Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Marquise Goodwin is known for his blistering speed and leaping ability, even competing as a long-jumper at the 2012 Olympics. Yet for Goodwin and his wife, Morgan, the journey toward parenthood has been anything but fast, marred with pain every step of the way.
The birth of a healthy baby girl, Marae Goodwin, this past February was both a beginning and an end for the Goodwins. The joys and struggles of life as parents were just beginning, while the years of pain to get to that moment had come to a merciful end. Sitting on a table beside Morgan throughout the delivery process were three heart-shaped urns holding the ashes of the three babies the Goodwins had lost. Just like a rainbow, Marae symbolized hope and renewal.
“Our little Rae of light,” Marquise said in a recent ESPN article.
— MG (@marquisegoodwin) February 23, 2020
The ESPN article gave the Goodwins a platform to open up about all they have endured in the past few years as they’ve sought to become parents.
It was as athletes at the University of Texas that Marquise and Morgan first met (Morgan was a nine-time All-American hurdler herself for the Longhorns). They married in 2016, Goodwin’s fourth and final year with the Buffalo Bills, and were eager to have a big family.
Marquise signed with San Francisco in March of 2017, and by that fall, he and Morgan were expecting a child. Morgan’s doctors had discovered that she had a condition that made her baby prone to premature birth. On November 11, 2017, Morgan experienced a series of complications and was rushed to the hospital.
There, she was told that infection had set in for her and the baby. She was given medication to induce labor at 19 weeks and the little baby boy was born, but could not live due to his underdeveloped lungs.
“There was no hope, there was no saving,” Morgan said in the ESPN article. “We just had to do what we had to do.”
Marquise added, “A part of you is just gone forever.”
At Morgan’s urging, to honor their son, Marquise took the field in the 49ers’ game against the New York Giants the following night.
“Honest to God truth, the only reason I made it through the game is because of my faith in God,” he said at the time. “I mentally and physically was not prepared to play in the game — at all … My wife, we prayed about it and I guess she felt that God moved her to allow me to go play, and she encouraged me … So, situations like that, you only make it through that with your faith in God.”
When he scored on a long touchdown pass, he collapsed at the weight of what he had experienced in the last 24 hours.
In 2018, the Goodwins learned that Morgan was pregnant with twin boys. Marquise was ecstatic.
“I was like, ‘This is my Job story [from the Bible]. I’m Job right now!’ He lost everything, and then God blessed him with double in return,” he said.
Hope soon turned to devastation, however, when after 19 weeks, one of the babies’ amniotic sac ruptured and caused immediate death. In a subsequent procedure, the second baby’s sac was punctured. Both had to be delivered and neither of them survived.
“I was torn to pieces,” Marquise said. “That burden just wore me down and got real heavy on me.”
Yet even as the couple processed their own despair, they turned to their YouTube channel, GoodwinSZN, to share their experiences with the purpose of helping others.
“I really think that God has done this to us so we can share with the world,” Morgan told ESPN. “It’s just who I am, my personality, to take on this fight and be very public about it.” She added, “I found my purpose, and finding that purpose helps you get through. I love helping other moms, and those connections have been a blessing in all this.”
After Marqiuse’s breakout 2017 campaign in which he recorded 962 yards on 56 catches, including the memorable one against the Giants, he faced reduced playing time thanks in part to various injuries.
He did not see the field in the Super Bowl this February, which the 49ers lost to the Kansas City Chiefs, 31-20. Yet only a couple of weeks later, a healthy baby girl named Marae entered the world and the Goodwins rejoiced as their long and painful road finally came to an end.
Morgan and Marquise, who was subsequently traded to the Philadelphia Eagles during the 2020 draft, know that God has had His hands on them throughout their ordeal, in their anguish, and now in their joy.
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