The perfect gift… One year later

A year ago today I sat drowning my grief at the bottom of a bottle. My heart was broken and the wine numbed the pain and blurred the reality that our precious son was gone. We were going through the motions, coexisting, and doing everything just to hang on. Daily I would be sure to keep a smile on my face and do the best to act as “normal” as possible. I learned a long time ago that if I appeared put together on the outside no one would see what was truly happening; I was falling apart on the inside. No one would ask, no one would show pity. If I acted like everything was ok everyone would do just that, act ok. The truth is a year ago today I was broken, mad at God and desperately wanting the answer as to why Owen had to fight from the second he was conceived? Why did he have to die just 16 short weeks after his birth? Why his short life was filled with so much physical pain and why were my husband and I powerless to fix it? Why? A year ago today my world was sad, lonely, desperate, and my sunshine was gone. Darkness was in its place and there was no light at the end of the tunnel.

111 Days with Brody

There have been moments in this journey that words are so hard to come by. I stare at a blank screen begging the Lord to give me the words that my heart and soul are feeling. Tonight is one of those times. There are two boys that have come into my life that have forever changed me. They have flipped my world upside down, taken everything I thought I knew and blown it out of the water, shown me a version of love that no one could ever explain and given me a title that I wear boldly and proudly… Mom!

A message from our family of four

They say that the second year of grief is the hardest. The first year you are in a fog anticipating the firsts. The first holidays spent without them, the first time you are asked “how many children do you have?”, the first time you reach for them and find that they are not there, the first time you realize that life here on earth is moving on without them. The second year is different. Grief surprises you. It sneaks up when you least expect it. Folding a onesie once worn by our son, dusting the candle lit to honor him, celebrating the milestones our healthy second son has achieved, being approached by a stranger that embraces you with tears in her eyes as she tells you that Owen made her a better Mom and that she thinks of him every day.

10 months without our firecracker

It’s been a while since I’ve written. All of you have stood by our side and encouraged us to continue to share our story and have allowed me to shed my heart and be raw. Thank you for continuing to show up and giving us this place to heal. Writing was once an outlet for me at the end of the long day to share our victories, thank God for the milestones and plead for prayers from all of you that our son would receive the miracle of healing. Friday marked 10 months since Owen went Home to Heaven and I find myself in an emotional turmoil. As I feel the weight of 10 very long months without Owen I also feel the anticipation, fear, and joy of 40 days until we hold our second son in our arms. As I’ve stated before it’s a lot to carry especially when you’re just trying to function in society with a barrage of third trimester hormones! God bless my husband for riding this roller coaster and laughing with me. He has encouraged me to start writing again so, here I am showing up with all of you… Broken, tired, huge, and kind of like a Fourth of July firework display!

A HUGE Thank You…

Thank you for joining us today at the First Annual LionHeart Owen Foundation birthday Blood Drive! It was a great success! Atleast 200 people celebrated with us in person and rooted on the incredible lifesavers! We had a total of 78 donors register and 51 units donated! Each unit can be broken into 2 which totals102 products donated!! That’s a lot of lives saved!!! Our oldest donor was 87 years young! Due to an incredibly overwhelming response about 40 people were turned away from donating. If you would still like to donate and were unable to join us today, you can visit http://www.desertbloodservices.org and use the LionHeart Owen code: 9058.

A Message from Owen

Hi Heart Family,

O-Dawg here! It’s been awhile since I have stopped by. My Mommy and Daddy sure do miss me and I thank all of you for reminding them how loved they are by our heavenly father and how many of you are there for them when missing me just hurts so bad!

Our Unexpected Blessing

Many of you have been asking about our precious Brody… Yesterday we had an incredible appointment. In fact, it was the best appointment we’ve had since I was 6 weeks pregnant with Owen. It’s been a long road for our family and yesterday was the reason we don’t give up! Our baby boy is HEALTHY! He’s perfect on all charts and our incredible Dr’s smile was solid proof of all of this! We have had so much support from everyone and we want to thank you. It’s been hard for us to celebrate and believe that this boy is going to come into this world healthy and without complications. While we still don’t know for sure, as things can always happen, doubt was the furthest thing from our mind yesterday! We miss Owen will every passing moment and ache that he is not here to celebrate and grow with his brother. We know that our time here is short and the 3 of us, plus Jax, will be living together with Owen in eternity before we know it! For now, we find peace and full hearts that our second son, Brody is healthy and will be in our arms in just 16 weeks!!! Thank you for celebrating these milestones. While to some of you it seems routine and waaaay too long, to this heart family, not having an ultrasound or check up for another 6 weeks is music to our ears!!!

A new beginning

When your a parent of a child with a special heart your life is never the same. The things you see fighting by your child’s side change your own heart and change your perspective on every experience going forward. When you’re child’s life is cut short because of CHDs you live in fear for every other child diagnosed with a heart condition and every child that will be born into the heart club that is 1 in 100. We feel so blessed and privileged to have gotten 16 weeks with Owen and have prayed that God would gift us with just 16 weeks and 1 day with his brother. If he chooses more, than we will praise him and thank him for every moment we get.

6 Months Later

Six months ago today, I woke up after a few hours of sleep on a tiny make shift bed in the arms of my husband after endless hours of rocking our restless son. Room 34 had a stillness and a fear wash over it. I remember waking up in a panic, thinking I had slept too long. I pulled my hair back in a ponytail and assembled some type of outfit. I raced down to the first floor cafeteria in my filthy slippers and grabbed a cup of coffee. I needed something to knock me out of the half asleep half awake state I was in. I needed to focus. I remember waving to the same friendly security guard and faking a smile as I raced back up to the second floor to take on the day. Jeff and I saw it the night before. Owen told us he wanted to go. He told us he was tired. It was time for us to tell him it was ok. We were not ready but this was not about us. It was time for us to step up and BE parents. To do what parents are asked to do. ALWAYS put your children first. This morning there wouldn’t be rounds. There wouldn’t be checks by the nurses. There would be a tremendous change in our routine. A meeting with a small palliative care team and Owen’s main doctor in a windowless conference room. Words would be exchanged and questions would be asked that no parent should have to consider… Decisions on DNR and who would be saying goodbye. HUGE life altering decisions made by weary broken parents that could never be reversed. Everything was decided and we went back to room 34 to hold on to our boy and savor every last breath, every last moment, every smell, every sound, every millimeter of his tiny perfect body. We were saying goodbye to our greatest gift. We were being asked to do the impossible.

Swings Are Here

They’re here!!!! We’re so excited to share that the swings have arrived at CHLA! They are going to give our CHD warriors some freedom and give them a new perspective of the world around them! It will also allow the parents to feel like their child is getting the same experiences a heart healthy kiddo growing at home would get! Thank you for allowing us to treat our CHD Super Hero’s like kids and NOT their conditions! These swings stand for so much more and YOU made it possible!!! 

Searching for Owen

On Monday, February 17, I did what I thought would be one of the hardest things to do to date. I walked back through the doors of CHLA and onto the 2nd floor alone. Jeff had to work and I was determined not to allow any more time to pass by before I visited. To say I was a ball of emotions would be an understatement. I had envisioned this day with severe anxiety for quite some time and now the day was here. I wanted to go back and feel Owen and desperately wanted to see the “family” we had spent every day of his life with. Despite every hard and challenging day and the fact that we left our sons cold body behind those doors, he LIVED there with every ounce of his being. We became parents there, we celebrated firsts, we made memories and we be became a family within those walls. I NEEDED to walk back through them! I NEEDED Owen.