I Don’t Want to Forget

May 1, 2010

When this season of life has passed, I don’t want to forget…

Sitting in the doctor’s office, staring expectantly at the ultrasound screen while holding Emmy’s hand. Watching her perfect little face glow when she found out her wish for a little brother had come true.

When our car CD player wouldn’t work after the ultrasound…just long enough for me to hear “Hold My Heart” on the radio.  God, thanks for letting it work again when I stopped crying.

Buying my first gift for Bowen, a little red racecar from Genius Jones in Boca Raton.

Being on the phone with Sarah, her voice trembling under the weight of tears as she said, “I want to buy our baby boy clothes, but I’m so scared he’ll never wear them.”

The pile of Bowen’s clothes in our living room a few days later.

How much our family has done for us.

Sarah on the phone with doctors and friends, fighting for every piece of information she can get to help our baby boy.

Receiving over two hundred emails of encouragement from people we don’t even know within days of sharing our story on K-Love and The Current FM.

The amount of compassion I feel for the sick and dying.

The peace of knowing God in the midst of suffering

Wanting to make every moment count

The way I feel when I look into Sarah’s eyes.  Only God knows my heart better than this woman.  I’m so honored to share my life and this struggle with her.

Matt

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36 Responses to “I Don’t Want to Forget”

  1. Billie Perry said

    Praise God that he gave Bowen parents who believe! Praise God that we can put our trust in Him and not fear for we know He cares for His children even more than we care for our children. Continue to trust God without fear while he works your miracle. We know a lot of people believing with you! You and your family are such a blessing!! We love you guys!!

    • Amy Koger said

      Hello there. As the parent of a “heart kid”, your story caught my attention. I wanted to share info with you regarding a national organization with local chapters called “Mended Little Hearts”. This is a support group/system for families and parents of children with heart disease. I’m not sure where you live, but if you look it up on the internet or speak with your cardiologist, they may be able to tell you about a local group. Praying for your family and for your boy.

  2. Shannon said

    I have been listening to your story on KLOVE and have been sharing the miracle of God’s work with friends. Something so simply “coincidental” to a non-believer as a CD player not working in order that he may get an important message to you and your wife right at that moment is truely a miracle. I have been touched by your pain and strength. I am honored and blessed to be able to pray that little Bowen’s heart is in fact in God’s hands and that God gives the doctors and nurses the knowlege and precision to bring his VSD to right and that he will thrive.
    God bless you all.

  3. Patricia said

    Know that Bowen is already ministering to those he hasn’t even become to know yet. Your life touching mine is touching others that will touch even more. And he’s not even here yet!! Only a BIG and MIGHTY GOD can do such wonderous things. Thank you so much for sharing, Matt. You and yours will continue to be lifted in prayer.

    God’s grace to you and yours,
    Patricia

    • Stacy said

      Patricia~ What you said is so true. This precious child has already touced so many lives. Praise God!!

  4. Ruthie said

    Our local radio station carried your story and having read your blog for today I had to tell you how YOU have touched my heart. Music has always been the one thing that keeps me close to God. WE seem to communicate best that way. That song, Hold My Heart has ministered to me so much this past year. My husband went to be with Jesus a year ago after suffering a massive heart attack. The kind they call a widow maker. No known reason in this world, but we know God is bigger. Although it has rocked our world, I’m thankful that we have a God who loves us through it all. I shared that same verse at Terry’s memorial service, how God knit him in his mother’s womb and not one of his days was not before God. He did not turn His head and forget us and He hasn’t done that to you either. My prayer is for God to be glorified in all of this and for you and your family to have HIS peace, strength, wisdom and comfort. To God be the Glory!!

  5. LeAnn said

    Oh guys, I love you and your girls so much and I know that God will use this for his glory and his light will shine through all of it. I am here and will watch the girls any time you need me to.

    xo
    LeAnn

  6. Katrina Buttry said

    My heart is burdened by your story to P.U.S.H. I have a son that was also diagnosed with Left hypoplastic heart syndrome. It is a long and heartbreaking story as well. As well as you know, God is good. My grandmother told me two days after the diagnosis that “You will be ok. No matter what is in God’s plan He is good and you will find strength in Him”. I pray for you the strength that was given to me through our journey with our “Miracle Man”. Reading your story about why you picked Bowen encouraged me to research my son’s name. I named him Jayden. It comes from the Greek word “Jadon” and means -Jehovah has heard. I have been searching for a way to send an email of our story to help you through the heartache. Especially Sarah. I felt the sickness of watching my daughter play almost a year old and crying until I would fall to the floor begging God for strength as she came to my side to pat me on the back. Our heartache has turned into joy and I pray the same for you.

    Love In Christ,
    Katrina Buttry

  7. Maria aka Rockermom said

    Oh Little Bowen, you’ve stolen our hearts. I’m so amazed how God is being glorify so far in such a short period of time by Bowen’s story, and this is just the beginning. Thanks Matt & Sarah for being such an inspiration and a blessing to the body of Christ. I’m glad to be part of this journey with you through our prayers. May God continue to bless the Hammitt’s!!! Much love and prayers going your way!

  8. Mindy said

    I just read a little of your story on someone else’s blog. I just want you to know I’m praying for your family tonight. God knows each sparrow that falls from the sky and He cares for you so much more. I trust that He who formed us both knows us and loves us, and He is very much with you all.

  9. Debbie said

    Tears are flowing as I read your story because I understand what you are feeling, at least as a grandmother who loves her grandson so. About the same time as you, my daughter was told the same thing about her baby’s heart. It was scary, I didn’t understand. My daughter did everything right. Why was this happening? But, we did get a peace about it not long after. We waited with anticipation for his birth. He had his first surgery at 12 days old. Lots of praying went on before his birth as well as after. At first the shunt did not work, then it did. His main valve did not have a hole in it either, which they corrected. To make this long story shorter…..when he had the second surgery, the procedure did not need to be done, because his heart had grew some and everything was flowing. He is 14 months old now and is doing wonderfully. If everything continues to go well, there will be no more surgeries for that. I pray for you and your family to have peace in this, keep your eyes on Him, he does have a plan for little Bowen. I know that God has something special in store for my grandson, Nathan. Whatever that might be, he is in the right HANDS. Blessings, Debbie

  10. My heart hurts for your entire family. These days are so difficult as many parents like you know. How would we ever survive it if not for our faithful God? He’s here for you through our ministry! Please feel free to avail yourselves of our info/blog/resources at http://snappin.org/. Like Aaron & Hur, we’re holding you all up in prayer!

  11. Candice said

    There will be a thousand more “I don’t want to forget’s;” continue to write them down. No matter what the outcome is you, some of the memories will fade and this list will help keep them real. As I read your posts I am overwhelmed with memories of our little guy and our experience. Thank you for helping me to remember…keep sharing. You will continue to be in our prayers. We will continue to ask God to prepare your hearts for what He is about to bring to you, for that really is all we can ask for. God Bless!

  12. Bethany said

    I heard your story on KLove today and I couldn’t believe it, because one of my dear friends has 2 babies with heart defects. Blake is 2 years old, (with a twin sister who is healthy) and he is doing well despite the many obstacles he has. He also has HLHS and is scheduled to have his last surgery this summer at Vandy. They have another baby, Tristan, in the womb, with a worse heart defect and he went to be with Jesus today. However, there is hope for Bowen just as there is for Blake and I hope you will be encouraged by their blog. They are a great Christian family and I know they can help answer any questions you may have about HLHS.

    http://www.kyleandchristieplus3.blogspot.com/

  13. Julia said

    I heard your story on KLove and am praying for your little boy. I was born 30 years ago with the same heart condition. Doctors told my parents there was nothing they could do and I would not live through the first night. Thankfully my parents did not let what the doctor’s said dictate my fate. They took it to the ultimate HEALER. I lived for 2 years with this condition before our Lord healed me. It has been 28 years now and no sign that there was ever a problem. Our God is amazing!!! Don’t let statistics or doctors discourage you. Know that God has Bowen in His hands and He is perfectly capable of doing exceedingly and abundantly more than we can ever imagine. Praying for strength and comfort for your family and a healing for your son.

  14. Stacey said

    You made the comment that the state of Ohio is called “the heart of it all”. That intrigued me and so I looked up Ohio information. Did you know your state motto is “With God, all things are possible”?

    You did a concert in a Christian college in our hometown. I took my teenaged son to the concert and we were so pleasantly surprised when you came down the aisle singing about needing each other. As you sang, you also hugged several people. My son was one of them, and as you hugged him, there was truly love for people radiating off of your face. Tonight my family and I will pray that the God who makes all things possible will multiply back to you and your family what you have given to people over the years.

    I have no question that God will glorify Himself through the humility and tenderness of your life.

  15. Rachael Weeks said

    My son, Bobby, 3, also has HLHS. He just completed the 3rd surgery, the Fontan, and is doing wonderfully. I remember so vividly all of the thoughts and feelings that you describe. I wasn’t sure if we should decorate the room, or how much we should prepare for him to come home with us. But a sister in Christ kindly reminded me that Bobby was indeed alive and thriving in my womb, and we needed to treat him that way and plan for his arrival. Quite honestly, that is how we live each day of Bobby’s life right now. We treasure each and every minute and work to give him the best life possible! Bobby has changed us and hundreds of people in more ways than we will ever know. God has a special plan for each and every one of us, and even more amazing plans for these little heart babies! Please let me know if I can help you through this. Bobby’s story is at http://www.carepages.com. Carepage name: BobbyMWeeks.

  16. My name is Katie Columbia and I heard about your son, Bowen, on KLove going to church yesterday. My husband and I have a 5-year-old son, Isaiah (means the Lord Saves!), who has HLHS. He had the 3rd surgery – the Fontan – in July of ’08. Although it had to be reversed due to his lung damage, he is doing well today. God has pulled him through so many obstacles and we will be praying He does the same for your son.

    We started a non-profit organization called God’s Special Little Hearts to help other CHD families. We help families financially, emotionally and spiritually. We send families care packages, help with hotel costs if the RMH is full, help with fuel and meal costs while their CHD child is hospitalized. If we can be of assistance to your family, please let me know. Even if it is to just have someone to talk to that has been through what you are going through.

    Our prayers are with your family. I will check for updates here often.

    Katie Columbia, Chairperson
    God’s Special Little Hearts, Inc.
    http://www.GodsSpecialHearts.org
    carepage: IsaiahColumbia (HLHS,DORV,Post Glenn Twice after failed Fontan-July’08)

  17. Debbie Sneddon said

    Matt ,
    I am praying for your baby’s heart and health as well as my grandson who is due June 10th. I work at a ministry crisis pregnancy center and we have an OB clinic, we did an ultrasound on my daughter-in-law on April 12th & we saw an abnormality. When my son and his wife got home they went to their doctor who did and ultrasound & confirmed it. They go Tuesday to Indianapolis to see a pediatric cardiologist for an in utero echocardiogram. So I am totally sharing this with you but I am believing GOD for a miracle healing of the boys(yours & ours) and a GOOD Joshua/Caleb report. I think it is an opportunity for my wonderful heavenly Father to show off!! As He has often done in my life. God’s blessings on you and your wife and baby boy and sweet daughter! Your song “Forgiven” is my favorite right now, the song “Safe” by Phil Wickham spoke to me when he says “The hands that hold the universe is holding your heart” and He is holding our baby boys hearts..praise HIS name! Thank You Jesus!

  18. Cathy said

    What a beautiful family… Bowen is in my prayers.

  19. Jane said

    I was blessed to hear your story on KLOVE this morning. It brought back memories from 11+ years ago when I too found out during a routine ultrasound that my son would have HLHS. We had a name picked out before we knew that we were having a boy. Grant Allen means “Great Harmony” and that is what we have had. Yes, we had sadness at the news, but God gave me a peace that regardless of the outcome, “you will be okay; I am here for you.”

    Grant’s life (before he was here) brought so many people back to prayer and caused family members to go in search of peace for themselves – they joined churches. It drew me closer to God than ever in my life and allowed me to lean on Him for everything because I was not going to let the devil steal my JOY for my son and his life. My beautiful 22 month old daughter, at the time, prayed for her baby brother every night. She was more sincere than anyone I knew.

    Your daughters have been chosen to be the big sisters to Bowen. They, like my daughter, were designed for this before they were born. My daughter has never been jealous or ugly about the necessary attention that Grant has gotten and has been protective and supportive.

    Both of my children are Christians and I believe their hearts were opened to God at early ages. She is almost 13, he is now 11 and I am blessed to be intrusted with their lives.

    The utrasound, 3 surgeries/hosp. stays, and adrenaline filled times seem so far away now that my beautiful son is an active healthy, normal boy who has never been defined by his defect. He’s Grant first and formost with or without a CHD.

    My family WILL be praying for your family and for Bowen during this trying time. God has great plans for each of these special children including the siblings.

  20. Thank you so much for sharing your story on the KLove show this morning. I am praying for Bowen and your family. I have added your blog to my family’s blog in hopes that your story will amaze others as it did me. Thank you

  21. Debbie said

    Matt and Sarah,
    My very best friend, Anne, and her husband Joe had a little boy with hypoplastic left heart syndrome in 1999. Noah C. lived only a few days before passing into Jesus’ arms. He was loved so much that for his entire life he was in someone’s arms. You may know this family; Michael W. Smith wrote a song for Noah: Hello, Goodbye.
    I am praying for you and the journey you have ahead of you. God will give you strength to get through it.

  22. Judith said

    Matt and Sarah,

    Thank you so much for allowing listeners to be apart of this time in your lives. I am the sorry to hear about your baby’s heart condition. I also know what must be going through your minds. I know because about 3 years ago those same thoughts were going through my mind. You see I am the mother of a little boy who was born with a heart defect.

    In my mind I kept thinking about all the things I might have done wrong during the pregnancy or why God chose me to go through this pain. I then discovered websites about the condition he would have and the survival rates of the surgeries he would have to have.

    I am grateful for the strength that I had to endure the time of not knowing if it would all work out. It was then that I found out that we were a minority in knowing ahead of the birth so that arrangements might be made for a controlled birth and immediate treatment for my Joseph at a great children’s hospital not far from where he was born. My son was born with Transposition of the Great Arteries.

    In knowing now you can plan ahead to have your son in a controlled environment and have immediate treatment. As I have researched this condition it is not impossible that with time your son might be allowed to do almost anything he wanted especially with all the help of family and friends and most importantly the help of God.

    My son thankfully is a not suffering from any heart problems at the present from the surgeries and is happy and healthy. He is still watched carefully by Cardiologists until he turns 5. I will pray that your son is allowed the same fate.

  23. Patricia said

    Wow…four and 1/2 years ago my husband and I experienced the same emotions, fears, and questions, that you are facing. We have two older children and our baby, now 4 1/2 years old has HLHS. I don’t ever think we will forgot this Journey that God has so faithfully carried us through and His continued provision daily! Allie Grace was diagnosed at our regular 20 week sonogram with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome. We live in MS and the surgeries that our precious Allie Grace needed were not available here. So, we flew on a medical jet to CHOP in Philadelphia, PA. The Cardiology Team there is amazing! Dr. Spray preformed all 3 of Allie’s surgeries. Allie had surgery at 6 days, 7 months and 2 1/2 years of age. Today we are celebrating that 4 years ago Allie had her 2nd surgery. I would encourage you to visit CHOP’s website. CHOP now has a special deliver unit for baby’s with congenital heart defects. Feel free to visit Allie’s carepage at http://www.carepages.com set up a free account and the name of her carepage is alliegrace with no spaces. Allie is doing great by the grace of GOD!!! We choose Grace for her middle name because we knew that God’s Grace would be sufficient for her and our family!!! May you rest in God’s peace tonight and feel free to e-mail or contact us anytime. We found that talking with others who had gone down this road before us was helpful. This will take your Faith to a whole new level.

    In His Amazing Care,

    Patricia

  24. Shelly said

    Those are the very moments that are going to help you and Sarah get through this. Thank God that he gave Bowen such amazing parents and above all parents that believe. At church on Sunday we sang a Song called “Indescribable” I’m sure you have heard it. As I was listening to the lyrics I immediately though of Bowen and your family.

    Indescribable, uncontainable,
    You placed the stars in the sky and You know them by name.
    You are amazing God
    All powerful, untameable,
    Awestruck we fall to our knees as we humbly proclaim
    You are amazing God

    It’s amazing to think God knows every star in the sky, every hair on your head, and he knows Bowen. He’s creating him and He has a purpose for him. I continue to pray for you and your family as God leads you through this journey.

  25. Kristi said

    What a beautiful post. I will send this link to my friend who recently lost her infant son to necrotizing enterocolis (NEC), especially about the part of little boy clothes.

  26. Tricia said

    I love your post about not wanting to forget. Eventhough I had my beautiful duaghter for 16 years before she went home with Jesus, I started a notebook of “Things I didn’t want to forget”. because as time passes, as much as we don’t want to, we tend to lose some memories and I wanted to keep so many of them alive. Bowen is so lucky to have such faithful parents, he is touching lives even before his birth. I will pray for you and your family. God Bless. Tricia

  27. Patrick said

    I know all types of questions are running through your head right. I know I’ve been there. I have a 4 1/2 year old daughter Allie Grace. there are so many things I would tell you but I just don’t have the space here. Just Remember who is in charge and every child who goes through this has one set back. Dont worry when yours happens it will be fine. IF any questions let me know and I will try to help. I am a nurse practitioner here in MS. IF you looked at Allie you would not think anything was wrong. God is good all the time. and all the time God is good.

    patrick

  28. amy said

    that post brought tears to my eyes as I know those feelings all too well.

  29. David, T'Nell, and Page family said

    Matthew, Sarah, and kids, I just wanted to encourage you again. I have found that through all the things my son has gone through, we have been able to find the good in them, not just the stressful and bad. One of my favorite chapters in the Bible is Philippians 4. vs. 4 says to rejoice always, not just when things are going well… this verse has helped me to find the good among the bad. Also, Romans 8:28 is a good reminder that God works all things together for good.
    I say this because I know that there are going to be times when you feel overwhelmed or frustrated, or what more can possibly happen next, and you will have times of rejoicing and spiritual highs because of God’s work in your son’s life and others around you. When the harder times happen, remember to look for the good. Remember that Christ always provides for your needs as you need them. We love you guys and are praying for you constantly.
    Many blessings and please keep in touch! :)
    T’Nell and family

  30. David, T'Nell, and Page family said

    Romans 8:26 is also good… love y’all!

  31. Mindy said

    Our baby boy was born with a congenital heart defect called Pulmonary Atresia. After 3 open heart surgeries, over a week with his chest open, and several days on an ECMO machine, he is doing well now and is a beautiful 2 year old.

    The first weeks after Tucker’s birth were unbelievably trying. Our cardiac surgeon gave us great advice- It’s a marathon, not a sprint. Pace yourself, allow yourself to sleep, try to eat. You have to be strong and ready for the day when you bring that sweet boy home! And by the way- good job buying the baby clothes :) I know that feeling of fear, but you did the right thing!!

    There will be good days and bad days, but your faith in God will be solidified in a way that you could never imagine. We will be keeping up with you guys and praying continually for Bowen!!

  32. If there’s something I’ve learned (and it’s still in progress) about why God gives us “heart babies,” it’s because it somehow makes our love stronger- not just for our loved ones, but for those facing similar paths. The cool thing is, that love is not contained to those going through the exact same things we went through (or are going through)- it overflows!

    This doesn’t mean that I’m A-OK with how things have happened. I wish Ethan never had to have a single stitch in his tiny heart and we’d never have to fight butterflies every time we have see the cardiologist. But look where we are now. We’ve met so many along the way who have encouraged us and whom God has allowed us to encourage.

    The outpouring of support on this blog has overflowed into “real life.” Isn’t that amazing? You’re amazing, Bowen! Thank you, Lord, for our children. They are certainly a blessing. Help us not take anything for granted. We know you never waste a hurt.

  33. Danielle DeIeso said

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. I can’t imagine what you are going through, but will be praying that God will continue to strenghthen and give you courage. I just wanted to give you a little bit of encouragement…I have a very good friend who has a similar heart condition. I’m not sure if it is exactly the same, but I do know that the whole left side of her heart is not developed. The doctors have always called her the girl with half of a heart. She was never supposed to live after birth. Then the doctors said she would not live past two weeks. Then it was two years, then 10, then 21. She is about to turn 35 this September. Where there is God there is always hope and miracles. God bless your whole family!

  34. Kayla said

    I just saw and learned about what you are going through on KLove’s facebook page. He is off life support!! Yay!!! I’m praying for you!!

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