our story - Colby's footprints
I can recall the excitement of writing thank-you notes to our wedding guests and ending each one with the surprise announcement that my husband and I were expecting a baby. How about that?! We were having a baby! This definitely seemed to set us on course to have a lifetime of wedded bliss. You see, my husband and I were only home a few weeks from our honeymoon when we learned that I was pregnant. We were ecstatic. This was the best news ever and the timing was perfect. Then we found out that I was having a boy. OH BOY! My first pregnancy would give my parents their first grandson. How special is that?! Newlyweds, pregnant, and it’s a boy—jackpot!
It would be cliché to say that it was all too good to be true. But yeah, it was all too good to be true. Our fairytale was about to turn into a horror story. Six months into my pregnancy things turned critical. I began having unexplainable issues with my placenta and an emergency C-section became necessary. On July 5, 2006, Colby Julian Taplin was born. At 26 weeks gestation, he was born weighing a tiny 14 ounces. He was born prematurely, but he was perfect in every way. His little face looked so much like my husband’s. We could see the muscles in his legs, just like daddy. His skin was somewhat translucent, but he was a cute lil fella, like mommy! He never appeared to be under distress. His spirit was one of peace. Our baby boy was perfect. It was a miracle—our miracle!
Our son went on to spend seven days in the NICU. Those were by far the longest seven days of my life. I’ve never felt so helpless. All we could do is sit there. No touching him, just sit there. We were encouraged to talk to him. In our despair, we talked to him. In the midst of our silent prayers, we talked to him.
Life in the NICU can be emotionally exhausting. Things can change drastically in a matter of seconds. Alarms going off, machines in motion, doctors, nurses, specialists; it can become overwhelming. Just too much! Our baby boy put up a good fight. But in the end, seven days was enough. It was enough. I held our first born son, Colby, in the palm of my hand as he took his last breath. I could hear it. I could see it. The sound still rings in my ears—I feel it!
But WAIT. What just happened? Did this really happen? I thought I did everything right. I was at every doctor’s appointment. I heard his heartbeat. I felt his kicks. I have ultrasound pictures. Wait, I gave BIRTH! He was alive. I saw him. I heard him cry. What happened? Wait. Did my baby just die? He died?? The shock of it all is unimaginable. The pain is excruciating. The confusion is real. What happened? I want to know, WHAT HAPPENED??? Unfortunately, there is no time to ponder what happened. The hospital staff is here and they want to know “Mom, Dad, What would you like to do now?” Excuse me? Wait. What? I remember thinking, “Why are they asking me that!? I want my baby!” It was time to pull it together and make some quick decisions. We declined the hospital's offer to cremate and discard his remains, and decided to have a private funeral instead. Yes, a funeral. We were about to have a funeral— our baby’s funeral!
In my experience, when mothers go to the hospital to give birth, they come home with a baby. Never in my lifetime had I known any woman to come home with a folder of papers, left to figure out funeral arrangements for her newborn baby. I may have known of a few miscarriages, but I didn’t know anyone who had experienced an infant death. Our baby was alive and seven days later he’s gone. I had absolutely no idea what to do. Thankfully, my family knew all of the right people and our church family stepped in to support us during the process.
On July 18, 2006, my husband and I held a graveside funeral for our son. The pain won’t allow me to remember much about that day, but I remember being covered with a lot of love. Our family and friends were there. My niece prepared a beautiful poem. I can still hear the sound of her cries, she was there. It was Summer time and I remember administrators from my husband’s school being there. His principal was there. My manager and the VP of my department were there. No one knew what to say, but they were there. The tight hugs were filled with an awkward silence, but they were there. Our birth story had a tragic ending, but those who loved us were there. It’s been 10 years and my heart is still comforted by knowing – they were there!
Losing a child is one of life’s most painful realities. Parents die, grandparents die, but no one really expects their infant to die. It happens far more frequently than I had ever known. One can never fully prepare for such trauma. The pain never leaves, but having the proper love and support will help your heart to heal. I have spent years trying to figure out why. Why me? Why then? Why like that? Why? Just, Why? In my healing, I’ve learned that there is no why, it just is. I have spiritual, emotional, mental and physical scars from that experience, but it just is. IT IS, and that’s okay. I’m okay. We are okay.
The birth of our baby boy Colby will leave an everlasting imprint. He was here. His birth changed my life and his death gave it new meaning. I now have purpose. His footprints were divinely ordered. No mistake. No failure. No accident. Divine order.
He was here for a reason - HEALING FOOTPRINTS!
About our founder
Kierra Sunae' Taplin is a loving wife, daughter, sister, and friend. To her, family is everything! Nearly seven years after experiencing the devastating death of her newborn son Colby, she gave birth to her “rainbow baby” and is now the proud mother of a happy and healthy three year old son, Keegan. With a strong faith, Kierra holds firmly to the belief that all things work together for the good to them that love God and are called according to his purpose. She walks with purpose and continues to embrace the journey of her very own Healing Footprints.