I have been following Markie’s Instagram account about her sweet little baby girl, who was born with CHD, for a few months and she was another brave and willing soul that wrote her story for me to share. I am so excited to follow their family on their new journey to adoption!
Markie Ostler is a stay-at-home mom from Lehi, Utah. She has a loving husband, a 2-year-old son, and a daughter in Heaven. She is a mourning mother who is determined to find a cure for Congenital Heart Defects, the same disease that took her 5-week old baby girl.
I remember telling my sister that I felt like “something bad” was going to happen to me or my family one day. We were driving back to her house from the Coca-Cola Factory in Atlanta, GA when I told her that I couldn’t quite put my finger on it.
I remember telling her that maybe I was on “borrowed time” and that I could lose my husband or son in a terrible car accident, or something along those lines. I just remember feeling like my life was perfect and nobody has a “perfect life”. Sooner or later, something heartbreaking was going to happen.
A few months after we had this discussion, my husband and I got the news that baby #2 was on her way. I had always wanted a family of boys. Everyone who knew me knew that having a daughter scared me. What if she were just like me? I was too sassy and stubborn and I didn’t give my parents enough credit, as they tried to “wrangle me in” growing up.
After just 9 weeks of pregnancy, we were able to do a chromosome test that confirmed what I had already thought… we were having a baby girl.
I was at a shopping mall when my doctor called me to tell me the gender. I had already asked my husband if our doctor could tell me the gender over the phone and then I could relay the message to him. He worked crazy long hours during that time of year and he knew it would be cruel to make me wait for him to get off work to hear the news! I immediately called my husband and told him the gender. He was elated. While I was scared to have a girl, he always said he needed at least one “daddy’s girl”.
The first few months of this pregnancy was a blur. Baby girl was giving me a run for my money with all the morning (all day) sickness. Honestly, I barely functioned. Most days I laid by the toilet, while my son unloaded the bathroom drawers and cabinets for entertainment. I couldn’t cook, I couldn’t clean, I could barely sit out on my porch to get some fresh air. I swear, the only thing my son and I ate for that first trimester was goldfish crackers. One day I remember eating a jello fruit cup for breakfast and leaving the house to run an errand. Bad idea! To this day, I cannot even think about eating one of those again.
Baby girl didn’t just make me sick, she also gave us a few scares. I bled a lot the first few months of my pregnancy with her. Enough that I thought I had miscarried on 3 separate occasions. I remember those days vividly. I remember thinking “Maybe this is the terrible thing that I will go through”. To my surprise, baby girl was still swimming around in there, strong heartbeat and all. My doctor hugged me, and I cried after she found the heartbeat. Happy and relieved tears.
All of these scares, plus a CHD diagnosis at my 20-week anatomy scan, I was just thinking how this little spitfire was already keeping us on our toes! CHD stands for Congenital Heart Defects, which means that her heart was underdeveloped and she would need several surgeries after she was born to correct the issues. While she was healthy and strong in my belly, as soon as she was no longer attached to me, her heart would have to take over and do the work on its own. Without surgery, she would get really sick, really fast. I remember saying that she can just stay in my belly forever. I will keep her healthy, as long as she stays put!
Everly Jo Ostler was born November 6th, 2017, weighing a whopping 6 lbs 2 ounces. Her middle name was given to her from her dad’s middle name, “Andrew Joseph”.
For the first few days of her life, Everly’s heart overcompensated for its defects and she was able to be snuggled by many people who loved her. She received her first open heart surgery at 3 days old, and another at 9 days old. After 1 month of complications, even coding a few times, things were finally looking up for Everly and she was moved out of the ICU. I remember December 8th like it was yesterday. Andrew was rocking Everly in the rocking chair, Urban was playing with his toy cars on the ground, and I was decorating her hospital room with a Christmas tree and colorful lights. To this day it was the happiest day of my life. Us 4 together as a family. No nurses, no doctors, just us… I will always look at that day as a gift from God.
Everly passed away the next evening on December 9th, 2017. She was healthy, happy, and on the pathway to be home by Christmas… Everly’s heart stopped. There was nothing else they could do. It was her time to return home.
The doctors and nurses that were present when she passed, all had tears in their eyes, along with us. It may sound crazy and even a bit inappropriate, but I remember saying to the staff, “I think she was meant to go a few weeks back, but y’all are too good at your jobs and kept her around longer than God had originally planned..”
I heard a story through the grapevine that would change my perspective on life, for the rest of my life. It was about a woman who had suffered a miscarriage. Shortly after she lost her baby, she had a dream about the preexistence. In her dream, a young woman, whom she didn’t know on earth, but recognized in her dream as her best friend, ran up to her, hugged her, and said the following…
“Guess what!? Guess what!? Heavenly Father said that my choices have been so righteous here, that I don’t have to go to Earth to be tested!! He told me I would need a body and after I got one, I could immediately come back home. The best part is, I chose YOU to be the person to give me my body!”
They both rejoiced and embraced. They were so excited to share this bond with one another! In the preexistence, they were THRILLED for this to come to pass.
This story has helped me tremendously. It helped me realize that not only did I sign up for this unimaginable pain, but I wanted it and was honored to be chosen to go through it! I truly feel so blessed to do this for her. Everly chose ME to help her gain her body and I would go through this over and over again, infinity more times if she needed me to.
At Everly Jo’s funeral, our Bishop said that Everly felt so much love when she got here, that she wanted to fight for her life and stay with us as long as she could. We gave her a reason to want to be here, and she is now giving us a reason to make it back home to be with her.
I know that having Everly has made me ‘want to be’ a better person. I know that this is God’s plan. I know that I rejoiced in the pre-existence when I heard this plan. I know that Everly is perfect. I know that she doesn’t need to be on this Earth and go through the trials that we all face every single day. I know that she was with us for the exact amount of time that she was supposed to be with us. I know that she continues to be near me. I know that Urban has a close relationship with his sister. I know that he sees her when he talks and giggles toward a blank wall. I know that she is with our future children. I know she has told them how loved they are and will be when they join our family. I know that every day she isn’t in my arms, I will ache for her. I know that when it’s my time to go, her and I will have the most beautiful reunion. Same with her and her daddy.
Although my arms ache for you, I will take that pain if it means you don’t have any.