Matthew's Pictures

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.


Mandy Sheridan said...


Thank you for sharing Matthew with us. His story was so beautiful. I hope you know that so many of us are here for you. I hope and pray that Matthew found my Jake and Ethan and together they are looking down upon us and one day we will see them again.

Stay strong through this time. Peace be with you,

Dad said...

You are all in our prayers. Matthew's story is as beautiful as he was. I am so glad you have the pictures of him. Remember, "When things look down, look up".


Judi said...

Thank you sharing your story. This just makes me very grateful for what I have. Good Please you and your family.

Anonymous said...

Of course I will be there. I am with you and here to love and support you in any way that you need. I am so happy that I was able to meet Matthew and yet so sad that I was no there to see him open his eyes. I will never ever forget him and he will live in our hearts forever. I love you so very much!!

Shagne McNeil said...

Hi Jen

You are so amazing. Like always, I will continue to lift your family up in prayer. Matthew was absolutely beautiful and God was so gracious to give you time with him. I have actually been home since Tuesday on bed rest and it was very difficult reading your blog, but I know that God's plan is more important than ours. God bless you all!

Shagne McNeil

Donielle said...

Wow Jenn, what a strong woman you are! What an example we all have to follow of trusting God completely. You are an inspiration, and I pray that through your blog you will be able to help others cope with the loss of their precious babies. Thank you for sharing! Love, Donielle

Stacy D said...


Your sweet Matthew is absolutely precious and so beautiful.

I know what you mean about having to have the nurse come and take him... handing Isaac over to the nurse was the hardest thing I have ever done. And like you and Josh, our tears just kept flowing and flowing.

I will be praying for you. I wish I could make Matthew's service, but that would be hard since I am in Maryland.

Please know I am praying, crying with you, and am here any time you'd like to chat.

(((hugs))) from one grieving momma to another...

~ Stacy

carebear said...

Thank you so much for sharing Matthew with us Jenn. He is beautiful! I was wondering if you had a charity/organization/hospital where we could send donations in his name? God bless your family.

Kenzie said...


Matthew is absolutely beautiful and I know you are so proud of him and all that he fought through to make it here to spend just a bit of time with you. Thank you so much for sharing your intimate story of the time you shared with Matthew. My heart breaks for you as you walk through this time and I will be lifting you up, especially tomorrow.

Love & prayers,

Kelly said...


Thank you so much for sharing Matthew's story with all of us. Oh what a special little baby boy you have. He is so beautiful and is one of Gods little miracles. I am so thankful that you got to spend some time with him - that is what we were praying for. Our God is so good isn't He?! I look forward to one day meeting Baby Matthew and I told my littlest angel Liberty to give him hugs and kisses for all of us until we can be in Heaven together. God bless you hun...we will continue to pray as you begin this uncharted journey through's never easy but thankful we can lean on each other!

In His Love,

Anonymous said...

Jenn, thank you for being strong and open and sharing the short but bleesed life of Matthew. My grandson Vayden is facing the same situation and while our faith is still there for miraculous intervention, we also are aware of the expressed fate. Because of your strength we are able to find the positive in this horrible hand dealt, knowing that our babies will be in heaven, blessing and being cared for by godly women who's lives were cut short before they could experiance motherhood, until reunited with the sons birthed here for such a short time.
My prayers are with you through the tough times that will come. Thank you for the support offered to Stephanie. Blessings to you.

Chelsea Pang said...

Thank you so much for sharing. Your child is cherished in the arms of the Lord. He is beautiful and your family is precious. What a beautiful mother God chose to give your son life in the womb!