Epileptic mother gives birth to twins against scary odds
by Brant Houston
One of the babies was alive. The other appeared to be dead. Still dazed, the 26-year-old Holden, Mo., woman managed to telephone her husband, Phil, at his job where he was finishing his 4 p.m. to midnight shift.
“I was glad I was sitting down when she told me,” Mr. Marshall, 22, said Tuesday at St. Luke’s Hospital. “After she told me one was dead, my biggest fear was that I wouldn’t get them to the hospital in time.”
But his wife and new daughter did reach the hospital in time. And on the way there he discovered that the other child was alive.
The successful births have left some local health officials amazed.
I never heard of such a thing. That’s incredible,” said psychologist Marcia Biel of the Greater Kansas City Epilepsy League.
Dr. Brad Sullivan, who attended Mrs. Marshall at St. Luke’s Hospital, said, “I was quite shocked, and I was quite pleased, when they showed up.”
Dr. Sullivan said Mrs. Marshall, who has suffered epileptic seizures since 1972, was receiving medication to prevent seizures and premature contractions. She had two children by a previous marriage who had been delivered normally, Mr. Marshall said.
“It can be quite difficult if a woman is having seizures during pregnancy. Then it’s complicated by twins,” Dr. Sullivan said. “She herself was not in a severe amount of danger, but the infants are very lucky.”
Mrs. Marshall had suffered one seizure about a month ago and had been confined to bed for the last few weeks as her Oct. 23 due date approached.
According to hospital officials, Mrs. Marshall and her two babies, Aja Rhiannon, who is named after two pop songs, and Arin Renee are doing well. Arin Renee weighed 5 pounds, 15 ounces, at birth; Aja Rhiannon checked in at 5 pounds, 6 ounces.
“I’m tired, but I’m here,” Mrs. Marshall said Tuesday night. “I’m glad they’re OK.”
Mrs. Marshall said she remembered being in the bathroom Monday night. The next thing she knew she heard one of the babies crying.
Mr. Marshall said he received the call from his wife at 11 p.m. He rushed home and found his wife of 14 months sitting dazed in the living room. In the bathroom he saw both babies lying in a pool of blood. One did not appear to be breathing or moving.
“I called our doctor and he told me to get them to the hospital,” Mr. Marshall recalled. “He told me to cut the cords and tie them with string.”
Although the twins were Mr. Marshall’s first children, he accomplished the cutting and tying of the cords without difficulty.
“In that kind of situation, you look at something and think how it should be. Then you do it and hope it looks right,” said a proud Mr. Marshall. “At the hospital they told me I did a good job.”
Mr. Marshall then called relatives who drove to his home as quickly as they could. While waiting for them to arrive, he wrapped the babies in comforters and his wife in a robe. He still assumed that one of the babies was dead.
During the 50-minute drive to St. Luke’s, however, the baby began moving. At 12:40 a.m., after being stopped once by the Highway Patrol, they reached the hospital, where Mr. Marshall delivered his wife and children into the hands of the staff.
“It’s almost unbelievable that anyone could have had a twin birth unassisted,” Mr. Marshall said. “It’s a storybook ending to something that began as a horror story. I’m just happy to have three girls instead of none.”