The Birth of Ira Brighton and Edith Bailey Taylor

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

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

 

 

Fall Capsule Wardrobe For Toddler

Fall Capsule Wardrobe For Toddler

Hi friends, I created this budget friendly toddler boy capsule wardrobe because I LOVE capsule wardrobes and I’ve been meaning to do one for Tommy.

Truth is we are always on a budget. I used to try to thrift all Tommy’s clothes but honestly guys, it’s a waste of time. Especially when Walmart has clothes for just $3.88.

*I should note that I do have clothes for him that were given to us (people are so nice) like coats, overalls and jeans that I didn’t put in here.

But, if I were going to start new for fall this year this is what I would buy. And the best part, you can find all of it at just two stores: Walmart and Target because this season of life is ALL ABOUT SIMPLE.

The first thing I do when planning a capsule wardrobe for me or yes, for Tommy too, is pick out a color scheme, it makes shopping and pairing things down SO much easier. This season (his 3T-4T season of life) I choose gray, cream, black and teal. Simple and easy but it works.

Budget Friendly Fall Capsule Wardrobe For Toddler Boy

  1. fluffy sherpa /  walmart- We already have a fleece jacket but if not this one was in my budget, it’s maybe on the thin side but comfy. The fleece jacket we have is the shell of BEST 3-1 jacket from Children’s Place. I bought it on sale on black Friday, totally worth it guys.
  2. henley / target- these are cute and comfy and stretchy. My goal is not to spend more than $7.00 per piece for kids clothes and they are $7.00 exactly.
  3. hat and mittens / target- I put it in his fall capsule instead of winter but to be honest, after I found these, I found gloves and hats at the Dollar Tree for a dollar that will work. Also, pro-mom tip, regular sized beanies work fine for kids.
  4. cowboy boots / walmart- so all my child wears is cowboy boots, it started out cute, but now he can’t pull them on himself (always get shoes they can put on themselves!!!) ugh. But they are work out really well for dress up or dress down, jumping in mud, stepping in chicken poop, all the things.
  5. fleece joggers / target- I like comfy clothes for kids, pants they can play in. Joggers look just a little bit nicer than sweatpants all the time (okay so they are sweatpants but still.)
  6. henley / target- same henley as #2, I got him two. They wash soft which I love.
  7. boys leggings / target- boys leggings! tell me your thoughts on ‘boy’s leggings’. I LOVE them for little boys, they  they can move in them unlike jeans or thick sweatpants. I layer them under joggers, jeans and overalls, and he wears them to bed too.
  8. pajama set– usually we sleep in regular clothes but I do love pj sets and Tommy wears them during the day or as a layer because why not.
  9. sneakers / walmart- we love these shoes. He has wide feet and these fit.
  10. long sleeve tee / target- I used to always look for cute graphic tees for Tommy but lately I’ve been making my own and actually, I really love just plain shirts, these are a good weight and wash soft
  11. long sleeve tee / target- same as #10
  12. joggers / target- you might notice I don’t have jeans on here. These joggers are soft and comfortable though and I like that he can wear them every day or we save them up for church
  13. raglan tee / walmart- I love raglan tees walmart had them cheaper then the old navy but not as many colors.

That is our toddler boy’s capsule wardrobe for fall 2019, I just realized Tommy is switching over to regular boy sizes very soon–eekk!

Tell me your capsule wardrobe successes and fails. Do you love the idea of a capsule wardrobe or find it too much to think about it. I like it because I find planning keeps things simple and laundry, way less laundry.

Let me know.

Love and pumpkins,
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

Find Yourself a Moms Group

Find Yourself a Moms Group

Find yourself a moms group.

My mom was the first one to tell me to go to MOPS.

I was asking her a bunch of questions about the baby I was about to have. “Just find a moms group, it will keep you sane.” I thought moms group sounded…awkward. I didn’t have a baby yet, I couldn’t relate. All the moms at my church already had babies and their babies were turning into teenagers, what would we relate on?

Oh you know, just motherhood.

I went to a moms group at my church out of desperation and I found my closest friends. Pregnant, I had the most conflicting feelings of fear, anxiety and absolute joy.  I felt really out of place at first. The moms were talking about school issues, conflicts with teachers, fights on the bus, my baby wasn’t even born yet. But I kept going. And kept going.

Some nights I didn’t say a word just listened to the moms talk. When would this would help me stop feeling lonely? Some days I would skip (they met every week) and Tom would say “you should really go to that moms group.”

Nah, it’s for real moms, I’m just pregnant, I can’t really relate. “Go anyway”, he would say.
That’s the key to moms group. Go anyway.

Find yourself a moms group. It is okay to shop around. But then go, and go anyway.

Go despite how you feel, despite who you connect with, despite if it means your family is eating McDonald’s for dinner (or breakfast)– just go.

It will be messy and uncomfortable. You’ll feel like the only one– the only one with a baby, or the only one with a teenager, the only one who parents the way you do, the only one who doesn’t eat organic, the only one who works– but you’re not. You are not alone. Most of all, you are not alone.

Find yourself a moms group for community.

If you find a moms group rooted in Jesus, you’ll find the women who will pray for you, who will pray for your children, and they will become the ones you can tell your biggest fears to and who will speak life over them and into you.

Wednesday night moms group was the first time I said, “I am really anxious and I think I need help.” It was another mom who told me how to get help. I had postpartum depression and anxiety. She doesn’t know it but she saved me and she saved my motherhood. Over time, somewhere between playing UNO, doing devotionals and coloring adult coloring pages (weird right?) I found my closest friends.

MOPS group Littlestown PA

The ride or die ones. The mom friend ones. The ones who have who have heard my messy heart, been in my messy van, seen my messy house and love me anyway. They love me even when I don’t text them back for days, they know not to call on the phone– who has the time– they love me when I don’t show up and they love it when I do.

Mom friends understand what it’s like to be a mom friend.

I am not like all of my mom friends, not really, I am still the youngest, still the least put together (for sure), I am still the one who refuses to eat organic food and only recently accepted essential oils into my life. But by showing up, over and over, on days when I didn’t feel like, from making them a priority, from making community a priority, I found what I was desperate for………mom friends.

Find yourself a moms group.

You probably have choices of mom groups to join but I am really biased and say go to one with moms who love Jesus. MOPS International is a group for moms founded in the Christ. I stumbled into MOPS because my church has one, (with free childcare– I know right!). But if you want to find one near you– look here: www.mops.org/groupsearch/ and if you want to join mine, send me a message and I’ll look for you there.  We have coffee. And childcare. We’re a messy bunch but we will gladly be your mom friends.

 

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.

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