Emma and Macey's Story
lives of tiny twins
By Ruth Schenk, The Southeast Outlook
One-year-old twins Emma and
Macey Stone chatter as they run through the great room
of their family home in LaGrange, Ky. Everything they
do reflects a miracle, said their proud parents, Dave
and Dawn Stone.
Those who have watched the
babies’ journey agree. No one has forgotten the
shock of hearing that one or both twins could die before
birth, forget the day they received the call to pray
through life-threatening surgery, or the close call
that could have claimed both their lives in a few hours
if Dave and Dawn hadn’t made the right choice.
More than a year later, this
family’s deep sense of thanksgiving has not faded.
"This answer to prayer
isn’t something we thought we deserved,"
Dave said. "We’re just grateful for this
Dawn and David are not related to Southeast Senior Minister
Dave Stone, but they’ve forged strong ties to
the church. People seeking the Southeast senior minister
in the phone book often call these Stones by mistake.
Dave explains to those who call that he is not a minister
and not the Dave Stone they’re seeking, but he
is a Christian. Sometimes callers go on to explain their
needs, and he’s prayed with several over the phone.
Dawn works as a dental assistant
for Southeast member Charlie Vittitow, who was in the
network of people who prayed for the babies.
Worries for the babies began
on May 29, 2007, when Dawn was 20 weeks pregnant and
went to the doctor for a routine ultrasound. The monitor
showed twins, which was a dream come true for the couple.
Twins ran in the family, and the couple loved the idea
of adding two more children to their family, which included
Michael, 15, and Kristen, 12.
But amid giddy joy of that
news, the Stones sensed something was wrong by the way
the technician’s face changed as she studied the
The doctor explained that the
girls were connected by blood vessels in a rare condition
called Twin to Twin Syndrome (TTTS), a serious complication
that affects about 10 percent of identical twins. One
twin receives all the nourishment from the placenta
while the other starves. In the Stone twins, the baby
they later named Emma Grace was the donor. All the nourishment
passed from her through the blood vessels to the twin
the Stones named Macey Faith.
But as the recipient of all
the nourishment, Macey was also in danger. Along with
the nourishment, Macey also received all the fluid,
which forced her tiny heart to work four times as hard
as it should.
Doctors believed the TTTS was
mild to moderate and sent the Stones to a specialist
that same day. They gave the couple four options: 1.
They could do nothing. If they chose that option, the
twins would have only a 15 percent chance of survival.
Emma could starve to death, and Macey probably would
also die because of the blood vessels they shared; 2.
They could selectively abort Macey to save Emma. As
pro-life Christians, the Stones told doctors that wasn’t
an option.; 3. Dawn could undergo amnioreduction to
reduce the fluid surrounding Macey and relieve the pressure
on her heart. Doctors actually drained the fluid, but
it built up as fast as they removed it.; 4. They could
try laser coagulation therapy, which was the most viable
option. A specialist would use a laser to sever the
blood vessels that tethered the girls to one another.
That had a 60 percent chance of success, but it also
had risks. If the girls did not equally share the same
placenta, they would lose Macey as well as Emma.
Dave said the only thing they
could do in the face of the most difficult decision
of their lives was to trust God. And sitting in the
middle of fear of the unknown, they rested on the one
thing they knew to be true—they would continue
to trust God no matter what happened.
Many at Southeast as well as
the couple’s church, LaGrange Assembly of God,
prayed for the doctors, the babies and the Stones. The
Stone’s other children sent out e-mails asking
friends to pray for their baby sisters.
Doctors scheduled surgery on
June 2, with a specialist in Cincinnati. The Stones
had just crossed the Ohio River when Vittitow called
to pray with them over the phone. Dawn said she couldn’t
even speak at that time, yet that call helped carry
them through the trip.
All along, specialists warned
that there was no way to predict how fast the TTTS would
At the hospital, they found
that it had advanced from mild to severe in just three
days. If Dawn had waited just 24 more hours before undergoing
the surgery, Macey could have died. She already had
thickening of the heart muscle.
Sharing six blood vessels is
considered to be a bad case of TTTS, and the Stone twins
shared 23. Surgeons drained more than two liters of
fluid from Macey and made microscopic holes in Emma’s
sac so amniotic fluid could flow to Emma. The girls
equally shared the same placenta.
Both girls survived, and Dawn
spent the next six weeks in bed while the rest of the
family cared for her and the house. Doctors had warned
that neurological damage was possible, so everyone rejoiced
when the twins were born with no medical issues on Sept.
"We are thankful every
day as we watch the girls grow," Dave said.
From the moment we found out
we were having twins, then finding out they had ttts,
our faith is what kept us going. Having to process
all the information the Dr.'s were giving us was overwhelming.
I can't imagine going through something like this
without God. We were given all the risks involved
& the "options", the only options for
us was fetal surgery. It was the only option that
would give both of our babies the best chance of survival.
I just remember thinking, I have to make a decision
that I can live with the rest of my life, we have to
fight for both babies lives. Just remember when
facing the most difficult decisions of your life, you
have to rely on God. I have no doubt in my mind
that my girls would not have made it if it had not been
for God. Everything happens for a reason &
though we may not know what that is while we are going
through it. You can look back on it & know
it was in God's plan. I know God will use the
girls story to touch the lives of other & give hope.
Everyone needs hope!
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-The support, information and encouragement provided by the PPFL parents is not meant to take the place of medical advice by a medical professional. Any specific questions about care should be directed to a health care professional familiar with the situation.