With great joy and great sorrow
Jodie and Geoff Tummers
And our children Zackary and Brycen
announce the arrival of our twins on February 26, 2009
Born into our hands
Cameron Cole Gregory
4 lbs 1.5 oz
Born into God’s Hands
Cole Edward Ryan
became an angel Dec. 13/08
grew his wings Feb. 26, 2009
Fast forwarding to today, Cameron is a happy, busy 1 year old boy with two adoring big brothers and one very special guardian angel.
The journey continues for Jodie, her husband and their family, in ways they never expected. There are days of great joy, and days of great sorrow. At first glance, they are your “typical family” with 3 young busy boys…Jodie works as an EA, is destined to be a hockey mom and will spend all of her free time in arenas. But, beneath the surface, there is a lot more to her story, and in her soul. The month of December will always be difficult, as it is a reminder of when her life, and her dreams, changed forever. Cameron’s February birthday, the day he was welcomed into the world, will always be a bittersweet day, as it is also the day they said hello, and goodbye, to Cole.
And yet, she goes on, and lives her life. She has to – she has 3 boys and a husband here that need her, and an extended family that loves her. Both of Jodie’s younger brothers and their wives have had babies as well in the last couple years, and her older brother and his wife are raising their 4 children too. There is a lot of love in this family.
As she continues on this journey, Jodie has reached a place where she feels the need to DO something. She has organized a fundraiser/benefit dance, with the proceeds going to the Fetal Medicine Program at Mt Sinai Hospital, where Cameron’s life was saved. It has a retro wedding theme, where people are encouraged to come dressed in old wedding/bridesmaids dresses and suits with satin bowties and cumberbunds and HAVE FUN, while raising money for the cause dearest to the hearts of Jodie and her husband. They will celebrate Cameron, and honour Cole. There will be a silent auction, and they are happily accepting any and all donations for it. Her need to do something and give back will not end here, it begins here. I encourage you to consider supporting her in one way or another – whether you can attend, or can donate an item for the auction, or even make a financial donation to the Fetal Medicine Program in Cole’s memory…
This is just another mom, who grew up in a hockey family on a dairy farm in Bruce County. She was a junior farmer, knew her way around gravel roads, and looked forward to starting her life with her husband and having some babies. You wouldn’t know it to look at her, but she has a story to tell.
Experienced moms will tell you that not much gets to them, that they have “seen it all”. In the last 2 years, this mom has gained more “experience” than many moms will ever have in their lifetimes.
This, is Jodie’s Story.
You can read more about it in her blog, “Journey of Hope, Journey of Healing, which begins here.
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