Matt and I prayed for a miracle when we learned that Owen wasn't going to survive, but I felt throughout this experience that we were receiving miracles, all along the way, and in the end, they were somehow even greater miracles than the one we had been hoping for, even though I don't fully understand it.
My mom told me about a devotional address she read recently that she thought I would like by Dallan R. Moody, and it said some things about his own son that I felt were completely true in my own situation.
"What struck me was that 'the absence of the miracle' could actually be a miracle in and of itself—the premise being that as God’s ways and thoughts are higher than man’s, at times the Lord may choose to provide a miracle counterintuitive to what we may want, knowing full well His own end purpose. Because of the absence of the miracle fixed in our minds, He is better able to help us grow and thus become happier than we ever could have been had we received the desired miracle for which we had prayed."
And that point he made at the end is exactly how I feel about my experience with Owen. I don't feel deprivation of something I should have received, a hole that my baby should have filled, but I feel like I have been stretched and have grown so much from this experience that I am a different person than I was a year ago, better, and it was because Owen did come, he was here, and is my little boy forever. And because of those truths I feel like my happiness has grown and my ability to love has grown. I feel the importance of life so much more, especially when I hold Edith and think about how lucky I am to have her here. She has been our other little angel.
Owen was here 7 hours, the most perfect and complete 7 hours of my life. He passed away before most of our family could make it, though most of them tried. My sister Monica got to hold him while he was still here which I'm so grateful for. When we got to the hospital everything happened so fast. The first plan was to try to hold off the delivery for a week, and then all of a sudden we were being prepped for my c-section. We had just enough time to tell our parents that it was happening within the hour so they and some of our siblings all hopped on a plane or in a car and got here as fast as they could. It was so good to have them here and meant so much to us to be surrounded by them. They along with our amazing friends carried us through this experience. What could have been a lonely and scary time became bearable because of them. They put together the most beautiful memorial here and in Utah. I was literally overwhelmed with love when I walked in to see all they had done the day of Owen's memorial and to see how many people showed up to support us! So many people helped in so many ways, big and small. They brought us meals, "heart attacked" Edith's NICU room, sent us sweet cards and messages of love and support, came to show their love at his memorial, and the list goes on and on. We were filled with a sweet gratitude that was healing.
It's always enlightening to look back on an experience after things have settled. You're able to see even clearer the ways God orchestrated things to your benefit, usually through the kindnesses of other people. Looking back I can see more clearly His hand in every detail and can feel His incredible love for us. I know that Owen came for a purpose, I know he is my little boy forever. I know that even when THE miracle that we want sometimes doesn't happen, if we turn to God in faith He will still provide miracles in our lives and they can shape us into better people. I know that if you are struggling with something similar (or completely different), that struggle can become a stepping stone, if you let it, to becoming better and happier, even when it seems nearly impossible. That's what Jesus Christ can do.
So to sum up my experience with Owen in my arms I will use Dallan R. Moody's words:
"Though his body was misshapen and broken, his spirit was whole, noble, and great. Being in his presence was healing and heavenly. I thank Heavenly Father for making the time with Owen not only possible but powerful. It was indeed heaven on earth."