Markie and Andrew Ostler have a story that can only be described as heartbreaking. Their baby girl was gravely ill and doctors said that her days were numbered. But then, the couple walked into their daughter’s room to hear a doctor utter the most heartbreaking words imaginable.
Markie Ostler is a mom from Lehi, Utah. She and her husband, Andrew, had already welcomed a boy named Urban into the world in 2016, and they were delighted to discover that Markie was pregnant again in 2017. And this time it was a girl.
“I was so excited when I found out I was pregnant. I had always felt like I needed my kids really close together,” Markie told People in March 2018. But unfortunately for the couple, the pregnancy didn’t quite go as planned. Doctors found that there was something wrong with the couple’s little girl, in fact.
Markie and Andrew had already decided to name her Everly. But they were devastated to find out that she was sick before she was even born. The Ostlers were told that Everly had four heart defects that were so serious that they would claim her life.
Markie understandably broke down upon hearing the news. “I got in my car and cried for a solid hour,” she recalled. It was heartbreaking to be told that her daughter was not going to live a long and healthy life. But deep down, Markie had thought that there was something wrong all along.
“Call it mother’s intuition,” Markie said. However, she continued with the pregnancy and eventually gave birth to little Everly early in November 2017. Everly was then taken away by doctors to be cared for, and she wasn’t returned to her mom for a couple of hours.
Markie subsequently described the moment when she first held her child as “the closest I have ever felt to heaven,” even though her little baby had all kinds of wires attached to her. “I probably kissed her a million times,” Markie told People.
But Markie and Andrew didn’t have long with their baby girl before she had to have a major operation. Little Everly went for open heart surgery when she was only three days old, in fact, but she survived. Then, however, she needed to undergo another serious procedure.
Although it was difficult for the Ostlers to watch her go through this ordeal, Everly survived the second round of heart surgery, too. Markie said that there was “nothing worse” than having to watch her child being so unwell. But, thankfully, Everly was moved off the intensive care unit soon afterwards.
While Everly was on the recovery wing, things were starting to look more positive for her. The Ostlers’ son, Urban, was allowed to come and visit his poorly sister. And Markie finally began to feel as though she was now fulfilling the role of being Everly’s mom.
Everly’s doting parents were delighted with her progress and told family and friends that their little girl was probably going to be able to come home soon. But, sadly, those positive feelings didn’t last. In fact, Everly’s condition quickly deteriorated.
The Ostlers were not with their daughter at the moment when she took a turn for the worse. Instead, they received a call from the hospital informing them that they should come in quickly. Of course, Markie and Andrew dropped everything and hurried to be with Everly.
But it was too late. Everly’s heart had stopped suddenly, and doctors had done all that they could to save her without success. They’d tried to bring her back for three-quarters of an hour, in fact, even though she would likely have suffered brain damage if she had eventually been revived.
Tragically, the parents had entered Everly’s room right at the most poignant moment imaginable. “Literally the very second I stepped up to that doorway was when the surgeon threw his hands up in the air, he took his face mask off, and he said, ‘That’s it. There’s nothing we can do.’” Markie recalled.
The medical team were all devastated for the Ostlers and offered their support in the form of tearful hugs and comforting words. Markie and Andrew were then given the chance to spend some final moments with their baby girl, something that no parent should ever have to do.
The staff put Everly in pajamas and her mom placed a pink bow in her hair. And then the heartbroken parents spent a while telling their daughter how loved she was. Finally, they tucked her into her hospital crib, took some photographs, said goodbye and went home.
The tears came out in full force once the couple got home. Markie rushed to give her son a cuddle and then let all the emotion come flooding out. The devastated mom said that she’d never cried so much in her entire life as she did that day lying on the floor.
The next morning, the Ostlers started planning their baby girl’s funeral. And then, just a few days after Everly had died, the service was held. The following weeks and months were extremely difficult for the grieving parents, a period that Markie has subsequently detailed on LoveWhatMatters.com.
“Most days I feel like suffocating, most days I feel like never getting out of bed, most days I feel sorry for myself,” she wrote. But she is not entirely devoid of hope following the loss of her daughter. Markie added that she is also grateful to God for giving her Everly, even if it was for a painfully short time.
Now she is making it her mission to help other babies with congenital heart defects. “Everly’s friends that are still here on Earth deserve the research,” she wrote poignantly. “We need to find a cure for these babies, to give them a chance at life. We need to find a cure so that no other parent has to feel the pain that I do.”