Hi friends, I haven’t written much since the birth of our babies in August so I wanted to let you know how we are. All I can say is God does miraculous things with broken hearts.
When I thought about life after infant loss, I thought about all the things I would not be able to do–
get out of bed, go to work, have another baby, be a good friend, be a good wife. I forgot that God does miraculous things with broken hearts.
Getting out of bed is hard, forget about work, and having another baby? We are terrified. I am not a good friend, daughter, or wife. In fact our marriage has never been harder. Yet, here we stand, safe in the love of Jesus.
God does miraculous things with broken hearts.
Recently I was talking to someone who lost his daughter just weeks after we lost our daughters.
He said when people ask him how he is, he wants to say;
“how the hell do you think I am”?
I nodded with tears.
I said “but Jesus right”?
He looked at me.
So I said it again, “but Jesus”.
I know exactly how he feels.
But Jesus still.
I thought this part, life after infant loss, would be the easier part. Easier than preparing for our babies to die. But it’s not. I asked Tom why. He said maybe it is because we aren’t clinging to God like we were when I was pregnant. I think he’s probably right.
We have hope, and still we have joy. But our grief is so normal now. Like it will never go away, probably because it won’t. I was struggling with that but the bible says;
1 Thessalonians 4:13: “We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope.” Yours is a grieving with hope. Theirs is a grieving without hope. That is the key difference. There is no talk of not grieving. That would be like suggesting to a woman who just lost her arm that she not cry, because it would be put back on in the resurrection. It hurts! That’s why we cry. It hurts
To be grieving and still hopeful, to have sorrow and abundant joy; it’s all part of the miraculous things God does with broken hearts.
Always grateful, always thankful,
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,
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.
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.
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,
**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.
Our Tommy-man is two years old.
And he is just so funny. Whoever calls twos terrible, well I just don’t know but it’s pretty terrific.
Two-year-old Tommy is a total goofball. Everything is funny, everything is fun except when he doesn’t get the snack he wants. Then maybe I do get it. #toddlerlife
Two Year Update
Really, Tommy is still sweet natured (just like his dad) but maybe a touch stubborn (like his mama) and now he comes up with the funniest things. Like how he saw the dog eating grass in the backyard and tells everyone Kiptyn eats poop and then laughs about it like it is the funniest thing he’s ever heard.
I love watching his imagination lately- it is out there (not the dog eating poop thing, that’s probably true).
Watching him grow into a two-year-old, he is more confident with most everything. He is not timid about anything and will let you know what he wants. Like cookies and donuts and playing outside.
Lately he has turned into a chatterbox, literally repeating everything we say. (Like that one time he told his dad to chill out.) His favorite word might be no, but I’ve heard it’s a toddler thing. He says a lot of other things the funniest being heavy- which he says with a weird accent- heeeavvvy. It’s the best.
He outgrew his dance to all rap music stage but I am sure it will come back right?
A big milestone for us is now at two he may have outgrown his dairy allergy. Hallelujah. Tommy had a whole piece of pizza the other day and did just fine so fingers crossed.
I just realized I have no idea how much he weighs or how tall he is so maybe I should get on that but he is in 3T clothes and I’ buying bigger shoes every week.
Here are some more of two year old Tommy’s favorite things.
favorite food : shrimp lo-mein (just like me)
favorite color : orange, he thinks everything is orange or pink
favorite book : Everyone Poops (I mean, it’s a classic so..)
favorite thing to do : be outside
favorite toy : toy shotgun
favorite sport : baseball
favorite tv show : PJ Masks on repeat (make it stop! jk)
favorite place : the farm
favorite animal : dogs
favorite dog : Ripken, his aunt Val’s yellow lab
loves : all things animals, balls and sports, guns
most used phrase : “what happened? or what is that?”
That’s all about Tommy for his two year update. I’ve got to say I love raising a two-year old. Especially this two-year old.
What up home slices?
So this would be where I say: hey! long time no blog but…I have a 16 month old child. So there’s that. Are there women who raise babies and blog at the same time? Because I want to be one of those women.
This raising babies thing is a hoot. Like how do people do this? Tom thinks I’m dramatic but I just speak the truth. The truth is I never want to forget this. Ever. There was a story with this picture- I think Tommy was in a bad mood and I felt like I fought him all day then he just sat on the chair like an old man to watch a tv show and it was the cutest thing. But I don’t know because I didn’t write it down in my blog. See y’all? Blogging is that important.
So yeah, just wanted to say hi!
Can you comment what you think I should blog about? Because I’m dying to know. Like 115 posts about what my toddler ate for breakfast is that exciting? Recipes? (I can’t do that so don’t even ask) Life stuff? But for real, let me know.