Being alone in a hospital room for a few minutes can feel like an eternity when you don’t know if your newborn baby will live or die.

I hated not having control over the situation, not being able to do anything to help make my son better. All I could do was wait. But, I didn’t want to just wait. I had to call on something bigger than myself, bigger than all of us. So, I prayed. I cried quietly and whispered to God to please let my son be OK.

Shortly after, my midwife came to check on me, apologizing profusely for my being left alone amidst all the chaos surrounding my son’s arrival. While, a part of me was upset, I was grateful to have those moments to speak to God on my own.

I don’t remember if it was an hour later or three—time tends to blur after childbirth—but before I was settled into my room, I learned my son, who had trouble breathing, ripped out his ventilator on his own, as if he was fueled by a power greater than his little body could handle.

He had gone from barely hanging on to life to showing signs of being a strong, healthy baby.

I later learned I wasn’t the only one praying. My parents are active members of their synagogue and I am so grateful to them and the community for sending out to the universe their best hopes for my child.

We all prayed for a miracle and we got one.

But, who answered?

I believe in the idea of God, but can’t say definitively if I am 100 percent sure of the existence of a higher power. I am a person of faith, but I am open to theological debates. I know nothing is for certain and it would actually be quite arrogant of me to assume what I believe is the absolute truth. I don’t think anyone can truly “know” God.

I do, however, without any doubt or hesitation, believe in angels. I believe my loved ones who have died are always with me, sometimes just in the background, helping to guide me, and sometimes in a big way, like they were for my son.

I know they guided the ambulance to the hospital. I know they lead him into the hands of an excellent doctor. I know they were with him when he was being worked on by the medical team. I know they gave him the strength to fight for his little life. I know they were with my husband as he looked on, wondering if his baby would be OK. I know they were with me, giving me the strength to endure this difficult moment.

Words are often not enough to convey what I know to be true in my heart. In this cruel world, believing in anything miraculous can be impossible. And even though, I felt all along that angels were with my son, it took a simple iPhone photo to convince me of their presence.

My husband took the photo, pointing out the huge swath of white light running vertically near my son’s body. I noted it was a cool, photo commenting that I thought the light was merely the medical curtain. My husband urged me to look closer, showing me that the chunk of white light was not attached to anything and appeared to go right through my son’s chest, or radiate from it, depending on how you look at it. And it’s coming from the left side, right near his heart. His heart, his life source, the vehicle that was pumping his newly acquired blood thanks to some other real-life angels who donated their blood.

I still get chills, looking at the photo, more than two years after it was taken. It reminds me of a frightening time in my life, but also of a time when my angels came through. I think of them whenever I witness a beautiful moment between my boys. I feel them in the wind that blows through my hair on a cool day. I thank them during every close call and scary moment when my life, or the lives of my family were spared.

I will always believe, and I will always be grateful.

Photo taken by the author’s husband, Peter Loibl

Gail Hoffer-Loibl

Gail Hoffer-Loibl is a writer, wife and wrangler of her two spirited boys. Her work has appeared on The Huffington Post, Scary Mommy, The Good Men Project, Kveller and more. She shares her thoughts on motherhood, kids and life on her blog. She can be found on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.