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Dear James Michael

  • A Letter to Our Baby Boy

Our Sweet James Michael,

Your story started unexpectantly back in October of 2017. Your sister was just 8 months old and getting pregnant with another baby wasn’t on your momma and daddy’s radar. When we were trying to get pregnant with your sister, it took half a year of very calculated dates, cycles, and tons of prayer. We weren’t the people who just got pregnant instantly. So you can imagine how shocked we were when I took a pregnancy test right before leaving for an engagement session and it was positive. We couldn’t believe it. We were shocked but that quickly turned to excitement and thankfulness. 

We told your grandparents and they were equally just as shocked and excited. You were a surprise blessing that no one saw coming… except God. We took you on a trip to California and Arizona with your sister when you were just the size of a lentil! You were tiny but your momma could tell that you were there. It only took a few weeks before my pants that I had just gotten back into didn’t fit anymore and my gag reflex started to kick in. We told our friends on the west coast about our news and they squealed, cried, and hugged us. Everyone was so excited about you…. our little surprise baby.

Your first ultrasound was perfect. It was too early to hear a heartbeat but we saw you and we cried. Your sister waved at the screen and we left the doctor’s office just like we did when I was pregnant with her. Thanksgiving came and we told family friends…. Christmas came and we talked about how this would be our only Christmas with just Evy. It was still so hard to believe that we would have a 6 month old at Christmas 2018. A week after Christmas, after our 12 week appointment, we told the world that you existed. Evy wore her “Big Sister” t-shirt and the internet rejoiced with us over you. You brought joy to people’s lives before you were even the size of an orange.

January came and our 16 week appointment went well. You had a strong heartbeat, but we didn’t do an ultrasound. Four weeks flew by and before we knew it, it was 7:30am on February 12th and we were frantically rushing to get your sister fed, dressed, and out the door in time for your 7:45am ultrasound.

We were so excited because this was the ultrasound where they were going to see if you were a boy or girl and put it in an envelope for us to open later with friends. The ultrasound tech was so sweet. She started scanning over your little body and was chatty at first… but then she seemed to be focused on her job and so we just talked to your sister and told her to wave to you on the screen. The tech said “You know, his little hand is covering his heart on the left side and so I’m going to step out and get your pictures for a minute and let him move a little”. After about five minutes, I looked at your daddy and said “Do you think something is wrong?” and he said “no” because he never wants me to worry. The door opened, the tech did a quick scan and then left again and said Dr. Troyer was going to come in. Dr. Troyer came in, sat down and basically shattered so many of our dreams within just a few minutes. The words that haunt me are “I’m concerned, your baby is very sick”.

She proceeded to go over your sweet little body and show us everything that wasn’t normal. I wasn’t crying at this point…. I was praying. Praying that whatever the tech saw was miraculously not there anymore… just anything to change what was happening. I was praying that this was just a precaution… maybe you just needed a heart surgery at birth… maybe this would resolve itself…. but she just kept going. Problem after problem. You seemed so perfect to me. Your daddy and I had just watched the ultrasound tech move all over your body just 20 minutes before and you looked so healthy and happy to us. We had no idea. We were shocked and scared. The doctor left and your daddy and I fell to pieces. Your Aunt Emy came to pick up Evy, and your Mimi met us in the waiting room just as we were leaving from the worst appointment of our lives.

It’s devastating.

We went home and your Grammy and Paw, Grandaddy and Uncle Joe met us there. We prayed for you… we asked for miracles… we thanked God for you… and we decided to open our envelope to see if you were a little boy or girl. Your sister pulled out the picture and we saw that you were a little boy. There were so many tears. It’s hard to explain what we felt that day… really that whole week. It was like living in a constant fog. I would cry to your daddy before bed. I cried in the shower. I cried when you moved. I cried when I thought about you being in pain. However, in the midst of the fog and the pain, God was giving us just bits and pieces of clarity in the chaos.

We decided to still have your sister’s first birthday party. We got up in front of our closest family and friends and shared that you were named James Michael Alsop… after your Paw, after my maiden name, after your Daddy and after our best friend. We shared that we were celebrating Evy, but we were also celebrating you… because we didn’t know how long we would have you and you deserved to be celebrated. I scanned our kitchen and everyone had tears in their eyes. It’s just so sad. The whole room felt heavy. But we celebrated and we prepared for the next step.

The next step were test results. The phone call came on Monday morning. Dr. Troyer called and shared that you are one special boy. You have Trisomy 21 which is most commonly known as Down’s Syndrome. Oh how I wish that was it. I wish you just had an extra chromosome. If you just had Down’s Syndrome and small complications, we could be prepared for surgeries and therapy and we would change our whole life to make your life easier. We would take you all over the world to get help if you needed it. We would do anything for you. We would move heaven and earth to allow you to live….. but the hydrops  . . . the fluid filling your abdomen, the fluid around your heart and lungs, the hygroma fluid around your head, the heart defect that is doing permanent damage on your little heart, the abnormalities with your stomach and your intestines, the skin edema… it all seems to be taking away our chance to love you and care for you on this side of heaven.

Our 21 week ultrasound showed us that you’re a fighter. Your body is declining but yet your little heart still keeps pumping. The doctor told us it’s a miracle that you’re still alive inside of me. As your momma…. I had a hard time seeing your sweet profile on the screen… watching you put your fist in your mouth and yawn and wiggle while simultaneously being told that we probably have no more than 4 weeks left with you living inside of me.

Everything I had envisioned about you, everything I had planned in my head, everything I expected… none of it seems like it’s going to become our reality. I pictured having a newborn baby on the dock at the lake this summer…. Evy coming in and holding you in the hospital and hearing you cry… matching outfits for the thousands of pictures I would take of you and your sister…. putting another carseat in the minivan….creating another nursery….being a family of four…. it just seems so unfair. It seems like a mean trick to wake up every morning throwing up and knowing that I probably won’t get to see the beautiful light at the end of this journey like most mommas do. It’s devastating. It affects every part of my day… every part of my life… every part of my mind. My heart just seems to ache constantly…..

But……

That’s not the end of your story, sweet boy.

We didn’t just have a devastating ultrasound and now our world is crashing down around us. We can’t stay there….. because the truth is, the story of your life is JUST beginning. This isn’t the story we wanted. This isn’t the outcome we wanted….. but this is what I know to be true.

James Michael, I know that you are not an accident.

You are not just a “random” chromosomal abnormality with a lot of extra complications… even though that’s what our medical records will show. You are not an unfortunate pregnancy that we are just going to try to forget. You are not a part of our life that we can’t bear to think about and will hide from our other children. You aren’t a story that will never be told. Your sweet life has purpose. I know this because you were our surprise…. the almighty God is the one who decided that you needed to exist inside of me.

My sweet boy, you are a miracle.

You have made your momma cling to Jesus more than any other time in her entire life.

You’ve made strangers question where they stand with their relationship with God and what they believe about eternity.

You’ve made thousands and thousands of people come together and cry out to God for our family.

You have given me a new perspective on what it means to be a momma and what it means to love.

Your life is showing a broken world that God doesn’t mess up and create accidents…

… Because if your sweet life has such deep purpose and you have never breathed one breath, how purposeful then is every single life on this earth?

How can someone hear about your life and yet think that God doesn’t have a plan for them? If God is using your beautiful, short and precious time on this earth to change lives and make an impact, how can we not look at our own lives and expect that God wants to do the same with us?

When I’m by myself and I find myself feeling overcome with sadness that I’m going to miss all of the normal parts of being your momma, I’m reminded that you were never mine to begin with. That’s a hard reality to grasp as a mom. I want to believe that I’m the only one who can take good care of you….. that you need me more than anything else…. that I can comfort you and provide for you. But the truth is, your Creator, the one who knit you together in my womb and who has known your story long before we ever took a pregnancy test is the great healer. If you never experience the pain of this earth… never have to use your strained lungs or feel the weight of gravity on your fluid-filled skin, I will have such a peace knowing that you are in the arms of Jesus where there is no more pain. Your precious body won’t be full of hard-to-pronounce medical issues. You will be whole and you will be completely healed and more safe than you would ever be here on this earth.

Picturing the Lord taking away your pain gives us peace…. and it forces us to think of the beauty of the Gospel.

Thank you Jesus for dying for our broken, sinful world and bridging the gap between us and a perfect God. Thank you for saving us and allowing us to have a place in eternity, but also giving our lives a PURPOSE here on earth. Thank you that our baby Boy’s life isn’t going to just be 5-7 months of miserable ultrasounds, tears, and a delivery that no mother wants to face. Because of the hope of heaven, I can face the pain of laboring and delivering a baby without a heartbeat. Because of the Gospel, we’re still able to say God is good… because the victory has been won. Good trumps evil and darkness and sadness over and over again because of the Cross. It is well with our souls…. Jesus, if we never get to raise our baby and you want to use his life to bring more and more broken, lost people closer to the truth of the Gospel… it is well. Let it be. We’ll do that…. we’ll share this little boy’s story for the rest of our lives here on earth. We’ll share how our marriage survived this… how we became closer because we walked through a parent’s hell together….how we can still say you are good… how we can still have hope in such sadness… how life continues after loss and how pain isn’t victorious over those who have committed their lives to you. Have your way Lord Jesus.

So baby boy, where does this leave us?

You’re still here.

Tears are streaming down my cheeks as I write this and feel you kick and move inside of me and nothing seems wrong. You seem so normal to me. Your heart-rate is strong but your poor body is failing and we are supposed to have another 15+ weeks to go. The doctors are telling me that one day when we have one of our bi-weekly ultrasounds, there just won’t be a heartbeat. I’ll be admitted to the hospital and will endure one of the scariest days of my life. But that will be my last role as your momma here on this earth and I’m going to do it as best as I can. I want to see you and hold you and so does your daddy. We want you to know that no matter what happens…. whether our miracle happens on this side of heaven or not….it’s an honor to be your parents. It’s a privilege to carry you as long as God allows me to. I sometimes let the pain steal this truth from my heart but somehow God always brings me back to it.

I realize that no mother would want this. No one would choose to walk through this. Only a few women have the painful privilege of carrying a precious baby past the point of a miscarriage and into the still birth phase. I’m one of them. I never thought this would be me…. but there was also a time in my life when I never thought that I was cut out to be a mom in the first place…. and here I am falling in love with a baby I’ll probably never even get to raise. God does amazing things in our lives and He sees the big picture.

He’s currently writing a chapter of our story that is breaking our hearts. We want more than anything to bring you home from the hospital and watch you grow up with your sister…. but His plans are greater than ours. One day we’ll be able to see the full book and how this chapter fits into how He used our family in the grand scheme of eternity.

I want you to know that your life matters to us…. every moment of it. We will love you and miss you for the rest of our lives. There will always be a part of me that longs for you to be here with us and I have a feeling that even if God blesses us with more children, no matter how many we have, we will always feel like someone is missing. You will not be forgotten, sweet James. We’ll start to heal from the pain of this season but we’ll never be “over” you and we’ll teach our other babies to celebrate you. Who knows, the story of your life may be the very story that allows Evy and future children to grasp the beautiful picture of the Gospel and there is no greater gift than that.

I praise God for you little James. We love you so much.

Love,
Momma

For those of you reading… there are two songs that most adequately describe our hearts right now as we navigate this hard season. One is Mercy Me’s “Even If” and the other is a “I Will Carry You” by Selah.  If you find yourself in a tragic season like ours, Angie Smith’s book “I Will Carry You” has been so helpful for me the last two weeks. This song was written for her baby girl’s funeral.

Our dear friend Jill took maternity portraits for us the week after we found out about James’ diagnosis and I can’t tell you how thankful I am for these. I didn’t want to do them. No part of me wanted to get dressed up to take portraits after receiving our news…. but these images are such a gift to me and I will cherish them for a lifetime. Thank you Jilly.

xoxo, Katelyn
162 Comments Blog, Personal
  1. Daphanie reply

    Oh Katelyn,
    My heart breaks for you. I will be praying for you and your family. I know God has a reason for everything, but that doesn’t make it any easier.
    My love and prayers to you guys.

  2. Kalina Duck reply

    My heart is broken right now !! Reading your blog about your son just crush me but also make me realize how GREAT GOD is. Everything in our lives happens for a reason and only the almighty God nows what is best for us !!
    So know that you and your family will always be in my prayers!!! Love Kalina

  3. Emily Velgersdyk reply

    Katelyn and Michael, my heart breaks for you both. I am so incredibly sorry that you’re going through this trial, but I admire your faith and I know God is using James’s life to bring others to Him! Little James, I pray for you daily and I am amazed at the impact such a tiny person can have on so many. God bless you all!

  4. Brittney Williams Marbley reply

    Katelyn & Michael,

    I am praying for you & your family. I pray that God watches over you & Baby Michael during this difficult. ❤️

  5. Rachel Schrepel reply

    Your story is beautiful Katelyn!! God has a bigger and grander plan!! His purpose is for good!!

  6. Michele Read reply

    These photos are beautiful. I will be lifting you both up as you walk this tough time – God will carry you through. I do not know how you feel but I ache for you all. Your words in this letter are lovely, and filled with truth.

  7. Misty reply

    Oh sweet Katelyn. You guys are such an amazing example of faith in God and his plan. My heart aches for you, and I can’t even imagine the pain and sorrow you guys feel. It’s always comforting to me to remember that Christ suffered for us, and he’s always the perfect place to land when we’ve hit our wall. You guys will get through these horrific times, your story will touch lives, and you’ll bring others to Christ. I’m so so sorry, but we’ll be praying for peace and comfort for you guys. XO

  8. melanie soleil reply

    Oh sweet Katelyn and Michael,
    You are in our hearts and prayers!!
    Melanie

  9. Heather heigel reply

    Oh my goodness precious momma ❤️ Thank you for sharing your sweet James with the world. as I sit her weeping with you I admire your hope in Jesus and heaven. We have two sweet babies there and look forward to meeting them someday (both miscarriages) The heigel family continues to pray for your sweet baby boy and your family as you walk through this journey with him. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

  10. Mandi Mitchell reply

    Oh sweet Katelyn. Tears and more tears as I read your letter to sweet James. I love you and Michael both so much. My heart aches so much for y’all to have to walk this journey, but the Lord is good and the Lord is faithful and the Lord is using your story for His glory. Amen! Thank you both for sharing your heart in such a raw and emotional time. Praying for you all so much. You are loved and you are prayed for by so many people.

  11. Allie Brown reply

    Katelyn, You and your family and your son have been in my prayers and on my mind. I pray that The Lord wraps his arms around you. God bless you.

  12. Rachael reply

    Oh Katelyn. My heart breaks for you, for Michael, and her sweet Evy. I would say my heart breaks for James Michael because to not get the experience of being your child earth-side is such a loss for him. But he will be going straight into the arms of Jesus and he will never feel the pain of this life. He will continue to be his perfect self but he will gain true and complete physical healing. God is so so good and He will continue being good as he takes care of your special boy. I will be praying for the three of you. You’ll never be the same and that’s the point. James Michael’s life has changed you and it’s OK to celebrate that. His life matters and it should show in your lives as well.

  13. Jamie reply

    Hugs and prayers! Your faith amazes me and I love how you share it. What a light you two are shining for others during such a difficult journey.

  14. Sharon reply

    Please know I’m praying for you and your sweet family. I just went through something similar, lost our precious Baby Josiah at 30weeks with no explanation. God is faithful, praying you cling to Him through every moment of this trial.

  15. Elyse reply

    You are brave and beautiful. He knows your love and feels his fierce momma’s heart. I am praying for a miracle. I am praying for yours and Michael’s hearts and minds. I am praying for sweet Evy. I have followed you for years and have always loved your business insight, photography, and love for Jesus. And let me be clear your love for Jesus is the most compelling. Allow yourself to feel all the feelings- even when it’s hard. Having worship music on hand while weeping is healthy and will keep your eyes fixed on the only One who can comfort. He is still good. And this is a vapor. One in Heaven by Jonathan Stockstill is also a good one. And my favorite hymn Tis So Sweet To Trust In Jesus. My heart aches but you are in Good Hands. Love. elyse

  16. Molly reply

    Hi Katelyn, my heart breaks for you. I saw your post because of mutual friends from CNU. I want you to know that you aren’t alone. I have a sister Amy who was still born. A very similar story, she was my parents second pregnancy, my mom went to the doctor because she wasn’t gaining weight correctly and Amy was diagnosed with Trisomy 18 and heart and stomach complications My parents went through heartbreak and struggle but the experience strengthened their relationship with god and each other. They went on to have three more healthy, happy children – including me. My brother Luke was their “rainbow” baby – the child born after a miscarriage or still birth. The experience was hard for my parents. 34 years later my mom is grateful for what she learned and talks about being excited to meet Amy someday in heaven and my parents are celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary. I’m sorry that this is happening to your beautiful family, you are so strong and brave to think so positively. There is light at the end of the tunnel – and you are definitely not alone.

  17. Melissa Coetzee reply

    Katelyn & Michael, my heart breaks for you and your family but I know that you are strong and the Lord will carry you through this tough time !

  18. Colleen Parker reply

    your strength and faith inspires me. some seasons of life are so difficult, with huge mountains to climb…and some are all about the beauty of the view from the top. this will be one of the toughest and your faith is the compass to help you walk this journey. thank you for sharing your heart with us.
    know that you are in mine. you and your family are in the deepest part of my prayers. xoxoxo

  19. Sara reply

    Your maternity pictures are so beautiful and you will treasure them always. I have been praying for you and Michael and your baby James. I do not know your pain. I only know what it was like to hear a doctor say, “There is no heartbeat” when I was 7 weeks pregnant. I was crushed. I too would cry in the shower. I kept counting the weeks as they went by, all the way to my due date. A pregnancy is 40 weeks long no matter what. I have been blessed with my rainbow baby but I still think of my second baby. And I knew nothing about them except for their due date, and that they stopped growing at 6 weeks. I took the photos of my son wearing his big brother shirt, my two bump pictures, and my ultrasound pictures, and made a book to keep. I also ordered a necklace with two parts – one was tiny baby feet and the other was the May birthstone, for I had been due in May. I remember having the worst breakdown when I should have been 26 weeks. It came out of nowhere. But I often felt like I was living in a fog. I sometimes think, “Why did that have to happen?” and I don’t have the answer. When there is love and then loss, there is pain. But with it comes an empathy for others going through similar, or even more difficult situations, and we can help them in some small way, because we can understand and grasp their pain, even if it was different than our own.

    I will be praying for you in these coming weeks. James is so lucky to have you and Michael as his parents, and Evy as his big sister. You will help so many people who will go down other heartbreaking paths. And I promise you, there will be joy in your life again. Your heart will be forever changed, and you will always love and miss your James. You will always think about what could have been or should have been. It is natural as a mother. My parents went down a similar road that you are on now. They lost a daughter who had down syndrome between my brother and me. I would not exist today if they had not gone through that pain. I ache for them, especially now reading about what you and Michael are going through and feeling. I see them with my two boys now, and how happy they are to get to love them, and I am reminded that they too would not have existed had they not gone through something so difficult and painful. James will be a part of your heart forever and ever and I am grateful to you for sharing your story. Many hugs to you Katelyn.

  20. Allyson Boop reply

    This story is an amazing one, even though it’s tragic it give us hope of how good our God is! I have been and will continue to pray for you all ❤️

  21. Jana Long reply

    This is so beautiful Katelyn. Words escape me. I can only continue to pray for you and Michael during this difficult time and that in every moment you feel His presence and that you may be filled with an abundance of peace…

  22. alina wall reply

    I cried and cried and cried reading the words that poured out of your momma heart. A mother to 2 and no stranger to pain this was the most beautiful thing I have ever read. Katelyn your are a beautiful precious soul. Thank you for sharing this with us. Your family has been in my prayers and thoughts.

  23. Teresa Cochran reply

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. I know our plan and God’s plan aren’t always the same. I always think of Issac’s faith as he had to take his son to be offered to God. I think, wow, would I be that obedient to offer my own child up. You are incredible parents who are such a beautiful witnesses to God’s love. Your sweet family is in our prayers. My God give you the strength you need during this difficult journey in your life. Sending love and hugs your way. Thinking and praying for you!

  24. veronica ilioi reply

    oh Katelyn and Michael, my heart and soul is breaking together with you! Grateful for our God who gives us peace when we feel like there’s no way we can go on. You are all so so loved! My song after my miscarriage was “Thy Will” by Hillary Scott. Continuously praying for your whole family! <3

  25. Halie Comeau reply

    Thank you Katelyn. For speaking beautiful truth and horrible pain. For telling how God redeems and gives purpose. James Michael, may the Lord bless you and keep you, may the Lord cause the light of his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you, may the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace. We join you in your prayers especially as you carry and labor. Love to you and your family.

  26. Rachel reply

    Your vulnerability and courage are so beautifully real. You are walking such a vivid testimony to God’s love and grace and baby James is stirring the hearts of the world.

  27. Kristen reply

    Oh Katelyn,
    My heart breaks for you at this news! I am so thankful to read that your faith is getting you through this. Isn’t it wonderful to know that God is in control and His plan is perfect even if difficult for us to endure and to understand? I will be praying for you as you continue this difficult journey. Thank you for sharing your blessings and trials and for being so real. You’r photography is a gift and blessing and your life’s story has and will impact so many people. Thank you for using your testimony for the Lord!

  28. Margarette Lynch reply

    So sorry for all the pain you and Michael are suffering, praying for peace and continued strength for both of you and God’s blessings.

  29. Emily Kathryn Walker reply

    Your sweet baby boy is already making such a difference in the world. My heart breaks for your family as you have to walk down this road but I know you are right, their is purpose in the pain and God has a plan. You are being such a light in this dark world. God bless you guys. Know that countless people are praying for you.

  30. Elle reply

    This was so beautiful, so honest, so raw, and so full of love. I hate to see you and Michael going through this. I will continue to pray for you both, Evy, and baby James. Thank you for so bravely sharing your testimony with the world.

  31. Lucy Tran reply

    Katelyn – I’ve never witnessed such a great and strong faith in my life. Most people, and most likely me too, in this kind of situation will ask God “why, me”. However, you praise Him and believe in Him and His plan for you. I can’t tell you how much I admire you. I do love and follow God but you have taught me a much more powerful faith. Katelyn, my heart is with you. I pray for you and your family. Your baby is in good hand. He will be in the best place that all of us would dream to be, next to God. He is so blessed to have you as his momma. Hug!

  32. Laura Swick reply

    Your story struck such a chord, My heart is aching for you and you will be in my continued prayers.

    Yes, you will cherish him forever. Our son Benjamin was born on March 19th, 2001. He, like your little one, had both trisomy 21 and hydrops. We held our firstborn in our arms and our lives have been forever changed. I was so worried that he would look strange and different. He was beautiful. He is in heaven now and a big brother to six healthy siblings. He taught me that children are an incredible blessing and on loan from God. You will appreciate life and health in ways you never imagined.

    I admire your courage for the pregnancy photo shoot. I was not as brave. I did have my dear friend photograph all of his moments at delivery. Those pictures and his memory box are incredible blessings to me.

    I pray for your strength in the months and years ahead. God chose you. You have already touched my life, there is no doubt you will touch countless others.

  33. Emily DeArdo reply

    So many hugs, Katelyn. You are right. Your sweet boy is so loved, and such a miracle, even if you only have him for right now. You are amazing. Praying for you and James and your sweet family. <3 <3

  34. Crystal Wells reply

    Oh Katelyn! As a momma my heart breaks for you, but once I started reading about all of this a couple of weeks ago the first song that pooped in my head was Selah’s I will carry you! When I first heard that song I just boohooed! I couldn’t even even begin to imagine.
    Im sure you don’t feel like it but oh how strong you are. We are praying for you and Michael for strength, peace and grace.

  35. Heidi Yannetti reply

    I can’t begin to put things in to words in the beautiful way that you have.

    You are such an amazing family. You are so faithful. You are so brave and inspirational in sharing this journey. I KNOW you are changing lives with your message. James has been given a plan from God. God has placed James within you in order to reach across the world and back with your statement of faith.

    All of you are in our thoughts and prayers.
    Nothing is above our Lord.

  36. Koryn reply

    While heartbroken to read this post, I am reminded that God chose you to be James’ parents and this was by no mistake. Your fierce courage and bare honesty will resonate with others who need to see the hope within you and discover God’s grace in their lives. May He wrap His arms around you and hold you close in the coming weeks. You are in our prayers. – Tim & Koryn

  37. Jessica reply

    So many prayers for y’all. Thank you for sharing your heart! I know the Lord is using yalls story to touch lives. Praying for each of you and your families.

  38. Larissa reply

    When I first took my job as a dialysis social worker last year, the social worker going out told me that I’d learn the value of a good death. I thought she was morbid and began the dread of dealing with passing as part of my new job. Learning that an 80 year old patient, surrounded by family, passed in their rest is comforting. I began to understand what she meant. A death where Love was present. Right after the hurricane Irma hit Tampa, my youngest and pregnant patient gave birth too early to her son who she named Blake. He lived one hour in her arms as his lungs would not sustain him. She and her mother took turns holding him. He was all she has ever wanted in life and she loved him so much. I explained to her in my career, I’ve been surrounded by abandoned children that have never known Love at all. They have a disorder from their brains not getting enough human touch during development. This mom packed a lifetime into the hour she held him. God sees your pain and he knows and guides your journey. He knows James too. Bless you for drawing closer and strength from Him. My friend runs Peyton’s Purpose. She will send you a box of encouragement as this is her calling from God to help other parents grieving loss of their little ones. http://peytonspurpose.org/ Many prayers up for you and your family at this time. May God comfort your heart as he counts your tears. Much love. Larissa.

  39. Lindsey reply

    Thank you so much for sharing your letter. What a powerful testimony of God working in your lives for His glory. I am so sorry for the pain your family is going through but I am praying for you. My faith in the Lord is strengthened through your story.

  40. Keeley reply

    Katelyn,

    I first started following you and your beautiful family a little over a year ago. I was in the second year of my business and eager to learn but tight on money. I would watch a lot of photographers webinars, but never bought the courses that were being sold…until yours. I watched your webinar and just felt your heart for teaching and helping other photographers like myself. I felt how genuine you were and wanted to learn from you!! And I’m so so happy I did. It allowed me to not only learn from one of the best photographers when it came to editing and posing and locations, but also to keep seeing such a strong, caring, fun, warm, and intelligent woman in business work. I have never met you in person, but I hope to one day because I don’t just admire you because of how you run your business in such a personal and warm way, but also because of how loving of a mom you are for your family, how admirable your marriage is, and how strong you are in Christ. Reading your posts about James has been so so heartbreaking. And I am so incredibly sorry and haven’t stopped praying for God to bless you and your family with a miracle. When I read your posts all I keep thinking is, “wow, she is just so strong with the Lord. Her trust in Him is something that I’m so in awe of when it comes to something so difficult like this.” You have no idea how your strength, kindness, and warmth has affected not only me but so many people in the best possible way. I will pray for your family endlessly as you walk through this hard time in life. And thank you for constantly being an inspiration to me I’m so many ways.

  41. Kate reply

    Tears are streaming down my face right now. My heart breaks for you guys. Baby James is so loved, and your strength and testimony at this painful painful time will point others directly to the Lord. I don’t know what to say. I’m so sorry. xx

  42. Courtney reply

    I don’t even know where to begin. As a mama, my heart beyond hurts for you. As a person of faith I hate to hear things like this involving helpless, unborn children. But I also appreciate your outlook and your STRENGTH! I too have a healthy and happy daughter, she’s 3 going on 30!! But not that long ago I was newly pregnant with a 15 month old at home when I discovered I was pregnant. We were beyond excited!! Fast forward to my 20 week gender scan and our world came to a halt. The ultrasound tech said she couldn’t get great pictures of the baby’s heart and asked me to come back in a couple of weeks- when the baby was bigger. I left with questions but not overly concerned. And then March 23, 2016 came and my world stopped. I was referred to a high risk OB to check out a “slight murmur.” What was discovered was a life threatening heart defect on my unborn son.
    I don’t know you Katelyn, and what we went through is small in comparison to what you and your husband and Family is going through. But all I can say is stay strong, stay positive, pray, love, and don’t let his abnormalities make this entire pregnancy abnormal to you. When there was so much uncertainty around my sons diagnosis while he was still in my stomach one thing was very certain- he was still my baby and I still loved every ounce of him from his tiny toes to his (very) broken heart. There were days I cried every time I felt him kick because I felt like God was playing cruel tricks on me. But other days I relished in every single kick, wave of nausea and pain because it made me know he was still there and fighting. My story had a happier ending, but yours will too. Even if your beautiful baby doesn’t spend his life here on earth with you he will be back with his creator, free of pain and guiding his mom, dad, sister and family for the rest of your lives.
    You’ve touched my heart and I pray for you all. God bless!
    -Courtney, Upstate NY

  43. Gail reply

    Oh Katelyn….I don’t think there is a person who has read this powerful letter as testimony that hasn’t been moved to tears. Praying for all of you. xoxo

  44. Robin At Lee reply

    I want you to know I understand. God allowed me to carry my sweet Justin William for 26 weeks. There was some concern at my appointment 24 weeks so they had me come in 2 weeks later. My experience was similar to yours. They sent me for an ultrasound and discovered my Baby was gone. I carried him through Christmas begging God for a miracle and Christmas happened with family for my other two precious children but there was sadness too. Finally 5 weeks after that awful ultrasound the doctor decided it was time to deliver my precious boy. I was admitted to the gyn ward instead of the ob ward to make it easier. I went through pre op in a daze. A sweet nurse had told me that the staff wouldn’t respond to me much…not because they didn’t care but because their hearts were breaking for me and they didn’t know how to comfort me. She was right. The night of the “procedure” God gave me a precious gift. He let me compete the final act I could do for Justin. I thought I was in labor but the night nurse said it was just a reaction to the pre-op procedure. The next morning I compliantly went into delivery…they called it a D&E. I was put under but I fought the drugs as long as I could so my son could stay with me. Needless to say I failed. I woke up crying and the doctor came to help calm me. God provided another gift. He told me I had delivered Justin. He was found in the birth canal. The doctor was able to tell me the sex of my baby as well as what caused his death. Recovery was tough…a roller coaster. But…God gently carried me when I couldn’t handle my broken heart. It has been 37 years since Justin returned to Heaven. He was perfect and I will always love him and hold him in my heart. I had 5 children not 4. God has presented opportunities for my husband and me to help others in this situation as well as share God’s love even in terrible circumstances. My only regret is that they didn’t let me see or hold him. I am so glad you are able to do that. Please know that I will be holding you and your family in my heart and in prayer. Also please feel free to contact me if you need someone to listen that has walked this path. (I am friends with Beverly Lily). This experience changed me forever and my faith walk has grown as well. God is good and your precious little boy is a gift. You have 2 children!
    Robin At Lee

  45. donna weaver reply

    Katelyn, Micheal, Evy & sweet baby James.
    I am praying for you.

  46. Sabrina Fields reply

    Oh sweet Katelyn and Michael… I don’t have any words. Just heartache because of how you’re experiencing the brokenness of this world :-( But I’m so thankful for the HOPE your precious family has in Jesus. He is exactly why we were able to walk through our first pregnancy and that loss and the reason I have a tattoo on my wrist that says Hope in Hebrew. Much love and many prayers, my friends.

  47. Amber Sigg reply

    Katelyn,

    I have to say your beautiful letter to you very loved baby boy said everything I wish I could have said to mine. We have one beautiful 10 year old daughter Ella on this earth with us and a son and a daughter in heaven who I was blessed to carry for a time before they were called back to heaven. Our son was taken before Ella and our daughter after. Thank you for everything you said I learned more from you today than just photography, I learned to have been grateful for that time I had and to focus on that rather than to focus on what wasn’t. Prayers for you and yours from one mother to another who understands.

  48. Rebecca Swingle reply

    Dearest Alsop Family – my heart is aching for you, saddened to learn of this journey that will have an ending no one would wish for a mommy or a daddy or a big sister. I am praying for you, for God to wrap his loving arms around you, for the Holy Spirit to bring healing to your hearts. I’ve only just met you as a new student in your KJ All Access course, your kindness, genuinely earnest and honest sharing of your talent and knowledge has endeared me to you, and for that I am grateful. Here is a poem I found by Dorothy Ferguson, “Little Footprints – How very softly you tiptoed into my world. Almost silently, only a moment you stayed. But what an imprint your footsteps have left upon my heart.” Praying for God to comfort you and bring you peace. Love, Becky

  49. Jessica Hollis reply

    I cannot imagine this, though I have experienced a miscarriage myself. Prayers going up for you guys and so proud of the way you are letting Jesus light SHINE through what most people would feel was complete darkness. ❤❤❤

  50. Rachel Dornquast reply

    Wow! Katelyn… I am so sorry for everything you and your family are going through. I cannot even imagine the stegnth that God has given you. God has truly given you a giant mountain but wow, what a story James Michael is giving you to share with others. I’m all the way over in Washington State (Spokane, WA to be exact) and please know you and your family are in our prayers. God will use even the most difficult things for His glory and His plan. I pray God give you and your family strength, love, and never ending faith that can climb mountains. Praying for you all! Rachel

  51. Veronica reply

    Katelynn,
    My heart is so heavy for you and your husband. I can’t even begin to imagine the roller coaster of emotions you’re dealing with. You’re in my thoughts and prayers.

  52. Brenda Rose reply

    Beautiful words. Thank you for sharing your story.

  53. Candace reply

    This is beautiful. I am bawling my eyes out as I read this looking at my rainbow baby beside me. Walking through the loss of a baby was one of the hardest yet light filled seasons of our life. Everything you said I wanted to say Amen over and over. Sending our love❤️❤️Thank you for sharing your story with us❤️

  54. Melanie reply

    Katelyn and Michael,

    It is amazing how such a small individual can make such a huge impact on lives. As I look at the photos and read your letter I am just in awe at how strong you both are and I know that God is with you. Know that Little James will forever be a shining light in your hearts and that he will forever shine in the heavens above. Take comfort in knowing that Gods loving arms will wrap around him and that your little boy will be at peace. His perfection will be complete. May all the comforting prayers give your hearts the peace you need. Melanie

  55. Monika reply

    It’s heartbreaking reading this post. Keep your head up the water, day-by-day. Praying for you fromHungary

  56. Rebecca reply

    Praying for your strength as you choose each minute to trust the Lord. Thank you for sharing the hard, unimaginable pains and walking by faith as you go. Praying for the Lord to bring about SO much good, even when it’s beyind hard to imagine. Thank you for letting Baby James be a blessing to us.

  57. Joy Bolander reply

    Katelyn, your words are truly a mysterious testimony to the faith we receive from a mighty God. How it happens, we can’t explain. My tears fell as I read your words, and I just called out to the Lord praising Him and asking HOW can one survive the pain of this loss? Only with Him. I have to share with you that 33 years ago I came to know Jesus because of the faith I witnessed my sweet sister exhibit after loosing her first child, 8 mo in the womb to anencephaly. It was not diagonosed at 20 weeks as it would be today….she was nearing her due date when it was detected. Watching my sister and brother in law’s faith was remarkable, and the Lord used that season to soften my heart to Him. Your sweet baby boy will do that, plus sooooo much more, for other people. I pray God will give you glimpses each day of how He’s at work around you during this time. I’ll continue to pray for you and your family. The Duvall’s are friends of mine, so I’ve already been praying long before reading your beautiful words. God bless you, Katelyn. Joy

  58. Lisa Howell Baxter reply

    Oh Katelyn,
    Thank you for sharing your story and for your testimony of God’s grace to you and Michael as you walk with Him through this terrible time. Praying for all of you.

  59. Jonalee reply

    Oh Katelyn I am so moved by this. I am grieving with you and Michael but so inspired by the way you are clinging to truth and hope. Thank you for sharing your heart and boldly sharing the reason for your hope in the midst of your heartbreak. I know God is using your family in might ways to bring light in a dark world and little, sweet, perfect James is part of that.

    I read Psalm 33 and these verses (18-22) stuck out to me: “Behold the eye of the Lord is on those who fear him, on those who hope in his steadfast love, that he may deliver their soul from death and keep them alive in famine. Our soul waits for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. For our heart is glad in him, because we trust in his holy name. Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us, even as we hope in you.”

    Praying for you! XO

  60. Gretchen Blair reply

    Katelyn- My heart goes out to you! Almost 13 years ago we lost our first son. Completely different circumstances and we were blessed to have almost 3 years with him, but a similar heartbreak and a similar faith. Losing a child is more than just the loss of the person. It is a loss of hopes and dreams. Losing Austin was definitely a turning point in my faith. I either had to go all in and completely trust that God has a plan or I had to walk away. I chose the ALL IN. I was never closer to God than those days because I had never had less of my own strength. We went on and had three more children after losing our son. Although they never took his place, they gave us new hopes and dreams. I pray that God gives you a miracle and heals your baby boy, but if not, I pray that He surrounds you with love and support and blesses you with the peace that surpasses all understanding. <3

  61. Landa reply

    My prayers continue to go out for each of you in your sweet family. Thank you for giving a voice to those similar stories of others and those yet be.. through your own pictures and words of baby James Michael. Your son James will never be forgotten. He is one of God’s children and he is one of your children here and in the eternities. I am so sorry for this chapter of your life and my prayers are among those countless others who also journey with you.

  62. Tonya reply

    Just read your story. Yes, the tears were flowing. The pain your family is going through doesn’t seem fair. I am so sorry, but I am so grateful for your story because it is about something greater, something so much more than a sweet baby. It is about Jesus, and the hope that your sweet boy’s story will bring others to Him. That is amazing, that is a blessing, and God will use his story to glorify Himself. I don’t know the grief of what you are specifically going through, but do know the pain of grief and heartache with grown children and choices that make my heart cry. I know that kind of pain, and even in that, I have to trust that God alone has the heart of our children and He loves them more than we do. Trusting God in our circumstances is what keeps our momma hearts going, He is our life, and He created them. Thank you for sharing. You are a beautiful family!

  63. Jesi reply

    Sending you all so much strength, love, and hope for your future!!! Love you!!!!!

  64. Yosmaira Ochoa reply

    Katelyn and Michel, I am so sorry your family is going through such a stressful difficult time . I’m praying and hoping for the best in all of this. May the Lord bless you always.

  65. Leah Jung reply

    I’m bawling. Oh how I wish I could be there to squeeze you and pray with you. You are such a precious family and we have so much in common… I have a daughter very close to Evy’s age, and we too had a surprise pregnancy that ended in miscarriage a few weeks later. I think our babies would have been close, gestationally too!
    How sweet to know that Jesus is holding mine right now, and will be there for yours if He calls him home. You are such a testimony for the gospel and for the love and goodness of God even during trials and I couldn’t be more thankful for that testimony you are willing to share. I pray for blessings on your family for your boldness for Him.
    Keep running the race.
    Much Love and hugs from Kansas,
    Leah

  66. Valerie reply

    Katelyn,

    Thank you so much for sharing so openly about your journey these past several months. Within the eight months, our family has walked through two miscarriages which not only took our babies to be with Jesus but also put my life at risk as well.

    Though our stories are different, as I read through your story, I connected with you instantly and the healing tears began streaming down my face as I continued to read. You have put into words so many of the feelings I had not been able to verbalize just yet – enough so that I had my husband read your post too in order to help him understand.

    Thank you for being real and vulnerable and allowing God to use you and little James Michael to bring my husband and I to that next step in the grieving and healing process. Your little son has already done so much good in this world without even fully stepping into it!

    In some ways, I envy your upcoming opportunity to see and hold your precious son. That’s an opportunity I never got with any of my miscarriages (a total of four). Cherish every moment you have with him.

    Thank you for being a blessing to our family. May God continue to draw you and your family close to Himself through this incredible journey of faith with your precious James Michael.

  67. Rebecca Jo reply

    Thank you for sharing honestly… the hurt & heart ache… but the GLORY of God & the reminder that none of us are made for this world. & that beautiful baby inside belong to God & it’s always a job as a parent to be able to let God have control with His child. Praying for you & your family in these upcoming days. We still believe in miracles – however they may look. I know getting through each day is a miracle of its own. Hugs to you.

  68. Sharon Griswold reply

    I cannot begin to express my feelings of joy, sorrow, rejoicing in the fact that you know Jesus and that you know that one day James will be with Jesus and that he won’t be hurting anymore! He will be with you one day and what a sweet reunion that will be! My prayers as you continue to go through your pregnancy with James and then delivery! Peace to you in Christ! I suffered 3 miscarriages and never got to hold my 3 sweet babies. But one day I will. And I cannot tell you how excited that makes me. So thankful for Jesus and his work on the Cross so that we could have that promise of eternal life.

  69. Kaitlyn reply

    THIS MAKES MY SOUL SING with gratitude for God’s many blessings. Thank you for sharing so boldly the beauty and healing and peace that we find in our Father’s perfect and miraculous plan for us on Earth. Tears have been shed for your beautiful family, and faith in our Savior and God has been strengthened. Little James is now friend and comforter to many.
    Blessings & peace upon your miraculous family.

  70. Nicole reply

    How can someone hear about your life and yet think that God doesn’t have a plan for them is right. <3 You have the most amazing heart for Him and you bring me closer to Him just reading your words and listening to you speak, regardless of the topic. You were chosen for a reason, for better for worse. Been praying every morning that God does what's best for all for of you, but of course I know that's a redundant statement because that's what He does. I love you guys. Wish I could give you the biggest hug right now.

  71. Annie reply

    Our heart breaks for you and your family. I pray God will heal your baby boy wholly and fully. If His will is to heal in heaven we pray for your grieving. Thank you for sharing your story. It has the touched us in a profound way. I was in tears reading it out loud to my husband. At the end he grabbed my hand and prayed for James. I can’t imagine what you are feeling, especially in the alone times. As a mom to a young baby girl I remember those moments so well. You are not alone and I hope that is comforting.

  72. Elise reply

    Reading this with tears all the way in Lebanon and standing with you and your beautiful family in prayer. <3

  73. Gennie reply

    I want to let you know that even though we don’t know each other, I can feel your story bringing myself closer to God as I beg him for a miracle for your family. I have definitely struggled with my relationship with Christ, but through this vastly difficult situation, He is seen through your courage and strength so well. I am praying for you constantly and please know you have people everywhere in this world begging for a miracle.

  74. Kimber Wassenberg reply

    You and your sweet family have been in my thoughts and prayers very much lately. You see I am 15 weeks pregnant with my first baby and this hits close to home. My Mama gave birth to my full-term stillborn sister in November 2016 with me in the room. It was an experience that still, in a way, haunts me when the 31st of the month rolls around. There is, forever, that hole in your heart for what could’ve been but we serve a God who more than fills that void. He is all we need and He will be all you need today, tomorrow, and when He calls sweet James home. In fact, one day you will miss the closeness to Jesus that you have right now because of your grief.
    If I can encourage you, I’d humbly suggest having a photographer there for James’ birth. I wasn’t planning on taking pictures for my sister’s stillbirth but I am so glad I did…and Mama has thanked me multiple times for it. There is so much pain in the photos but, through the pain, you see God’s grace and can remember the little details about your baby that you will so love. (Of course I totally respect your personal decision here but I would’ve been so sad if I had missed out on documenting that part of my sister’s, and my, life. But I know this is a very hard time and please don’t feel any pressure.) I don’t know if it helps to know another Mama has been through what you’re going through, but I wrote up a blog post on my baby sister’s birth and departure to Heaven here: http://wassenbergfamily.blogspot.com/2016/12/christiana-liberty.html I know it was helpful to my Mama when she met another lady who lost her baby about the same time for their grief was silently understood and they comforted each other as no one else could.
    Above all, Jesus will carry and comfort you. I love your heart of love for your baby and the way you are clinging to Jesus. He really is all we ever need. Fall on Him, cry out to Him, thank Him, and let this hard experience take you to a depth in your relationship with Him that you’ve never been to before…my sweetest time with Jesus was right after my baby sister died. Lifting you up from CA!

  75. Kara reply

    I am so sorry for your news, we have been there too. God is faithful, he will carry you through every devastating place. And bring joy in the most unexpected ways. Much love in Christ to you.

  76. Luke Sjogren reply

    Katelyn- thank you for sharing your family’s story. Elise passed it along to me. I don’t know you very well, but I know you and your husband on a much deeper level now, as we were given and gave back to Jesus a t18 baby boy, Hudson Ishmael, two years ago. We will be praying for you and suffer deeply with the pain you’re enduring right now.

    If you are encouraged by reading similar stories, check out my wife’s blog, celebratinghudson.tumblr.com. Love to all four of you from the five of us in Ohio.

  77. Ashley Devoe reply

    Oh Katelyn I am so sorry. I am praying so much for you and your family and sweet James.

  78. Ashley Ziegler reply

    My brother-in-law and his wife just experienced this with their third child. It was a girl and she had down syndrome just like your baby boy. Same complications, same locations with fluid in her body. She was 17 weeks.

    My heart aches with you and breaks for you. Your little boy is nothing short of a miracle and a blessing from God and that I know with truth. There isn’t always the right thing to say, and sometimes nothing to say. It’s so painful, especially someone watching from the outside. I know that you know you are loved but I’ll remind you one more time. You are so loved and thought. You, Michael, Evy and all of your family. We are with you and here for you. Praying each day.

  79. Adrian reply

    This might sound strange since we have never met, but my heart aches do you. I can’t imagine all you must be feeling, but I admire your strength and faith. When terrible trials arise we always have two choices. We can turn to God and place our trust in him or we can turn away. I am so happy that you have chosen to have faith and find comfort in Christ. This is a beautiful tribute to your son. Your sweet family is in my prayers. May God bless you.

  80. Gail Gelblicht reply

    Hi Katelyn & Michael,
    I just read this about your baby . I am so sorry
    There is no words to console both of you, except
    To say god works in strange ways. I know how strong both of you are and I send you my love .
    Sincerly Gail Gelblicht(Harry and I lived next door to you on Cutler Ridge Dr. Harry passed away in 2013 but
    I am sure you remember he was a photographer .
    I miss him so much we were married 47 years,
    Your daughter is beautiful and such a blessing.
    I know you will never forget what you are going through but I am sure Michael and you will be blessed
    With many beautiful children. Take care sending you
    My prayers and blessings you both. Gail

  81. Erin Ogle reply

    Katelyn,
    I don’t know you, I saw this post shared from a photographer friend of mine. Reading your blog post is like reading my own personal journal entry for January 3-4, 2007. We too had difficulty in conceiving, when it finally happened, we were so over joyed and I was so sick. No matter how many times I threw up, I just kept thinking that means she was growing and I was doing what I was supposed to be doing. Every single doctor visit was an answered prayer, a heartbeat, arms, legs, toes, hands, and her beautiful round face. At the 38 week visit, a Thursday, she had finally turned head down but was still too high, I was not dilated or thinning, so we were just going on like normal….waiting for our delivery date. 3 days after that visit, I woke feeling different. I thought UMPH she finally must have dropped and we were progressing. I went to work and started my day…at lunch, I started having some pains….that afternoon, I called the nurse and said you know what I want to be checked, this doesn’t feel like her normal movements. I went to Labor and Delivery alone. Nurse puts me on the table…she starts scanning my belly with the doppler and scans and scans. I couple of times, I say there she is, only to be met with nurse silence. She says I can’t find her heartbeat…I say well you are doing it wrong…get someone else. My doctor was leaving for the day, he comes to that room and walks me to his office, his ultrasound machine. When that screen first pops up, the relief I felt at seeing her in there was joyous, you know there is my baby….she is in there, then the heartbeat monitor pops up to silence. At this point, my husband is in the room and he collapses. I sit stunned. I am in utter shock, I scream and I cry and I plead and I beg. I cry out to
    God, to the doctor, to anyone who can hear to help us. The process of delivering your full term baby with no heartbeat is the hardest thing to this day I have ever done. You are praying the entire time, that everyone is wrong, that she will cry when she comes out. You endure the same labor pains, my mother questioning why must she labor, just do a C-Section. My doctor says you want her to recover from a C-Section and go to her daughter’s funeral.? So, I had my baby girl, I held her, I rocked her, I sang to her. I said good-bye until I see you again to her. We discovered at birth our daughter, Sydney Ellen, had died of a blood clot in her umbilical cord. I went to the funeral home and gave them her “coming home” outfit that she was to be buried in. I picked a teddy bear headstone that has her name engraved on it. My entire life all I wanted was to be a mother. Watching babies and taking care of the nursery at church…these were my passions. The smells, the sounds, little feet, hands all of it was so special to me. I know that everyone grieves in their own way. I wrote in a journal daily. I wrote angry things on the days I was angry and I wrote sad things on the days I was sad. I wrote my baby girl a letter so similar to this post you have written. I told her how much I wanted her, how much I had loved being pregnant with her and how I picked her name. My husband grief was so much different from mine. He was immediately consumed with my needs and making sure I was physically ok. Getting together with the preacher and cemetery people. I truly believe my husbands’ grief began on funeral day whereas, I felt that at that point, I had some kind of closure. I have always had faith in God, but there is no Faith like this faith now. The belief and the blind understanding that there is a greater purpose. Sydney was not meant to live on this earth, but to Walk and Grow with God. I truly believe that. Not long after our experience ended…. I asked my husband to try again. I wanted a baby in our home. We received approval from our doctors and began the process again. I thought..it took 18 months to conceive Sydney…how long would it take. Our Sydney was taken Home on January 4th, 2007 and our Maggie entered this world on Feb 25, 2008. She just celebrated her 10th bday. I also had Emory who will be 6 on April 3rd. Both of my girls know they have a sister who lives in heaven. We celebrate her b’day with balloons on her grave…as well as other holidays we make a time to go and place something there and discuss with our girls the importance of Sydney is in our lives. This year at Christmas, Emory our 5 year old told the story of Sydney in her own words to our friends over a Christmas outing. Friends that did not know what we had been through. Emory’s faith is beyond words for someone so young. Sydney lives with me in my daily life. I look at my children’s’ accomplishments and think about what would Sydney’s be at this point. I try to tell others our story. We know so many people who are no longer married to each other because it tore them apart. Reading your post, I know that will not be your case. Cling to each other…grieve together…pray together…allow silence…allow talking. From reading your post….I know that you know God can do all things….he hears all things…he knows all things. He never gives us more that we can handle, although at times we question that. I don’t know if any of this will make it to your eyes, but if so please know that you are in our thoughts and prayers. That we do believe that God is still in the miracle business today. That if he chooses to give your baby to you he will be loved and cherished, but know that if he does go with God…he really Goes with God. God will hold him and love him and teach and nourish him. All my Love in Christ name…Signed Erin. If you ever need a listening ear…I would be happy to be that ear.

  82. Laurie Haarer reply

    Thank you so much for sharing your love of God. I know it is hard for us to understand what life gives us or takes away, but our Father loves His amazing children and he will hold you and see you through this. I’m not sure there are words right now to say, but just know that my thoughts and prayers are with you and Michael and Evy and James during this time. I am so proud of all of you and your strength. You amaze me!! God loves you all.

  83. Mindy Sargent reply

    So many tears reading this. As a mamma I just can’t imagine your pain. But what an amazing testimony you have and are showing the world. You’re displaying the gospel and our true purpose on this earth. Baby James will be greatly blessed… maybe not in on this side of Heaven, but he is so extremely loved by Jesus. I do believe one day you will hold your baby James where he will not be in any pain… it will be perfect and so beautiful. Love you guys. Thanks for sharing.

  84. Stephanie reply

    Oh Katelyn, I am so heartbroken for you and your family. Thank you for sharing your heart. You and baby James have touched so many people, including those of us who are also currently walking through grief ourselves. I’m not sure if you saw my message on Instagram, but our baby girl Audrey Quinn was stillborn in December, and your words and your faith have done so much to heal my heart as well. I know what your sweet Mama heart must be feeling, and I am praying hard for it, for your family, and for your precious baby boy. There is a beautiful song called “Winter Bear” by Coby Grant that you should check out as well. I’ve had it on repeat. Sending lots of love your way ❤️

  85. Tanya Monroe reply

    My heart is breaking for you, Michael and your family! There are no words just prayers for all of you! I will continue to pray for you, Michael, Evy, and sweet baby James!! Please hold this beautiful family in your arms and heal them all. Eaze their pain. Comfort them! In Jesus name we pray for your Miracles! Amen!

  86. Tori reply

    I have wrote and deleted what I have wrote several times now. There’s nothing I can say to comfort you or take away a modicum of pain. Please just know that we are praying for you all.

  87. Emily Crump reply

    Thank you for sharing your precious little James with us. The Lord knows how much you both love him and I know it’s hard to believe but Jesus loves him more. You will have a special treasure waiting for you in Heaven one day and it will be amazing! Evie and James are lucky to have you both as parents. I will be praying for your family along this journey.

  88. Pam Chenault reply

    What a precious family you are. God gave your love life and you are sharing it with all of us in humbleness and God’s love. I’ve read this over and over and the tears roll. But my heart is singing in the tears. We still pray for that miracle be it God’s will for James Michael and his precious family. We love you all.

  89. Danielle reply

    I’m so sorry for what you are going through Katelyn. Our own sweet James wasn’t able to stay with us on this side of heaven either. The eight months that I carried him is all the time we had. Knowing he would never come home was so hard, but it made carrying him that much more precious. I will be praying for you and your family.

  90. Melanie Jenkins reply

    This is so devestating and I feel for you and your family. I am both crying with you and rejoicing that you have found strength and comfort through Christ Jesus. Praying for a miricle as well as continued comfort for you and your family. – Mel from TX

  91. Nancy Billingsley Calvert reply

    It is not my desire or wish that I would ever welcome another mother to this oh so private and shattering small group….but here you are and here are we. Memorial Weekend 1973 6mos along in John Knight Billingsley’s gestational development I asked my friend ,if after feeling her baby move, did she then go as long as a week without feeling her baby move? “You should probably call your doctor.” So I did. And then, like you, for almost a month I carried John as I awaited Mother Nature and the end to all those maternal hopes and dreams. It has almost been 45 years now since God took him to Heaven ahead of me. I miss him every day, I think about what might have been and what it will be like when we finally embrace. God took my heart to Heaven 25 June 1973… I Can Only Imagine! James Michael has given his momma a testimony and Jesus is being radically glorified. Good job, Team Alsop!!!!

  92. Mona reply

    Lovelee letter. Comfort and peace always. In Jesus Name. Amen.

  93. Lindsley Rogers reply

    I’m so sorry you guys are going through this. How heartbreaking. My son had hydrops at birth (but not trisomy)..it wasn’t discovered until I was 35 weeks pregnant. Prayers for your family.

  94. Allison Akins reply

    Oh Katelyn… I’m typing through tears. My heart is broken for you. This story, your story, the story of sweet friends… THIS is the reason I bought the big girl camera 2 years ago. I became painfully aware that not all mamas get a happy ending , some only get moments to say goodbye, so I had to be prepared. Most people’s photography dreams are much more glamorous, but the desire and passion that God placed in my heart was to take beautiful photographs in the midst of brokenness, to honor the lives of sweet babies who went straight to the arms of Jesus, to love on their mama’s by remembering them. To be completely honest, I didn’t know who you were 3 days ago (sorry), I just started shooting weddings and was looking for some education and spent the whole day raving about you to husband so he would be on board with me buying your course (which he was). I just opened it, and stumbled onto your website and blog. I am so very sorry that you are walking this road. I pray daily that no one will ever join this terrible club again, but if someone should that she will be surrounded by love and light. I will be lifting you, Michael, Evy and sweet baby James up to the father.

  95. Sherry reply

    This story and the pictures are so heart wrenching. Will yu follow up and let usnow the finaloutcome? Thanks.

  96. Emine reply

    I can relate, 100% . I have a boy in heaven, Eli Bejamin, born still at 24 wks. It’s only by the grace and love of our almighty father that I pulled through those very dark days. There will be dark days. But in drawing closer to God I found peace. I still miss him and still find myself asking “what if” but I know the divine plan is not my own. I’m praying for you and your family for the peace and comfort that goes beyond our understanding. May God’s love embrace you and protect you.

  97. Kayla reply

    Oh sweet girl, my heart breaks for you and your family. Your tragic day marked 1 year for my loss at 12 weeks pregnant. You show inspiring amounts of strength; your family is in my thoughts and prayers. Xo

  98. Anna reply

    I have no words for you right now dear Katelyn. Just know that you are loved. We met but once at the Jasmine Star event in Washington DC. Know you are in my thoughts and prayers. Know that I am sending my love to you, James Michael and your family. I wish I had more comforting words, all I have for you is that I am sending you as much love as I can for you <3

  99. Denise Karis reply

    My heart is broken for you and your family. Poor baby James… Katelyn, I know this will be so hard and nothing we say can fix it, but we are here for you… you’re in our hearts and our thoughts and our prayers.

  100. Kari reply

    Katelyn, thank you so much for sharing your story. My husband and I recently lost our little boy Davin in July in a similar way. I admire your faith, and fully understand how difficult these next fees weeks and months will be for your family. I shared a link to the story I have written about Davin’s short time here on earth. I will be praying for you and your family as you walk through this tough journey. I hope my little Davin has the honor of meeting your sweet little James when he joins Jesus in heaven.

  101. Jen reply

    My momma heart is aching for you! I can’t even begin to imagine. This letter is one of the most beautiful things I have ever read. Thank you for sharing your heart with us. While I have not had a chapter in my life like this, I have recently had a chapter that has made me fall to my knees and rely on the Lord in a way I never have before. Hold fast to the beautiful and amazing Faith you have! I promise The Savior will always be there for you. He will hold you as you cry. He will let your tears fall on his shoulders. He will hear your tender thoughts and prayers and He will bring you the peace and love you need. He loves you. He loves your family. He loves your sweet baby boy. He has a marvelous plan for all of you. Like so many have already said, my heart and prayers are with you and your loved ones!

  102. Bethanie gott reply

    Your story really is breath taking.. I’m so sorry you have to go though this, but like you said God has this,and he’s going to take care of it.. I will say i had my youngest son 2 months early the most scariest time of my life.. I would always ask God why me.. I was afraid he wasn’t gonna come home.. and for me to leave him at the hospital and I had to go home was the worst.. I’m praying for you and your family.. ♡♡♡♡

  103. Cari Ellen reply

    Hi Katelyn, I just found out about you this morning by watching your free webinar on lighting. Thank you for the replay and all the super incredible teachings! Then I came over here to check out your site and read about you… and this is the 1st blog post I saw. Oh my gosh Katelyn I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing your journey. I feel so honored and inspired by your honesty, your eloquence, and your faith. Sending you love… Cari Ellen

  104. Sannetta reply

    I am in tears reading your story. We have a little 4.5 year old James and when I think back to all my fears during pregnancy, my heart goes out to you so much! I will uphold your family in prayer and pray for a miracle and as you said if not this side of heaven, I know he will be in the best hands. He is so blessed to have a mother who loves him so much. This letter is truly heartbreakingly beautiful. Love and prayers.

  105. Gina Dobmeier reply

    Katelyn, wow thank you so much for sharing your heart so clearly. I am a mom who can relate with SO much that you’ve taken time to write about. Do I ever know how hard it is to transcend thoughts on to a blog post like you did. I had a stillborn 4 years ago (Annabelle) and now a late term miscarriage just 6 months ago (Ethan) I have two girls already (9 & 7). We take time to celebrate our heavenly babies. They both have opened our eyes in only ways God can do through a situation like ours. I too never thought I’d be one of the few woman who go through this but then I find there are so many. Far to many who do experience this pain. Thank you for being a voice of hope in the midst of such tragedy. May you and your family continue to find healing and lean into each other’s strength and God’s strength as he is ultimately the only one who can get us through this. My love and prayers are extended to you and your beautiful family. The pictures are absolutely stunning and I am so happy you took time to do that for you and your family.
    Much love,
    Gina

  106. Becca reply

    Praying hard for you guys. Crying and begging Jesus for strength, comfort, and peace.

  107. Krista Ketner reply

    Katelyn, it has taken me a few days to tell you how beautiful this is written. It doesn’t matter how many times I read it tears pour down my cheeks. It’s so hard going in and seeing that beautiful baby that you have made with the person you love, and the doctor telling you there is no heartbeat. I didn’t get to have pictures with my baby as we lost our baby too soon. You and Michael are doing a great job giving James Michael such a life. And Evy gets to celebrate the life of her brother with you. You are wonderful parents and I pray God protects you all in this. I’m praying for you.

  108. Manya Keseloff reply

    This is heartbreaking to read but the faith you show is amazing. God is in control! Jesus is holding you up! I can’t imagine what you are going through because I’m not a mom nor been pregnant but I know friends who have experienced loss. We all love you and pray for you. May you continue to look to Him first. Wow, there are so many things I want to say. Ok…
    Love from a fellow photographer and sister in Christ,
    Manya Keseloff

  109. JJ Stoner reply

    Praying so hard for all of you! Another song that spoke to me so much is “My Prayer For You” by Alisa Turner. May the word of the Lord sustain you and give you peace. “We have this hope as an anchor for our souls. Firm and secure and which enters the presence behind the veil.”

  110. Lisa Carey reply

    Praying for you all as you walk this trial. I have been so encouraged, as a believer in Jesus Christ, to see you lean on Him and praise His Name. From where does my help come, it comes from the Lord, Maker of heaven and earth!

    Lifting you this morning before God, our Father, who purposes all things to the praise of His Name and our growth in Christ likeness.

    In Christ,
    Lisa

  111. Jen Shoemaker reply

    My heart breaks for you and your family but your attitude and love are so precious I can’t even begin to express how at awe I am of you. We lost our baby girl at 20 week 23 years ago and still feel the loss. Many hugs to all of you from Minnesota! ♡♡♡

  112. Ronee reply

    Hello Katelyn, I met you a little over three years ago when you so beautifully captured our Katelyn’s wedding at Pippin Hill. The two of you also chose the same sweet name for your first born baby girls and I have enjoyed seeing your Evy grow through your blog. Thank you for sharing your story of faith and love. You and your family have been in my thoughts and as I listened to the music at the end of your blog I was reminded of another song “Glory Baby” by Watermark that has helped others heal as they have gone through similar experiences. Sending love to you, Michael and Evy and praying for your sweet baby boy.

  113. Terri C AMBURN reply

    What a beautiful pictures of God’s love and grace. What a beautiful picture of a mommy’s unconditional love. What strength to share your story. Thank you!

  114. Karen reply

    Praying for your sweet family during this season! <3

  115. Grace reply

    My heart aches for you. My womb has held five dead babies. They were not nearly as developed as James, but it doesn’t take long for a child to make a huge impact. This experience will forever change you. But I pray it will be a good change as my heartaches have been for me. We’d never write the story this way, but somehow looking back, we’d never write it any other way. Somehow God is able to take something so horrible and make good out of it. The sadness remains, yet God shines brightly through the rain. Thank you for writing this post. I pray you know God’s presence like never before. My darkest moment was also when God was so incredibly present.

  116. Gina Anderson reply

    Katelyn, I admire you for sharing this.
    The only comfort is that little James will never see the world that killed our Saviour, but instead the first thing he will see when he opens his eyes is Jesus.

  117. Mandy Ford reply

    This is beautiful, Katelyn. Thinking of you and your family in this tough time…

  118. Renee Weyant reply

    love these! congratulations!!!

  119. Ellen scarlett reply

    Oh how my heart breaks for you! Prayers!

  120. Nailah reply

    Dear Katelyn and Michael,

    I’m a sister in Christ from across the ocean. I live in Belgium. I’ve been following your blog silently for years, since I first discovered it back in 2012 or 2013. Secretly, I decided that one day you would be my wedding photographer ;). Never mind the ocean in between!

    I’m not the type to leave comments or to leave my ‘print’ on websites. But yesterday I read your post about James Michael, and the thought of you two has not left my mind.

    I know there are many more, and I hope each message helps: I am writing you so you know that I’ve been interceding for you and your dear family.

    I’ve had some sincere heart to heart with our dear Lord. About what seems at times to be the peculiar and unwanted gifts of suffering He allows in the lives of some of Hi most beloved… answers I do not have, and we most probably will not have them on this side of eternity.

    But for all its worth, dear sister, know that your pain, your suffering does not go unnoticed and one more family member is praying for you, along with you, lifting up empty hands, yet a hopeful heart to Him alone Who is Sovereign and Holy.

    When we think we’ve reached the bottom, His love goes.. deeper still.

    With love in Christ,

    Nailah Fernando

  121. Linda Morrow reply

    I haven’t quite known what to say after reading your post about a week ago. It’s utterly heartbreaking. At the same time, I see you still grabbing those joyful moments on your daughter’s birthday. That had to be so hard. You have amazing family support from what you have said. Please be sure to take advantage of that when you need it. You are your husband are very special people but it’s ok to take a step back and deal with this. After 10 years in my photography business, I recently decided I needed to take a year off to deal with my health issues. I need to be there more for my kids and I have been so busy with my business that it’s been hard to work on myself. It was a hard decision, but I know that if I want to come back I have so many amazing clients and vendors who will support me. And WE will understand if you need a break and will be here when you come back! Take care of yourself and your family in this difficult time! I’m so sorry this happened to you.

  122. Liz waterman reply

    This is beautiful. Crying and praying with you both! May the Lord be glorified!

  123. Sommer reply

    Katelyn –
    Tears & faith fill my eyes and heart as I read your post. Your precious boy is indeed changing countless lives. Our God must’ve known how incredibly strong you are— stronger than you’d ever desire to be. I walked thru pieces of a dear friends journey like yours – where like you & your husband- they too worshipped God through the most difficult thing this side of heaven anyonecould experience. Their son’s life -as yours- has impacted more than most of ours ever will. And because of them both & their parents bravery – courage & determination to share their lives … there will be longer lines in heaven with people waiting to say “Thank You …for giving to the Lord… mine is a life that was changed…” (song by Ray Boltz).
    Thank you Katelyn – my prayers will only continue for a miracle This side of heaven -should the Lord see that to be best. And that endless love & crazy peace be poured upon you & your husband.
    -Sommer Clark

  124. Kaitlin reply

    Dear Katelyn,
    I just read your words above about the precious life of your sweet James. My nephew went to be with Jesus after being diagnosed with hydrops a few years ago, at 20 weeks gestation. Watching our family walk through what you’re facing, I can say their faith was greatly increased during that tragedy. I will be praying for you and your dear family as you walk every day of this journey the Lord has established for you to walk. James’ life is so dear and precious! And what a grace to know he will be with the Savior, free of pain! Your testimony of who Jesus is and of the power of the gospel to sustain is so rare and so worthy a message! You are in my constant prayers!

  125. Nikki reply

    Oh, Sweet Mama my heart breaks for you and your family. Our sweet daughter Madison was stillborn in January 2017, and everything you wrote is exactly what I wanted to say to and about her, but didn’t have the words. Sweet James will never be forgotten, and he is already making a difference in the world. Prayers for you, James, and your family as you navigate the most difficult time in your life. Just know that you have an army of loss mamas beside you, linking arms, and praying for you. And we will hold our sweet ones again.

  126. Shelly Trowbridge reply

    I am celebrating you baby with you tonight! I am praying for you, for the days ahead, for your daughter, husband and your collective families who are hurting right now. I am praying for a miracle! Our God is a God of miracles! He raised Lazirus from the dead! He parted the Red Sea, but sometimes things don’t happen as we hope, nevertheless, our hope is still in Jesus Christ!

    I believe in a world where the value of human life is being diminished, God can use this story to bring this country back to the fact that every life has value, because, as you so eloquently stated, God is the giver of life! It is not intended to be thought of as an accident or an inconvenience, but to be celebrated! You keep praying, and loving and trusting God daily, and He will be with you every step of the way! He will never leave us nor forsake us, and this little precious baby’s life is speaking to hearts all over this nation, and will have an impact on the hardest hearts! I pray that lives will be changed, hearts will be softened and little ones in the womb will be protected more because of your little fighter! His story truly touched my heart, and your faith and strength are a sign of whose child you are! You are not alone, so be strong and courageous, for the Lord, your God will be with you, wherever you go! This Oklahoma sister in Christ is praying for you and sweet baby James!

  127. Bek reply

    I stumbled upon your story tonight. My heart is aching for you. Tears…tears…tears. When you mentioned that James wouldn’t be a baby who will be forgotten, if you don’t get to meet him this side of heaven, but that you will talk about him with his siblings my heart just knew how valuable this is. My mum and dad lost a baby at 5 months gestation. She was not a Christian and did not want to know the gender of the baby. I was born a year later. I always felt like something was missing….or somebody but the baby was never spoken about. I don’t blame my parents for how they handled it, they did what they needed to do to get through.I have only recently had prayer ministry and I believe God told me that the baby was a girl. I knew my parents would have called her Rachel if the baby was a girl. I always felt like a sister was missing. I was able to receive prayer and we released her. I could not have imagined the release I would experience. The power of knowing I had an older sister who is in heaven waiting to meet me one day. The chains I didn’t even understand in my life fell away. How you are living this is powerful and life changing though I understand your momma’s heart is aching to hold him and watch him grow up.

    Reading your words has changed my week for the better…..another story…..I cannot imagine your pain, I will think of you and pray for you.

    Much love

  128. Monica Molina reply

    Ohh God I’ve cry so much!!! 24 years ago We were at Sacramento ‘s capitol taking a picture on those statues in front of the building and I was 6 months pregnant , I slipped and fell hitting my bottom once at the bottom of the statue and the second one when I fell to the floor, that night I had a lot of pain , went to the bathroom and I fell something coming out when I looked it was my placenta, we called the ambulance and the paramedics instead of helping me get my baby out since he was already being born they pushed him back inside, when we got to the hospital he was already dead ! I know how you feel, I know how broken you most be and I wish I was close to give you a hug! I pray for your baby, for you and your family! God choose tough moms to give birth little angels so you and I have something in common! God bless you!!

  129. Kaylee reply

    Thank you for sharing the Gospel! I am praying for your family as my heart is broken with yours but also rejoicing with yours for the life in your womb and the purpose of sharing our hope in Christ!

  130. Susan Harrison reply

    Dear Katelyn, My college-age daughter has been telling me for some time now how much she has enjoyed following your blog, how your faith and witness has inspired her faith and encouraged her dreams. Today she shared your letter to your sweet James Michael because she saw the grief I was feeling in another loss. Your witness spoke through her words to me, when she said remember he is whole and completely healed, physically, yes, but the Lord has also taken away all his pain and grief he has longed to lay down and said “you are a new creation.” Thank you, Katelyn and Michael, for sharing your life and bearing the glory of God to light the way for others to see.

  131. Cameron Clark | Cameron Kelly Studio reply

    Incredible faith and strength.

  132. Lexi reply

    Praying for you and your family. I am inspired by your faith and trust in our God who does everything perfectly, though we can’t always see the perfection in this lifetime.

  133. Hillary reply

    Dear Katelyn, this was so touching and a beautiful love letter to little James. Your thoughts and strength are incredibly inspiring. I’m so sorry for you and your families sadness. Much love from one human to another..

  134. Kristin reply

    I am so sorry, I had the same thing happen with my first baby, also a boy. You handled this situation so much better than I did. I am so happy you have these amazing photos … wish I had done that. It is really hard to wrap your mind, and heart, around what is happening at the time. Faith got me through then, and still gets me through anything. You are a blessing to many. Sharing your story, especially with your gift of writing, is helpful to more than you will ever know I am sure. God knows your story, and has blessed you in so many ways… I pray you heal as quickly and completely as possible with His help. Thank you for sharing your story.

  135. Stephanie Barker reply

    Hey Katelyn! Been following your story through my friend Cindy Runyan Fornatero. Your situation is especially on my heart as I watched a friend walk through a similar situation just over a year ago. Wanted to share her story with you (link below) as she has found a special way of honoring her son’s life in the same way you have with precious James Michael.
    Lots of love and prayers to your family. ❤️https://thefairfinch.com/2018/03/14/motherhood-crush-jessie-love/

  136. Betsy Ewer reply

    ♥️

  137. Kristina reply

    Praying for your family hard and with tears. We know a sweet set of mamas that created a podcast called “Through the Lens” that is all about looking at early loss through the lens of the Gospel. They each lost a little boy, too. May offer some wisdom from other mamas who know what you are going through.

  138. jeani reply

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VLuaGiu73jc I pray you may take comfort in this song. Prayers for you today. I Will Carry You (Audrey’s Song) It is Down’s Syndrome Awareness day today. God knit each of us together just as He planned. Bless you as you walk this hard path.

  139. maria laborde reply

    BEAUTIFUL The story brought tears to my eyes but it was good for my soul. Wishing you Peace, Love, Joy and God’s Blessing and Grace Always.

  140. DeAndra Jarboe reply

    Katelyn,
    Your testimony and faith in God is truly inspirational. I’m so sorry for this sadness and pain you and Michael are walking through right now. May the Lord continue to comfort you and surround you with those who love you. Sincerely, Your Sister in Christ

  141. Shannon reply

    Thank you for sharing your heart and the beautiful beginning of this story. It’s not over yet. Going to the throne on your behalf for a miracle only Jesus can do! God bless you!

  142. Alison Hauck reply

    Katelyn, I feel your pain and my heartbreaks for you as no parent can fully prepare for the loss. My first son, Wyatt was stillborn at 32 weeks. I now have two living children and I still miss Wyatt and wonder what life would be like with three children, his smile, his laugh, and what his voice would sound like. He is the reason I turned my hobby for photography into a portrait business. I offer stillbirth portraits for free to parents and it is the most rewarding thing for me.

    I firmly believe we become parents at conception and not a birth. Alison

  143. Asish Raju reply

    May the God of all peace bring you and your family comfort and peace. Jesus has conquered the grave and now lives forevermore. May He grant you rest knowing that you are safe in His arms.

  144. Maria Carmen Doane reply

    I believe that God has his Almighty hand on your sons life and he is just as much a person and individual as you and I. May the Lord forever be praised. For he is good and his mercy endures forever. He doesn’t repay us according to our past or our sins. He is kind and true. The author and finisher of our faith. I pray that the glory of the Lord rests upon you and your family in Christ Jesus. If it is the Lord’s precious will that your son be healed then may it be done. We will praise him in the storms and in the sunshine. We wil praise him forever. Let all the saints of God proclaim.

    Hallelujah!

  145. K. Lenox Photography reply

    Katelyn- I’m thinking of you. Prayers. Hugs.

  146. Sara France reply

    Tears run down my face as a I write this. Thank you for being so brave and so open. You are so strong! I so wish there was some way to help lighten your sorrow. My thoughts are with you and your family during this unbelievably hard time.

  147. Jennifer S reply

    I have an 8 month old little boy named James. I read this with tears in my eyes at my desk at work. I don’t know how you’re managing to deal with this but your grace and faith are truly inspirational. Since giving birth, I’ve had awful postpartum anxiety and depression. I’ve just started my walk with God and your words have encouraged me to keep going. To be able to deal with something so frightening and sad with so much dignity and beauty…just wow. Please know that you and your family will be in my prayers. God bless.

  148. Michael Bohlman reply

    Thank you so much for honoring God in the hard times. After rears, you have strengthened my soul. God’s love and healing to your family.

  149. Julia reply

    I am praying for you and your family…..What I hard time! My heart aches for you as you face the loss of your precious little boy…….Thank you for your witness for Christ through your suffering! Take comfort in the fact that someday you Will see him again in Heaven!

    May God grant you peace and healing.

  150. Alexa reply

    beautiful pictures and a beautiful couple!

  151. Jennifer Powers reply

    Oh, sweet family, how my soul aches for each of you. I, too, am a mama to an angel in Heaven. I was blessed with 17 months and four days on earth with my precious daughter, Grace. She was injured at birth and sustained grave trauma to her little brain causing seizures every six seconds of her life. We prayed for a healing miracle and in His great wisdom and awesomeness, God healed our angel’s broken body in His own way. After 13 years, we still feel the loss of her. We now have two healthy little boys who know the love of their big sister and the grace of Jesus through his perfect love. I pray that you find peace in the knowledge that sweet James was fearfully and wonderfully made in His perfect image. I’m certain that as he passes from this life into his eternal life, my Gracie will be there to welcome him into paradise.

    “May the Lord bless you and keep you; make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; turn his face toward you and give you peace.”’

    Love always,
    Jennifer Powers

  152. Shirley reply

    I read your story with tears streaming down my face. There were a couple of times I couldn’t breathe while reading it. I have 8 children and 22 grandchildren and don’t know if I could have faced something like this happening to us. You are so right about your boy being a miracle because all babies are miracles. My heart just breaks for you.

  153. K. Lenox Photography reply

    Katelyn- I just watched the all access video today and I’m surprised that we even had one at all. You both are so very strong. My heart is breaking for you both. I also am so happy that you are trusting in the Good Lord and his plan.. even if we don’t fully understand what it is at the moment. Lots of virtual hugs and prayers. xoxo

  154. Casie Schlueter reply

    I am so sorry for your family. My heart aches for you all. We have three children and our middle son is 9 years old and has Down syndrome. Getting the news on his birthday that he has Down syndrome was heart breaking for us, our dreams for him were crushed (momentarily), but we had this little baby that needed us and that was given to us to raise. So, we took what we were given from the Lord and loved him just like our other kids. There has been lots of struggles on all of our parts throughout the years, but we get through it together and celebrate all the milestones along the way, whenever they come. Again, I am so sorry that you had to say goodbye to your James too early.

  155. Jody reply

    Ah friend… there are no words. So thankful for what the Lord has carried you both through, and is continuing to carry you through. ❤️

  156. Jessica reply

    Katelyn,

    I am so sorry for what you are going through and so proud of the perspective you already have.
    My first born daughter was born at 21 weeks and went directly to be with the Lord, so I understand your earth crashing pain.
    I am so happy you have images of your entire family here on earth <3
    Many prayers,
    Jessica

  157. To My Baby on His Due Date – Paula Le reply

    […] OUR FIRST LETTER TO BABY JAMES […]

  158. Kristin Smith reply

    First of all, God bless you for sharing your heart and your story, your pain and your faith. I’ve been through a somewhat similar experience, but reading how you’ve clung to the Lord is like reading my own story, but in different words with different names. It’s incredible and so hopeful to hear how the God of all comfort can bring us peace in the most unlikely places.
    In January of 2012 I found out I was pregnant with baby #2. My little girl, Cassidy, was just 2 years old, and we couldn’t have been more thrilled. When I was 16 weeks, they ran their usual tests and then called me back in to tell me some of my levels were off and they wanted me to see a neonatologist and have an early ultrasound to see what was going on. They had suspected spinabifada. At my ultrasound, she said it wasn’t spinabifada, but he was a little small for his age and his bowels looked bright, which they sometimes see with babies with cystic fibrosis. But she wasn’t sure what it was and wanted to monitor me often. I was 17 weeks at that appointment and she was able to see the gender, wrote it down and put it in an envelope. Later that afternoon, my brother in law, also a photographer, had the card and set up a photo shoot with the balloons, and when we opened our eyes, we found blue balloons all around us! We were having a boy and we couldn’t believe it! We spent the next 3 weeks excited to meet our Carter Daniel, excited for my Cassidy to become a big sister.
    Then at my 20 week appointment, a routine ultrasound that my husband didn’t feel he needed to accompany me to, our world was shattered. I watched as the not super chatty ultrasound tech took measurements but didn’t say much. I made casual chit chat about how he wasn’t as active as he was 3 weeks ago. After she was done, she came back to his chest and finally said, “Here is his heart, and I’m really sorry, but it looks like there isn’t a heartbeat.” You could hear a pin drop. I couldn’t say a word. She stood up and said she would go get the doctor and that she was very sorry. I laid there on that bed, all alone in that dark room, looking at the photos of my lifeless baby boy. Tears streamed down my face (and are again now as I write this). The first thing the Lord brought to mind was Michelle Duggar of 19 Kids and Counting. Just a month before, she had lost her 20th child. I remember watching that, thinking there was no way I could handle that. But she handled it with such grace and such faith. I knew the first words to come out of my mouth in that moment needed to be the same as Michelle Duggar’s. Words that would set the tone for how I would CHOOSE to respond and handle all that would follow. So in a barely audible voice, all alone, I whispered, “The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.” I knew in the midst of my agony and disbelief, God was still God, and He was still good. And I needed to choose to praise Him no matter what. A few minutes later, the doctor came in and we talked details of how I wanted to proceed and what I needed to do. They had already called my primary doctor in the town I lived in and informed them of what happened and he wanted to see me that day. Once she left the room, I called my husband. I couldn’t even speak. He was in a staff meeting (he was a youth pastor at the time) and knew he needed to answer. He knew immediately when I didn’t say anything what had happened. He said, “I’ll leave right now and I’ll be there soon.” He was about 35 minutes away. He told our pastor that I lost the baby, so he drove my husband down to me so my husband could drive me home. While I waited for him, they let me sit in a private room and I called my mom. She lives in Arizona (I’m in Utah) and was on vacation with my aunts in Texas at the time. She told me she’d get a flight out the next day.
    So the next couple of days were a whirlwind of doctor’s appointments and such. My primary doctor wasn’t comfortable doing the D&E at 20 weeks, so he referred me to another doctor who had just finished a specialized training in situations like this. We found out we lost him on a Monday, and on Thursday I had my D&E. I had to choice to deliver him or to have the D&E, but we didn’t know how long he’d been gone and I couldn’t bear to go through labor and see my baby like that. I didn’t think I was strong enough. I had a picture in my head of what he looked like and I couldn’t have anything shatter that. Anyway, super long story short (I know it’s been a long story), I ended up with a clot in my cervix after the surgery and they had to rush me back into the OR to get me to stop bleeding. I ended up going DIC, which basically means my heart thought I was dead so my body stopped clotting. It was a 4 hour surgery to get my blood to start clotting again, and the doctor only gave a few updates to my husband and family, and the first couple of updates weren’t good. She wasn’t sure I was going to make it. That’s when my husband broke down completely and everyone texted everyone they knew and posted to facebook asking people to stop everything and pray for me. My friends opened up our church and all prayed for me. People showed up at the hospital. My dad and sister drove frantically through the night the 10 hours from Arizona to Utah, with only limited updates on what was happening. I, of course, was unaware of all of this. Then the next thing I know, I woke up in a dark ICU room with tubes all over me and I couldn’t breathe, because there was still a breathing tube down my throat. Once they calmed me down and assured me the machines were basically breathing for me, my husband briefly told me about what happened, and how God performed a miracle that day. Once a person goes DIC, I guess there’s like a 1% chance of survival, and usually the first thing they have to do for a woman is a hysterectomy. But God’s people prayed and God showed up. I still have my uterus and I’m still here! He put me in the right hospital at the right time with the right doctors who just had the right training and the right medication was available and they had enough blood, plasma and platelets, and people PRAYED. It was a long recovery for me, as they had to reopen my c-section wound to help stop the bleeding, but I am still here! The loss of our baby was briefly overshadowed by the urgency of my situation, but he will never be forgotten. Every May we relive what all went down that week, and every September we think about how we’d be celebrating his birthday. We still talk about him. My daughter still talks about him and tells others about him. But we’re okay. We are 100% okay. Because Jesus. Because Jesus is merciful and loving. We still don’t know what was wrong with Carter and why he died, but I choose to look at it, not as if God was mad and me and wanted me to be in pain so He killed my baby, but rather I believe it was an act of mercy. He could have been born sick and had all sorts of health issues. But Jesus spared him and took him home so he would not suffer. God was so sweet to me during that time. I had lots of people ask us how we could be okay after all that had happened. God. Just God. God was still good and He still loved us and showed us time and time again that He is in ultimate control, and although our trials hurt, His plans are perfect. I’ve been able to talk with so many people since then about my story and I’ve been able to share the goodness of God in a way that’s more genuine and honest than ever before in my life. I’ve been able to minister to others who have gone through similar situations, offering hope from a perfectly loving Father. And even though there’s nothing wrong with me or my husband, God has not allowed us to have another child. And it’s been 6 years. That hurt for a long time, but now we’re both at a place where we are okay with that, too. God’s plan is so much better than our own. And even when we don’t understand, it’s okay. Because we don’t have to understand. We just have to trust.
    So anyway, thank you again for sharing your story. I’m sorry mine was long – I tend to be a little long winded. But your story just reminds me so much of my own. And praise God that He has given you the faith to see His goodness through it all. It’s so encouraging to hear other’s stories where the peace of God truly does surpass all understanding.
    So God bless you and your family, and may God continue to be your strength, and keep sharing Jesus. It’s encouraging me to share more and trust more.

    In Christ,
    Kristin Smith

  159. 4 Months Later – Paula Le reply

    […] DEAR JAMES MICHAEL […]

  160. Ma. Cristina B. Timbal reply

    it was a wonderful and inspiring story As i am currently in the same situation right now. Waiting for my baby to be with God because of so many complications and hydrops. It gives me hope and trust that the Lord has better plans for me for the coming days. Thank you!

  161. Terri reply

    I know what you are going through. I have been there myself. And my son and daughter-in-law just lost a baby boy name Duke. It is the hardest thing to go through. I Love your story. It helped me because the dr told my son and his wife to have an abortion. My son and his wife said no that it was in GODS hands she was carrying Duke and for whatever reason Duke was supposed to be. It was in GODS hands. Thanks for sharing. GOD Bless you and your family

  162. Kathy reply

    Your faith amazes me but it shouldn’t! Our Father God does nothing that is not in His perfect plan for us! Bless you and your sweet family. I pray that when the smallest of issues come through my life, I can handle them as faithful as you. I tend to forget that He doesn’t allow anything to happen without His knowledge. Thank you! Kathy

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