Talia and Josh Gates’ experience starting their family was like any other.

In January 2013, the couple had their first child, Kye Gates.

Within a year or so, Talia found her dream job in Jasper, Alabama. Josh had a nice job as well, and the couple settled into a new house. “Between the money and the women I was working with, it was perfect,” said Talia.

Soon, they began trying for a second child and in October 2014, Talia discovered she was pregnant.

She had unlimited ultrasounds as an OB/GYN, so she checked on the baby often, and was delighted to find out at 14 weeks that they were expecting a baby girl.  Her name would be Aubrey.

Talia continued to check on Aubrey frequently and saw that at 16 weeks her legs were shorter than normal. Talia wasn’t initially worried, but at 19 weeks, when Aubrey’s legs still hadn’t developed past 14 weeks, she decided to ask her mentor, who got her an appointment at the University of Alabama at Birmingham with the Maternal Fetal Medicine specialist.

Talia suspected her baby to be affected by some kind of dwarfism, as only baby Aubrey’s legs were affected, but she and her husband learned from Dr. Biggio that Aubrey had skeletal dysplasia, a fatal disease.

“I never saw it coming,” said Talia. “Never. We were not prepared for those words. They hit us both in the chest like a ton of bricks.”

Immediately, Talia fell into depression. As a couple, both Talia and Josh struggled, but they both said “no” to terminating the pregnancy.

Within 4 weeks, Aubrey’s condition was confirmed lethal, but doctors were unsure when exactly she would pass, whether during the pregnancy, during birth, or shortly after.

Despite the uncertainty, Talia and Josh decided to embrace the pregnancy and their new daughter, Aubrey. Josh even made a jazz tape that she would move to.

Talia says that Aubrey’s content presence in her womb was the most important thing for her at the time. “You are a mom or a dad the moment you get that positive test,” she said.

Aubrey arrived June 12, 2015.

Unsure if Aubrey would even make it through the delivery, Talia and Josh were overjoyed to hear her voice when she was born crying at 6:51 p.m.

Aubrey lived for 49 minutes with her loving parents before she peacefully took her last breath.

Today, Talia says that God had a lot to do with how she and her husband were able to go through the loss of their daughter. “I give a lot of credit to God. Our marriage came out the other side. . . . It was just hard. When we are good, I am good, and vice versa.”

After all she underwent, Talia has a message for mothers everywhere. “Life truly begins at conception, and just how precious those moments in the womb really are. Women wish pregnancy away, want to meet their babies, and I get that. But I want to tell them, just cherish it. Only God is the author of life and death, and without faith, really all is lost. Be still. Be content. Be grateful.”

“Even with my kid, I am appreciating the moments with my son.” Talia urges all parents, “Cherish every stage. Life can change in an instant.”

As a Midwestern girl, Josie enjoys living in the plains, but would love to travel the globe, already having spent several months abroad during her studies in Austria. After graduating, she spends much of her time reading, writing, walking, running, dancing, and living! Josie would love nothing more than to empower others to be able to do the same.