Sunday, October 27, 2013


As you may already know our family is doubling in size!  We are so excited to be adding a new baby boy and baby girl to our family!  We've been waiting and praying a long time for these little nuggets and feel so grateful that they are ours for eternity.

We found out some news at our 12 week ultrasound, however, that was very hard for us to hear, and wasn't confirmed until our 16 weeks appointment that we had just recently.  Our amazing little boy was diagnosed with something called anencephaly, or acrania, a neural tube defect that causes the skull and parts of the brain to not form correctly or at all.  This rare disorder is not viable with life so he will either be stillborn or live only a short time.  While this has been very difficult and is very hard for us to understand we have felt so much peace throughout this process, from all of the prayers we have had for us and our little family.

While this is very sensitive and personal information, and we debated how much we wanted to share with the world, we have felt very strongly that we want everyone to understand our perspective on this.  We have complete faith in a loving Heavenly Father, who loves us very much, who is watching over our family, and who has a greater plan in mind for us than we can understand right now.  We know that we have a Savior, Jesus Christ, who suffered all things for us, is able to carry our burdens, and has made it possible for us to live with our little boy again.  We find incredible peace and comfort in the Plan of Salvation, that teaches us that we can be a family forever, because of the blessings that come from being sealed as a family for eternity in the temple of God by one who holds God's authority.  We know that while this will be one of the greatest trials we will experience, there will be great blessings that can come from this if we let them.  We know that we are here to be tried, to grow, to become better, and this is one of the best opportunities we will get in this life as we will have to say goodbye so soon to the little boy we already love so much.

Another reason why we wanted to write this post was because we have felt so much love and support from so many family and friends already, and we can only imagine many of you might be wondering how to offer support and comfort to us in this situation.  We are having twins, which we are so excited about, but we will only be bringing one little baby home with us.  We want you to know that we still feel grateful for this blessing in our lives to have these two little babies in our family and want to feel the excitement and happiness that can come from this experience.  We decided that we want this to be a time of bonding for our little family and a time for our family and friends to get to know this little baby boy too.  We knew that an important part of this would be having a name, so we've decided to name him Owen Matthew.  Honestly, the name for this little guy came easily; I think we were being prepared a while in advance.  (Our baby girl will have to wait a bit, girl names have been a bit harder for us:)  When people would ask me what I thought I was having I would tell them I thought there was a boy in there somewhere.  What I didn't tell them was that I knew there was a boy in there.  I've known I was going to have a little boy for a long time.  Owen was meant to be a special part of our family.

We especially wanted to write this as a big thank you to all of you for the outpouring of love and support we have received already.  There isn't a greater blessing than knowing you have so many friends and family members who celebrate with you during the exciting times and mourn with you during hard times, and who are consistently there ready to give you any support and comfort you might need.  While there will be many moments of tears and sorrow for us, we feel mostly gratitude for all of the many incredible blessings we have in our lives.  We are most especially grateful for our faith and for a God who loves us more than we can understand and who will carry us through this experience.

If you are interested to find out more information about anencephaly, please resist the urge to google it.  While the websites are informative, they are mostly medical.  These are some great blogs that have information and a positive outlook on this disorder.

Some of the scriptures and talks from beloved prophets and leaders that have particularly helped us during this time are:
-Mosiah 24:13-15 from the Book of Mormon
-A talk by our most wonderful prophet, President Monson
-A talk by Elder Bowen that I never knew I would need so much

-Elder Holland:
"I testify of the holy Resurrection, that unspeakable cornerstone gift in the Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ! With the Apostle Paul, I testify that that which was sown in corruption will one day be raised in incorruption and that which was sown in weakness will ultimately be raised in power. (1 Corinthians 15:42–43)  I bear witness of that day when loved ones whom we knew to have disabilities in mortality will stand before us glorified and grand, breathtakingly perfect in body and mind. What a thrilling moment that will be! I do not know whether we will be happier for ourselves that we have witnessed such a miracle or happier for them that they are fully perfect and finally ‘free at last.’ Until that hour when Christ’s consummate gift is evident to us all, may we live by faith, hold fast to hope, and show ‘compassion one of another.’(1 Peter 3:8.)”   (“Like A Broken Vessel”, Elder Holland, Oct. 2013)

We thought we'd leave you with a short video of baby Owen sucking on his toes.  Oh we love him so much already!

Thank you again for all of your love and support,

Nicole and Matthew


Carolyn said...

You are both amazing and wonderful and I know this little guy is blessed to be a part of your eternal family! The same way you will be blessed to have him in yours. We love you! And, I LOVE the name!

Jen said...

I love love love the name Owen. And Matthew, of course! So sweet! Thank you both for being such good examples to all of us of faith and hope. I can't think of two better people and your babies are so lucky to have you as parents! I think we are given trials to make us better people, and I guess it takes a lot to polish the strong. Love you!

Hugh said...

Sorry to hear about your circumstances. We'll keep you in our prayers.

Anonymous said...

That was so beautiful. I just want to give you a hug! I can't imagine the range of emotions you are experiencing but, I too know that you will be able to spend eternity with Owen. Your testimony strengthens mine. We live you!

Eric and Chasten

Marc said...

This news is heartbreaking and your faith is sustaining. I rejoice with you that you are a mother of two and mourn with you that only one will get to come to your earthly home with you. Thank you for sharing. Your testimony strengthens mine. And I love the name Owen.

mommacragun said...

We love little Owen Matthew Cragun and his sister too.

Andrea Purvis said...

Dear friends. My heart breaks for you and your burtiful babies. May your little boy always know the love you felt for him before you ever knew he was there, and will continue to feel forever. May your little girl always know and love her brother as she grows. May God comfort you and be with you always, as you live this journey through pregnancy, birth and beyond, forever and always. No parents should ever have to know this pain. I am so very, truly sorry you must join this club that no one ever imagines even. If there is one thing besides our faith, that has helped us most in our journey, it is this: Knowing, surrounding ourselves with, and sharing our pain, with others who have lived this journey too. Please do not hesitate to lean on us. Anytime, anywhere, we are here for you always.
Andrea and Karl Purvis.

The Thompsons said...

I can't even begin to say how much I love you two. Here you are with such emotional, devastating news and you're comforting those around you and making everyone around you feel at ease when it should be the other way around. I am learning from you. We love you and are always here for you - through the good times and the tears. Owen couldn't have any better parents!

Natalie said...

I've been thinking about you and your family lately. I just want you to know that you are on lots of people's minds and (this post confirms) we know you'll be wonderful parents!

~j. said...

I love you.

Karalee Ann said...

Nicole I am so sorry to hear your son will only be here a short time with you. I can't even imagine what you must be going through right now. My best friend Amber went through this same condition with her precious daughter. She wrote a blog about her experience if you want to read about her story. I know she has kept in contact with other mom's that found her blog and they talk to each other since they fully understand all the emotions you are going through. I told her about you and I know she would love to talk to you if that is something that you might be interested in. Know that I love you and I will keep your little family in my prayers. You are an amazing women.

Beth DiPietro said...

You two were chosen as Owen's parents for a reason!! You will give him the body he needs to get back to Heavenly Father and he will be waiting for you in the Eternities!! My heart goes out to you all! know that i am thinking and praying for you constantly. Love Beth

Ashley J @ MommyByDayCrafterByNight said...

Nicole.... I came across your blog via taryn's blog and happened upon this post. What a tender post. I am sure so many emotions have been going through your mind but I am so touched at your outlook. I know that the unknown is scary- but I know from personal experience that when we put everything in the Lord's hands, he sees us through our stuggles and somehow everything works out exactly how it is meant to. I am so happy for these lucky little babies- they are being born to the right mommy! I will be thinking and praying for you as you go through these next few months of pregnancy! xoxo

Stephanie said...

Nicole and Matt,

This is Stephanie, Monica's friend from Champaign. We met many times when you visited her. I always ask about you when I talk to Monica. I am so thrilled to hear that you are blessed with twins! My heart aches to hear about little Owen. I'm so grateful that you have been blessed with peace and strong testimonies.

Our daughter Lily, our first, was stillborn. Our faith in Heavenly Father's plan and the good news of the gospel were what sustained us (and still do).

Big hugs and lots of prayers!


Carolyn said...

Nicole and Matt,

You are both such amazing examples to me and our family. Thank-you both for your inspiring words. You're already such wonderful parents, and I'm so excited for you to meet your little ones!

mary said...

You have been and continue to be a spiritual giant to me. I truly believe in the peace and comfort that the Savior offers each of us. You and your little ones will be in my prayer. All my love, Mary

Julie Sveen said...

You both are so strong and are being blessed with such a precious gift! I can only imagine the joy and heartbreak all at the same time! enjoy whatever time you get with Owen and having the knowledge that he will be waiting for you and that you will get the chance to raise him later is another blessing. May you have the strength that you need to make it through all that you are being asked to go through. God bless you all. Sending love and prayers filled with strength and compassion.