Some questions have a deeper weight. While they may seem simple to an outsider, the individual receiving the question may have previous experiences that change the meaning of words or phrases.
For radio host, Adam Hannan, and his wife Christina, the question “How many children do you have?” isn’t as straightforward as the outside observer might guess. Four children attend church with them, four children carry groceries inside after shopping trips, four children open presents on Christmas morning … but the Hannans have six children, one lost by miscarriage and another from medical complications a few months after birth.
Their son Myles, who lived for twenty months, forever changed their lives and continues to affect how they look at life, their work on the radio, and the meaning of family.
Adam and Christina met at prom when they happened to double date with different people. Although they enjoyed spending time together, they didn’t connect again until they met by chance while attending different colleges in the Twin Cities area. After a few accidental meetings, they decided to start dating.
In late December of 2003, the Hannans got married. Soon, they had three children. When Christina was pregnant with their fourth child, Myles, the pregnancy seemed normal. Doctors had noticed slight irregularities in the way Myles swallowed, but the issue looked small, an easy fix with a minor surgery.
At 37.5 weeks, Christina’s water broke, and they quickly rushed to the hospital. When the doctors started monitoring Christina and her baby son, they quickly realized that the irregularity in how Myles swallowed was just a fraction of a much larger complication. The placenta had torn away from the wall of Christina’s womb as her water broke. Because of excess water in the womb, her baby lacked oxygen and nutrients.
Immediately after discovering what was wrong, Christina was rushed into an emergency caesarian section while Adam waited in a locker room with little idea of the situation’s severity. After the procedure was complete, Christina and Adam were told that their son had to be airlifted to Children’s Hospital in Minneapolis, Minnesota, for further treatment.
Adam and Christina reflected on Myles’ story in Page 87 of The Unfolding, remembering how the harsh reality of Myles’ condition hit them when they were told that, after research, Myles would not improve. Although it was unlikely he would get worse, Myles was also not likely to get any better. (To find out more about the podcast, see this page.)
There wasn’t ever a question in the Hannans’ minds about the value of Myles’ life. Loving their son was nonnegotiable, but the Hannans still mourned the loss of the life that they had hoped and planned for him.
They saw their dreams in a new light, reflecting on how some elements of his childhood they took for granted were now impossible. They would never watch Myles discover which baby foods he enjoyed, laugh as he learned to walk, or teach him to ride his bike. They would never guide Myles through school and watch him graduate high school or college.
Despite the chaos that filled the next few days and weeks, Christina and Adam were encouraged by the Lord’s guidance and care in the midst of their mourning. Simple questions like, “How are you doing?” took on new meaning as the Hannans strove to answer honestly and ask for prayer.
After three long months in the hospital, Myles was finally well enough to come home. In the weeks leading up to his homecoming, the Hannans’ community surrounded them, providing for Myles’ needs. Diane, a hospital custodian, took it upon herself to sing and pray for the NICU children; a team of friends and family attended doctors’ appointments to comfort them and speak truth; friends brought the Hannans’ needs before God daily; and family members watched their children so they could stay with Myles week after week.
The day finally came for Myles to come home, and the Hannans made the three-hour commute in an ambulance. Little did they know, their friends and family had prepared signs and banners to welcome Myles home despite the freezing –30-degree Fahrenheit temperatures in Waterloo at the time. The incredible team of community members lined the block celebrating his life and the Hannans’ journey with signs that proclaimed: “Welcome Home Myles!”
While Myles’ homecoming provided them with some return to normalcy, the Hannans described their home as a “set of revolving doors,” since nurses attended to Myles’ medical needs for 20 hours each day.
Life looked different for all the Hannans, but they found ways to keep some of their old routines, such as reading and memorizing Scripture, going to church, and praying together. The Hannans also sought to care for the nurses’ spiritual health by asking for ways they could pray for them.
Adam and Christina grew in their faith, clinging to God despite all the challenges. They were able to see his work through their son’s journey, and trust that God had a plan for his life however short it might be and whatever bumps it was filled with.
When Myles was first born, his initial prognosis was hopeful. As he continued to grow, he started to respond to things and initiate movement. But along with this improvement, there was also a steady decline in his health.
Despite the decline, Myles survived many close calls and continued to amaze doctors. He survived when his heart stopped in the middle of the three-hour drive to the hospital, and he recovered after monitor numbers declared he had only minutes to live. But after twenty months, Myles went home to his Heavenly Father, passing away in his mother’s arms.
The Hannans were only given twenty months with Myles, but they were given the gift of his precious life. They continue to love and remember him in small ways. Myles loved yellow balloons and Fun Dip, so they celebrate his life by enjoying some of his favorite things, and his loved ones even left the funeral with blue tongues. The same sign that welcomed Myles home on that winter day hung at his funeral, proclaiming that Myles had gone to his forever home.
Myles changed the Hannans’ outlook on life, and he continues to affect the way they relate to their family and others in similar circumstances. Adam described that bond between their family and people experiencing something similar as “… a deep connection and strong love for them—I don’t know them, but I love them and I’m rooting for them. When you see someone pushing their child around in a wheelchair, you know the incredible sacrificial love they have for their child. It’s a reflection of the love that Jesus has for us and His patience.”
Adam and Christina experienced the love of their community during their journey with Myles, and now they strive to show it to those who are in the midst of their own journeys. Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose.”
Adam and Christina now host a podcast at Life 101.9. They call it Forefront, and it focuses on marriage and family. Adam and Christina have first-hand experience with the reality that questions can hold deep weight, and they strive to use that weight in positive and uplifting ways. Each week they ask three simple questions:
- What has been hard for you this week?
- What has brought you joy this week?
- What has been on the forefront of your mind?
These simple questions often lead to deep conversations and connection with one another, helping Adam and Christina grow closer to each other and strengthen their faith. Despite all the challenges Adam and Christina faced, they learned to face them together, trusting that the Lord will carry them through.
While they could have turned away from the Lord for bringing so much hardship on their family, they instead chose to turn toward Christ. They now are on a mission to use Myles’ story to show Christ’s faithfulness all across Waterloo, Iowa. Christina shared, “I would never wish tragedy or loss on anyone. At the same time, I would never trade what we went through for an easier life. The blessings from the Lord that carried us through that time are deep treasures.”
For more information about the Hannans’ story, listen to Page 87 of The Unfolding or the GPS: God. People. Stories. podcast episode titled, Meet Baby Myles, Whose Short Life Radiated God’s Love. To hear episodes of Forefront, Adam and Christina’s podcast, go to https://life1019.com/ministry-features/forefront/