• A Story of Loss & Hope

I have thought long and hard about this post. Do I share about James’ birth just like I did for Evy? Do we want the world to see our special baby boy or should we just keep these photos to ourselves? Will the internet be able to handle a story like this? How do I share the story of a birth and the story of losing a baby at the same time? Despite all of these questions, I know deep down that we’re supposed to share his story…. and we want to. I know that by sharing about James’ birth and the end of his life here on earth, I’m extending his legacy and allowing God to use what he walked us through for His Glory… but that doesn’t mean it’s easy.

I’m so thankful that God has allowed Michael and me to share our journey, because it has allowed us to share our son with the world. I know that not every parent who loses a baby will have a desire to share like this. My hope is that what I share about our experience can somehow be a voice for those who have experienced the same pain and longed for the world to have a better understanding of what they went through. My hope is that through James’ story other families who are walking through devastating loss will somehow see a glimmer of hope despite living through the worst season of their lives.

Michael and I have both found that talking about James and his story is something that we love to do. I love it when friends ask me to tell them how his birth was or ask about what he was like. I even love explaining about his complications and every detail that wasn’t right. I just love being able to talk about my baby, but what is ironic is that because our situation is so sad, most people don’t ask or even acknowledge what has happened because they don’t want to upset us. No one wants to say anything that will make me cry and so a lot of times, talking about James is avoided. That’s totally understandable. I’m sure that some parents in our shoes would rather not talk about their loss and that’s understandable….. but for Michael and for me, it’s so important to us to share about our baby. So here I go…..

For those who are just finding out about our story, you can read a letter that I wrote to James right after we found out that he had severe complications. You can read that letter HERE. His 20 week ultrasound showed that he had a cystic hygroma, a heart defect, and severe hydrops. We decided to do an amniocentesis and within a few days we knew that I was carrying a baby boy with Down Syndrome. We knew the moment the doctor shared our devastating news that we would carry him as long as the Lord allowed him to live. That was the hardest and also the most rewarding decision that I have ever made in my entire life. I didn’t have a lot of strength or energy to blog about his journey while I was carrying him for the three months that he continued to live. However, I did share what I could on Instagram and you can read those posts HERE. Those were the hardest three months of my life. Loving a baby while each day knowing that it could be our last with him slowly tears you apart. There were days when I would sob on the shower floor and pray that God would take my baby and end his suffering, and then an hour later I would be crying in bed, holding my belly and telling my baby boy how much I loved him. The mental battle to try to simultaneously experience joy and sorrow was sometimes too much to bear.

For 11 weeks, Michael drove us to weekly high-risk ultrasounds that we didn’t even have to go to. We only kept those appointments because, as parents, it seemed like the right thing to do to check on our child every week that he was still living. There was nothing medically necessary about these appointments. Our Doctor graciously let us schedule our ultrasounds at the end of her work day so that we wouldn’t have to sit in a waiting room full of pregnant women, and so she wouldn’t be rushed and could spend as much time with us as we needed. We would see his fluid around his head, his puffy arms and legs that were very short because of his Downs. We would see his heart rate that never strayed far from the 130’s. We would check his diastolic flow from the umbilical cord and it was always strong. We would see the ever-growing amount of fluid in his abdomen. Each week it seemed to get a little worse. It got to the point where we couldn’t even see certain organs anymore. Some of them were compressed because of the fluid, and some were shifted and unable to be seen because of the pressure. Our poor little boy. How he survived almost two months longer than any doctor expected him to blows our minds. He was incredibly strong. Every time that we showed up for another weekly ultrasound, Dr. Troyer would say “You guys have a fighter!” and she was right.

Since we’re talking about our ultrasounds and the many many appointments that we had… let me just say…. doctors who call your baby BY NAME… even when they know your baby is going to die… even when they know that there is nothing that can be done… even when they could view your appointments as a waste of their time… are a GIFT. I cannot explain how much it meant to us that our doctors knew our baby’s name and used it constantly. He wasn’t just a baby with complications to them. They recognized that this baby was our second child and our son whom we loved. Dr. Troyer would say “Well, let’s keep getting to know your little guy” every time we came in for an ultrasound and I loved that. God blessed us with a team that treasured our baby just like we did. I carried James until I was 31 weeks pregnant, and so being surrounded and taken care of by an amazing medical team was a gift from God.

Everyone, including the doctors, were amazed that James continued to survive. We couldn’t explain it, because while his condition continued to worsen, his heart would continue to beat. However, after a while, we started to realize that because James was breech, that meant that his heart had gravity on its’ side. Despite his severe and irreversible heart defects his little heart just kept beating. As the end grew closer, we realized that a baby with a good connection to his momma can have a body that is failing in a million ways but if he’s strong, he can keep going for a long time….and that’s exactly what was happening with James. He was still living inside of me but he was slowly fading. I felt him move one night about a week before I delivered him. He didn’t move much after 24 weeks but he moved around enough that night for Michael to feel him and that meant the world to us. Every week that he lived inside of me seemed like a miracle but it also seemed to become more and more painful. I am so thankful for the time that I had with my baby while being pregnant…. but anticipating the loss of a baby each and every day is unbearably hard… especially when you know that your baby’s body is continually declining.

The week before I was induced, I was showing signs of pre-labor. Without going into a crazy amount of detail, you should know that this time frame was incredibly hard for me. Physically, I wasn’t doing well. I was 80% effaced and dilating. I was at risk for developing Mirror Syndrome because of the severity of James’ complications and mentally, I was a wreck. I knew that the end was coming but I didn’t know how or when or what it was going to be like. It was around week 30 that my body started to change and we started to see some red flags arise. I have never prayed and begged God for answers and wisdom as much as I did that last week of April. I was induced on May 1st and I prayed for peace that surpasses any understanding. Walking into a hospital…. the same hospital where I delivered a healthy baby just 14 months prior… should have been traumatic. Putting on a hospital gown and seeing a bassinet in the room but knowing we wouldn’t have a breathing baby inside of it should have been incredibly hard for me…. but it wasn’t. Only having a contraction monitor on my stomach, but no heartbeat monitor should have been hard to handle, but I was okay with it. Seeing midwives and nurses that had helped deliver Evy should have been traumatic because this time, my story would be ending so differently. I had such a peace…. it doesn’t make any sense…. unless you believe in a loving God. That’s the only answer. This is too emotional and too devastating of a situation to just chalk up the peace that I experienced to me just “pushing through” and “being strong”. When I think back to that morning, the worst part was honestly standing in the waiting area of the hospital with another couple who was also being induced that morning. The mom smiled at me and said “Whew! I’m ready to get this baby out! I bet you are too!” and I had to refrain from thinking about what we were about to experience. That woman had no idea that we were about to deliver a baby without a heartbeat while she would be meeting her 4th baby. Her other children would be coming in to meet their new sibling while my daughter would be meeting and also saying goodbye to her brother. Somehow, I just smiled at her and nodded without falling apart.

They started pitocin around 9am and thankfully I progressed quickly and easily. They broke my water and literally nothing happened. There wasn’t any water to break. Our poor boy’s amniotic fluid levels were so low, but just the act of attempting to break my water intensified contractions and I was at the unbearable, can’t talk, trying not to scream or break Michael’s hand part of labor. It was happening fast and while I’ve always wanted to experience a natural birth, this was NOT the time for that. Maybe one day I will have a pregnancy that will allow me to experience labor that way. :) I got an epidural, and Michael went to grab lunch in the lobby with our families. Fast forward to about 40 minutes later, and I could tell that it was time. Both with Evy’s birth and James’ birth, I have felt pain through the epidural but the relief that it gave allowed my body to relax enough to get me to the place of pushing extremely fast. The nurse came over to talk to me and check my progress, and I knew it was serious when she told another nurse to go get Michael from the lobby right away. They called my OB but grabbed a midwife to be with me in case my OB wasn’t there in time. Michael rushed back into the room and our best friend Jill was with him to take pictures. I saw her and held her hand and cried. I think it was hitting me that I was about to finally meet this sweet boy that we had spent months loving through ultrasounds….. but I also knew that he wouldn’t be alive. It’s hard to explain what it feels like to be in that position. It was all so overwhelming. I pushed for about 15-20 minutes. It wasn’t pleasant delivering a breech baby feet first, but I’ll never forget hearing Michael say “Oh Katelyn… you can see his face” as soon as he was out.

That was my miracle.

I literally have written in my journal “Jesus, just let us see his face. Please just let us see his little face.”

His swelling around his head was incredibly severe. On the ultrasounds, it looked like there would be so much fluid in his face that it would be impossible to see facial features. Because of this, we had had numerous conversations with both of our doctors about how to be prepared to see him because it could be alarming. We were prepared to meet our baby and love him no matter what he looked like. We knew that it was very likely that our baby may not even look like a baby, and every week our ultrasounds pointed towards that being true. I struggled with this so much…. I also struggled that he turned breech around 22 weeks and never flipped back around… leaving me with a way more complicated delivery. I prayed things like “Really God?! With all that we’re going through, you can’t allow him to just flip over?! Why does it have to be EXTRA complicated?!” However, what we didn’t realize is that when James’ turned breech, his face was pressed up against the placenta, and because he didn’t flip or move for weeks and weeks the pressure of his face up against the placenta pushed the fluid away from his face. This is why we were able to see his precious face. I cried over him the moment that he was born and thanked God for giving me that miracle. It was evident that his body was never designed to live outside of me…. but he was so beautiful. He had the cutest face… He had the softest little hands and feet….he had beautiful lips just like his sister…. but most importantly, he had the tiniest amount of red hair!

Labor was 6 hours instead of 26 like it was for Evy and I’m so grateful for that. I remember feeling heartbroken, relieved, joyful, and thankful the moment I held James for the first time. You would think that going through the pain of labor only to deliver a baby that isn’t living would be terrifying, but it wasn’t. It was a Holy moment. I cried… Michael cried… but then we enjoyed getting to have time with our baby. Michael bathed him, I put him in a tiny outfit, we brought Evy in to meet her brother, and then our families came back to meet him. Again, you would think that having your family meet your baby after he’s gone would be incredibly sad, and it was at moments… but more than anything, it was a sweet time that I’ll always remember as being joyful. I actually remember feeling very excited for our families to meet him and see him. I was proud of him, I was proud of myself, I was proud of Michael. We had physically come to the end of the hardest season of our lives and we finally had our amazing baby in our arms. We took pictures, we took videos, and then everyone gathered around my hospital bed and Daddy prayed over us.

Our time with James was incredibly sweet. Someone once said that one day I’ll be able to look back on this season of my life and have fond memories of it. That seemed crazy to me back when I was pregnant and barely hanging on…. but I’m already able to see how it’s true. Having to say goodbye to his earthly body less than a day after getting to “meet” him for the first time was so hard. I just can’t explain how it feels to say goodbye, to know that your baby is never coming back, and that that was the last time that you’ll see him. It was the most emotional part of the entire experience. However, a few hours after we said our goodbyes, we once again felt such a sense of peace. We knew that our son was in heaven and because of the Gospel, we know that we’ll be able to see him again. The sadness will continue and our family will always feel like there is someone missing, but we have seen God’s goodness and His grace in a way that a lot of people NEVER experience in their entire lifetime.

James 1:2-4 says to consider it pure joy when you face trials of many kinds. It’s hard to understand a verse like that in the midst of normal life. Little trials that are annoying and frustrating seem pointless…. but when you experience tragedy, it almost seems easier to realize that God has a purpose in it, because there is no other explanation. There isn’t any other type of hope that can come from losing a child. After experiencing a stillbirth and the journey that we just walked through with James, I can honestly say that we have never known the Lord more intimately than in our most desperate moments the past 5 months. It’s made me realize that there is so much more of my life that God desires to be a part of. There is so much more that He’s asking me to trust Him with. I’ve learned what it means to truly believe in the promises of scripture instead of just having them memorized in my head. I’ve realized that the type of love that I have for James is unlike any type of love that I’ve known before. I’ve learned to trust that God has a plan for me even when it would be easier to believe that He has just forgotten about me. I’ve had to live my life with absolutely no control over my future and that has taught me to trust God in a way that I’ve never experienced before. Michael and I are experiencing our marriage in a way that I think God intended it to be years ago, but pride and shame and tension got in the way. Our families are loving each other in a deeper way because little problems seem pointless after walking through the pain of the last 5 months. We’ve developed a new appreciation for life and healthy babies. We will never take a good doctors appointment for granted ever again. We understand the pain of other parents who have lost babies in a way that those who haven’t walked this road will never truly grasp. Lastly, we have learned that percentage chances of horrible things happening to us mean nothing. My hand tumor during Evy’s pregnancy happens to one in a million pregnant women. The chances of being 30 years old and having a baby with Down Syndrome is a 1 in 3,000 chance. What we have walked through isn’t about chance…. it’s about purpose.

Our lives are not our own. We don’t exist just to live, work, and try to survive what life throws at us. That would be such a SAD life, and there has to be a bigger story for the world. Life has to exist for something more. God is writing a story in everyone’s life but it’s up to each one of us to choose to allow Him to change us. Allowing God to transform us, teach us, and carry us through losing James is ultimately going to be a turning point in our life. We’re going to look back on this season years from now and realize that we became more of who God designed us to be because our son existed. James’ life is a part of the story that God has allowed us to walk through and it was and continues to be purposeful.

We had a small, intimate memorial service for our baby boy at our home a couple of weeks ago. Our family and some close friends gathered on our property and we planted a weeping willow tree in memory of James’ life. We spread some of his ashes, we sang and worshipped, we prayed, we thanked God for our son, and then Michael and I read letters to James. We both promised to share his story for the rest of our lives no matter how hard it was. Today, by publishing this blog post, we’re starting to fulfill that promise and it is our hope that lives will be forever changed because of our baby boy.

Below you’ll see a few pictures of me when I was still pregnant with James. We took some final maternity photos after realizing that our time with James here on this earth was about to end. Then you’ll see some pictures from James’ birthday in the hospital. We have hundreds of pictures with him but we have selected only a few to share with the world. Then you’ll see a few pictures from his memorial service and while it may seem like we were only sad in these images, there was also so much joy in our tears. At the end of this post, I’m sharing my letter to James and then Michael’s. There is no better way to share how we both feel about our little guy than to share those words.

If you’re still reading all of this…. wow. I’m sorry this is a novel, but I appreciate you loving us and being invested in our baby’s story. It means so much to us to be able to share about him and we’re grateful that God has given us this space on the internet to do so. There will be more posts in the future… more stories and more about our experience as we work through this next season. I’m hopeful that we can eventually help share ways that other parents in our situation can survive and even thrive in the midst of their tragedy. Eventually, we’ll have a film of James’ life that shares his whole story and we’re excited to share that one day. Enjoy these images and getting to know our baby. :)

Michael and my sister Emy took these for me. This was my one request before I was induced. I was huge… especially for only being 31 weeks. After delivering James and seeing the size of his placenta (3x larger than normal due to his complications), it makes sense why I was the size that I was. 

I love this sweet picture with my two babies. It’s one of my all time favorites! 

This was the moment he was born and we got to see his sweet face. It was incredibly sad but also so sweet. I can look at these images and remember what it felt like to finally get to hold him. I debated having pictures taken of his actual birth but I’m so SO thankful that Jill was there with her camera. These pictures mean more to me than any other pictures I have from our life.

This was my sister getting to see me and James for the first time after delivery. She’s my best friend and literally walked through EVERY day of this journey with me. She and Joe and Micah moved in with us right before Christmas and now we know why that timing was so important. We needed them here with us these past 5 months. I cried with her in the office almost everyday when I was pregnant. She watched Evy whenever Michael and I needed to get out of the house and get some fresh air. She ran our business when I just couldn’t do anything anymore. She has been the greatest blessing to me and I’m so grateful for her. 

This picture is a perfect representation of my parents. They would do anything for their kids. Watching me walk through this pregnancy was incredibly hard on them. I can’t imagine seeing your daughter experience something like this and being unable to fix it. Their entire life stopped and revolved around me and how they could help me through this.  I’ll never be able to thank them for how they loved me through the last 5 months. I’m so thankful for not only the way that they loved me, but also how much they loved James. Momma would kiss my belly and talk to James just like she did with Evy. It’s little things like this that made him a part of our family while he was still with us. 

James was named after Michael’s dad. He survived stage four cancer ten years ago when the odds were stacked against him. It makes sense that James was a fighter just like his Paw. He was incredibly strong and amazed the doctors with the amount of fight he had in him just like his grandad.  Michael’s mom was an art teacher for over 20 years and is extremely talented. She painted Evy a beautiful watercolor with her name when she was born and did the same for baby James. It’s beautiful!! It’s little things like this that make me so thankful that we didn’t treat him any differently than we did Evy. He was loved and celebrated just as much as she was.  I’m so thankful for this precious gift and that I’ll forever have watercolors for both of our babies. 

James getting to meet his Aunt Sarah. This picture makes me so happy. I can’t explain how much it meant to us that everyone in our immediate families got to meet James. 

Aunt Morgan and Uncle Corey were able to be there and I’m so thankful for that!! These two have run the road from VA Beach many many times for us. I love this picture because it looks so joyful and that’s what I wanted for this day. I wanted to remember it as being happy despite the sadness. 

I love this picture of Joe kissing James. Joe is Emy’s husband and he comes from the most loving Italian family where kisses are just a given when you’re saying hello or saying goodbye. It’s so fitting for this situation. I know I mentioned it before but having Joe and Emy with us during this part of our life was something that God knew that we needed long before we ever did. I’m so grateful for them. I’m thankful for the joy Micah brings to Evy’s life each day, I’m thankful for the bond I have with Emy and I’m really thankful that Michael has had Joe around to share life with… the good stuff and the hard stuff. Joe and Em were the ones who went on double dates with us when I was in my worst place. They have seen us at our worst and yet still love us.

Bud, Jill and baby girl Powers! Knox must have been running around with Micah!

Ty and Ash…. I texted them three days prior to being induced and asked if they were around if we decided that we needed some video clips of James when we were at the hospital. They said “Of course, We’ll be there KK”…. and they were. I didn’t realize until I was in LABOR that they were also supposed to be at the same marriage retreat that Buddy and Jill missed as well. These sweet friends gave up a week off of work, lost thousands of dollars and sat in a waiting room just to capture 30mins of our time with our baby boy. I bawled when I realized they made this huge sacrifice for us. We are so blessed with such wonderful people in our lives. We will never be able to thank them enough.

This is Michael’s mom’s watercolor and my mom handmade James’ white blanket that we all held him in at the hospital. Both of these things mean so much to me.  

Our best friends Buddy and Jill are pregnant with their second baby and are due two weeks after James’ due date. We were so excited to be pregnant together again and while it’s so hard to not have our baby and for our story to be far from what we imagined it to be, God has been faithful. God gave us two friends who aren’t afraid to walk through this dark valley with us. The day we drove to Charlottesville to meet them and find out if they were having a girl or a boy, they gave us this beautiful box with James’ full name engraved on the top. It was their day yet they were still so thoughtful and considerate of us. That’s been true for this entire journey. They have dropped everything to show up when we needed them to. Whether that was when I needed to cry on the phone or needed Jill to pick up a baby shower present for me because I couldn’t shop for baby boy clothes or when they skipped an entire week of a marriage retreat that they were supposed to attend so that they could be here for James’ birth.  We are so grateful for them. They are family to us and their friendship is one of the greatest gifts in our lives. 

This is my sweet friend and college roommate’s baby girl, Lovrin. I’m so thankful that she was there. I cried giving her a hug. She and James would have been buddies. While I have always loved this precious girl, I have a new place in my heart for her now that I’m a momma of a sweet boy with Down Syndrome. 

Babies everywhere! We’re definitely in that season of life!! Our dear friends Jordan and Amy Demos live in Arizona and have a 13 week old. They have been constant prayer warriors for us throughout this entire journey. I could compile all of my texts to them from the past 5 months and make a BOOK. I cried when they asked about coming to a service for James if we were going to have one. They literally flew across the country to celebrate our son with us in our backyard. 

These two. Mandy was my college roommate and Josh lived next to us. We have always had a special relationship with them and we cherish their friendship. Josh and Mandy sang and played at our wedding almost 8 years ago and now they have led worship at our baby’s memorial service. This is what a beautiful friendship looks like… showing up on the hilltops and in the valleys. I’m so so grateful for them. 

Daddy did the service. He’s probably done 1,000 funerals during his 30 years of being a pastor but doing one for your grandson is different. He did a beautiful job reminding us that while this is so sad, we can still have joy. His words during the service were so special to me… but his long text messages that he would send me and Michael encouraging us and telling us how proud he was of us for the way that we have walked through this hard season meant the most. I’m so thankful for him.

This was when Evy randomly started yelling “Mommmmmmaaa” during the service at the perfect time. She was sitting behind me with her great Aunt Charlotte and it was so sweet to hear in the midst of the tears. 

My brother’s job allows him to have connections to amazing Nurseries. He took on the job of finding James’ Weeping Willow Tree and it was beautiful. The night he and Morgan got to our house and we unloaded it from his truck, we couldn’t believe how big and beautiful it was!! It’s exactly what we hoped for. Each member of our immediate family shoveled some dirt around James’ tree… even the babies. 

Michael’s sister Sarah read a beautiful poem that she wrote for James and it was perfect! 

We decided to have baby James cremated.  Michael and I both grew up in the same small town and we have a family friend who owns Storke Funeral Home.  He’s a close friend of my dad’s and they have been serving families and doing funerals together for decades. David has a team that normally helps him but he personally came to the hospital when it was time to say goodbye to James. We got to see our baby leave with a friend instead of being taken away by a stranger and we will never be able to express how much of a gift that was to us. 

So thankful for our sweet friends from all different parts of our life who came to celebrate James’.  Many, many hours were spent on the road between all of these friends.

Look at this sweet Ray baby!!!

Paisley and Jade graciously gifted us these chair rentals along with two church pews for James’ memorial service and we are so grateful!

Evy’s little hand!!! She was praisin’!

Katelyn’s Letter to James:

Dear James,
It’s hard to find words that can put all that we feel into a few paragraphs. It’s been 20 days since we met you and also had to say goodbye to you. That was the hardest day of my life, but it was also so incredibly peaceful. Your Daddy and I experienced such joy in the midst of such sadness the day we finally met you.

Like any parents, we wanted a normal life with you. We wanted to bring you home and watch you grow up with your sister. We prayed for a healthy baby and an easy pregnancy…. but we were never promised any of that. Those were things that, as parents, we ache for right now in this season… but when we think about our lives and what we ultimately long for, we want our children to know the Lord and we want them to leave an impact on this world. You’ve already done both of those things. You don’t just know the Father, you are with Him…. and while we long to care for you here on this earth, we find incredible peace and comfort knowing that your precious body is healed and that you are in the care of the Creator and Almighty God. Your precious life has made more impact on the kingdom than anything we have ever done in our entire lifetime.

Our time with you was so short. We loved finally getting to see your sweet face, hold your hands, and just have you in our arms. Those 18 hours weren’t nearly long enough…. but In the midst of our pain and our tears, deep down we always knew that you were His. You belonged to Him from the very beginning. He made you uniquely different and special from the moment He started forming you. While the rest of the world sees complications, we see a baby whose life was purposeful from the beginning.

This isn’t the story that we dreamed of when we found out that we were pregnant with you… but it’s a story that God has written and we know that we are specifically called to share it with the world. Other special babies will be loved more deeply because of your life. Other moms carrying babies who are also uniquely set apart will have more strength to keep going because you existed…. And people across the world will continue to reconsider how they view God in the midst of pain and suffering because you were our son. We have no doubt that hundreds, maybe even thousands of people will be joining you in heaven because of your precious life.

As your momma, my heart will never be the same. Carrying you was the hardest and yet most rewarding thing I have ever done in my entire life. I’ve always had trouble trusting the Lord and giving up control….but Everyday that I carried you after your 20 week ultrasound was a daily decision to trust that God loved me enough to have a plan for me and for you. I’m realizing more each day how much I love you, and how much I miss you. Some nights when I go to bed, I miss you in a way that is indescribable. It breaks my heart to think of how long I have to wait to see you again. Heaven seems so different to me now that you’re there. I know my love for you will never change, but with time God is going to allow the pain to subside. Eventually, I know that I’ll be able to rejoice that my baby is healed and with his Savior without so many tears and so much suffering at the same time.

Today we promise you that from this moment on, we will proudly and boldly share your story. For the rest of our lives, we will tell the world about our precious boy who was a fighter, who baffled doctors with his strength, and who changed our lives forever. Your life will not be forgotten or hidden because it’s too hard to talk about. We promise to choose to fulfill God’s purpose for your life even when it seems so much easier just to hide in the midst of our pain. Evy and other siblings will know your name. They will see pictures of you often and they will have a deeper understanding of eternity at such a young age because you were their brother. You will forever be missed and our hearts will always long for the missing piece of our family …. but we have so much to look forward to in eternity. Today we can rejoice and still experience joy because you are healed, and you are where we all long to be.

We praise God for you and we consider it a privilege to be chosen to be your parents.
I love you sweet boy.
Love Momma

Michael’s Letter to James:

To my son,

You have made me the proudest a father could be. Your short time on earth has had a huge impact on your mother and me, and with those whom we share your story. I am sure in the coming months and years I will question why things had to happen the way they did, but I will remember today and know that God’s plan is, was, and always will be perfect. Your mom and I had calls with our friend Julia where we created a vision of what we wanted our time to look like with you. We know that in Proverbs it says “where there is no vision the people perish.” We knew we needed to focus on loving you while we had you, and our vision helped us stay grounded during this tough season. For the last 2 years our vision has been centered around peace. Peace in work, life balance, peace in our relationships with friends and family, and peace in our marriage. We knew that we wanted our time with you, sweet boy, to be peaceful.

Today Morgan read:
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:4-7

It was amazing to experience the peace of God. We have been blessed to be flexible with work the past 4 months and focus on our time with you and your sister. Our relationship with our friends and family have been able to deepen in a way we didn’t know was possible. The peace your mom and I were able to share with each other has strengthen our marriage, and we know that is because of you.

We have had three days of non-stop rain. And last night as the sun peaked out for a few minutes I was reminded of how the disciples must have felt. The grief and hopelessness can easily take over, but we know that is not the end of the story.

In Matthew’s Gospel it tells the story of Jesus’ mother and Mary Magdalen going to the tomb. The angel is there and says “Do not be afraid, for I know it is Jesus you are looking for. He is not here, He is risen, just as He said. “

James we know you are not here, but it is because of our hope in Christ that we know you are in heaven with Him right now!

James, We love you and we will share your story for the rest of our lives!

xoxo, Katelyn
132 Comments Baby James, Personal
  1. Danelle reply

    This is the most beautiful story, tears are running down my face. I don’t normally cry reading anything, no matter how sad but I think it’s because you are such an inspiration to me. You are not telling a sad story. You are telling a beautiful story of a baby boy that was loved and cherished even though his life here on Earth was short. And reading it I was thinking how I have been responding to hard times in my life without the joy and peace you so obviously experienced. It’s been a really rough year in my life as a Christian and especially as a mother and although it is nothing compared to your experience, it still makes me think that maybe I can experience something different.
    Thank you again for writing this, I really needed to read this today. And for those mama’s and dad’s going through a loss of a child, I imagine this would bring so much peace as well.
    Your baby boy James is truly beautiful and I am so glad you were able to see his face. I will pray for you right now and hope to meet you one day in person! Also, your doctor sounds amazing. I am a nurse and it really reminded me of how we can respond when it’s sometimes hard to know what to say.
    God Bless!

  2. Jonalee reply

    Wow. I am in awe and in tears. Your testimony to God’s faithfulness through your precious James is incredible. You bring God so much glory. Thank you for sharing this with us. I have a feeling little James is going to make quite an impact on quite a few people… as he already has. XO

  3. Brooke reply

    Katelyn and Michael, thank you for sharing James story. I cried reading this, but I am smiling too, because there is so much joy in his life. You two have honored his life so well. I am sure this was incredibly difficult to write, but these memories are ones that you will treasure always. I am thinking of you both with love.

  4. Bree reply

    Katelyn and Michael, thank you for sharing your beautiful son with us. His story will live on forever and he will not be forgotten.

  5. Michaila reply

    Katelyn and Michael,

    Thank you so much for sharing the story of sweet James. I have been following your journey through Instagram and here on your blog. Although I do not have a child of my own, yet, I cannot imagine how much strength and courage it took you to write and share his/your story with us. You didn’t have to – but you did. Thank you, again, and I will keep thinking of you and your family every day during this difficult time.

  6. Kalina Duck reply

    Dear Katelyn and Michael
    You both are the proof of faith and love to one and another!
    Sharing James story is the proof of God’s blessings in so many people’s life.
    Reading your blog I could not stop crying… but my crying was for joy and faith you have gave to me. God is everything in my life and every day he shows his way around us, me , my family, my friends and now I see him in your family with your story.
    I know God has a better plans for everyone and I know his plans for you and your family is much greater than what you going thru now.
    The peace of lord be with you and your family always!

  7. Faith reply

    Sweet James. What a blessing he is! He is so, so beautiful. Thank you for sharing his story! You guys are incredible – I’m continually inspired by your faith & strength in such a difficult season. Sending so much love & prayers to your family! God is faithful. <3

  8. Hannah reply

    Oh katelyn,
    As not only a photographer, but a mommy, my heart aches for you in ways I can’t explain. You and your beautiful family. You have shown such incredible courage and unwavering strength through this season of your life, despite experiencing the unthinkable. Your relationship with god and your family during this time is absolutely inspiring. Baby James is absolutely beautiful, and has an amazing set of parents to talk about in his new kingdom. I have no doubt every second he spent with you two on his birthday, were and always will be the best seconds of his life. As a mommy, I wish more than anything I could take away the ache you two are feeling. I hope, despite how empty you will feel from time to time, that you continue to always look around you, and at your sweet baby girl, and feel a sense of fullness and love. You have hundreds of people sending heaps of love and prayers for you during this time.
    Hannah ❤️

  9. Kat reply

    Katelyn and family,
    Thank you for sharing this and being so open and honest. Those pictures are so raw and emotional I was crying along with them. James is a lucky soul to have had you as a mother. The love you all have for James is so evident in these beautiful images.

  10. Naomi Lynn reply

    Cried over this post with an aching heart, and yet have walked away with a deeper love for our Lord, and a stronger longing for the eternity of reunion and wholeness he has prepared for us. Love from Florida ❤️

  11. Amy reply

    This is beautiful. The love is beyond words and the depth of your compassion and loving nature truly shows by your friends who traveled and gave up time and committed themselves to you. Katelyn and Michael you two are beautiful and so deeply loving. Thank you for sharing your story. Xo

  12. Johane Lachapelle reply

    I just read your post and I thank you for being you, an amazing woman. James is a beautiful boy and will always be there for you. May peace come to you.

  13. Robin reply

    Thank you for sharing. This is so beautifully written. Whew. 11 weeks. You’re amazing, Katelyn. Praise God for little James’ story and impact. Much love to you all.

  14. Julee reply

    Katelyn & Michael- how powerful of an impact James’ life is having on others! Thank you for being brave and sharing your journey with the world – what a beautiful testament to God’s love!

  15. Sarah reply

    I could hardly read or see the pictures because of the tears. I’m so grateful that God answered my prayers for you – His peace that surpasses all understanding. I love what you said about people going to heaven because of James’ story. I’ve prayed God’s promise from Romans for you many times: “and we know that God works all things together for good for those who love Him”. You and Michael love Him; He will fulfill His promise to you. Continuing to pray for you all.

  16. Tonya reply

    Thank you so much for sharing this journey with the world. May our Heavenly Father continue to wrap you in His love

  17. Kelly reply

    Beautiful, brave words. Thank you for sharing them (and precious James) with the world. May God continue to meet you in your sorrow and use James’ life and death to glorify him!!

  18. Jill reply

    Thank you so much for sharing this next part of James’ story, Katelyn and Michael. You are changing lives by sharing it, and the world is praying and grieving with you. What a loved and beautiful little boy. Sending much love.

  19. Blakely reply

    And now I’m crying in the grocery store parking lot. Thank you for sharing this Katelyn- it is such a beautiful reminder of how GOOD God is amidst so much sadness. Praise the Lord for James and his story. Xo

  20. Linda Beale reply

    Thank you for sharing your life and that of Baby James! Even though we don’t see you very often you and Michael and your Dad will forever be a part of our family with the memories you captured for us. Praying daily that your Peace continues and that your testimony brings many into The Kingdom.

  21. Charity reply

    Dear Katelyn and Micheal,
    Thank you for your sweet testimony and love for the Lord throughout the time you have experienced this trial. Your testimony and light for Jesus is beautiful. Your story is so touching and it had me in tears many times as I read. You both are a light. May God continue to wrap you in His arms of love and peace as your grieve.

  22. Heather Franz reply

    Katelyn and Michael- you are both amazing for sharing your story and James will now live on through the hearts and thoughts of many. Evy and James are lucky to have you as parents just as you are lucky to have them as children. You two will continue to inspire others through sharing your story and I truly believe you were chosen to help fulfill James’ purpose here on Earth. Thinking of you always.

  23. Joanna reply

    I’ve followed your work over the last 4 years since I first was introduced to it at United. Your story has been so simultaneously heart-breaking and up-lifting. Continuing to pray for you and your family.

  24. Candi reply

    Oh Katelyn and Michael. The tears I have shed watching your journey. As a mom, I know how much strength and faith it took for you to walk this path, share these words and embrace this calling. James is such a beautiful and loved baby. Your story is inspiring and beautiful. I only hope that if I ever face a challenge as great as yours that I can do it with as much grace and love as you have. Praying for you all.

  25. Rachel Hegarty reply

    One of the most beautiful parts of your story is the amazing support you have from friends and family. I think it’s a testament to the wonderful people you both are to have some an incredible group surrounding you with love during this time. Hang in there, keep sharing your light.

  26. Sarah reply

    I forgot these two things in my previous comment. Katelyn, James is adorable. The pictures of his face are so precious. I love how you have always talked about yourself and Michael as being parents of a sweet baby boy and how you still say that. It’s such a powerful statement.

  27. Melissa reply

    This is just precious. Thank you for including us all in your story from the beginning and allowing us to pray for you. This story matters, James’ little life matters and I know that the Lord is working all things for good in this situation. The hurt and disappointment could have torn you apart but He is already bringing joy and healing not only to you all but to someone else who is or will go through a hard season like this. May God continue to bless you all!

  28. Natalie reply

    Huey and I love you all so much—this was one of the most beautiful posts you have ever shared on your blog and with tears in my eyes… I wanted to remind you all how incredible you are. Your faith is changing lives.

  29. Brittani Croft reply

    There are no words for how deeply I admire you and Michael’s strength and faith. So brave of you both to share your hearts and to share all about James and his story. He is an absolutely beautiful little boy and his story has changed parts of me forever.

  30. Emily reply

    This is so overwhelming sweet and wonderful, Katelyn. Thank you for sharing James with all of us. He was such a sweet little boy! <3 I'm so glad you got to see his face!

  31. Raelyn reply

    Sweet James is perfection! His cheeks look so extremely kissable! I prayed for him often during his life, and will remember him until heaven. Thank you for sharing your story and photos. James is loved! I don’t think I’ve cried this hard in at least 5 years. The only word I can come up with for you is God’s Grace. Grace on your heart and home.

  32. Elizabeth Gelineau reply

    Katelyn and Michael, I have followed your blog for years and have been praying for you throughout this entire journey that you’ve shared with us. I have read this whole post and am in tears at how beautifully God’s work is shining in you both and in your son, James. My cousin lost her first child shortly after birth and I know that you sharing your story is going to help so many people. May God continue to bless you.

  33. Heather reply

    Your story has touched my heart in so many ways, it has even made me want a stronger relationship with the Lord. It has made me enjoy the bad days as a Mom. Sweet James is an adorable baby & it was an honor to read of his life. May the Lord continue to strengthen & keep you!!! Heather

  34. Jennifer Hudspeth reply

    Every time I read a post about James — I always hear — Every good and perfect gift comes from above — James 1:17. He has been such a gift. Your story has been a gift. I’ve prayed for you guys, cried tears, and have had such a happiness in my heart knowing you will be together again one day. Your journey, giving God glory along the way, has given me such peace in losing a baby myself. I am glad you won’t stop sharing and won’t stop using his name. It’s powerful. It brings so much glory and love to God. He is a light in all of those dark times. Let his light shine! Again, you guys will continue to be in my prayers as you continue your journey. Thank you for sharing.

  35. Anna reply

    May the Lord bless you and keep you—and he truly has. I am not a Momma, but I cried and cried reading the celebration of baby James’ life of purpose and grace. How beautiful is the light that shines through your hard, painfully hard, walk. I pray that your burden may be light and your days will be happy. You project the love that most will never know. Your faith is earth shattering. I am in awe at the grace that I see shine through you in this post. You are a testimony to hard times, and your battle is not in vain. I and so many other people grow in strength from your strength. You are defined by strength not struggle. Thank you for your never ending faith and your praise of the Lord during this walk of your life. I love baby James and your whole lovely family. You will always be in my prayers.

  36. Mindy reply

    No one can begin to understand what you guys have gone through. I’m am so sorry. But I’m also so thankful that you are willing to share your story of beautiful little James with us. Makes all of our own troubles seem like nothing. Thankyou for your testimony and for your enduring faith! It’s a blessing and an encouragement to see believers stand through trials. Love you guys!

  37. Summer reply

    Your family has forever impacted ours, and the story of James’ life is no different. Thank you for using every moment to be a beckon of light in a dark world.

  38. Miranda reply

    Katelyn and Michael… I found you online just a few short weeks ago, and already you have touched my life in so many ways. James and his story, and the example of your faith and courage in the face of unknown have helped me to see my family and my purpose in this world with new eyes. Thank you for so beautifully preserving your experience in order to share God with others. Praying blessings and healing over your sweet family and your future. Thank you for all you do to serve and bless so many.

  39. Lynda reply

    Thank you for sharing. Sending love and prayers.
    “These are tears of joy cried the weeping willow”

  40. Katie Stryker reply

    Thank you for sharing James’ story and your story. I had an early miscarriage recently where I never got to feel his little kicks or even hear a heartbeat, but following and reading along your journey has given me such a sense of peace in knowing where my baby is and knowing that God has a deeper purpose for my life.

  41. Margarette Lynch reply

    Thanks for the wonderful words of comfort for everyone to read, although it’s so very sad. Praying for God’s continual peace that passeth all understanding. Margy Lynch

  42. Sarah reply

    Your testimony is so relatable! It’s crazy how, as much as I wouldn’t wish this on anyone, I feel comforted hearing someone else voice the exact same feelings that I have. Reading your story makes me feel less alone, and your public platform is a powerful megaphone to couples who don’t feel like anyone around them can relate. Also, James is adorable!! SO cute! Y’all are in our prayers! Glory to God!

  43. Samantha Crawford reply

    Thinking of you and your family and how hard this post and this season in your lives has been. I am soooo glad you are able to find peace and trust in God and his love for you and your family. Thinking of you always.

  44. Debra reply

    Thank you for sharing yours and sweet baby James’ story. It’s a Love story on so many different levels. May your beautiful family continue to grow in God’s grace as you witness to others of God’s purpose and peace.

  45. Lida reply

    Oh guys. My heart hurts and in the same minute I feel so much peace. Keep sharing, James is in his perfect body in Heaven. I know it’s one day closer to you see Heaven and that’s not soon enough to be with your son. Prayers for you today and forever. James is a fighter and so are y’all. God is good.

  46. Kristen Dulaney reply

    Thank you for sharing this incredibly beautiful, loving, and impactful journey. I’m in awe of the strength your family has. James is such a beautiful baby and through all of the tears rolling down my face I can see the amazing light of God in every image you’ve shared. My prayers will be with your family and I hope that on difficult days God gives you a warm ray of sunshine, a beautiful message to read or a simple gesture that brings a peacefulness within your heart and soul. Much love to all of you!

  47. Natalie Carolyn reply

    KK, what a Beautiful, heartwarming and heartbreaking story all at the same time. Thank your for sharing your heart and son with the world, he will never be forgotten. So many hugs and prayers to you and your family!

  48. Breanna reply

    You and Michael are a true inspiration, in all ways. Thank you for sharing the story of James. I read the entire post and could have read more, James is definitely feeling the love in heaven. Xo

  49. Shannon reply

    Beautiful, beautiful story! I cried while I read it and prayed that you would feel Jesus’ arms of love holding you tight through this journey!

  50. Chrissy ball reply

    Oh my word, I couldn’t hardly see to read after I got to the pictures. You have such a beautiful family. I can’t imagine the heartbreak you guys must have. I have a few friends with similar stories and I just cannot imagine. I’ve just recently starting following you and so love your programs and your personality. I am so sorry for your loss but so happy you can find peace in the midst. Prayer for your sweet family.

  51. Jesi reply

    Katelyn and Michael,

    You are both so strong! Your story is so inspiring and I hope that you find the beauty in every day! I am so thankful for both of you and so thankful that you were willing to share your story with me. I hope you all find peace in the fact that your beautiful James is with his father in heaven in his perfect body and that you WILL see him again!!!


  52. Laurie Haarer reply

    Dear Katelyn & Michael,
    Know that our dear Father is holding you as he holds your beautiful son. Baby James was an amazing and beautiful gift full of love that will always be your blessing from God. You both are such an inspiration to many of us. By sharing your story, you have brought more of us closer to God. Little Baby James’ life has touched more lives than you can imagine. And your strength and love for our Father has helped so many who have gone through loss and heartbreaking moments. Thank you both for being that beautiful inspiration and sharing your love and life. And we all love both of you, Evy, and little baby James too like we were right there with you. Big hugs and prayers are always with you.

  53. Catalina reply

    I can’t thank you enough for sharing with the world the experience of being James’s parents. This post had me in tears from minute one but at the same time is one of the strongest testimonies of faith that I have come across. James life, however short it was, is filled with the most graceful meaning. Let us not forget that the loss of God’s son saved humankind.

  54. Katie Morris reply

    Thank you for being so vulnerable and sharing your story with us! James short life will surely bring many to Christ or else strengthen their faith, his life has meaning and purpose!!
    I’m sure that you have heard from many about something like this but just in case, I have a friend who creates amazing stained glass pieces and incorporates the ashes of loved ones as a special keepsake. His name is Graham and his website is
    Again, thanks so much for sharing your story, you are an example to so many!! God bless!!

  55. Colleen reply

    I don’t know you and I didn’t know James….but I will always remember him….he lives in my heart. Thank you for sharing your pain, joy, and faith with all of us.

  56. Tanya Bondarenko reply

    My heart goes out to y’all. May God bring peace and comfort to y’all. This story made me cry and trust me, I dont cry. Almost never. Praying for you guys

  57. Kris reply

    Thanks for sharing your story with all of us. No doubt, God will use it! I pray that you will continue to cling to your faith. It’s inspiring! May the God of all comfort and peace be with you and your precious family.

  58. Kelly Van Dyke reply

    I wept. I smiled. I prayed.

    Thank you for sharing James’ story. It will make a lasting impact on my life.

    Love you guys!

  59. Junko reply

    I came to your blog for the first time today after watching KJ All Access – April 2018 videos.
    As I read, I wept and wept.

    Thank you for sharing your story with us, Katelyn.
    Thank you for being honest and open.
    Thank you for sharing sweet James photos.
    I felt and saw true love through your blog.

    May God continue to comfort and heal you all.

  60. Margaret McGory Moffit reply

    I’ve never met you & I probably never will, but your strength & love of James is felt so deeply & expressed so eloquently that even though my heart breaks for your family, it also rejoices in your faith …….. Congratulations on the birth of your sweet baby James ~ Margo

  61. Rebekah Hoyt reply

    James’ story has touched me in such a profound way. Thank you for being so bold and vulnerable to share his life and glorify God with your testimony! I was moved time and time again throughout this post – your words, the pictures, the story, the clear evidence of God’s faithfulness and sovereignty time and time again – so many tears. Thank you for sharing his beautiful face with us! He is such a beautiful boy. He looks so much like his daddy! I am praying that God would build His Kingdom through James’ life and your willingness to trust Jesus and boldly proclaim His goodness. Even just in reading this post, I prepared to feel sad, and at times my heart aches for you so deeply, but mostly I just feel joy and goodness. God is SO good. I feel the peace that God is covering you with. I love you guys so much – thank you for sharing your story with us and the world. ❤️

  62. Amy lessly reply

    Katelyn and Michael, I have no words. God bless you. ❤️❤️ I will share James’ story.

    Aloha, amy

  63. Melissa Jill reply

    Crying!! The way you have both walked this journey and shared your perspective and grief so openly is truly a gift. Love you both and so excited to meet James one day!!

  64. Valerie Konitshek reply

    Dear Katelyn and Michael, your story has changed my heart so much! I have loved and followed Jesus for many years and have been through many trials, but the joy and peace you have through life’s hardest trial is so amazing to me. I had to share your story on my fb page because it has touched me so and I know others need to hear how good God is even through immense pain and suffering. God bless you both.

  65. Larissa Brunken reply

    Your story is amazing! It is wonderful you have so many friends and family to help you with tough times, and your Faith in the Lord is amazing! I lost my daughter at 24 weeks and had a breakdown from the Lord. I blamed him for everything. I hid away from the world. I became pregnant again 2 months after my loss. I prayed everyday for the new life growing in me. I even started going to church shortly after. The Lord works in mysterious ways and blessed me 3 more times in 3 short years ! Thank you for sharing your sons life with us!

  66. Chloé reply

    Dear Katelyn, Michael, Evy and James. Thank you. I’m not a religious person, but thanks to your journey I got to get a glimpse into your God’s love and peace. Thank you for that gift. Much love to you all four and your family.

  67. Kaitlynn reply

    I have been staring at my keyboard for possibly 20 minutes now. Not at the fact I don’t know what to type but to clear my eyes of tears after reading this. You are strong is an understatement. Being almost 12 weeks pregnant, this may of not been what I should of read, but it was defiantly not getting missed. I have followed your journey through social media with James for months. I never met James and sadly never will, but someone so small has touched so many lives and will continue to. Including mine. I cannot count on both hands or toes the times I have prayed for you & your family. I can remember reading your post when you first explained what sweet James was going through. I just laid down to fall asleep. After reading your post I sat straight up in bed which found me next to it, on my knees praying. For you and your family. I have always been so inspired by your work and even your love of being a Mother. This post is such a beautiful and powerful read. I have soaked this information in and as I walk away from this, I have put my mind at ease of the thought of knowing if our sweet miracle does not belong on this earth, he will have a friend in heaven, James.

  68. Lisa Carey reply

    Thank you for sharing your story, the life of James to the glory of God. Few trials we would ask for. This one, is probably one of the hardest. Only God knows fully what He sovereignly chose you, Michael, James, Evy…and all of those who love you…. to go thru this. But His promises are true, abiding, and He is good. Those truths carry us who love Him thru our darkest hours. May the Lord bless you and keep you and make His face to shine upon you.

    a Believer, a wife, a momma, a grandmama.

  69. Brittany Fry reply

    You all so blessed beyond measure and loved by so many! I have prayed for you every day that you would find peace and God answered those prayers. Thank you for sharing your story. Your such an inspiration for how I want to live my life faithfully and as a Mother.

  70. Liesl reply

    Thank you for having the courage to share this story. It is beautiful the way you, your family and your friends were able to stay close and be support for one another during this journey. God never gives you more than you can handle and I truly think you were gifted James because you were strong enough to write his story. You, James and your families are an inspiration to us all.

  71. Kimberly Bowers reply

    Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful story with the world. I can’t begin to imagine what you and your family have experienced over the past few months, but I know that James’ life and death is serving that greater purpose that it was created for. Thank you for reminding us that, even in the valley (no matter how much deeper, darker, and longer it is than we may have expected), God is good.

  72. Melissa Parmenter reply

    Katelyn & James, thank you so much for sharing James’ story and allowing me to meet your sweet son. My eyes are filled with tears but my heart is filled with peace and joy. Your strength and faith in the Lord has been one of administration during your son’s journey through life.

  73. Ali reply

    I loved getting to know your sweet boy through this post. Thank you for sharing him with us–what a gift he is!

  74. Ashley Ziegler reply

    Oh Katelyn… This is the most beautiful post I have ever read. Thank you so much for sharing your life, your heart, your feelings and your journey with us. How blessed we are to have been able to support you and love you and pray for you during this difficult time. I loved what you said about James leaving with someone you knew… a friend. Instead of a stranger. That really touched my heart.

    I believe in God. I believe whole-heartedly in God. I know that you will be with James again. Families are forever. He is not lost, nor forgotten. He is with the angels above and he will be with you forever.

    We love you Katelyn, we are here for you. We support you and we pray for you and your sweet, sweet family.

    Many hugs & prayers from Utah! <3 <3 <3 <3

  75. Susie Coldren reply

    Katelyn and Michael thank you for sharing your love and memories of your sweet boy with us. It makes me even more excited for the day when we can meet up with our little ones who have gone before us. My husband and I have miscarried when I was about 11-12 weeks. For the longest time we never really have talked about our baby but it is your courage and your experience that has given me the courage to think and talk about my baby in heaven. Oh what a day that will be when we will get to see them again. Know that you and your family are still in my prayers. Much love!

    Susie Coldren

  76. DeeAnn Horner reply

    Thank you for sharing your story! It’s a beautiful reminder of God’s powerful strength, love, peace & comfort through very dark times here on this earth! May God continue to wrap you in His peace & comfort! I know He will use your story to touch many people!

  77. Constance reply

    Thank you for bravely sharing your life again, telling others of your dear son, James. I’m praying for your family and appreciate your testimony.

  78. Jinger Brulz reply

    Thank you so much for being so honest and real about such a difficult journey. And also for sharing your faith and God’s purpose through it all! Your words and images are so very beautiful, raw, and amazing. I am so very sorry for the loss of your son, but so much believe God has some amazing plans for your family. We had miscarried very early on… before having any children. What I clung to most of all was that God needed that baby more than I did. I will continue to pray for healing and for God to continue to gently hold your hearts through this time.

  79. Kate Robinson reply

    God is using you guys in such a profound way. Your story will impact so many. Thank you so much for sharing xxx

  80. Megan reply

    I don’t think anyone could read James’ story, or look at these beautiful photos without a dry eye. I have been following your story since the diagnosis, and my heart just feels for you. I’m at a loss for words, and i’m just sending a lot of love to you and your family!

  81. Maxie Hoffman reply

    Thank you so much for sharing your heart and James’ birth story. His legacy lives on. My heart goes out to you and your family. Praying peace, strength, love, and joy for you! This story has impacted and changed the my perspective on life. I pray blessings over you!

  82. Annie Vovan reply

    Dear Katelyn,
    Your love for baby James is pure light. I am so very sorry for your loss. You are right, your story does make mamas be more appreciative. I was pregnant alongside of you and miscarried a few weeks ago. Your bravery and strength helped me through. As a student of yours, I have yet to to meet you in person, but know you have a community of mamas that love and care about you more than you could imagine. I know nothing can be said to make the pain less but I thank you for sharing and sending lots of love your way. And, he is absolutely so cute and perfect

  83. Paula Player reply

    Such beautiful story, thanks for sharing. You are so courageous! I am inspired by you daily!

  84. Wanda Bickers reply

    Katelyn and Michael,
    Thank you ~ my tears reading this are my prayers for your family. There are no words to express the beauty and the pain mingled together.
    Blessings in the journey,
    Wanda, a fellow travel

  85. Clarissa reply


  86. Nichole reply

    You have reflected so much Jesus through this season. Your son was incredibly beautiful and I will be praying God bring beauty from these ashes! Thank you for sharing and strengthening my faith with the word of your testimony!

  87. Rebecca Jo reply

    I’ve always been told its how you handle the hard things in life that will point others to Jesus… & my sweet precious sister in Christ, you have pointed to the One who gives strength when we have none. So thankful you are surrounded by such a faithful bunch that lift you high in prayers as you have walked this. Still lifting prayers for your family.

  88. Anna reply

    Michael and Katelyn-
    Thank you for sharing this. You have no idea how beautiful and touching this story was to me. Praise God for your deepened trust in Him!

  89. Brenda reply

    What an incredible testimony it is to see how you two continue to bring the Father glory through James’ story. I cannot imagine the sorrow and grief you two are experiencing but what a testimony of His faithfulness this blog post is. I have followed you for a couple of years and have learned so much about wedding photography from you. What I have learned the most is how you use this business as a platform to serve people and bring the Father glory. Thank you and I send up a prayer for healing of your entire family.

  90. Crystal reply

    I am sorry for your loss. I have lost a baby myself. Two years ago I had identical twins and were healthy the whole time. After having a high risk doctor and a regular OB they decided to wait until 36 weeks to induce. I had my normal check up on the wed before my induction everything was fine. In fact Ben had hiccup and would not give us a good picture. Anyways, we go into the room and I get hooked up to monitors and they could only find one heart beat. So, of course we start to get scared. My OB came in got an ultrasound machine and little Ben did not have a heart beat. I had no idea what to do. It was so sudden and what to do? We induced and I would not get to deliver naturally C section was next. I did not want Alex his brother to have problems. We got to hold Ben and thankfully they took pictures and I cherish them myself. I do know that God has bigger plans for me and I agree with you about having to praise Him through the storm and have faith. Thank you for your story. I know it is hard even 2 years later.

    • Crystal reply

      BTW I did end up with a healthy little boy named Alex. He will know about his brother when he understands and ask about him.

  91. Mariann Kovats reply

    Thank you Katelyn and Michael for sharing your baby James and his special story with us. I am thinking about you so often! I am so happy that this difficult season in your life draw you two closer together and it didn’t destroy your faith. Just like the scripture says, that God is close to all those who are broken hearted and give comfort and peace no matte what we go through, he knows our suffering and he provides the strength we need to endure any trial that comes in our life. I am happy, you were able to see and feel that. May God continue to be with your family and with your wonderful friends who provided such an amazing support to you , two! I am certainly looking forward reading more story, seeing more pictures and when you are ready to share the video, I will be glad to watch that little cute red head little boy! James was ADORABLE and a real Fighter, for sure! xoxo

  92. Renee Calvin reply

    You both are a living testament of God’s sustaining power and grace. Thank you for publicly giving God all the glory and telling of His goodness throughout your trial. Your openness to share your deep sorrow is so powerful. I pray that many will read your post, and want to know the Savior that WE know! I can’t wait to meet James in glory! Praying for you and your precious family for the days to come, and the Lord’s richest blessings for you all.

  93. Diane Taylor reply

    So much love poured into this story. James’s legacy is just beginning – I know that for sure. It is so hard to lose a child no matter what the circumstance. Nothing is ever the same. My son Jonathan Paul Daily died in a fire in his brand new apartment in 2012 – my only child. I got to see glimpse of the man he would become – and then had it all taken away in a wall of flames and ashes. I was asked over and over if I blamed God or had anger towards him. Not one moment!!! I had 4 miscarriages before I had my son – he was my miracle baby!!! I praised God for allowing me to bring him into this world and be his mama :)

    I love that the theme of this post is centered around God and Faith – faith when you have to walk a road you never imagined you would ever have to do. I am in awe of you both, Katelyn and Michael – and your families and friends as well. It is SO TRUE that we want to talk about our son – but people are afraid to upset you. The 5 most beautiful words to me are “Tell me about your son”. If I ever meet you in person, those are the words I will say to you.

    James, know you are loved beyond measure. And if you see a handsome young man named Jonathan, I hope he will smile at you and hold you in his arms, laughing and playing with you!!!!

    Thank you for sharing your story and for letting me share a little bit of mine.

    Love and prayers,
    Diane Taylor (Baltimore MD)

  94. Jade reply

    I know God will continue and love you through this difficult time. Thank you for sharing your story with the world. You and your family are so loved. God Bless.

  95. Gail Lorraine Werner reply

    So much joy in these words and photos, Katelyn. You and Michael are just remarkable in your capacity to love the Lord with all your hearts. God bless you in finding the glimmers of hope through this darkest of journeys. xo, Gail

  96. Elisheba Beery reply

    I am in tears as I read this… I lost a baby due to miscarriage in January and my sister carried a baby full term and lost him due to maconium 2 years ago and I have a friend who walked through an extremely similar story to yours. Thank you for sharing the joy and trials through such a heart wrenching pain. May Jesus Christ always be glorified through the pain you have suffered through. My heart aches for you all as it knows the pain.

  97. Mandi Mitchell reply

    Oh sweet Katelyn and Michael. Thank you both so much for sharing your hearts and your story. The Lord is working in a mighty way and using y’all so much. I pray for you both as you continue to walk this journey. You both are incredible parents to both Evy and James.

  98. Nicole Salter reply

    Girl, you are th godliest person I know and your strength outstands me. He is beautiful ❤️ Thinking and praying for you always.

  99. Lilli reply

    Dear Katelyn and Michael,
    I read this post with tears in my eyes. So sad and so heavenly. Thank you for sharing. You spoke to my heart.
    Love to you and your Family,

  100. Sarah reply

    I don’t have much to say after reading all of this just that I am in awe of you and your whole family. It truly is an incredible story. Thank you for sharing.
    Love to you all!

  101. Emily Natal reply

    Katelyn, I am currently 16 weeks pregnant with my 3rd baby. We got the diagnosis of cystic hygroma 2 weeks ago and then did an amniocentesis to found out our little boy has Downs syndrome. I am so nervous and scared. Not knowing what to expect is tearing me apart.

  102. Emily Kathryn Walker reply

    Thank you guys so much for sharing your story. I’ve followed you on Instagram for a long time now and have cried many tears while reading your posts throughout this process with James. I’m sure sharing it all hasn’t been easy, but I can only imagine how many people you’ve encouraged by doing so. I admire you both as parents and pray that God continues to heal your hearts as only He can. Life doesn’t always go as planned, but God is good and thankfully His mercies carry us through each day, good or bad. Much love to you guys from a fellow VA photographer. <3

  103. Lydia reply

    So thankful that James has you and Michael for parents. So thankful that his life on earth was treasured and his story shared. His face is precious! You should be proud of him like you say! And Evy in that green dress, dreamy! Much love to your family. Thankful for all of God’s seasons and blessings.

  104. DeAndra Jarboe reply

    Katelyn, your grace and strength during such sorrow is a testimony to your faith in Christ and brings Him much glory. You chose life! Thank you for sharing your story with the world, even though it’s so personal and painful. I know it will bless and encourage many people. May the Lord continue to be your source of strength and comfort in the days, weeks, and months ahead. You and your family are in my prayers.

  105. Brandee McBride reply

    Thank you so very much for sharing your story. A dear friend sent me the link to your blog and I was able to read through some of it today. I am so deeply sorry for the loss of your sweet baby James. Unfortunately, I know your pain all too well. My husband Mike and I lost our sweet baby Aiden March 31st of this year. Like you, we started getting bad news at our 20 week appointment and from that time on, only had one appointment that we were given half way decent news. That same day was also the start of what would be the worst week of our entire lives. Aiden was born at 29 weeks and lived about 3 hours. We knew he had some issues;however, none of which were ever thought to be fatal. Time has helped some, but we oftentimes find ourselves in a state of disbelief. We also have an almost 3 year old daughter and she’s the reason we had to keep moving forward. Without her, we would be a complete mess. We are so grateful for her, each other, and our family and friends.
    I felt compelled to reach out after reading your story. It’s hard for others to understand what we have been through, but reading your story truly made me feel like I wasn’t alone. Thank you so much for sharing!!

  106. Brittany reply

    I stumbled across your IG page tonight and read your story about your sweet, beautiful baby James. WOW. I’m in absolute awe of your strength, faith, and optimism in such a trying time. By sharing your story, you have given so many women such a wonderful gift. Thank you for talking about a tender topic that cannot be easy to share. Please know that your family is in my prayers.

  107. Carol Coggins reply

    Thank you for having the courage to share such an amazing story. Sorry sorry for your loss, but so happy that you can reach down and pull strength and reflect on the joy inside the moment.

  108. Jenny Schiano DiCola reply

    Katelyn & Michael, I’m pulling from your incredible story of faith for strength. I’ve been asked to photograph maternity and birth pictures for a family friend who is carrying a baby with anencephaly. Tonight is the maternity shoot and I thought I had it together so I could be strong for them, but I woke up crying. I cannot do it on my own. But with God, all things are possible, and He is my strength to get through this so I can provide the cherished memories for this family. Thank you for sharing your testimony as it is a great comfort to families experiencing the loss of a child. God bless you <3

  109. Alicia Sparkman reply

    Katelyn, you and Michael are beyond amazing! Your faith in Jesus is powerful, and your testimony is incredible. I was crying while reading this as if you all are people I know personally. There’s something about you that makes it feel like you are a friend. Thank you so much for sharing your story, and the pictures of your precious baby James. I pray that you continue to heal and inspire others, and that his tree will grow big and strong, providing a peaceful solace that you will be able to visit for the rest of your life.

  110. Rachelle Davison reply

    Today is the first day I checked out your page after subscribing, Your first video you were in tears. I didn’t understand what was going on, so after a little bit of digging I ended up here.

    As a believer in Jesus’ Miracles, your little boy was given to you for a purpose. Whether it was for awareness, or for support for someone else who needed it. I am in awe of your strength, of your bravery and of your continued unwavered faith.

    Rejoice that he is with Jesus, Can you imagine how beautiful it is? Can you imagine how perfect he is in heaven? I bet his wings are twice as big as he is.

    He will greet you on your way home, someday.

    God bless you and your family.

  111. Brittney Moon reply

    You are an inspiration! What an example of faith, love, and the peace that comes when we need it most. May God bless you for your faith and hope. You have turned a dark moment into beauty.

  112. Arnel Gonce reply

    What a beautiful, achingly sad, accounting. I’m so very sorry for your loss. Words fall so woefully short in expressing my condolences. I know his spirit will always be with you, and I’m praying for you and your family, and all those touched by wee James in the short time he was with you. He was beautiful, and I thank you for sharing your story. God Bless you!

  113. Peter Gray | 3 Months – Annamarie Akins Photography | Virginia and Destination Wedding PhotographyAnnamarie Akins Photography | Virginia and Destination Wedding Photography reply

    […] on a very special and sacred day celebrating our good friends’ baby, James’ life. Read Katelyn’s blog…her story of loss and hope here and be encouraged. We love you Katelyn, Michael, Evy, James and […]

  114. Wendy fisher reply

    I am speechless after reading your story. My heart feels heavy and happy at the same time. All I can say is that as your sister in Christ, I love how you walked through this incredibly difficult season with so much grace and faith. Now I not only admire you as a fellow photographer, but also as a strong, faithful, Godly woman , mom, wife, and person as well. Thank you for sharing your story!

  115. mae foresta reply

    hi katelyn –

    oh man, this story of baby james had me bawling. i’m so sorry for your loss but reading your story and knowing you still found ways to see the love and joy was heartwarming! i wish you all the best. :)

  116. Tamara reply

    I’m thinking the verse where David, after his baby died, said though he couldn’t bring him back, he would one day go to him. I’m so thankful that truth is there to comfort you that James is waiting to see you again. Heaven waits. God’s peace in this most difficult journey, which is incomprehensible to those who pray and love from the outside view of sisters and brothers in Christ, is such a blessing. His love that interjects life’s deepest pain with His grace, sufficient grace, and goodness, and love is a treasure for you to hold on to. I trust the Lord with this sad story of James’ beautiful face and life, every detail that you hold, and I pray He will be glorified. I pray for you and Michael as you keep on breathing in a world that looked so much different as you celebrated the news of a new baby into your family such a short time ago. I have to think the sweetest area of heaven holds all these babies we mourn, and I’m thankful eternity is forever. Forever perfect.

  117. Lisa Eliot reply

    Dear Katelyn, Michael, Evy and especially James – Your graciousness in sharing your story will help not only those that travel a similar path but those of us that travel it with them in support. Thank you for sharing the beauty of tragedy, the comfort of faith and the hope of shared experience.
    May God continue to bless you in ways that make you aware of his presence in all things.

  118. Claire Wisker reply

    Thank you for sharing your story. The part that struck me personally, though, was: “We got to see our baby leave with a friend instead of being taken away by a stranger and we will never be able to express how much of a gift that was to us. ”

    When my dad died unexpectedly, we were fortunate enough to have a dear friend who lives around the corner from my parents and works for a funeral home. Having him take my dad away from me was so much easier than having strangers do it.

    Bless you. x

  119. Catharine Kurtz reply

    Dear Katelyn, I just read your beautiful story about your son, James. I hadn’t watched the All Access videos because my husband has been dealing with health issues all year and that had consumed my time. I sat down to watch the February engagement video and you mentioned something was going on with your story so I went back to look at your blog and found this precious post. I read and cried through your heart words. I too lost my son Ryan. He was 36 and had struggled with cancer for 6 years. When you loose a child at any age a big part of you goes with them. Your words are so beautiful and your faith so inspiring. May God bless you and Michael with healing and may His loving arms surround your hearts and your life. In Psalm 23 where it says He restores my soul… that is my continuous prayer. With love and appreciation, Catharine

  120. 4 Months Later – Paula Le reply

    […] JAMES’ BIRTH STORY […]

  121. Shelley Johnson reply

    What a beautiful testament to your sweet son, James. So much of your story hits so close to me, as my husband and I lost our son, Henry Michael, just 12 short weeks ago. He was born still at 30 weeks. And while out stories are very different, the emotions and feelings towards the whole experience are parallel. I’m so appreciative to your unwavering faith in God and your relationship with Him. I’ve been having extreme difficultly in seeing God’s purpose in the loss of our son, and because of that, it has created a strain on my connection with Him. I will continue to read your words and remind myself that God has a plan and a pre written story for us all. I need to learn to had faith in that plan and in Him. Thank you so much for sharing your story. It helps those of us feeling lost more than you can know.

  122. Amber reply

    The pictures went load, neither will the menu.I am very excited to see after such a great story, thank you.

  123. First Trimester Review – Britney in Virginia reply

    […] been following Katelyn James’ blog and the way she writes about her son’s life – James’ life – also gives me reassurance that there is much to celebrate regardless of the uncertainty.  […]

  124. Laci Volkers reply

    Oh my heart, momma – I have been volunteering at our local hospital to provide photographs for families that have also walked similar paths in this life. Reading your story and being able to resonate with your words brought me to tears. I can literally feel the surpassing love you have for your little James and it makes my heart swell with love too! Bless you momma. Know that our Father walks us down paths that may shake us to our core with beautiful intentions to shape us into His disciples and lead us to green pastures. I will continue to pray over you and your family and remember your words when I find myself down another road meeting a family in need of His love!

  125. Natasha Arora reply

    Dear Katelyn,
    You’ve been a strength to me during my testing times. I lost my angel only 10 days back. And only after this I have known the power of love, grief and God. My baby boy had a congenital heart disease which we could know of only after his birth. He had a short stay on this earth, 19 days, but the love he has given me will remain with me throughout. These special babies are made in heaven, for heaven. And I thank God for choosing us to be their parents. Thank you for writing your heart out and giving people like me the strength to accept our lives the way God has written it. Lots of love to you and your family. God bless you all.
    Natasha Arora

  126. The Alsop’s Story of Finding Hope After Loss to Cystic Hygroma and Hydrops | helloHOPE reply

    […] how she and Michael processed those first weeks after receiving James’s diagnoses and part 2 here to read his beautiful birth story. She has written two more touching posts that can be found here […]

  127. Kari reply

    Katelyn, It’s nearly 2am and I just read this post and am in awe. I love how well you celebrate James’ life and mark on this world. What a beautiful story of the Lord’s continuing promise to never leave you nor forsake you.
    I’m praying for you right now that you will continue to be held and comforted by the Almighty God who knit your sweet boy together in your womb, who knew the number of little red hairs on his head and who went before James to prepare a place for him. He is good, even when our feelings, circumstances and expectations tell us otherwise.

    Thank you for sharing your story. ♥

  128. Helping Others Understand – Paula Le reply

    […] to Baby James. (If you don’t know Baby James’ full story, you can read more HERE & HERE). It was nearly impossible for me to express or comprehend what I needed during that season. I was […]

  129. kamma christiansen reply

    I knew of your story but this is the first time ive really read it. At a time in my life that im finding very difficult I found hop love and happiness in your story. My beautiful daughter Tayla was 32 when she passed away on 22nd March this year. We still don’t have answers as to why she died and burying her was so hard. Ive cried many days and find it hard to go on. I know we will have answers and maybe not the ones we want but we have to have hope. You are both very inspirational people and im sure a lot of people will read your story and take so much from it. Congratulations on the birth of your new son. Many Blessings Kamma.

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  131. One Year Online Business Course Take Aways – reply

    […] only our business lives, but our personal lives. She shared the raw emotions that accompanied the loss of her infant son. She shared how tragedy led to the gift of perspective. She shared how God has been faithful […]

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