To my precious Daughter, Mother and Friend,

Saturday morning, Staci's water broke. Later in the day they found no fluid left, but a strong heartbeat. Had there been fluid, they would have sewn her cervix closed and put her to bed for the rest of the pregnancy. God had other ideas. The medication they gave her at 8:30 should have, but didn't, expedite her delivery. By morning they tried again. At noon she got up and walked the halls to get things going. The Dr. wanted her to deliver the baby, so we all could have time with it, to connect and say goodbye. They were certain the baby would be born alive, due to the strong heartbeat. They were right.
Robert Benjamin Bartle was born at 12:50 in the afternoon and went home to Jesus at 2:40.pm, on Palm Sunday, April 9, 2006. He weighed 7 ounces and was 9 inches long at 19 weeks gestation. The gates of heaven only had to open a tiny bit. for our precious little bundle.What a surprise to all the grand parents to greet the new arrival. This prescious little fighter that made them instant GREAT-grandparents. Oh the Heavenly chorus!

His little heart continued to beat for nearly two hours. He was perfect. And beautiful, and AMAZING! As long as God lets me live, I will forever see his little face, with his Mama's tiny nose, and his Grandma Peterson's ears, and the cutest little penis you ever saw. Perfect in every way. Many pictures were taken and he was truely covered in love for his journey home. No life saving heroics, just a minature basinet, with all the trimmings and the privacy to hold and love him for as long as we could. The kids were able to go home in the evening, Staci did very well. Ben is amazing.They're numb and sad and still in a state of disbelief, but they got to keep their little man with them for several hours, even after his spirit went to Heaven. He fought to stay alive for all of us and even as my heart breaks, it heals...finally

Our faith tells us "in all things give thanks" and yes, that's very hard to do in the midst of this, but between you and me....our loving Father answered yet another prayer. He made this baby a boy, problably yesterday, as Staci was so sure it was a girl. But our God heard my prayer to please not take their hoped for daughter, to be named after Grandma. If it was his perfect will to take another baby from us, could it please not be a girl. He heard, he did, and the peace I saw in my daughter's face spoke volumes. Staci's faith base is different than mine, but she knows how I feel and the look on her face I'll remember forever. This baby was a boy for a very good reason.

You know how God promises us that " He will work ALL things together for our good, to those who love him"?, well, He did it again. 36 years ago, when my premature twin boys were born, it was very different in the world of medicine. I never got to see them, kiss them, or even name them. They have only been really real to Bob and I. Oh sure, references would be made in conversation, but it was different, just as "Melissa" would be talked about, but because she was named and had a funeral, she was real ! I was the only one who saw her and that was at a distance. But I remember her every detail. The boys were just a "date in time," to everybody else.

But yesterday, my beautiful daughter handed me a gift. When she placed my grandson in my hand, she also turned the tape in my heart back to her twin brothers birth day. They were the same size and the same number of weeks. I got to see them, through Robbie, and it healed me. I was finally able to grieve for my little boys too. All the pain and hurt from 36 yrs. ago came up from deep within me. It breaks my heart that this healing came through our daughter's grief. She was so strong!

Pacific Gardens does cremation for infants at no cost to the parents and his little ashes will be scattered at the bridge, here on the ranch, just like Grandmas were last Easter. Who ever would have thought what this year's Easter would bring. We are reeling from the shock and disbelief that this has in fact happened to our family again. But we believe God has a perfect paln, and we have the opportunity to grow better, instead of bitter.

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