Tuesday, December 3, 2019

10 Years Later: Evie

I woke up today with the brightest pink sunrise streaming in my window. 

A deep breath... remembering. 

Evie would be 10 years old today. 

* For those of you who do not know this part of our story, I became pregnant for the 4th time in 2009. Reese was 1 and the twins were 3. I found out at a  “gender reveal” place that it was a girl and everyone was just so excited for a Bilsland baby girl to join the mix. The next few weeks were so sweet. I planned a girly nursery and received tons of little pink clothes.

4 weeks later at our 20 week ultrasound, we went into what we thought would be a happy little update at the doctor's office. Instead, the nurse was quiet as she took measurement after measurement... glossing over the fact that it was indeed a girl. Something was wrong. 

She then ushered us into the doc's office where he explained to us that our baby had several severe health issues, including a hole in her heart. He explained that since there was more than one issue, it could mean a genetic mutation. We were in shock. 

After that there was a whirlwind of tests and appointments and prayers and trying to understand what was happening to our sweet babe. We learned after genetic testing that she had a duplication of her third chromosome… essentially, the problem was in her genes so it would affect everything... mentally, physically... she would not develop normally. 

They asked us repeatedly if we wanted to end her life which still angers me to think about… out of all we had to think about and plan for with our daughter, ending her life was never a consideration.  

We went on to plan as much as we could for life with a child with severe special needs. We planned to have several specialists in the room when she was born to take care of her physical issues. 

But that was about all we could do. We lived… we prayed… we waited. 

She was literally dancing around in my belly every day, especially when I ate ice cream or something cold…  so very active...

until she wasn't.

One evening in my 9th month of pregnancy, I noticed she hadn’t been moving as much that day. I laid down on my side and drank some orange juice and she flipped a few times. Feeling better I went to bed that night but woke up with a heavy feeling. 

I knew before I knew. 

I made a doctor's appointment and immediately went in so they could check things out. She put the wand on my belly to check the heartbeat and couldn’t find it so they moved me into the ultrasound room to look at her on the screen. 

There was no movement. She was gone... her heart had stopped beating. 

The doctor said, “I’m so sorry.” 

I had a c-section that night. They took her out and the room was quiet. I can't fully describe the deafening silence of that moment but it will forever be etched into my the deepest parts of my being. 

Life was a blur after that. I held her still body and family members and friends surrounded us with so much love. So many tears shed by loved ones. I don’t think I cried at all. I was in shock. I felt like I was watching the whole scene from the outside… there was no way this was real. 

We went on to have a memorial service and bury her next to my granny who we lost to cancer the year before. 

It was surreal.


Looking back now, I think I went in to shock that day and didn’t actually process what happened until many years later. 

We started our business 6 months later in 2010 and it was the best distraction ever. I put all my energy and effort into Sailor Studio and it became a beautiful outlet and a sweet time of coming into my own as a creative and entrepreneur. 

We had Hudson and Indy…  2 more precious boys added to the family. 

We were done having children in 2015… and I think when the childbearing season ended, it hit me and there was no longer the distraction and possibility of more babies. Life slowed down a bit and I knew it was time to face the pain. I began to really question and dig into my faith during that season and realized quickly that the elephant in the room between me and God was death. My grandmother, my daughter, my dad. I lost three incredibly significant people in my life in 5 years… very different circumstances for each. 

And none of it made sense to me. 

Because you see… I am an analyzer, a problem solver. I want to dissect problems, get to the root, and do what I have to do to fix it. That is how I approach my life. If you need help, get help. If you need a life change, get to it. No excuses, no time to waste. 

One of the biggest lessons God taught me through death is that some problems just don’t have "solutions" this side of heaven. There was absolutely nothing I could do but love them and let them go… I was completely and totally powerless. I had no control. 

That was excruciating.

But that’s where God met me. Because it is in those places of complete and utter surrender that He speaks. Well, really... He is always talking but never forces us to listen. If we believe we can do it all on our own and control our life… He'll let us. 

But the problem with that is. 


Life is unpredictable. Having control is an illusion. 

Your life today is one breath away from a situation that is completely out of your hands. 

I remember finally saying the words, “You broke my heart”  to God in a moment of raw emotion and tears and trying to understand… and that began an honest conversation between me and Him about my deepest grief.

You can’t hide from the dark places…  God knows every lie you believe about Him. You have to go to the foot of the cross and pour out what you believe… all the sadness, all the questions, all the anger and the “how could you let this happen?” 

Because that is the first step to hearing Truth. The truth is God didn’t want them to die. Jesus wept with me… even knowing all of eternity and the bigger picture that I can’t even fathom in my human existence. Jesus wept with me. 

And that brought me into authentic relationship with God. 

I released the idea that I can figure everything out on my own…  I confessed out loud the pride of thinking, "I got this… I can handle it".

That was a lie. I couldn’t handle it. The pain was way too deep. I could only numb it… but that also came with numbing other parts of my life. You can’t numb your heart to certain things and expect to fully connect and love with the other parts. 

It was after that confession that I began to feel and accept the unconditional love He had for me and I began to truly trust Him. You can't hide from that kind of love. It is utterly overwhelming and it breaks down all your reservations. 

My eyes began to open to every place He has carried me through, every moment He has taken care of me and I started to see every circumstance through His eyes. Eyes of grace and truth and beauty. He has the power to heal the impossibly broken places… but you have to let Him in. 

And after the illusions are broken down, He calls us to walk from a place of rest, of trust, of relying on Him every day because we know those uncontrollable moments will happen again and again in this life. Trusting Him doesn’t change what life can bring. But it undoubtedly changes how you see each circumstance. It undoubtedly brings hope and joy in the hardest of moments, and breeds a culture of love and gratefulness for the anti climatic, mundane moments of day to day life. 

It awakens your miracle eyes. Your lenses change as you see things clearly for maybe the first time in your life. 

Thank you Evie. You are my miracle. 

And I will miss you until Heaven.