In 1989, I went on a blind date with a handsome man who had the prettiest eyes I had ever seen. He talked about God, he talked about his church, and I’m pretty sure I fell in love with him that night. He was 23 years old and I was only 18. He had just graduated from college. I had just graduated from high school. He asked me if I would like to go out again. I politely said no. I really liked him, but I thought he was too old for me. But I couldn’t stop thinking about him. I was very shy back then, but I decided I was going to have to call him. I got up my nerve, gave him a call, and we went out again. We dated for 9 months and then on June 2, 1990 he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. I very quickly said yes. Five short months later we were married on November 17, 1990.
In 1996 we found out we were expecting our first child. I was hoping for a little girl and I wanted to name her Taylor Nicole. One day I asked Brett if he had any names that he liked. He said he really liked the name Taylor Nicole. Are you kidding me? Out of all the names in the world he had picked the exact same one that I had picked. We never even discussed a boy name. A few months later the ultrasound revealed that we were having a girl. Taylor Nicole entered the world on February 11, 1997. Taylor enjoys drawing, painting, photography, and playing the violin.
When Taylor was 3 years old, we found out our second baby was on the way. I wanted Taylor to have a little sister. Sure enough, another little girl was on the way. We had a hard time deciding on a name this time. I didn’t like any names that Daddy picked and he didn’t like any that I picked. Daddy finally agreed on a name that I had fallen in love with. Brynna Leigh was born on August 29, 2000. Brynna enjoys drawing, playing video games, and going to her youth group at church. She is also a fantastic dancer who enjoys tap, jazz, and ballet.
I still felt like our family wasn’t complete. I always thought we would have 3 children, so two just didn’t seem like enough. In September 2004, we found out I was pregnant again. But this time seemed different. The morning sickness was twice as bad as it was in my previous pregnancies. At my first doctor appointment she ordered an ultrasound. That’s strange. I had never had an ultrasound at 10 weeks before.
Brett didn’t go with me to the ultrasound since it was too early to find out if we were having a boy or a girl. Taylor, Brynna, and my mom went with me. The technician started the ultrasound and made small talk. It seemed like every other time I had an ultrasound until she said the words “Are you ready for this?” What? Ready for what? What is she talking about? Then she smiled and said “You’re having twins!” Huh? Say that again please. I was definitely stunned. We had to stop for chocolate on the way home. Yes, we did.
I didn’t have time to think of a special way of telling Brett that we were having twins. I was still in shock when I got home. I walked into the kitchen and Brett asked how the ultrasound had went. I nonchalantly said “fine” as I handed him the ultrasound picture.
His exact words were “Holy Moly”. Then our 7 year old, Taylor, said “Grandma told us that if you passed out we should pour cold water over your head.”
We found out that the babies were identical girls. We decided that Baby A would be named Mikayla Grace. Mikayla means “gift from God“. We had no idea what Baby B’s name should be. I had a condition called IUGR (intrauterine growth restriction). Baby B was not growing as well as she needed to be. When I was 4 months pregnant, I received a very negative report from the maternal-fetal specialist. I was put on bed rest for the remainder of the pregnancy. After hearing the bad news, I had to go to an appointment with my ob/gyn. I was crying while I was waiting for her to come into the room. I glanced at the painting on the wall in front of me. It had the verse Jeremiah 29:11 on it. It said “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope”. The Lord spoke to my heart in that moment that He was going to give us a Hope. Baby B’s name was supposed to be Hope.
I had a little trouble convincing Hope’s Daddy that her name was supposed to be Hope. He thought Hope was a better middle name than a first name. I kind of agreed with him because it’s hard to find a middle name to go with Hope. But I knew her name was supposed to be Hope. I’m not usually stubborn about getting my way. But I had dug my heels in and I was determined that her name was going to be Hope.
On March 22, 2005 I was admitted to the hospital because I had developed pre-eclampsia. I was told I would be there until the babies were born. The babies were not due until May 9. Only one short week later my condition deteriorated and the decision was made that the babies had to be delivered. We still did not have a name for Baby B and the babies were coming the next day.
I had been on bed rest for 4 months, had gained 80 pounds, and had dangerously high blood pressure. I think Brett felt sorry for me and he decided to let me have my way. Baby B’s name would be Hope. He asked me what her middle name should be. I told him I wanted him to decide. He thought about it for several hours. Then he said “What do you think of Hope Evangeline?” Perfect. I love it! Evangeline means “bearer of good news”. We had received so much bad news about Baby B that it just seemed fitting that her name would mean “bearer of good news.”
On March 29, 2005 our little girls entered the world 6 weeks early. Mikayla Grace weighed 5 lbs. 12 oz. Hope Evangeline weighed 3 lb. 15 oz. Mikayla was in the NICU for 2 1/2 weeks and Hope was there for 3 weeks. It was a relief to finally have our babies home.
When Hope was 1 week old, we found out that she had a very large hole in her heart. She also had a coarctation of the aorta. We were told that it was not possible for the hole to close on its own because it was too large. She would have to have surgery to repair the hole when she was around 4 years old. We began to pray and believe that the hole would close on its own so that Hope would not have to have surgery. We took her every year for an echocardiogram. When she was 3 years old the test showed that the hole in her heart was gone. Our little girl would not have to have heart surgery. I’m so thankful that we serve a God of the impossible. He is our Healer. She still has the coarctation of the aorta. She has an echocardiogram every 2 years. It always shows that it is very mild and just above the range that they consider normal. I believe that the Lord is healing Hope and the coarctation will one day be gone.
The girls have been diagnosed with expressive and receptive language disorder, articulation disorder, sensory processing disorder, coordination disorder, and ADHD. Our days are full of challenges, but they are also filled with joy. I believe that everything that we go through can be used to encourage others who are also struggling.
Mikayla’s favorite color is yellow. She loves flamingos, dinosaurs, coloring with markers, Garfield, and the minions from Despicable Me. She calls them Yellow Guys. She loves going to her class at church. She has a pet gerbil named Ping Pong.
Hope’s favorite color is pink. She loves flamingos, dinosaurs, making videos on her Leapster GS, catching butterflies, and coloring with markers. She has a pet gerbil named Monkey. She also loves going to her class at church. She loves to spin and she never gets dizzy. Hope is always right and mommy and daddy are always wrong. And that is just the way that it is. I am thankful that she has a strong-will. At times it can be quite challenging, but I know that the Lord put that determination in her when He formed her in my womb. I believe that her strong-will helped her to fight when we were told that she probably would not be born. She gives us hope every day and she reminds us that what seems impossible is always possible with God.