When Aly Taylor was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer in October 2011, doctors said her chances of ever having children were slim to none.
Just 24 years old at the time, Aly and her husband, Josh, had been trying to get pregnant when doctors discovered her stage 3 cancer.
“Because of the radiation treatment I had to undergo, doctors told me they couldn’t preserve my fertility,” Aly told The Christian Post. “But Josh and I prayed and believed God would protect my womb. Psalm 128 was our preservation verses, and we stood on that belief. I believed that I would be a fruitful vine and that we would eventually have children that would fill our tables.”
After 16 rounds of chemotherapy, 30 rounds of radiation, a double mastectomy, and several reconstructive surgeries, Aly was declared cancer-free, defying overwhelming odds. Optimistic about the future, the high school sweethearts from Louisiana tried to once again have a baby.
But their hopes were dashed yet again when a fertility specialist told Aly her eggs were too damaged from chemo to ever result in a healthy pregnancy.
“We were devastated and didn’t know where to go. We were so confused because we’d been so confident that God would fulfill our desires,” she told CP.
During this time, Aly and Josh leaned on one another for support: “For men, there’s this tendency to think that infertility is just a woman’s issue, but it’s so important for men to be an active part of the process and to be present because it can be so lonely for women,” Josh said. “I continually tried to let Aly know that she wasn’t alone and I was in this entire process with her.”
After months of seeking God’s guidance, the couple decided to consider other ways to start their family: “We were matched with an egg donor and quickly after that we felt peace not to go that route,” Aly said. “We’re supporters of fertility treatment, but we felt like we were trying to control so much of it instead of saying, 'Lord, grow our family however you want to grow our family' and trusting in His plan instead of ours."
In 2015, the Taylors, who were featured on the TLC show "Rattled," decided to begin the adoption process and were elated to adopt a baby girl. But as they packed their bags to pick up their daughter, the birth mom decided to keep her.
Devastated, the Taylors asked the birth mother if they could pray over her and the baby girl before they left. As they went to leave the hospital, the birth mom changed her mind and gave them a daughter, Genevieve.
“She said, ‘you won’t believe this, but I heard God speak to me, and He told me you two are my daughter’s parents,’” Aly said. “The moment we held Genevieve was the first time cancer made sense. We never would have been brought together had cancer not happened. It was a true beauty-from-ashes moment of God’s plan.”
But when Genevieve was just 9 months old, Aly started feeling nauseous. On a whim, she dug up an old pregnancy test she had in the house — and was shocked when it registered positive.
“I called the doctor, freaking out,” she recalled. “She didn’t even say congratulations. She said, ‘You need to come in right now.’ We did multiple ultrasounds and bloodwork and sure enough, I was pregnant with a healthy baby girl, who we named Vera.”
Just one month into Aly's pregnancy, Genevieve's birth mother contacted the Taylors to say she was pregnant again and asked if they were interested in adopting Genevieve's biological sister. Her due date, she said, was just days apart from Aly's.
“But my heart was instantly drawn to this baby girl, and so we said ‘yes,’” Aly said.
The Taylors temporarily moved to Kentucky from Louisiana so they could be present for both births. Aly gave birth to Vera on August 14, 2015, and 11 days later Lydia was born.
Once again, the birth mom had second thoughts about keeping the baby, but at the final moment told them they could be her parents. Within just 16 months, the Taylors grew to a family of five.
“These babies are our miracles,” Aly said. “Every amazing thing our life started out with a horrible situation and the word ‘impossible,’ yet God did an incredible thing with our story. ‘Impossible’ sets the stage for miracles, and that’s exactly what God did.”
Josh and Aly share their inspiring story in the recently-released book Aly's Fight: Beating Cancer, Battling Infertility, and Believing in Miracles. The couple wrote the book to encourage others struggling with loss, infertility, and other devastating obstacles to cling to life, faith and love, especially when all hope seems lost.
“I want people to know that God wants to do good for them,” Aly said. “God uses our pain to grow our character. Our main motivation is to give people hope by sharing the incredible miracles God worked in our lives.”
While her family’s story had a happy ending, Aly admitted she struggled to understand God’s sovereignty in the midst of her pain.
“There were times when I wondered, ‘Why me? Why do I have aggressive cancer? Why can’t I have children?” she said. “But when you fully surrender and trust in the Lord’s sovereignty, you realize the story He’s writing for you is so much more beautiful than the one you try to create or control. In the middle of the battle, it can feel impossible, but He has a bigger plan in mind. He sees the bigger picture, and there’s peace in that.”
Josh emphasized that the couples’ faith has been refined by fire and forged through pain. Choosing joy, he said, takes faith, perseverance, and an incredible amount of grace.
“Every day, we’ve had to choose to trust God through overwhelming circumstances,” he said. “The tendency is to give up, especially because we found ourselves in so many low places. But we want to encourage people to trust in God’s bigger plan instead of blaming Him or giving up when life gets hard.”
Aly added, “We wrote this book to remind those struggling that God wants to do something incredible with their story. Just hold on and choose joy in moments where it seems impossible.”