27 hours changed three lives forever: a father’s heartbreaking story to find strength after loss

August 3, 2017 4:03 pm Last Updated: August 3, 2017 4:03 pm

Life and death: these are the two certainties that every human can be confident will always happen. We hope that long periods of time exist between them. But one couple, with the birth of their first child, learned that these two milestones of human existence can sometimes be separated by only a few hours. For Matt Logelin and his wife Liz, that time span was just 27 hours.

They were high-school sweethearts.

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Matt and Liz met in high school and were a couple for 8 years before they got married. After a relationship starts with those kinds of roots, it’s not unreasonable to think that the one event that could even come close to touching the experience of getting married would be the birth of their first child.

Both Matt and Liz were thrilled when Liz learned she was pregnant. But there were difficulties, and seven months into the pregnancy, she was put on bedrest to stop the premature delivery of their baby.

Matt started a blog to give updates about the pregnancy to friends and family, sharing their hopes and excitement as they prepared to become parents. Many family members lived out of state and it was a wonderful way to keep them informed and connected as a family.

But nobody expected the sudden turn of events that was about to occur.

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Seven weeks before her due date, Liz had an emergency cesarean. Matt was elated as he watched his baby being born.

“I felt overwhelming joy when I saw my daughter,” Matt said in an interview on the Rachel Rae television show. “But within 27 hours it went from my vision of perfection to absolute hell.”

Little baby Madeline was delivered in March of 2008 small but healthy. Madeline met her mom face to face immediately after she was born, but was then rushed off the NICU. Doctors advised Liz to stay in bed for at least 24 hours after having the caesarean.

Liz would have to wait to hold her baby for the first time.

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The next day, as Matt was getting ready to walk Liz out to see and hold her little Maddy for the first time, she passed out without warning and died instantly.

The cause of her death was a massive pulmonary embolism, a blood clot in her lungs, and happened just 27 hours after giving birth.

Matt was suddenly a widow at 30 years old.

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Matt was suddenly the sole parent of Madeleine, with no clue how to live without his beloved wife. There are no words to describe the tragedy of what had just happened or to find consolation. Or so Matt thought until he remembered the blog.

The blog was one place Matt knew he could stay connected.

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Matt logged into the blog he and Liz had started, sat down and began writing where he had last left off. He let it all out: his grief, his thoughts, his fears. Anything that came to mind, he included it in the blog daily.

And people outside of family and friends started reading Matt’s mix of vulnerable, honest, and sincere musings about how to care for his baby girl alone.

“I knew that people were going to be able to read this. I didn’t think anybody would. I figured it would just be the family,” he told The Star Tribune shortly after Liz’s death.

Within just a few months there were more than 40,000 people following Matt and Liz’s blog.

He got advice and support from people all over the world.

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People were giving Matt some much-needed advice, and Matt was grateful to have it.

“I never dreamt that people would give me actual advice,” said Matt on the Rachael Rae television show. “Or that they would actually help me through this process.”

The advice he received from complete strangers helped him every day. He was also overwhelmed by gifts.

He kept the blog going to keep his family updated on Madeleine’s progress and to get encouragement from his now growing online community. But mostly he did it for Madeleine.

“I want her to read this years from now and say, ‘Wow, my dad did these things with me in the first years of my life.’ And so she knows her mom. And what we went through together,” Matt told People.

Matt’s life is all about Maddy now.

“She’s it. She’s number one and always will be,” he shared on the Rachael Rae television show. But it will always also always be about Madeleine’s mom. “I want Madeline to have the life that Liz wanted for her,” Matt said.

Matt went on to create The Liz Logelin Foundation.

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Indeed, since that fateful day in 2008, and inspired by the help and gifts he received as a result of his blog, Matt went on to create The Liz Logelin Foundation, whose mission is giving hope to widows and widowers with young families.

The first paragraph of their “about” section sums up succinctly how Liz, Matt, and Maddy use the nonprofit to help others:

“We are dedicated to providing support to grief-stricken young families in their time of deepest need. When a parent dies the financial burden can be huge. The LLF awards monetary grants to meet families’ emotional and financial short-term needs.”

See how Matt’s getting on 5 years later in the Oprah Own video below.

H/T: LittleThings.com.