Can we stop talking about bodies during pregnancy?

Can we stop talking about bodies during pregnancy?

Can we stop commenting on bodies during pregnancy? Let’s just stop.

This is me twelve weeks ago. Sixteen weeks pregnant with twins. I wasn’t ready to tell anyone. But I did announce it, and you know the most common comments I keep getting? All about my body. Nothing about my heart.

My last pregnancy I carried babies with a life-limiting diagnosis and still the thing everyone wanted to talk about? My body. How big I was, how big I wasn’t, how much weight I gained, how much I didn’t gain. Rather than asking about my broken heart, everyone talked about my body.

And it was and is, so annoying.

Oh, I get it. It’s easy to tell someone who is pregnant, ‘you look great!’ or ‘look how big your belly is!’. I do it too. But what you mean to say is, ‘that baby you’re growing is a miracle.’

Then say that. The baby you are growing, is a miracle.

Surprisingly, it is usually women who haven’t had a baby in over a decade.

“Wow, I remember that feeling, it took me so long to lose all that weight.” “It doesn’t look like you gained much this time.”, “You look good, are you working out?”, “You know what helped me? Eating soup instead of big meals”,  and postpartum ” You lost so much weight!, “You’ll lose weight if you keep breastfeeding, it takes time.” What?!

Not once has a doctor ever commented on my body size or weight gained during pregnancy (and I’ve seen a lot of doctors)– so why does everyone else?

I think it’s like anything, it’s any easy thing to talk about. But really? That’s all we have to talk about?

Six months postpartum, a coworker cornered me in the hallway and said, ” we were all worried you would never lose all that weight you gained during pregnancy.”

I burst out laughing.

The thought of my coworkers standing around talking about my pregnant and postpartum body was (and is) absolutely hysterical.

Stop talking about my body.

There is so much more to talk about about carrying and birthing and caring for children. Ask me how my baby is (even if my baby is not okay, it’s okay to ask how they are) , ask me how I am, ask me how you can help me. Best of all– ask me how you can pray for me.

But seriously, let’s stop commenting on bodies during pregnancy, unless you are saying– how beautiful pregnancy is because truly it is.

Xoxo,

Emily

 

 

Thoughts on Having Twins After Losing Twins

Thoughts on Having Twins After Losing Twins

twins after loss

Hi friends,

I have lots of thoughts about carrying twins after losing twins and most of it centers around– wow and— how. The rest of the world seems to think this is completely normal, people are excited for us, they say ‘you’re so lucky’ and ‘awe, how sweet’. I am the only one who is completely undone by God’s grace for us in this. And I am. Completely undone. There is a level of surrender I need to reach, the level that allows you to go about a day and not be completely unraveled by the miracles growing inside of me but I’m not there yet. And maybe I don’t want to be. I want it to be January so I can see these babies. It’s all I want. I know part of that is wrapped up in grief and disbelief. Last pregnancy God said, trust me. This time God hasn’t said anything. Just two healthy babies, two heart beats, beating at every appointment. An easy pregnancy. How could that be? Having twins after losing twins is– surreal. In a way it doesn’t make any sense. Medically, one egg split last time, two eggs were fertilized this time but– to my broken heart–two babies this time means, everything.

Friends, I will never make sense of this but to say that God loves us. He’s there in our sorrow and in our joy. He gives us the desires of our hearts and more abundantly. More abundantly so.

If you are praying for something, keep praying. The bible tells us, “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us..” Ephesians 3:20-21

Immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine. I am growing two babies that are proof.

Thank you for praying for us! I am fully convinced someone (or lots of you) were praying we would have twins for a second time and  God answers prayers.

Always thankful, always grateful,

Emily

To Our Babies On Their First Birthday

To Our Babies On Their First Birthday

Dear Eliza and Ensley,

I miss you so much babies. You are ONE today! I think about you all of the time and while it has been a whole year since you were born it really seems like just yesterday or at least last week.

I was thinking about what it would be like if you were here. What we would want you to know most of all. The thing your Daddy and I would want you to know most of all is who Jesus is. But you girls are in Heaven, with JESUS face to face. Your Daddy reminds me of that all of the time. He’s known Jesus since he was five so he’s better at remembering. With Jesus face to face, more fully alive than you would be with us. We celebrate that today, it’s a joy in our hearts that never goes away. Even when we miss you and especially when we miss you. The hope of heaven is all we can hope for and you are already there.

But you got to know I still wish you were here.

If you were here, I would be making you a pink funfetti cake for your birthday. Your birthday outfits would most definitely match. We would be telling you we got you two babies for your birthday but you have to wait until January. I probably would have gotten you two baby dolls, a boy and a girl or maybe four so you wouldn’t fight over them.

We love you Eliza girl. We love you Ensley girl. We trust Heaven is better than a pink funfetti cake. Even if I made two. It’s better than all that we could do for you. It’s just hard for us to imagine because we aren’t there yet. We are here, without you.

We fought hard for you when you were alive. I tried everything I could to protect you. As soon was we found out you both had serious abnormalities in your bodies, I asked God what I was supposed to do every day. If God had told me anything other than to let you be born, I would have done it. To keep you safe. But God didn’t. Your doctors told me you might only suffer when came into the world and then you would both quickly leave.

Today is your birthday and Tommy is so excited to celebrate. We are making pink funfetti cupcakes. We are trying to teach him about Heaven. The day you both were born we held our breath, doctors told us what to expect but they never told us how beautiful you would be. Perfectly and wonderfully made. You didn’t suffer and we rejoiced as soon as we knew you went to Heaven. We hold you in our hearts forever and we’ll keep wishing you were here, all the while knowing you girls taught us more about Jesus and who He is than we could have ever taught you.

We love you, we always miss you and we praise God for giving us you both.

Always grateful, always thankful,

Mommy & Daddy too

I QUIT my job

I QUIT my job

I QUIT my job.

Friends, this is such a big deal to our little family and before you think, wow girl, must be nice, let me tell you how heart-wrenching, painstaking, fear evoking hard this was. Not just was, still is. We are a working class family. Blessed but we both have to work kind of family. When I first had the idea to stay home it wasn’t, “yeah we can cut out some extras and make it work”, it was more like “well we won’t have groceries but…

The other painstaking part is I loved my job. Like really, really loved it.

I was a livestock inspector– I got paid to drive around and do disease investigations on farms.

But as much as I loved it, something changed on March 16th, 2016. Tommy was born. Work did not become optional, I carried our insurance, my paycheck paid our mortgage. I had to go back after 12 weeks but after Tommy was born, work became impossible. In a way I can’t explain, working motherhood became my deepest struggle.

In my circle of friends no one seemed to struggle with not being home the way I did. Something felt really, really wrong and I didn’t know what to do. So I complained about it a lot. And I thought of all the ways I could make money working from home.

Talking about leaving my job and ALL of my business ideas turned into a major pain point in our marriage. Tom supported me but for sure thought I was going crazy. (Because I was). I became very torn, very money focused and very into the idea of ‘what I wanted to do next’. Something big, something important. Start a business, build my blog, make $5000/month. And yet, nothing happened.

I’ve been building websites since college but I couldn’t seem to make any for profit. Everything was impossible. And I was losing my babies.

Ten months ago, I was sitting in a hospital room, mourning the fact that  I wouldn’t have three kids at home when I ran the math of what we would have been paying in daycare. That’s my salary I thought. Then I thought it again, that is my salary.

It was exactly my take home pay.

I immediately told Tom– I could do in home daycare and quit my job and stay home with Tommy! He didn’t just say no, he said NO WAY. He said I was trying to replace our babies. He said our house would never be clean, he said I would go crazy. He said, you almost just died and you carry our insurance. I felt defeated. I asked my two closest friends (both who do daycare) to pray for him to change his mind.

Seven months later, out of the blue, Tom called me at work, “Hey”, he said, “you know that daycare thing? Why don’t you do that? Do you still want to do that”?

Now, I know God can do bigger miracles than changing Tom’s heart but at that moment, there was nothing more surprising to me.

What I want you to know about quitting my job is that it wasn’t easy. No one told me I should. No one told me how I could. No one told me it was a good idea. It was more than a little bit crazy.

But there is one reason I quit my job. His name is Tommy and he is three.

The Birth of Eliza Joy and Ensley Grace

The Birth of Eliza Joy and Ensley Grace

Kissing Eliza and Ensley

We did it.

On August 6th, 2018 at 8:35 PM I gave birth to our twins: Eliza Joy and Ensley Grace Taylor. They are so perfect and beautiful and now with Jesus.

Our twins were born without unforeseen complications via a c-section at 32 weeks. Their birth was absolutely beautiful which is a true testimony of God’s love and provision for us. Eliza and Ensley died from complications from limb body wall complex the minute they were born. While we would give anything to have them with us, we celebrate knowing they are in Heaven.

Ever since our babies’ diagnosis I looked towards their birth with both agony and anticipation. I wanted to see them, I wanted to hold them,  I wanted them to be safe. I wanted it to be over.

I desperately wanted to see what God would do.

I can’t explain what a complicated walk it was to be fully believing in a miracle and also fully aware of your babies’ complications. Often, I believed no one understood. To be fair, we said things like “might lose them, and “if they make it” not because we were unaware of the outcome but because we are fully aware of who God is. Still, we knew what their birth meant. We had twenty weeks to prepare to go to the hospital, have two babies and go home without them.

Their birth story:  I went to labor and delivery for an evaluation after leaking fluid and blood at 32 weeks. The evaluation took all day with no answer except a guess that I might have an uterine infection (I did). The doctors did the most unfair thing, they told me I could go home or deliver– it was up to me. You can imagine how impossible that was. I absolutely wanted to deliver, I also absolutely wanted to keep them in as long as possible. No one would tell me what to do. Eventually doctors said delivery was a good idea. We prayed for an easy delivery. We prayed for God to guide the doctors and be merciful to our babies. I’d like to say we weren’t scared but we were terrified.

The doctors had told me in no uncertain terms how complicated delivery could be. Their umbilical cords were extremely short and they weren’t sure how they were going to get them out. Tom shook as he prayed over me, asking God to keep me safe. I wish I had pulled myself together, put on make-up and fixed my hair, which might sound ridiculous but I wanted to feel completely confident going to meet my babies. I knew I might only have minutes with them.

My doctors worked hard to make sure the c-section went well, I ended up only needing a transverse cut, I will always be thankful for that. I had the sweetest nurse who made me feel so much better because I was terrified. Tom came in and 30 minutes after both babies came out. When the doctor announced the babies were out, the room fell silent, neither Eliza nor Ensley were crying. I lost it because I knew what that meant.

I could see Eliza being put into the bassinet but she wasn’t moving. Tom told me to look away but within minutes Tom was holding them both.

c-section, limb body wall complex in twins

Tom did so good, I have no idea how scared he was but he just held them as I stroked their faces. The chaplain was the first to come over and say both Eliza and Ensley lost their heartbeats as soon as they were born.

Our sweet babies. They were beautiful. They were safe. They were born. I was so proud of them.

In case you feel bad for us that God didn’t deliver what we prayed for know that Ensley and Eliza are still the miracles we were praying for. What happened in our hearts the moment we met them and lost them is a miracle.  Heaven is the biggest miracle of all.

I won’t tell you it’s not painful, I won’t tell you that it is easy, but I will tell you– peace came over me the minute I saw them. Peace filled my heart, and flooded the room. I’m sure everyone could feel it because I could.

And then joy. Indescribable, unexplainable joy.

We picked the names Eliza Joy and Ensley Grace before they were born because Eliza means God’s promised and Ensley sounds like endless. Together, to us, their names mean: God promised joy and endless grace. Because that is what God promised us through all of this. Joy and endless grace. I also totally have a thing for E names. I was concerned the names might not fit them or be good enough but they are perfect for our sweet babies.

Twins with Limb Body Wall Complex

Sweet Ensley Grace Taylor (left) and Eliza Joy Taylor (right)

The hardest part of carrying babies with a fatal diagnosis is not the believing in a miracle part. That’s easy, we know that God can. Surrender, is the hardest part. Trust. Trusting that God knows them, loves them and made every cell in their body. God set them apart, gave them to me and then, took them to Heaven the day they were born. I want my babies with me. Everything in me needs them with me. But as I held them the greatest truth set in, as much as I love them, God loves them more.

He loves them even more. 

It’s one thing to believe in God for yourself, but if you do, you have to believe in God for your children too.

So there is this: our pain is great, God is greater

I know some people thought I was crazy for the carrying the babies as long as I did given all of the complications. At one point I was at risk for heart failure because the babies were at risk for heart failure– it’s called mother mirror syndrome, something that mothers and babies with hard diagnosis go through. A c-section is also major surgery, our doctors tried to talk me out of it. At one point they told me of the risk of losing my uterus, over babies that didn’t have a chance at life (as they put it). I just nodded  but what I wanted to say was “bring it on, take my uterus out then because that’s the only way they are coming out, I’m not killing my babies.”  Because everything is what you do for your children. It’s just what you do.

There is one thing though, the thing I had to surrender over and over again. I was terrified that my choice to carry them to term would cause them pain. Every time I prayed about their suffering (often), God assured me they would be okay. God would whisper those very words to me “they will be okay”, and “watch and see”. At the time it was confusing because their diagnosis was so bad. But when they were born it made sense. We asked God to not let our babies suffer and He honored that. 

I hope you can see there was great mercy in their birth. There is great freedom in carrying a baby as long as you can. And seeing them born. Really there is nothing like it. I would not have chosen this, I never would have chosen this but by carrying twins, fully committed to God’s will for their lives, I can see the beauty that comes from a surrendered life.

People have called us brave. They have called us strong. We are neither. It is not by our strength that we are doing this, it is Christ in us. I remember being broken to pieces in the ultrasound room at twelve weeks. How could I carry babies that I would loose? How do you even do that? The first scripture anyone gave us for this pregnancy was James 1:2-4: Count it all joy. When I read it I said you have got to be kidding me. Count it all joy? This?

But yes. Even in this we have joy. And it’s not leaving us.

Forever will we testify of God’s great mercy for our babies and the great blessing they are in our lives. Because of Eliza Joy and Ensley Grace: our love is stronger, our faith is bolder, our hope is bigger, our fear–our fear is gone. Our lives are better. May our sweet babies forever know how much we love them and how we did everything we could to keep them safe. We can’t wait to see them again in Heaven.

Our friends and family: thank you all so much for your genuine love and support for us. You have shown up for us in such unexpected ways. It is still hard, some days impossible. We are still navigating what this feels like day by day (and always will). But we want to thank all of you for walking along with us. It is okay to not now what to say or what to do– we don’t know either. But we do know that God is good, Heaven is for real, and we can count it all joy. We have such joy– such joy and endless grace. Just as God promised.

Always grateful, always thankful,

Emily

**To remember Eliza and Ensley we have set-up a memorial fund in their honor. We find it best to honor them by donating money to other families God has or will put on our hearts who are facing hard or fatal diagnoses for their children. Eliza and Ensley’s lives may have been short but we know there is great purpose in their lives. A purpose greater than we may ever know. We are so honored to be their parents.

 

 

 

Baby Eliza Taylor

Kissing Eliza and Ensley

Eliza Joy and Ensley Grace Taylor

holding Eliza and Ensley

Toddler Must Haves

Toddler Must Haves

Toddler Must Haves

Hi friends. Happy Friday! Here are some of my must haves for #raisingbabies, toddler edition.

  1. Chicco NextFit Carseat– It took us forever to decide what carseat to upgrade to. I was hesitant to buy the Chicco NextFit because it’s on the expensive side but it is so worth it. You won’t fight with your toddler and your carseat every morning.
  2. Amazon Basics Backpack– Every toddler needs a book bag. Bonus points if they can carry it themselves.
  3. Rain boots– Having a pair of rain boots by the door is a must have because rain puddles and creeks and farms and #toddlerlife.
  4. Ikea Easel– Ours is in our living room because it’s that much fun- also pictionary.
  5. Step stool– Until I bought one, I realized I was picking Tommy up to wash his hands every day and was like what the heck- step stools!
  6. Munchkin Cup– Best invention for parenting toddlers since diapers.
  7. Everyone Poops Book– It’s a classic. Tommy’s favorite book, because he has good taste in books
  8. Ikea Potty– We’re just started potty training- wish us luck.
  9. Magnatiles– These are the best. They have so many good reviews on Amazon. Don’t let the price scare you, they are worth it. Ask for them for a birthday/special occasion if you can’t buy them yourself.
  10. Cozy ‘heavy’ blanket- This is our little guy’s favorite blanket. We got ours at Cracker Barrel (weird I know). There is something about heavy blankets that seem to help toddlers sleep better (at least my toddler). Tommy calls it his ‘heavy’ blanket and asks for it every night.

I would love to know what your toddler must haves are! Anything helps- am I right? Here’s to raising babies. Or do I have to say toddler now?

xoxo,

-Emily

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