WSAV-TV news anchor Tina Tyus-Shaw reflects on a devastating tragedy that birthed a life-changing strength within her and altered her destiny.
Things were going well for the broadcast journalist; she was celebrating her nine-year anniversary at the station, and the Georgia native’s gracious smile and no-nonsense news judgment had made her a household favorite in the Savannah area. She’d been happily married for a year and was five months into her first pregnancy. She’d even invited viewers to be part of her growing family’s excitement, posting a picture of their first ultrasound on the station’s website. The grainy photo showed two heartbeats, and the well wishes had poured in.
After the remote was finished, Tyus-Shaw climbed into the TV truck and felt a subtle pull in her abdomen. “I didn’t think much of it,” she says. “But that was the beginning of what was to come.”
She remembers the rest of that day the way survivors of trauma recall the ordinary moments leading up to the horrific thing that changed their lives. She remembers feeling sick through the 11 o’clock newscast but pressing on. “I had no idea during every commercial break that I was actually having contractions,” she says.
Afterward she stuck around to tape a radio newscast despite her co-anchor, Jim Carswell, insisting he’d cover for her. She finally made it home after midnight, took a shower and kept grimacing through pain she didn’t quite understand. By 2 a.m., her husband, James, insisted they head to the hospital.
Hours later, on April 6, 2001, she delivered her twin sons, James and Julius; neither had survived.
“It really shattered our lives, just like glass hitting the floor,” she says. “When something this traumatic happens, you really don’t know what tomorrow holds. You just don’t know. You feel like you’re in a deep, dark hole.”