The Birth of Ira Brighton and Edith Bailey Taylor

Oh my dear friends. This is the post I can’t believe I get to write. With all the anticipation of having twins again I am so EXCITED to tell you– they are here, our babies are here!

Ira Brighton and Edith Bailey Taylor were born December 30th, 2019  by a perfectly perfect scheduled c-section. Both babies are safe and healthy and I am doing well. Praise God.

You can imagine all of the emotions we are feeling. Our babies are such a gift. I’ve experienced lots of answered prayers but none quite as perfect and specific as bringing Ira and Edith into the world.

Their birth was everything I prayed for– safe, whole and redemptive.

While I was grieving the loss of Eliza and Ensley I prayed for God to give us another baby. And I prayed that it would happen by the end of December. When I found out I was pregnant again, the due date was January 17th. I figured God was just giving us a baby when the timing was right. Then we learned it was twins and I was set to deliver the first week in January and then…the last week in December. I just stared at the calendar the day I scheduled our delivery– December 30th, 2019. Exactly what I had prayed for. And not just one baby but two.

A lot of the anticipation around their birth was not centered around the tragedy of Ensley and Eliza’s birth because their birth wasn’t hard, it was their pregnancy that was hard. Rather for me it was– do we deserve this?  Is this really happening? Will they be safe this time and will I?

Needless to say the night before neither Tom or I slept well. (Which is saying a lot because Tom can sleep through anything). I turned into a crazy person running around trying to remember all the things even though my hospital bag had been packed weeks before. We were both so anxious.

My c-section was set for 10:40 AM. We left Tommy with Tom’s sister, had a little bit of time with him in the morning (as I was still trying to pack all the things and take final pictures of my belly). We drove to the hospital praying the whole way. We have a ‘baby CD’ it’s one we listened to over and over during Eliza and Ensley’s pregnancy so Tom put it in and my favorite song– Find Me by Melissa and Jonathan Hessler actually calmed me down. Usually it makes me emotional. We were here, about to give birth, so thankful, so grateful.

Tom made the mistake of telling me this is probably our last pregnancy so I wanted to take ALL THE  BELLY PICTURES last minute, I actually got really sad that I wouldn’t be pregnant anymore which is so not like me.

I always get a little crazy about documenting things, especially something as big as this, so I told Tom to film EVERYTHING and it’s all I could think about as we got ready in pre-op.  I think I got to the hospital missing half the things I needed (hair ties–ekk) because I was so focused on documenting it well. We found a birth photographer! A friend of a friend offered to come and take pictures the day they were born and I was so excited about it but really I needed to focus and settle down to be super present for their birth.

When we got to the hospital it struck me how routine the whole thing was to everyone but Tom and I. All of a sudden it was time and  no one seemed nervous but us. Which I guess is a good thing. Strangely, as soon as I stepped into the OR it was like I had been their before. I know that I had been there before. That exact room, with that exact color of the floor, with that exact nurse helping me on the bed. This is going to be okay. All of the fear left me, God was already there. He’s always already there.

When people would ask if I was ready for their birth it felt impossible to answer. Yes yes yes yes and no, nothing  could prepare me for what it is like to walk into another delivery room waiting to meet my babies. I was really, really scared.

But it went perfectly. The only scary thing was my heart sky-rocketed with anesthesia and my blood pressure went way down. I heard the doctors talking about the color of my skin and the monitors beeping an alarm and I could feel a tight pressure across my shoulders like this isn’t going well. But I kept talking to the doctors telling them what I felt and the anesthesiologist gave me fluid and something to bring my heart rate down and it worked.

I had asked for a clear curtain to see the babies come out but they put up a blue one and the anesthesiologist said he could switch it out but when it came time my blood pressure dropped again so I just let it go to let them focus on keeping me stable–because priorities, right?

11:45 AM Ira was born first. Our sweet Ira boy. Nothing, nothing in the whole world is better than hearing your baby’s first cry. Oh. My. Gosh. It’s all I wanted to hear. Ira crying and a minute later, Edith.

Our beautiful daughter Edith.

Even though I could hear her cry I kept asking Tom, is she crying? I asked him over and over again. The anesthesiologist commented on how emotional we were– ha! He asked if I was going to be okay I just nodded as I bawled tears of joy.

It felt like an eternity before I could see them then they were there. Our happy bright eyed Edith girl (left) who has been that way ever since and sweet sleeping Ira (right). Tom went over with them while they were being checked. I told him to take as many pictures as possible and to film me meeting them, just my face because we weren’t supposed to film anything in the OR. I don’t think I considered how nervous he would be because when I watched the video back it’s just Tom hands shaking, recording my face and taking pictures over and over again of my face– no babies, lol. The anesthesiologist actually took our camera and started taking pictures– he was so funny, saying how nice my camera was and trying to learn all the settings.

We did it! They are safe, I am safe, we did it, praise the Lord they are really here.

That’s all I could think as they brought me back to recovery. I didn’t care about anything else. Our family was in the waiting room, which is a story for another time because I asked them to come the next day. Gosh I love them. Our photographer also came and I was so excited for her to come back but really nothing could pull me away from those first hours of holding our babies.

My favorite part of that precious time was watching Tom watch the babies. He was just so happy. He jokingly said he was scared to be alone with them before I was ready to hold them but I think really he was just nervous for the c-section, just wanting it to go well because he was so calm and happy once they were out.

We got to go back to a room and I just wanted to stare at our babies forever.

This is what holding a miracle feels like. Holding two. Two healthy, happy, perfect newborn babies. We get to be their parents. We can’t believe it.

I both wanted everyone in the world to see them right then and to keep them all to myself so I could memorize their faces forever. In part of my grieving I wondered if I would be able to bond with them without thinking of their sisters. And of course I can’t. Their sisters paved the way. For us to love them fiercer, see them clearer and to be more present for the joy they bring us.

Edith and Ira, how we love you.

Soon as I could stop throwing up (like 6 hours later) it was time for our family to meet them and what an exciting moment. I could not wait to see their faces.

 

Tommy came back first. Oh my word, your baby meeting your babies– is there anything better in life?

He was so excited! Especially about his new brother Ira but really about both babies.

It made my heart so glad to see him so happy to watch him with them.

Our parents were next, mine first then Tom’s and oh goodness, their love and support for us this whole journey– I knew I wanted to capture the moment they got to meet their grand babies.

Look at little Edith meeting my mom. Her eyes are hilarious.

 

What a beautiful day it was.

The rest of the time in the hospital was just us getting used to TWO babies. Mostly trying to figure out how to feed them and remembering to change their diapers. More than a few times nurses came in and asked if they peed or pooped and we said oh yeah, we are supposed to do that. We were just too busy looking at them. Breastfeeding went well to start (or so I thought) but by day three both babies were losing weight (10% and 12% body weight) and I decided to introduce formula (more on that in another post).

Within 6 hours I was up and walking, praise the Lord, that was something I was so scared about. The nurses made it so easy this time, they told me to stand up with my thighs– which sounds like, duh, but with my last c-section standing was EXCRUCIATINGLY painful. Walking the halls was my favorite thing to do because it felt so good to be able to move and to not be pregnant! Thirteen pounds of baby you guys, thirteen pounds of baby.

We are so blessed. So funny story, we didn’t know what Ira’s middle name was until the very last minute. I was literally asking each nurse and lactation consultant and doctor what we should name him. We had a list but I couldn’t decide. It was almost Ira Judah, it might actually still almost be Ira Judah– just as I was writing this I called our health department to see how long you have to change your baby’s name and get this– you have whole year.

But every time I thought about naming him something else I came back to Brighton, Ira Brighton, our bright rainbow baby after a loss. And Edith Bailey, our bonus baby who’s name was picked out before I even knew she would come.

We are so in awe of the Lord, that by His grace, God gave us these two precious babies. We hope when you look at them, you can see Him. Our prayer is for Ira and Edith to grow up to do great things for Jesus, we can’t wait to get to know them and watch who they will become. We pray they are a testimony of God’s grace and mercy, to everyone who meets them. That the story of their birth proves the power of prayer and of a God who is faithful to us, when we least expect it. Even when we hold on to fear and doubt, and sorrow. A God who loves us enough to give the specific and unbelievable desires of our heart–for us, twins, again.

We were two parents who were broken by the loss of our babies, who turned to Jesus and trusted him. Each time I prayed, God told me wait and see. Wait and see what I will do. We trusted Him and waited and on December 30th, 2019 God gave us Ira Brighton and Edith Bailey Taylor. The sweetest rainbow babies we never saw coming.

Your prayers for us, mean everything. Truly, the power of prayer surrounding us and our precious babies gives me goosebumps. We love you all, thanks for all of your love and support.

Always grateful, always thankful, totally in awe,

Emily

34 Weeks Pregnant With Twins After Loss

Hi guys, I am writing this amazed that we are thirty four weeks pregnant with our second set of twins. How can that be? I always say ‘WE’ when referring to pregnancy and I’m not really sure why, I guess because they are Tom’s babies too and truth is, I can’t do it without him. This pregnancy has been hard but fast, hard emotionally but going completely well physically. Except for being EXTREMELY uncomfortable. How come no one talks about how uncomfortable pregnancy is? Twin pregnancy is that times two. Which I guess everyone figures but until you do it…phew.

If I could change anything it would be how much I complain because how can you complain carrying a miracle like two babies at once? But man does it hurt. Truth is I know it was because of not taking care of my body postpartum. Pelvic floor muscles are no joke. My doctor kindly reminded me I carried five babes in three years but still. Twin pregnancies are so hard.

We are in great anticipation of baby Ira and Edith coming. THREE WEEKS is crazy. Everyone asks us if we are ready and the answer is YES but also no, not at all. Two babies to take home? How can that be?

As quickly and painfully as this pregnancy has gone, painful physically and emotionally, God’s faithfulness remains. I am learning I don’t have to look for it in each healthy ultrasound report or mark it by each successful OB appointment.

It is hard to separate the two. God’s faithfulness and a healthy pregnancy being the proof but God is always faithful, no matter how this goes. Amen? Tom tells me these babies are a reward and I actually argue with him about that (still do). As if we were given twins again because we didn’t terminate our first. I don’t think that is how God works. His faithfulness is infinite. His love for us greater than our circumstance and greater than our response. Tom is right, children are a reward. But all of our children are a reward. All five of them.

I don’t see Ira and Edith as more of a gift because they are going to live. I don’t see Eliza and Ensley as less because we knew they would die. All five of my babies came from God, who loves us and has a plan for them. God’s faithfulness is bigger than us. Greater than our pain, and better than our understanding.

I’ve had people tell me my logic is flawed because if God were so good and faithful why would He let our babies die? This is an actual thing people have said to me at 34 weeks pregnant after losing babies. I know right? The thing is we don’t know. But we know God knows and we trust Him.

Thanks for praying for us friends! We cherish all of you who have followed are story. Especially thank you for seeing these twins as a blessing to us and encouraging us in believing that. They truly are and we can’t wait to meet them.

Always grateful, always thankful,

Emily

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

Today Wasn’t Hard + Scooby-Doo Stickers

Keeping it real. Ever since I had a #pulmonaryembolism two weeks ago, I have doctor appointments on top of doctors appointments. On top of doctors appointments. At least that is how it feels because one doctor appointment will wipe you out. So does making the bed. Sheesh. So today Tom’s mom watched Tommy while I went to the doctor, then she left and I remembered I had to go get my blood drawn. Not sure how I forgot since I do it every day. ANYWAY. I had to drive all the way back across town to the hospital, with Tommy. I was grumbling the whole time.

Then I’m walking across the parking lot and it hits me. I am walking across this parking lot. I am holding my baby’s hand. I am walking into the same hospital that saved my life. I drove myself here. I can walk. I can breathe. I can hold my baby’s hand. We, are okay. . . I got to the lab, my favorite tech was there (shout out girl) and she got my blood in .007 seconds instead of three tries like everyone else. “See,” she says, “that was easy.” She smiled and gave Tommy a Scooby-Doo sticker. . .

I asked her why he got the sticker instead of me. But I was kidding, I would have given it to him anyway.

My favorite tech reminds me of Jesus. Not because she gets my blood in one try. She is radiant and confident and comforting. I would never tell her that but I should. So today when she told me it was easy and gave us a Scooby-Doo sticker, it reminded me that God is like that too. We have to do inconvenient things and there is God, with a pat on the back and a Scooby-Doo sticker. See, He says, that was easy.

We also have to do hard things that are hard.

On the way home there is a sunflower field. It’s right off of the road, all of my friends know about it, so shout out. I may or may not take credit for it. Even though I’m sure it has nothing to do with me. It’s just that this one time, I tried to buy sunflowers from a family on the same road but the wife kindly explained that they only grew them for bird seed. I told her she was missing out, that I would pay her to cut sunflowers. The next year there was this field across from their house. $3 for 13 flowers. I’m sure it’s a coincidence.

But you know for sure I am going to stop. Every time. “Tom, Tom! Pull over, the SUNFLOWERS!” Yeah, he never pulls over. But Tommy and I did today. Because today wasn’t so hard.

My phone only had 2% battery and I’m pretty sure Tommy thought I was crazy, speed walking through the flowers yelling “LOOK how pretty they are!” “Look at the BEES!”

At one point I was smack in the middle of the field trying to pick the perfect flower, (because I only had $1) and Tommy was just staring at me like, my mom, has gone crazy.

But he humored me, and told me the flowers were pretty, just like I thought.

Back to doing hard things. This morning, at one of my doctor’s appointments, my doctor blurted out “Congratulations on having twins!” He didn’t read my chart (or maybe he did, what the heck is in my chart?)  I said “Oh, Dr. Lin, my babies died”. He quickly apologized and said he was heartbroken for me.

I am too, I said. Heartbroken. It’s the first time I said it out loud.

It’s a hard thing, missing these babies. It’s a catch your breath, can you breathe again? Kind of hard. It makes everything else fade away. Doctors appointments? Blood work? Great. Give me a Scooby-Doo sticker, I’ll be fine.

But in the hard things, the catch your breath THIS IS SO HARD things, God is still there. Not with a Scooby-Doo sticker. More like a field of flowers. A whole field full. With butterflies dancing all around them. And a toddler, smiling at his crazy mama. A reminder to breathe, a deep breath in lungs that still work. And talk to a God who made flowers this pretty.

If you need a Scooby-Do sticker or a whole field of flowers, let me know, I know where to find them both.

Still thankful, still grateful,

Emily

 

 

 

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

Tell Me What God Can Do

Gods Promises, Andrea HoweyTell us about your miracles. We are just weeks or maybe days away from meeting our babies and I want to hear all about miracles God has already done. In my bible I fast forward to the part where God heals. All of the healing.

True story though, mid-way through our pregnancy a friend sent me a message about a baby who was born with a birth defect. The doctors told his mom to terminate her pregnancy, just like they were telling us. He is now happy and healthy and funny story; I know him. My friend said she wanted me to know that God healed that baby, and He could heal our babies too. We have heard a lot of stories like that.

But when I read her text message, instead of rejoicing in what God can do, I threw my phone across the room and yelled:

DON’T TELL ME WHAT GOD CAN DO. STOP TELLING ME WHAT GOD CAN DO.

Then I fell to my knees on our kitchen floor sobbing.

That baby had one defect. Our babies have multiple defects, two pages listing all of their defects. It’s a list.

So a story of a baby with one defect who survived, I just couldn’t.

I was bitter. Face down on my kitchen floor that day (I hadn’t even cleaned it) I asked God to help me. And every day I ask Him to help me still. God did, He still does, every single day.

I have still been bitter, so bitter during this pregnancy (if you only knew) but I can overcome it by one truth. I know what God can do. Not just what God can do for our babies but what God can do in my heart. That bitterness, and my unbelief are no match for God’s promises.

And when I say, STOP TELLING ME WHAT GOD CAN DO, really I mean never stop telling me what God can do. 

xoxo.