Fraternal twins Madilyn and Mason McIntire haven’t even been born yet, but a sonogram image of the babies cuddling in the womb has captured the nation’s heart.
Mom and dad Ian and Brittani, from Hutchinson, Kansas, have two other daughters and hadn’t made any plans for more children, the couple told KWCH.
But as things often go in life, the McIntires were surprised one day with the news that they were pregnant again. And they weren’t just pregnant with one more bundle of joy, but two. Brittani joyfully told the station about the moment she realized she was carrying twins — a boy and a girl.
“We went in for our six week sonogram and they just said there’s one heartbeat and here’s another.”
The couple decided to name their new children name Madilyn and Mason, the Huffington Post reported. And though they should’ve been basking in the joy of a new pregnancy, Ian and Brittani instead were immediately shocked by some horrible news.
Their little boy, Mason, wasn’t doing well. Doctors discovered that he had a hole in his heart and his brain was abnormal. Over the coming weeks and in each sonogram, they got more bad news and watched as their unborn daughter thrived while her brother barely grew at all.
Right now, Mason weighs a meager nine ounces. His sister, on the other hand, is doing very well at two pounds, “so big size difference,” their mom said.
Eventually, doctors told them there’s very little they can do for their son. According to the New York Daily News, Mason is unlikely to survive pregnancy and birth. And if he does make it and is able to draw breath outside the womb, he likely won’t live for very long.
Of course, doctors could attempt surgery while Mason is still in utero and fix the hole in his heart. But because of the abnormality is in his brain, Brittani said the doctors don’t plan to attempt the procedure.
So the appointments and the bad news continued. Until finally, the heartbroken couple saw something in their most recent sonogram image that has given them hope and comfort during this difficult time.
Mason’s life may be over before it starts, and he may be dying as his sister grows, but little Madilyn is doing everything she can to console her brother: the image reveals the little boy’s tiny hand wrapped around her finger.
— WMC Action News 5 (@WMCActionNews5) February 18, 2016
— WBRC FOX6 News (@WBRCnews) February 17, 2016
“We didn’t really see much, she said there’s his hand and there’s her hand and it looks like they’re holding hands. Most twins, when she’s trying to take pictures and stuff, they’re kicking each other and hitting each other and she said with our twins it seems like she was very protective over him.”
Although Brittani can do little for her unborn son other than keep him safe in her womb and pray, Madilyn is making sure that if her little brother dies beside her, he will not die alone. It’s a sentiment as heartbreaking as it is touching, and for the McIntires, the sonogram image isn’t a coincidence or a figment of their imagination.
“I know I’m holding him, I’m carrying him but I just want to be there for him. And she’s the only one who can actually be there and holding onto him through it, so it’s comforting to know that if he does pass he won’t be alone.”
Even though Mason likely will never meet his family or his twin sister, and the McIntires will bring home only one baby in a few weeks, Brittani is still hoping for the best.
“We know we have a piece of them together that will last forever and it’s special to have,” she said. “We’re still going to trust in God that no matter what, he’s been a blessing and if he makes it then it’s a huge testimony to what God can do. And if he doesn’t then we have a special angel watching over us.”
[Image via Tatyana Vyc/Shutterstock]