Matthew's Pictures

March 30, 2009

Weekend Recap

We had a pretty busy weekend, me and the kids. Josh is working 7 days right now with the new business, and probably will for the first year, so he misses out on a lot of the family fun.

On Friday night, I took Abbie to a birthday party at Pump it Up. It's a room full of bounce houses and was our first time there. Not only was it cool to stay up late (10 pm) with her friends, but it was also a pajama party! There were, however, three pregnant women there. Not so cool for me. Tears started welling up in my eyes from the beginning, but I made it. I did go into Matthew's story a little bit when two other adults asked me why I wasn't in playing with the kids. I explained that I recently had a c-section.
Other mom: "Oh, so the baby is at home tonight?"
Me: (Head goes down) "well, no...."
Other mom: "Oh, I'm so sorry, I didn't mean to...."
And that's where the story came in.

Saturday is gymnastics day. Abbie and Raleigh both go, but I brought Abbie to Josh's mom's since she can't do anything with her arm broken. That makes it a little easier for me anyways. Abbie's class is after Raleigh's, so that's 45 minutes less that I have to be there, and less moms to run into. A couple of the instructors knew that Matthew wasn't supposed to make it, and I'm sure they spread the word, because no one said anything. You know, I was pregnant last time you saw me? Please just say something....
There was a couple there, and she is due March 31st. She knew ahead of time. She asked me how I was doing, and I said ok. I hate that question. It's too easy to say "ok". I moved onto another floor and started crying. It was just hard to see her pregnant, even though I never got upset before then. A few minutes later we crossed paths again, and she stood there looking at me, maybe not sure what to say, or waiting for me to say something. I made it short, knowing that I didn't have much time before I would lose sight of Raleigh. When I was done telling her, I started crying and hugged her. Tears started forming in her eyes and she had to walk out. I felt really bad. I'm sure as any mother would, she imagined for that moment what it would be like to lose her baby.

We stayed home for the reast of the day. I had enough adult interaction, plus my car window broke earlier in the week and it looked like it was going to rain. Sweeping leaves off the drive sounded more relaxing than going to the fair anyways. It really was.

Church. Abbie sometimes throws fits about going, but is always glad once she is there. Raleigh LOVES going, and I love that! It was amazing. I hadn't been since before Matthew was born. I watched it online last week, but with the kids around it makes it difficult to pay attention. Pastor Mark is doing a series on the Ten Commandments, and the kids are as well. Today was the Fifth Commandment, to honor your mother and father. It was such an amazing sermon. Every word sunk right in. He spoke a lot about parenting and raising your kids according to the Bible. I have been working a lot more with the kids, teaching them about the Bible and our Father. We have been saying our prayers every night at dinner, and some nights at bedtime. I know how easy it can be to slip out of routine, but it is so rewarding to speak to my children about Christ, and have them talk to me about him! God has been doing amazing things in my life since Matthew and I really feel Him every day. I love my time when I can sit there and talk to him. He understands what I am going through which is so comforting.

After I picked the kids up from class...
Raleigh: How many kids you have?
Me: Two - you and Abbie!
Raleigh: And Baby Matthew!
*Wow. How did that one slip past me? Caught up in the moment? Out of habit?*
Me: Raleigh, yes, that's right! You, Abbie and Matthew!
Raleigh: Matthew is in the hospital.
Me: No.....
Raleigh: Um...Heaven!
Me: *All smiles. I love that he seems to understand.*

After church we went to another birthday party at the bowling alley. It was their first time, and Abbie made it work with her arm. There were a few babies there in the group, but I was way too preoccupied with helping Abbie and Raleigh hold the ball correctly and cheering them on that it didn't bother me a bit. Hopefully next weekend's party (Pump it Up-again) will be as easy as that one was.

Here are some pictures of Abbie and her cast. We had a lot of fun decorating it. Me more than her I think. :) The pictures aren't the greatest, but will do. She wanted to put "I love Baby Matthew" but we didn't have enough room, so we did I heart M H.

March 26, 2009

Emotional Rollercoaster

When I was pregnant with Matthew, I often wondered what I would be like after losing him. What I imagined has been far different from what I have been experiencing.

I was very emotional until the funeral,then, I was okay. But not okay. I stopped crying, and was without emotion. I just couldn't understand what was wrong with me. Why was I not grieving for the son that I had just lost? This can't be the end of it. I turned to the Lord in prayer several times a day for help and guidance. He has been there with me throughout all of my heartache and will be by my side until the end. He will get me through this.

Two days ago I started experiencing an emotion that I never even considered before. Guilt. Before I had Matthew, Josh and I had made the difficult decision to offer comfort care to Matthew instead of trying to save him. Based on his poor condition after he was born, we stuck to our decision. His kidneys did not work, his chest was tiny, he was having such a hard time breathing while on support. We did not want him to suffer and be in pain and struggling for every breath. I believed that he was a baby that was meant to be with the Lord and felt much peace with my decision during pregnancy. When the time came to take his support away, my heart did not want to let go. I considered in my mind flying him to Winnie Palmer for help, but no. I didn't want to do that to him.

Little did I know that would come back to haunt me. I was watching one of the baby shows on t.v. on Tuesday. You're probably wondering why in the world I was watching one of those after losing my baby. Unfortunately, I can't provide a good answer. I just did. It showed a baby who went on breathing support after he was born, and I began to wonder why in the world did I let him go? Even though I knew why, I kept asking myself.

Yesterday got even worse. At one point I kneeled on the ground, crying, asking for God's forgiveness if I did the wrong thing. I could barely drive either. I know that Matthew left this world surrounded by and knowing only love which makes me happy. A friend of mine who just lost her baby as well is experiencing some similar emotions, so I think this must all be part of the grieving process. I don't like feeling like I made the wrong choice. I think it was the right choice, but is a very difficult one to accept...wondering what might have been.

March 20, 2009

More PUV Babies- Prayers Needed

Things are going okay for me. I take it day by day, praising the Lord each day for my beautiful angel baby. Abbie and Raleigh keep my mind occupied and busy, but nothing can ever fill the void that is missing in my life.

Great thanks to all of my friends and family out there who have been so supportive during this time. Thank you to all of the courageous moms who lost their precious babies who have been there for me as well.

I have two moms who need special prayers. Both of their babies have been diagnosed with PUV like Matthew, and the future shows babies who likely will not make it. Jonah's mom, Kelly, went in for a c-section just a few hours ago, so please pray that she is doing well, and that she gets lots of time with her baby boy. Here is her link...

Also, Stephanee is about 26 weeks pregnant with Vayden, also a PUV baby. She has a bit more time left, and even though things don't look so good right now, the good Lord can make things happen. Here is her link:

March 14, 2009

Another Tragedy on a Smaller Scale

With everything we have been through yet, could it get any worse? The days seem to be getting harder and harder, and though I am looking forward to seeing my baby boy again, I'm not sure I'm ready for any closure yet. The memories are fresh and I don't want them to fade. I want to be sad right now becasue I miss him so dearly. Baby Matthew Bear sleeps with me at night while I cry myself to sleep. I cry alot during the day as well. I'm not sure the kids understand why mommy is crying so much, but Josh tries to explain it to them. I even tried eating a banana yesterday morning but started crying because I was sad the nourishment is going only to myself and not being shared with my baby. Ok, so I'm crying now and will get onto our more recent tragedy.

Abbie and Raleigh were at Josh's mom's house the day before yesterday while I was home working on funeral plans. Josh picks the kids up, and in comes Abbie crying that she fell and her arm hurt. She was standing on a tree stump that wasn't even a foot tall, fell, and landed wrong. I took one look at her arm and was hurting for her. It was obviously bent from it's normal position. We dropped Raleigh back off at Grandma's (he wasn't so happy about that) and took Abbie to the ER. She wasn't crying by the time we got there and was even getting down from the bed herself. You would have never known anything was wrong, she is one strong little girl!

The radiologist came in with the xray machine to get her pictures. I was sitting in a chair on the opposite side of where she put the machine and asked her if I needed to move. She said yes, that Josh would be of more help to her since I am pregnant. That hurt. After she left I started crying, of course.

The Dr. said Abbie has a fracture and they put a splint on her for now to allow time for the swelling to go down. We have to take her to a specialist next week and they will have to break her fracture all the way through and reset it with a cast. That sounds horrible. She will be asleep for the process atleast.

She is taking it well, looking forward to a pink cast. The splint is starting to drive her crazy though because she gets itchy underneath and it makes her arm hot she says. Hopefully nothing else goes wrong, I need time to let all of this settle down first.


The question about donations has come up. If anyone would like to make a donation in Matthew's name, please send your support to String of Pearls. Their link is on the right sidebar. They send packages to mommys like myself who will lose a baby. They sent me an amazing package for Matthew with a journal, photo book, tea to help dry up milk and a cream, supplies for making: a hand/foot cast, imprint, and ornament with paint for tiny feet and hands. Thank you String of Pearls for help making such precious items!!!

March 12, 2009

Funeral info and the Birth Experience

For those who are able to make it,
Matthew's funeral will take place:
Sunday, March 15th at 1:00 PM
in the Chapel at Florida Memorial Funeral Home
5950 S. US Hwy 1 Rockledge, FL
Interment will follow at Florida Memorial Gardens

Here goes. All day Saturday and into the evening I was having contractions, but too far apart to consider going to the hospital. They were again more painful than anything I had ever experienced with Abbie and Raleigh, painful enough that I should have realized that even though they were far apart, they were much more productive than any other previous contractions. Between 5-6 in the morning, I had about 6 contractions. (I was kind and let Josh sleep through it all) They were still very staggered...17 minutes, 5 minutes, 10 minutes (was told to go the hospital between 5-7 minutes)...I had also been leaking some fluid since 3 or so in the morning. I probably should have called the doc at that point. So anyways, I called the Dr. at 7 AM, she didn't seem too concerned because of the timing, but said to go to the hospital to get checked out. We first had to wake the kids, pack a bag for them, take them to my in-laws and get our stuff together. By the time we got to the hospital it was about 8:15 AM. Contractions were only 2 minutes or so apart at that time. They checked me and I was 8 cm! Wow! We still had to wait for the Doc to get there and the anesthesiologist. The nurse did a quick ultrasound and he was still breech, so we were definitely going for a c-section. The Doc got there first and gave me a pain reliever which I really didn't want to take, but needed to in order to sit still through the spinal. It made me feel really woozy and silly which I definitely didn't like, but it did do the trick.

The anesthesiologist arrived and I was wheeled off to to the surgery room. Josh waited outside (He looked so cute in his spaceman suit!) while they prepped me. When they were ready for the procedure they brought Josh in and got started. He couldn't see anything since he was behind the sheet with me, and I'm not sure he even wanted to see. I felt when baby Matthew was lifted from me which was pretty neat. I heard him make a sound, but it wasn't a cry.

My birth plan specified that no intervention be taken to prolong his life, that we wanted things as natural as possible for Matthew. The neonatologist called Josh over to Matthew while they were assessing him. They talked for a few minutes, but I couldn't hear what was going on. The neonatologist then came over to me and explained that Matthew coudn't breath on his own, and he suggested that we put him on breathing support until we are able to get some time with him. I agreed that was what I wanted. They wheeled Matthew over to where I was laying. He was so beautiful! I put my hand over and touched his beautiful skin. He weighed 4 lbs 2.5 ounces, and was 15.5 inches long.

They took him down to NICU and I had to wait in recovery for an hour. You would think that was the longest hour of my life, but the time really did pass by quickly. Perhaps it was the drugs.

After my time was up, they wheeled me into the NICU where Matthew was. He was hooked up to a breathing machine and his lungs were working so hard, poor little guy. I just stared at him, trying to memorize every body part. His black hair was just like Abbie's when she was a baby, he had her nose too. His tummy was a little wrinkled from his bladder getting stretched out and big in the womb, but his feet were not nearly as clubbed as we had anticipated. He was perfect in every way to me.

Our family started coming in a few at a time. My mom and dad, Josh's mom, Abbie and Raleigh, my brothers, my grandma, my cousin, my dear friend Tammy, and Amanda from Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep (infant bereavement photography).

My pastor was at the church service at the time and was not able to make it quickly to baptize him, but he did hault services when he found out that Matthew was born, made an announcement at church, and said a prayer with the congregation. We had the hospital Chaplain come up, Father Bob, whom was my grandmother's pastor.

The nurse placed Matthew in my arms for the first time while Father Bob Baptized him. All of my family and friends were in the room for that, and stayed as Matthew's breathing tube was removed and he slowly drifted away peacefully in my arms. I cried for the first time at that moment. I was so sad that he had to leave, but so happy that he did not endure any suffering. He was with me for perhaps 5 or 10 minutes without any assistance, other than from the Lord. He even opened his eyes for a minute or two at the very end and I thank the Lord so much that he gave Matthew the strength to do so!

Note: Raleigh still didn't quite understand and was telling everyone what a big brother he was and how he was going to help change Matthew's diapers. That was so very heartbreaking.

I was wheeled back to my room quickly for some pain meds. To my request, the nurse did not give me many pain meds during our time with Matthew in the NICU, becasue I was so afraid that I would not be alert enough. I was in a terrible amount of pain now. Every bump in the hallway made me groan. Josh stayed back with Matthew and videotaped while he was given a bath. After a while, Matthew made it back to the room where we could spend some more time with him and have Amanda take some photographs. Bless her heart, she was so wonderful and stayed with us from 9 AM until around 4 PM. The time with him afterwards was so important, yet so physically difficult since I coudn't even sit up. The kids loved holding him and did so several times. I have no regrets about their participation in their brother's life, and they handled it so very well.

We decided to keep Matthew in our room overnight. I needed it.

Matthew was not the same in the morning as he was the night before. I think you all understand. But it was the first time we really had to ourselves to completely look him over. I was more coherent than I was the previous day and needed to remember everything about him. We finally had the nurse come that morning and take him away. That was the hardest part. Yes, even harder for us than when he went to heaven. We had already lost him in one way, and now we had to say or final goodbye. We just cried and cried, something I didn't even expect out of Josh.

I spent three days in the hospital and welcomed visitors happily. Josh stayed the nights with me and most of the days, but I loved being able to tell my story of Matthew. How he was only in my life for a short time, but made such a huge impact on who I am. Through Matthew, He changed me as a mother, a person, a wife, and a Christian. God gave me the best thing in the world, and I am forever grateful for Matthew. I am more happy than sad. Matthew was a very special baby with his beautiful life set for him in Heaven. I feel so blessed to be chosen as his mother. Of course we would have loved to have taken him home, but that was not God's plan for him. He was not to be like other babies here on Earth. He was to be a special angel, loaned to us for eight and a half months to show us how to love better, to shows us what life really is, to show us how great, glorious, majestic, and wonderful God truly is. Thank you so much Lord for all that you have done for us!!!! We love you!!!!

I also have to say thank you to two very special nurses, Chris and Kelly, that took care of me in the hospital. They were absolutely amazing and truly helped make my time there special. I was kept in the same room in labor and delivery during my whole stay to give us privacy and comfort.

March 11, 2009

Matthew Alexander Harden earned his Angel Wings

Matthew Alexander Harden was born on March 8th at 9:40 AM. 4 lbs 2.5 oz, 15 1/2 in. He was put on breathing support to give us a little more time with him since I had to be in recovery from my c-section for an hour. All of my family was there to celebrate his life with us. He was baptized in my arms, then breathing support was removed. I held my Matthew in my arms for several minutes (between 5-10 I believe) before he drifted off to be with Our Father in Heaven. He was with us for approximately 3.5 hours. He was absolutely beautiful. I just came home from the hospital about an hour ago and it was very difficult to leave. I just wanted to let you all know that we are home now but I am very emotional and not able to go into detail yet. Over the next few days I will post some pictures and our birth story if I am feeling up to it. Services will likely be this Saturday, but we will be going today to the funeral home to figure details out. I will let you all know.

March 8, 2009

Still Here

Yep, still at home! What a crazy labor this has been. It is 2:30 in the morning early Sunday and I cannot sleep. Last night I had contractions about every 15 minutes for 4 hours or so. They stoppped early in the morning (4 or 5) and I didn't have another until around 8 this morning. As it got closer to the evening, I started getting thrm about every 30 minutes which is where I am still. I cannot compare this pain to the labors I had with Abbie and Raleigh at all. I am experiencing back labor for the first time and cannot even describe the pain. I'm sure some of you out there know exactly though. My back hurts even when I am not contracting. My lingering cough is causing contractions. Nothing seems to relieve this pain. I cannot imagine having to wait until they are 5-7 minutes apart when 30 minutes is torture enough! If Matthew doesn't come by Monday, I have to go in to the OB to get checked and hopefully will be a few cm. Maybe if I do enough pleading she will let me go ahead and have the c-section. Hope you all are sleeping well!! Think I will walk the house for a little while now.


March 6, 2009


I was at work yesterday at about 5:30 when I got a much more intense contraction than the braxton hicks I have been having. I lightly practiced my breathing exercises for the duration of it. When I got home we started timing them, and they were about every ten minutes for an hour and 1/2 or so. Some were painful, some were not. They eventually went away.

They returned this morning around 10:00. At first they were about 30 minutes apart, then later in the day went to about 10 minutes apart. Again- some more severe than others. Since I will be having a c-section at this point with absolutely no idea about the procedure or protocol, I called the nurse and she said to go to the hospital to get checked out.

When we first got into the room, I had to use the restroom, where I was surprised to learn I had lost my mucus plug. (Kinda gross, sorry!!)Afterwards, I got hooked up to the machine to test for contractions. The nurse left me on there for about 30 minutes and I only had one severe contraction. The doctor wasn't there, but the nurse got in contact with her and she told her I need to go home and rest, and come back when they are about 10 minutes apart. Even though it will be a c-section, I need to be in a good patterned labor first.

Here's the part I'm unsure about. Nurse said that for a c-section I should go 8 hours without eating. If I don't know when they will get closer together, when can I eat? Otherwise, if I do eat and go into very active labor, it would be a emergency c-section. Boy do I wish I had them educate me on this topic!

So here we are waiting....twiddling our thumbs....Josh is going to Orlando tonight because he has a test to take at 7 AM for his contractors license. Great timing, huh? He may get a call at 3 AM and will have to scoot himself home pretty darn quickly.

I do feel good being back home. As well as I have taken the news of the whole pregnancy, being in the hospital wondering if "this is it" was extremely frightnening. I started crying for the first time in a while. I know it's coming very soon, but the good Lord has given me a little more time to soak in reality. And to go out and buy Matthew's baby blanket if I make it till tomorrow :)

Abbie is such an amazing little girl. Practicing her nurturing skills, she is rubbing my belly during the difficult contractions and calmly telling me "just don't think about it, mommy. It'll be okay."

I will continue to update as things progress.

March 4, 2009

The Dreaded Flu (I think)

So I have the flu, or something like it. First Josh, then Raleigh, Abbie and me. I've been off work for three days and should be back tomorrow. I am feeling a whole lot better than I was yesterday and this morning.

I had my OB appointment on Monday with not much to report. Matthew's heartbeat is still strong, and we did a quick ultrasound to see if he turned around, but he hasn't :(

I started on my birth plan this week but a lot is left unanswered until it is determined what kind of delivery I will be having. I do have a regular ultrasound next week (Monday I think) at the specialists. I don't imagine there will be any change.

Will let you all know!