Sen. Julia Coleman credits her faith for helping her pull through a challenging pregnancy with two boys, one of which had developed Selective Intrauterine Growth Restriction (sIUGR). The condition occurs when one of two twins share a smaller portion of the placenta, stunting his growth.
This caused Sen. Coleman's doctors to suggest aborting the smaller child, but she refused.
"At one point, doctors told us we could increase James' chance of survival if we killed Charles. Jacob and I both insistently said: 'That's not on the table,'" Sen. Coleman recounted their ordeal as per Christian Headlines.
"We were never going to choose between our kids. We're incredibly pro-life. That's when you lean on your faith, and you trust that God has a bigger plan."
In March, the 29 year old senator underwent a scan that showed how Charles was "severely growth restricted," with Charles' abdominal measurements falling in the 7th percentile compared to his twin James, who was in the 95th percentile. Sen. Coleman shared, "[Charles'] organ growth was starting to take a dangerous hit. He was also showing issues with blood flow, and the issue with their fluid levels kept going back and forth."
According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, a pregnancy is called monochorionic when selective intrauterine growth restriction (sIUGR) occurs. This is a condition in which the placenta is not evenly distributed between the twins, a factor that leads to one of the babies being underdeveloped.
This can be addressed through fetal monitoring, fetoscopic laser ablation, which involves "[sealing] the connecting blood vessels causing the nourishment imbalance," cord occlusion, which can be done when a one of the twin's survival is unlikely, and blood transfusion following the demise of the undernourished twin.
Doctors concluded that Sen. Coleman may lose one or both of her twins. However, a month later, another scan showed that Charles' percentile increased to 13th, well above the danger level of 10th and below. Now, the Minnesota senator and her firefighter husband Jacob are parents to three boys: twins James and Charles, and Adam.
Sen. Coleman shared to the Catholic Spirit that she normally prays when facing challenges. She said she and her husband pray a novena during times of "real struggle."
She also said that as a mom, she turns to prayer first before seeking tips and suggestions on how she will handle the situations she faces with regards to her kids.
"It has helped us focus on putting our faith in God and surrendering, saying, "I trust in you" and then shutting off the worry. Prayer is an essential part of motherhood. It's the first thing I do, before turning to the baby tricks and tips," she said. "First you turn to prayer."
"There's a confidence you gain from going through this. There's a perspective you gain, having children stare death in the eye, and to be granted a miracle," Sen. Coleman added. "Your connection to your faith is stronger. You trust everything will work out. I feel more capable. Once you've faced the scariest situation you can face - losing a child - not much else looks scary."