A routine ultrasound turned into an expecting mom’s worst fear when she found out her unborn baby faced insurmountable odds. But how Katelyn James shares faith in the midst of her suffering is truly inspiring.
“Please read before commenting.” That’s how Virginia-based photographer Katelyn James started the heartbreaking Instagram post where she first shared that she was living the nightmare of a mother’s worst fear.
As she happily snapped the photo you see below of her baby boy’s sonogram picture, she had no idea that someone would soon be walking through the door with the absolute worst imaginable news. Yet, how Katelyn James shares faith in the midst of her suffering is truly inspiring.
Ultrasound Takes An Awful Turn
Katelyn and her husband Michael had gone to her doctor for a routine visit when they noticed that the ultrasound technician was gone for an abnormally long time. That’s when their doctor entered the room, “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’,” said Katelyn.
The stunned parents would then learn that baby James Michael’s poor tiny body had many complications.
“Something was really wrong. And it wasn’t just one thing,” Katelyn recalled.
The build-up of fluid (Ascites) was so great that it had collapsed several organs and eventually put too much pressure on his heart. Katelyn explained, “The fluid is one of many issues that he's struggling w/ & the underlying cause of all of it can be explained by the fact that he has Downs. His lungs never had a chance to form & his heart has been showing signs of strain since his 20 wk ultrasound.”
YOU MAY LIKE: A Prayer for When You’re Hurting: 10 Verses of Comfort for Tough Times
Katelyn and Michael went through all the normal emotions that you would expect. There were tears of course — there were buckets of tears. But while many would be angry, find their faith tested, or question why this had to happen, Katelyn showed a quiet strength with absolute certainty that her baby boy was designed perfectly by God for a reason.
Katelyn James Shares Faith Story
In a letter to her unborn son, James Michael, she wrote, “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.”
Katelyn goes on to explain, “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 of your sweet life has such deep purpose and you have never breathed one breath, how purposeful then is every single life on this earth?”
Surrendering To His Will
In her beautiful letter to James Michael, Katelyn continues, ” 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.”
Baby James was born without a heartbeat. And though there is incredible sadness at his loss, Katelyn’s incredible strength and faith continue unwaveringly. She shared on her Instagram account, “Nothing changes the pain, but choosing to trust God with our brokenness instead of running from Him is the only way we have survived this & still have hope. We miss our baby… but we're slowly rebuilding our new life as parents with a child in heaven. “
She continued, “For those that may think that God didn’t give us a miracle, you're wrong. Surviving this is a miracle. Being able to hold our son & feel joy even though he wasn't breathing is a miracle. The fact that he lived longer than anyone expected is a miracle. And knowing we will see him again is the greatest miracle of all.”
Read Katelyn’s letter to Baby James in its entirety here. Follow her journey on Instagram here. But mostly, keep her beautiful family in your prayers.
UPDATE: Telling James Michael’s Story
Katelyn and Michael recently released a stunning video telling the full story of the baby they lost. Even though his time was short, this faithful couple knows James’ life has a special purpose.
“I know that God gave us a little boy with Down Syndrome so that we would share his story. And so that other people would see an example of a young couple valuing life and valuing a baby’s life. Even a baby that isn’t expected to survive,” Katelyn explained in the powerful video.
Katelyn and Michael know other parents will experience similar losses. And they are allowing God to give their own pain from this tragedy new purpose.
“I think that there are going to be families that get news like our news. And they’re going to hear James’ story and they’re going to think, ‘Okay. They survived it. We can survive it too,'” Katelyn said. “Because of James’ life, they’ll have hope and encouragement.”
As they adjust back to life after tragedy, Katelyn admits she and Michael have wrestled with how to handle the question, “How many kids do you have?” Check out the video below where the couple not only gives their answer but also shares some incredible news!
WATCH: Katelyn James Talks About Baby James & Gives An Update
2 Children on Earth, 1 in Heaven
Check out Katelyn’s post below introducing their sweet baby, Graham Warren, to the world! (You can use the arrows on the image to click through several emotional images showing their incredible joy at his safe arrival!)
View this post on Instagram
In the post above, Katelyn shares the following message:
“Welcome to the world little guy! Well, I shouldn't say little…. we love all 9lbs 14ounces of our brand new baby boy!! Graham Warren Alsop was born yesterday at 5:44pm and it's hard to put into words how beautifully redemptive his birth was for so many reasons. As soon as he was born, I just kept crying and thinking about how his brother's story made this day so much more powerful and incredibly special for us. It's hard to imagine how the birth of a child could feel any more amazing… but holding a crying baby after losing one less than a year ago gives you a unique perspective on how much of a miracle a healthy baby is. 😭Graham's birth was also redemptive for me because my motherhood journey has been filled with complication after complication, up until now. We prayed for an easy pregnancy and God answered that prayer. After 9mos of a practically perfect pregnancy, I feared my complications would surely come with birth. Because of my history, I had never been able to just wait to go into labor on my own. We had no proof that my body would even do that…. but it did… just two days before his due date (thank you membrane sweep, massage and bumpy ride on a lawn mower!😂). I had never been able to experience a natural birth because of the need for incredibly high levels of pitocin during inductions in the past but Graham's birth was just me and him. No medicine, no assistance with labor…. for a girl with a history of complicated pregnancies, this was hard to believe! It wasn't about being strong… because I have never felt more weak, incapable and scared at times (especially pushing 😳yikes) … it was about overcoming the fear that something was always going to go wrong for me. This was the birth story I always dreamed of…. 😭and it was made sweeter because of the hard stuff we have lived through. We really can't believe we have a son here on earth…. with a head full of dark hair and features that remind us of his sister. Evy is already obsessed with Baby Graham and we're so thankful she learned how to say her "G's" in the last month and doesn't call him baby "Damn" anymore. 😂 Thank you @jillypowers for pictures we'll cherish forever. ❤️😭”
There is no doubt that Baby Graham is an answered prayer! It’s impossible to read their story and not see the Holy Spirit at work through Katelyn and Baby James Michael. May God bless this faithful family who has bravely shared their story with the hopes that God will use it to help others through a tough time or bring those who don’t know Him to Christ.
(Also, click below to listen to Katelyn beautifully pour out her heart to Jesus as she sings, “How Great Thou Art” in a local performance at Christmastime!)
WATCH: Katelyn James Shares Faith – Powerfully Sings ‘How Great Thou Art’
Featured Image Credit: Vimeo
YOU MAY LIKE: 27 Bible Verses to Inspire You During Hard Seasons