With All The Love In His Heart – Michelle Fagel
and her adorable husband, Mark.
Michelle is my (CS’s) dear friend and former college housemate (GOOOOO DAYTON FLYERS!). Our group of friends are closer than ever today, and I like to think it has something to do with our college mantra: IGFILP (I’ve Got Friends in Low Places). The proof is in how close we are. We are friends no matter how high or how low. And that is never going to change.
Michelle has a great skin care regimen, the best “what to watch next” tips, and is one of my most favorite people in the world. If you know her, you know she’s been through more than the average mother. Everything that she and Mark encountered during the most uncertain and scary time of their lives has made them stronger, better, and even more loving than before.
Nothing To Worry About
Upon discovering that they were pregnant in 2013, their biggest “concern” was what they would name their baby boy. They both loved the same name, but decided not to fully commit until he was born. They confidently went to their 20 week appointment, but they couldn’t get a clear view of all 4 chambers of his heart. Michelle and Mark were instructed to come back in a few weeks for a level 2 ultrasound. Nothing to worry about. Yet.
In The Blink of An Eye
(2 weeks later… in Mark’s words)
“As the ultrasound went on, we both could feel something was wrong. The technician wasn’t talking like normal and at one point left the room to go ask someone a question. When she returned, she was followed by two doctors who had been watching the ultrasound in another room. The doctor quickly informed us that they were seeing a significant heart defect. The words hit like a sledgehammer. How could this be? We were both healthy. We had done everything right. Everything had looked good on the previous ultrasounds. Then she continued “It also appears that some of his other organs aren’t in the right place.”
When You Least Expect A Miracle…
You might just witness one. When Mark and Michelle were at the appointment when they learned that their son had a significant heart defect and some organs in the wrong places, they found themselves in front of THIS. It is entitled “Owen with a Been on his Nose.” It reads: “With all the love in his heart, he can support the world.” They were overcome with every emotion the human heart can experience. The notion that they wouldn’t fully commit to a name until he was born officially went out the window. This was the sign they needed, and they leaned on it’s significance without truly knowing just how significant it would be. They couldn’t wait to meet Owen.
A World Turned Upside Down
Fast forward to when they got some answers, and this is what they learned, and what they’ve been through.
(In Michelle’s words)
Owen is diagnosed with Heterotaxy syndrome, which means he has congenital heart disease and his organs are out of place. Looking at him from the outside you would have no idea how complicated his anatomy is. He is 6 years old and has fought for his life during all four open heart surgeries and two stomach surgeries. His fourth open heart surgery was exactly three years ago and was the scariest one yet as he went into cardiac arrest once they put him under and had to perform CPR for an extended period of time. They were able to stabilize him and continue with the surgery, but there was great concern over potential brain damage.
Owen is an absolute warrior and has never stopped fighting. His last surgery was no different. After a few days of being sedated. they took the breathing tube out and Owen woke up and his first words were “hold me daddy”. Everyone in the room had tears in their eyes as we took in another miracle: he was still the same Owen he has always been.
Owen has been thriving since that fourth open heart surgery and continues to amaze us every single day. He will always be monitored for the rest of his life and his heart will never be fixed but today he is currently thriving beyond our most amazing dreams. Owen is the bravest, strongest boy we know.
Meet Super Owen
Without All The Answers
Michelle and Mark didn’t know if they would be able to hold their baby boy when he was born. But Owen is SUPER and used his powers before he was even out of the womb. They got to hold him before he was taken away for testing, and between that outstanding occurrence, their faith, and the love and support from family and friends, they somehow got through the toughest of times.
A Picture Worth A Thousand Emotions
As a friend watching things go up online about this entire process and waiting for Owen’s arrival, I will never forget when I saw this photo for the first time. The things so many of us take for granted, some of us can only pray for. Enough prayers must have been prayed. Seeing my friend hold her first born flooded me with so much happiness, and knowing Michelle, she would be able to get her son through whatever life had in store for him. This picture still gives me goosebumps.
Too sweet not to share.
Owen’s “normal” is beautiful. And stinking ADORABLE, too!
Owen sure blazed the brotherly trail for his baby bros Elliott and Austin. Can you even handle the cuteness?!
Thank you, Chelle bell.
I know you were nervous to do this, but you slayed! You are an amazing mother and a wonderful friend and I just know we will be in each other’s lives FOREVER. I know that whoever tunes in will be inspired by all that your family gained when it felt like all was lost.
Hug the ones you love… with all the love in your heart!
If you are interested in learning more about Owen’s journey, this blog is absolutely beautiful. Please feel free to share with others who may be going through tough times, a tough pregnancy, or who love to read all about love and miracles.
Please leave us a review Please leave a review on either podcast channel to help us spread as much kindness as possible! ★★★★★ ☺
Take a screenshot of the podcast and post it on Instagram or Instagram Stories. Search #everykindco in GIFS and tag us @everykindco