Welcoming My Twin Daughters by AbebaMali Cunningham

Twelve years ago I was looking forward to the birth of my twin daughters who would be sisters to 17-year-old Catera. I would’ve never thought what a challenge I was facing in raising them. They were both born with life threatening heart defects.

I gave birth to them in the afternoon and the next morning Children’s Hospital of Michigan was shipping them to their facility. The cardiology department diagnosed them with the same heart defect. Only one of their ventricles was functioning normally. Miyanna’s heart condition was very severe and she needed a heart transplant. Aiyanna’s heart was able to be repaired. While waiting for surgery I continued to pray day and night. I told the doctors to do whatever they have to do to keep my babies here with me.

Aiyanna received her first surgery and everything went well. They gave me a pager to reach me when they had a heart available for Miyanna. I received that page 5 days later and was jumping for joy that my prayers were answered. I rushed to the hospital and awaited the results. The doctors informed me everything went as planned and there were no signs of rejection.

When I was able to take her home, reality kicked in. I had to prepare myself for administering medications, resting heart rates, feeding tubes, taking temperatures, blood pressures, and the normal infant care. Support from my family and friends was very helpful. We still continue our doctors’ visits and try to stay germ free.

Submitted by AbebaMali Cunningham