We are made overcomers by the Blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony. Amen! For it is in our testimony that we can have the confidence that God is for us and the remembrance of what God did for us. So I am blessed to be able to share it with you here.
My name is Alana Sibley and my husband is Mike Sibley. We moved to Senoia Georgia from the big town of Gray GA, which is right outside of Macon. I was raised in the Church of God of Prophecy and Mike was raised in a Baptist church.
You know most of the time, when you get a call from your doctor’s office it is to confirm an appointment or cancel one. You may receive a call with instructions for a procedure or instructions on how to care for a procedure.
However, some of you may know that when you receive a call from your doctor you just know that something bad is wrong. Just hearing the doctor’s voice over the phone telling you who he is can bring a fear over every fiber of your being. Now, I can equate it when the phone rings and I see that it is the kids school calling I get that sinking uh oh feeling….like what has happened now.
During my 5th month of pregnancy, I received a call from my doctor telling me that the Alpha Beta Protein Test results were back showing that my baby has tested positive for spina bifida, which meant that the baby could be born with its brain and or spinal column outside of its skull and body.
This would mean that the baby could live for some years with no quality of life. He had scheduled me an appointment with Perinatology: A subspecialty of obstetrics that is concerned with the care of the fetus and complicated, high-risk pregnancies. He is the doctor that performs surgeries on babies in utero.
He stated that the perinatologist would perform a high tech ultra sound that would demonstrate if the baby had a round outline of its head or a lemon shaped outline of its head. The round head would indicate that the brain was intact in the skull and the lemon shaped head would demonstrate that the skull was devoid of the brain and be more likely than not a baby with spina bifida.
Up until this time, I have not had an ultrasound because my last two pregnancies were perfect and since we did not want to know the sex of the baby so we opted out and my doctor was fine with that.
The high tech ultra sound was scheduled in eight days and in the meantime, the doctor wanted us to go to DNA counseling to see which family line carried the defected gene. This counseling consisted of many questions but this visit primarily consisted of the DNA counselor stating how many weeks I had to have a legal abortion in the state of GA.
I had 5 weeks to decide. What…Wait….abortion? That is all I had to hear. I now had the solution to this situation. If this baby turns out to have spina bifida, I was committed to having an abortion.
Against my husband’s wishes of course but what, did that matter to me? He worked all the time….I did not care what he wanted. I was not going to have this ball and chain around my neck. I knew that I would be the one that would have to give up my life and I was not going to let this baby ruin my life or Mike! I did not plan for this baby anyway. We were done having kids our family was already complete.
Even though Mike said that if I went against him it would lead to a divorce…I did not care! I could not be seen with a sick child! I was so vain and self-centered. The only reason why I took that test was to make sure my baby wasn’t sick. That test is offered to older pregnant women in the age range of 40 or older…I was 29 years old. As I look back I see how vain and proud I was during the beginning of my pregnancy.
How could this happen to me? I was so careful to take really good care of myself during my pregnancies. So careful to not take even one Tylenol or any type of meds at all. I did not want anything to harm my baby. I could not wrap my brain around how this happened.
The night before the ultrasound was scheduled Mike was surfing the net and found a report stating that 99.7% of all pregnant women who took this test and tested positive for spina bifida was due to carrying multiples. The level of proteins was elevated because there were more than two people.
Well, I just looked down with tears streaming down my face and yelled at him do I look like I’m carrying more than one baby? I barely looked 3 mos. pregnant and I was already a little over 5 months. I told him I knew he was trying to make me feel better about this whole situation but it’s just not working. There is no hope for this to have a happy ending.
You see when I took the call from the doctor I received the report of the enemy. I didn’t have the Word written on my heart and I didn’t have the tools or weapons in place to defeat this giant. And, I accept a good report from Mike that presented truth and reasoning!
When we went in for the ultrasound as soon as the Doppler was in place up popped two perfectly round heads! I could not believe it…it was twins! I was carrying two little boys!!! We were so happy and full of joy! The tech was checking for their heartbeats one then two, then a third! Mike fell back against the wall and collapsed into a chair. But it turned out to only be two!
Therefore, I had to redo the baby’s room, change it to a little boy theme and get a second bed. I had about a month to prepare for their arrival and a month to prepare my brain that we were having two babies…then I went into premature labor.
At the hospital, they gave me meds to stop the labor but it only made me go into full labor. I reminded the doctor to note it, write it & highlight it that I wanted my tubes tied and he refused. He told me that there was not even a 50% chance of survival for these babies and he could not take away my chance to have another baby. When he said that, I stated, “There is no way God gave me these babies for a month just to take them away”.
However, the enemy stole that from me because just as soon as I said that, a fear came over me so strong that it made my whole body shake & tremble and with this being my third cesarean birth I had to be prepped for a spinal tap and I couldn't be still for it. The realization that they might not survive weighed on me heavy. I could not believe I was in this position. Everything was going so fast.
They were born, baby boy A 3.9 lbs. and baby boy B was 4.6 lbs. They were taken straight to the cleanup area I did not get a chance to see them or hear them for four days. They were placed in the acute side of the neonatal intensive care nursery. They were on the acute side until they came off the ventilators.
Once they were stable enough to move to the open side they would be there until they reached the 5 lb mark then they could go home. So, at this time the main thing for the nurses to do was get these boys to fatten up so they started feeding them and every time they did, the babies would stop breathing and the nurses would have to resuscitate them.
The doctors could not figure out why they would have these episodes so they told me that they were due to the severe allergy to my breast milk. However that could be I don’t know….God designed mothers to feed their babies.
But, I had no control over anything not even what my babies ate. They really belonged to the hospital and the doctors and nurses. That was ok by me!!!! So eventually, a NJ tube was inserted to feed them.
They were in intensive care for about three months and one evening Mike and I came to see the boys and the nurses all cheered and clapped when we walked in and said congratulations the boys are being discharged to go home.
I was not happy! My heart sunk and I had that fear in the pit of my stomach. To me they were in the best place possible for them…not with me. I was not a nurse and I felt like they were doomed if they came home.
That night as we were leaving the hospital a man walked up to us and asked to pray with us. He also gave us a word from God and that was our first prophetic word Mike & I ever received. It was like the most spiritual God thing we both had ever experienced and we just left knowing everything was going to be ok!
We had to come for in-services on the oxygen tanks and feeding pumps, heart monitors and apnea machines and stay in a nesting room over night to prove to the staff we could operate all the machines and could administer all their medications. They had to have medicine around the clock it was relentless.
Not for one but for two, they both were on all the same meds. The doctors said they were not identical twins that they were fraternal twins. But, whatever happened to one the other one was right behind him. If Parker had, a blood transfusion within the hour Preston would have one. When one had to be moved back to the acute side, within the hour the other would be right behind him.
I believe that spirit of competitiveness still exist with them today. I think they were racing to be born. Anyway, they had to have straight caffeine in its raw form every hour to stimulate their brain to tell their heart to beat and to stimulate their brain to tell their lungs to breathe. This was hard…we had to do all this plus the regular care for babies along with having a 15 month old, a 5 yr. old and a 10 yr. old.
Well so far through this entire whole ordeal I never broke down not one time. Not even during the discharge when the nurse was putting Preston in the back seat in his infant carrier, he coded in the parking lot garage, and she had to resuscitate him.
After she got him stable she turned to us with big ole crocodile tears streaming down her face and begged us for forgiveness…I said why, why are they sending them home? They are going to die.
She stated that the insurance company said that it is cheaper to train the parents and have a nurse come in once a week and care for them at home. They were already deemed the Million dollar babies. I was in shock, but I remained strong.
We took them home and got them settled in and Mike went to get their prescription formula filled. The prescription was for six tall cans of ready-made formula for $96. Mike thought, ok that’s high but it was prescription formula, but when he handed her the cash she said I’m sorry it is $96 per can. He only came home with one can and this was my breaking point! One can was enough for one day. It would cost $576 dollars for 6 days….I broke down!
A short time later, the pharmacy called for Mike to come back and pick up the other five cans because someone in the line with Mike overheard his conversation as the pharmacist was asking if he had WIC and as Mike is trying to process this and figure this out without his anxiety shooting through the roof, he told her that he made too much money to qualify for anything like that.
The following week a woman from the health department showed up at the house and signed the boys up on a right from the start program for premature babies of Georgia. And this program took care of the formula that was changed again with in the week and ran a total of $3600.00 per month we got this for over two years to feed them their formula. Wow, now that is a blessing…Amen!
After that hurdle had been crossed, we had become extremely exhausted with their care and with just life period. Mike had a very demanding job as plant operations manager and things were not letting up.
We were sleeping in the boy’s room on the floor so we could make sure if they had an alarm we could hear it. Mike and I didn’t have family that could come and help or a church family. It was just him and me! We had a great relationship but we had turned into zombies.
I remember one night Preston coded and the resuscitate alarm came on and we both jump up out of our sleep at the same time we jumped off the floor at the same time we and we begin to fight one another to get to him. Literally shoving, pushing, and punching to get to him first.
We were crazy…I did not know if Mike knew what he was doing, he did not know if I knew what I was doing and hey in the meantime the baby is not breathing. We are standing there fighting like all at one time we were fighting out all this frustration, stress, fear and anguish on each other.
Finally, about three weeks of them being home we got around the clock skilled nursing care. I could not bathe them because their skin had started deteriorating because all the reactions from the tape. Their skin was so sensitive and fragile. I could not really hold them and bond with them not even while they were feeding.
I was scared to death to hold them anyway. They had pick lines coming from the top of their head, pick lines from their groin to their heart, so many tubes, and wires that I was afraid to even touch them. When the nurses would come, I would get them to get the boys up and put them in my arms so I could hold them.
I remember one day that I brought Parker up real close to my face so I could smell him and I couldn't…all I could smell was hospital and medicine and hand sanitizer. I broke…..I found myself curled up like a baby on the floor screaming and crying feeling so low and pitiful for them because they had me for a mom.
I was useless to them….I couldn’t feed them my breast milk because there was something wrong with that, I couldn’t bathe them and lather them up with Johnson and Johnsons lotion or powder. I could not go in, just pick them up, embrace them, and hold them. I could not do anything.
But the one thing that I could do was pray for them but I quickly realized or the enemy quickly reminded me how pitiful that was because the best I could do was pray “God please don’t let my babies die, please help them”. That is all I had and it was pitiful! I had been out of church for some time, I have not heard a prayer for some time, and that hurt me so bad!
I cried out for God and He found me on that floor! Do you remember where God found you? I remember that day like it was yesterday. God had to bring me down so low that I had nowhere else to look but up! Up until that point, I really did not need God.
We had a great marriage, great kids, big house, and three cars. We did not drink or do drugs. My husband was not in the bars or out hunting every chance he could he was a hard working family man. I rededicated myself to God that day.
The next day I received a letter in the mail from the pastor’s wife where I had grown up in church and she stated that the Lord had laid it upon her heart to write a prayer for the twins.
Now I have not spoken to this lady in about 10-12 years and God used her to write me this prayer. And let me tell you it was the most eloquent, Godly prayer that I had ever heard. It was a professional Christian prayer and when I read it over the twins it was like the heavenlies opened up and healing rained down in that room. It sure beat my oh pitiful “please God, do not let them die prayer”!
Do you know that God will send a letter to you when you need one? Even when you have not been faithful to Him, He will always be faithful to you. I was so far away from God that I didn’t have a prayer in me. He found me that day and there is no one on this planet that could ever tell me that God is not real.
He sent me that prayer and He revealed to me how alive He is, how tangible He is. He revealed to me how much he loved those boys and me! I was in utter amazement that I got that letter the very next day! He found me that day and He used those baby boys to bring me back into the fold while they were still infants.
He used them to bring me back to Him and to bring my ole Baptist husband back into the Kingdom and place him on the Pentecostal Hwy! Glory be to the Lamb of God! Hallelujah!!!!! He set my family in order and now my husband takes his place as priest of our home. God has used us to lead many people into salvation.
As I look over the events leading up to their birth, I see why the enemy wanted them dead! Even at my own hand! You see he was using my vanity to try to snuff out the very life that God formed in my womb, the enemy tried to use my vanity to snuff out the very plan that God had orchestrated to save me and my family. I was so vain to the point little that this little Miss Victory leader, Little Miss Mission Leader, Little Miss Pro Life cultivated a plan that I was going to have an abortion while Mike was at work so he wouldn't know.
I can see where God was directing His plan and I could see the enemy’s strategies against it. We had not planned on any more children. We had three that were each four years apart and we were done.
Mike had made the consultative appointment with an urologist to have a vasectomy and had scheduled the surgery in two weeks. Well lo and behold within those two weeks I found out I was pregnant. At 19 weeks, I was told that my baby had spina bifida, at 21 weeks I found out that I had 5 weeks to have a legal abortion, which in my heart I had committed too.
Just think if I had followed through with having an abortion then later found out they were twins. It would have crushed me and the enemy wanted that. Genesis 50:20 says the enemy intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.
These babies came prematurely and had to fight for their lives. They are the toughest boys I have ever seen and will ever know! I can’t tell you how many times they coded and had to be resuscitated. They did not have an epiglottis which is that flap that covers the windpipe or trachea to keep food and liquid from going into their lungs.
They found that out months later at Egleston Hospital. They were drowning from milk pooling up into their lungs, that’s what was happening to them and it is a rough thing to watch your infant, so little you could put your ring on them like a bracelet…to see the nurses grab an infant that little by the leg and thrust him around on the table to get him to breathe.
It is probably one of the worst things I ever had to endure. Preston had his ribs broken and on top of that, they both had acid reflux so bad that acid would reflux out of their stomach into their lungs. They had severe food allergies that we did not know about until they started eating food by mouth.
Again, at my own hands, I gave them foods that they were allergic too like milk, beef, or cheese products that almost sent them to the grave. So you see the enemy wanted them dead. Because he knew that if they survived that I would be the child of God I am today. He thought if he could get rid of them he would have my family and me.
So you see this testimony is about healing me and restoring me back to God. He did heal my boys they are 13 now and are in perfect health…they grew out of their food allergies as well! I envision this dialogue between God and my baby twins I envision God saying Jeremiah 1:5 says "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations."
And I envision the twins saying back to God Psalm 139:13-16 for you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.
God had a purpose for these guys, he fearfully & wonderfully created them for a plan, a plan that has prospered us and made us spiritually rich. These little baby boys didn't even know they were being used!!!!!
1 Timothy 4:12 (NIV) do not let anyone look down on you because you are young but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity. It does not matter how old or young you are there is no junior Holy Spirit or infant Holy Spirit. There is no elderly Holy Spirit. As I come to a close, I want to encourage you with my favorite verse…
The bible says in Matthew 10:7-8, As you go, preach this message: 'The kingdom of heaven is near.' Heal the sick, raise the dead, and cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.
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By Alana Sibley
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