To Lauren, my beautiful little girl,

One day you will grow up and realize that not everyone has a line on your chest like you do. They may ask you about it and I want you to know all about the importance of that scar. Your friends will have scars from little accidents that they have, a scraped knee or cut from playing, and they may not even remember where their scars came from. We know that you won't remember getting your scar, but that scar is so important. You are alive because of that scar.

You scar makes you different. I'm sure that you have noticed that you go to visit the hospital regularly and your friends don't. They won't have to pay as much attention to their heart as you do, but there are other things that make you different as well. Being different is not a bad thing at all. There are so many things that make each of us different. Some people are really good at soccer, some love to do art, some people tell great jokes, and some people hate asparagus. None of us are the same as anyone else. You have many things that make you different.

When I think of you, I think of a baby who loves to smile at anyone and everyone. You have special quirks too: you love to be naked, you grab my hair and tickle your face, you like having your hands kissed, and you enjoy watching traffic. I also see some overarching qualities that you have. I see your joy for life, your curious nature and your ability to be content. These amazing gifts are also what helped you survive the experiences that got you those scars. From the very first moment that the doctors restarted your heart in the emergency room they said that you were trying to get up off the table because you wanted to live so badly that you fought. From day one you fought. Throughout your whole recovery your curiosity helped you to take each challenge as it came. You saw each step as something new that you would get through and your recovery progressed in leaps and bounds. I think this is also why your second recovery was harder. You had gone through it once and now you knew what you were facing and it was harder to push through when you had just done it weeks before. Your contentedness has allowed you to resettle back at home after such a traumatizing experience even though it is really hard to go back to just being a baby.

Through this experience, we have learned some things about you and about ourselves. Before you came into our lives we thought that we were happy and that our family of two was full. When you got here, suddenly you filled a hole that we didn't know even existed and it was so scary to think that you might be gone. You are so strong - stronger than either one of us! This whole fight was exhausting and scary and worse than anything we ever imagined that you would have to go through. But we were only watching it happen. You were the one who felt the pain and fear. You were the one who had your body cut into and the one who had to go through the healing. We are in awe of your strength. At 6 months old, you blew us away.

Getting your scar didn't just affect the three of us but it affected so many more people around the world. Right here, it brought our family closer together, it opened us up to love and tore down our defenses, and it did the same thing for so many people who heard your story.

I keep reminding myself that God knew you as you were being formed in my womb, when the defect in your heart was formed. He knew that it was there and he was with you as you grew. It was his timing that brought you in to the hospital. Sometimes I think, what if we had brought you in earlier, but that was not God's plan for you. And watching your journey in the hospital, I know that God was with you every step of the way. He was with us as well as we walked beside you.

Your scar is not a symbol of something bad that happened to you. It is a symbol of how strong you are, of how many people love you, and of the plans that God has for you. We walked beside you as you got your scar and we will walk beside you for as many years as possible after.

Baby girl, I am so proud of you. You are my daughter and I am so blessed to be your mom.

Your scar is a beautiful part of a very beautiful you. Without it, I would not have you.


  1. That is absolutely beautiful, Amanda. I'm sure this will be something that brings Lauren peace and joy when she reads it.

  2. There are tears in my eyes. That was so beautiful Amanda. You and Matt are such fantastic parents and you are all so strong! I can't wait to see the amazing girl that Lauren grows up to be.

  3. Wow Amanda - so beautifully written! I'm amazed at Lauren's strength and character and your's and Matt's too. God is good and I praise Him for how he carried all of you. May he continue to provide healing for Lauren.

  4. I agree. What a beautiful tribute to your daughter and her fight to live. Love to you all. Ann-Marie

  5. Amanda, are you home now? I would like to update our prayer chain with any requests you might have. Angela (Nelson Avenue Community Church)

    1. We are back home and hopefully we are here for good! Right now our biggest request is that Lauren's heart would start to regain some function and eventually make its way back to where she will be able to do everything that she wants to do in life.
      My personal request is that Lauren starts sleeping for more than 45 minutes at a time at night. It's starting to get pretty exhausting for me!

  6. The 2nd marathon was a triumph of what is most important in life- family & friends, love, hope, will, empathy, courage, and living each day as a gift.
    Thank-you Amanda, for sharing the journey with us. Ray

  7. Very touching and beautifully written. Lauren is gorgeous - she is one lucky little lady!

  8. What a beautiful tribute to a very brave, strong and courageous little angel. Sending you love from England xx


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