You guys are praying for us, like really praying for us and we can feel it.
We are so humbled by your prayers.
Thursday was our anatomy scan for our twins and even though we get ultrasounds every week, this was the big one where the doctors look at all their fingers and all of their toes- which they have!
Our doctors are still giving us the diagnosis of limb body wall complex (or something similar), which no baby has survived but we go to each appointment with an open mind that anything can happen.
I intentionally shared about the babies on facebook the day before thinking maybe some friends from church would pray with us.
Woah, you guys. Woah. I never thought so many people would respond. And you all are still praying! To be honest I was nervous about telling our story on facebook because so many people have questioned why we would keep this pregnancy if the babies have a fatal diagnosis.
The answer is, God is in control and He is good all of the time. Tom came home from work Wednesday night and I said, “Tom, people are praying, like really praying.” His response was what did you expect? I guess I don’t know.
Tom was able to go with me to the anatomy scan and I will always be thankful to his boss for that.
Truthfully, most of the time we have no idea what we are looking at on ultrasound. But it is precious time with the babies. Funny thing: at one point our ultrasound said, “well no hands then”, because one baby’s hands were in a little fist and she couldn’t quite see them. I didn’t even flinch, just thought- add it to the list, we will pray for hands. Limb body wall complex means abnormal findings like no hands, no legs. But then she said, “today”. Meaning baby A has hands but she just couldn’t see them ‘today’. I guess it’s not funny at all but it was to me. Our babies have both arms, both hands, both legs and both feet- that is amazing.
Another funny thing that is maybe not funny at all- we never got to talk to the doctors about the results of our anatomy scan.
The scan took two and a half hours. But I had another appointment to go to. I am pretty sure they still think both babies have limb body wall complex or the equivalent as our maternal fetal medicine told us- no change, one baby has fluid in the abdomen but it’s not concerning and one baby may have a cleft palate.
Still not sure if they will live. Still not sure if they will die.
And that was it. The appointment took all day. But we got to see our babies, we had lunch together (shout out to flamers chicken, our go to at Johns Hopkins’ cafeteria) and best of all we felt God’s grace all around us. All around us.
As I was jogging down the hall trying to find a bathroom, I saw a precious girl standing on her IV being pushed by her mom down the hall. She looked so sick. I stopped right there and felt the weight of it. All of this. What parents will do for their children, what doctors will do to for their patients. And I started praying for her, I said God, give her all of the prayers we are getting, give her all of the healing we are asking for. Give them to her and her mom. We even haven’t met our babies yet but that mom has a little girl alive and she is suffering- it was hard but as God stopped me, He reminded me, there is enough for her and me and the babies and all of us. Oh Jesus, there is enough for all of us.
God is so good you guys. We are thankful for our doctors, for being able to go to Johns Hopkins and for getting to see our sweet babies so often. And the power prayer is real. We are feeling it and witnessing to the truth that God hears our prayers.
Our hearts are forever changed,
Tom and Emily
There is something I’ve been meaning to tell you.
In January, Tom and I found out we are expecting another baby.
In February we found out we are expecting twins.
In March we found out our babies had several abnormalities and were deemed incompatible with life. Specifically, both of our twins have limb body wall complex.
Now it’s May and I am 21 weeks pregnant with these sweet babies.
At 12 weeks our ultrasound technician left the room quietly to get our doctor. I told Tom she looked upset. We already knew we were having twins, we already knew there was a chance they could be conjoined.
My OB sent us to a maternal fetal medicine doctor the same day. The doctor came in and the quietest voice, told us that our babies were incompatible with life. She listed off several abnormalities and showed us each one.
She explained that none of it added up to be any one defect or any one cause. She said they could also be conjoined at the liver, we just don’t know.
She asked if I had any questions. I looked at the screen, where I just saw two hearts beating and asked: “but they are still alive…so why are they still alive”?
She quietly said, “I don’t know”.
She got up to leave and told us to take as much time as we needed which sounded ridiculous.
Then, I looked at Tom and sobbed like I have never sobbed before. Good thing Tom was there to hold me because it was 20 minutes before I could walk again. As we cried, we both cried out to Jesus. The presence of the Holy Spirit became so thick in the room we could tangibly feel God all around us. We both walked out with a peace we still can’t explain. Except we can.
God goes before us, He is always with us, He never forsakes us. God was already there.
And the same God who I walked into that exam room with, is the same God I left with.
His promises are real. And even in this I have joy.
God is bigger than all of my fear.
Our faith tells us God can heal these babies completely. And we know they are already whole and complete in Jesus. No matter how long we have them, we are their parents- stewards of their souls. If we lose them, we know that Jesus conquered death. So we have no fear. We only have joy.
I plan to post about our journey. Even the hard parts. Already, I have gained so much from reading from other parents who faced a similar diagnosis. Already God has shown up for us in ways we can’t explain but will try to witness too.
Will you pray our sweet babies and for us- believe with us for a miracle and trust God to do a work in us either way? We so covet your prayers. Thank you sweet friends.
Cherishing all of your prayers and forever thankful for these babies,
“Agricultural Inspector I- Maryland Department of Agriculture.
Assists with Maryland’s Contagious Equine Metritis Quarantine (CEM) Station
Equine emphasis, needs knowledge of contagious and infectious diseases of livestock.”
It was in a newspaper job listing, folded over and circled by my second boyfriend’s sweet mother.
She put it on the kitchen table and everyday for at least two weeks she asked if I had applied to that neat job in Maryland.
I did apply, at 11:52 PM the day of the application deadline. Applications were due at midnight. It took me so long because in the back of my mind I thought there is no way- they need someone way smarter than me.
A few weeks: a letter came with “Congratulations, you’ve been selected”.
I printed every USDA Factsheet I could find on CEM to figure out what the heck it was. Then, like a professional, I read them 15 minutes before my interview.
The truth is at that exact moment, I was a mess. My boyfriend had just broken up with me I was living in his Grandmother’s house working at a pet store and was miserable. I considered it rock bottom for my 23 year old self. I started questioning why the heck I majored in Dairy Science in college and what the heck I was going to do with my life. All of my dreams seemed a million miles away.
But because of that two important things happened:
I prayed a lot.
I decided to give my life to God instead of trying to figure it out on my own.
And because I gave my life over to God, I got over myself.
By getting over myself, I mean I stopped worrying, and I stopped putting my identity in my boyfriend or how poorly I did in college or wether or not I had a job and decided to just be happy and genuine, no matter what because really, one thing I was still sure of was God’s grace.
So the day of the interview I walked into the office with my USDA factsheets, some thoughts on why I’d be so perfect for the job even if I hardly passed college and I was so happy to be there. So happy. And for once I was completely myself.
For once in an interview I didn’t try to impress anyone, didn’t try to memorize things I couldn’t pronounce and I didn’t try to act like I knew everything.
Instead I said “Hi I’m Emily, I don’t know much about horses or contagious livestock diseases, but I REALLY want this job and my boyfriend just broke up with me so yeah, I have a ton of free time [Big smile].”
That was it really. That is how I landed the best job ever. I was honest and I smiled a bunch. When I asked my boss months later, she said “yeah, you seemed easy to get along with, that’s all we really cared about you know- you can teach someone the rest.”
Agricultural Inspector I, Maryland Department of Agriculture
Even five years later I can hardly believe I got the job.
So there you go. I landed the best job ever by the grace of God. Literally.
Easter love is Jesus dying on the cross and rising from the dead three days later.
Jesus Christ coming back to life- oh man it is good news, the very best news because Jesus rising from the dead means we get to have eternal life. Say what. So Easter is the best kind of celebration.
We celebrated at home and Tom’s family came over to celebrate with us. They brought ham and all the food. We brought the baby. Tom’s mom brought the bunny ears.
I insisted we start a family Easter photo tradition because traditions are important. I think for once Tom agreed when he saw how cute his baby looked in bunny ears. I think he is going to look just as cute every year until he is eighteen. Traditions are important.
We love Easter so much. We thank God for the new life he gave us in Jesus Christ and for the new life of our baby boy. Happy Easter!
A whole day to give thanks and eat food is the best. Especially if you are pregnant. Especially if you are pregnant and your biggest food craving is turkey. Mmmmm turkey. Sweet turkey and stuffing and gravy and cranberry sauce and green beans and sweet potato casserole..
No joke, turkey has been my biggest pregnancy craving. I’ve tried cooking up turkey breast like my mom does but I didn’t realize a whole turkey breast is kind of expensive (at least at our grocery store) and kind of a lot of turkey. I bought two for just Tom and I and made a bunch of turkey paninis. In fact all I’ve ate for lunch for the past four months is turkey paninis.
But even with eating all that turkey I’ve dreamt about thanksgiving turkey for
This year Thanksgiving seemed so much sweeter because I am so grateful to be carrying our baby.
So grateful that I sometimes don’t know how God could be this good to us. But of course He is good to us, all of the time. In the beginning of my pregnancy I worried almost daily that I could lose this baby and sometimes in my darkest moments I still do. Prayer is what gets me through those moments, faith and trust that God is in control all of the time.
When our pastor recited 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 in his Thanksgiving message- Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus I really, really needed to hear it.
So this Thanksgiving I am thankful for turkey, oh gosh turkey and for our sweet growing baby and for a God who loves us- no matter what.
Today for work I had to deliver an official document for signature to a Mennonite farmer for an investigation. Showing up in the middle of him milking and having him sign a paper for the government made me a little uneasy. Whenever I go to a farm or business for work I always pray before I get out. I pray for everything to go well and if at all possible, that I could be a blessing to whoever I meet. Actually, I do this all the time for everything. “God let this go well, help me say the right things and let me be a blessing Lord..”
When I pulled into the farm I was greeted by the cutest little girl ever. She stood from the milking parlor staring at me from the moment I got out of the truck. She got about two feet away and stared like I was the coolest thing she had ever seen, smiling the whole time. I greeted her dad and said hi to her but she didn’t say anything. I wanted to ask her name but wasn’t sure if that was ok so I awkwardly smiled back and waited the paperwork to get signed.
There was something about that girl made my whole day. She was adorable for one, wearing a bonnet and little Mennonite dress but more than that, she was full of life. You could see it beaming out of her. As we stood there smiling at each other I prayed for her. I prayed that the Lord would bless her and started to pray that she would know Him but I realized she probably already did. And that’s what it was, a love for God was literally pouring out of this little girl. It was in the way she wasn’t afraid of me or shy at all, in the way that she smiled and didn’t stop, and in the way she stood on her driveway as if she owned the world. I prayed that she would stay strong in the Lord and then prayed that my kids might be like her and that I might be like her, that when someone met me for four minutes they could pick up on the fact that I know God and that I love God.