To my precious Daughter, Mother and Friend, April 10th, 2006

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. were waiting for the baby to die and told Staci the baby would be born still but Staci knew this baby would be born alive and wanted to deliver the baby, so we all could have time to connect and say goodbye. She was certain the baby would be born alive, due to the strong heartbeat. She was right and after a bit of walking she was in labor.

Robert Benjamin Bartle was born at 12:50 in the afternoon and went home to Jesus at, 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 greet the new arrival. This precious little fighter that made us all instant 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 truly covered in love for his journey home. No life saving heroics, just a miniature 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, probably 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’ birthday. 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 years 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 plan, and we have the opportunity to grow better, instead of bitter.

So proud of your strength my precious daughter, all my love


April 21st 2009

We were sure God had a plan and we kept believing and trusting and yesterday we were rewarded with hearts full of abundant love 3 years and 11 days after Robbie changed our lives. Our MIRACLE granddaughter Lena Louise Bartle was born healthy and full term Monday April 20th, 2009 at 11:37 in the morning weighing 6 pounds 1ounce and was 20 inches in length. She was perfect and peaceful and looked so intently at her mama the moment they made eye contact. Staci and Ben were just so full of love and excitement as the whole family was there to witness this miracle birth. All of her grandparents, great-uncle and big sister were there to welcome her. It was the most beautiful moment this family has ever felt and Robbie was right there with all of us, smiling right through Lena’s beautiful blue eyes. It will be a day we remember forever….as we watched our daughters dream come true…. FINALLY!

Praise God for his abundant love and mercy and the gift of grandchildren