Today, Amanda shares the story of her son Matthew with us in order to honor his memory and promote awareness for the Donate Art Project. Please send her some support in the comments when you are finished reading.
When I first found out that I was pregnant my fiance and I had been together for almost four years and had never used any birth control. I had wanted a child more than anything since I was about fifteen years old, but I wanted it to be with the perfect man. I was starting to believe I was unable to get pregnant. I knew instantly before I ever took a pregnancy test, that I was. I started having morning sickness before I ever missed my period. I couldn’t eat anything, the smell and look of most foods made me sick for the first few months. And this went on for the entire 8 months that I was pregnant.
I started seeing my doctor about a week later. Before my fiance and I ever knew if it was a boy or girl we had beautiful names picked out. Heather Leann Nicole Boothe and Matthew Pierce Boothe. They both had meaning to us.
Heather was the name of my childhood sitter, Nicole is my best friends middle name, and Leann is my mothers and my fiances mothers middle names mixed. Matthew means gift of god in Hebrew, Pierce was my fathers middle name. We were going to name the Boothe to carry on the Boothe legacy.
I never missed an appointment and everything was always normal, my blood pressure was high a few times when I first got there but before I left they checked it again and it was always back down to normal. I went to the emergency room when I was about 22 weeks because I hadn’t felt my baby move all day. They hooked me up to a heartbeat monitor and I started to cry when I heard his heartbeat. I had been so worried about him. They left me hooked up and told me to let them know when I began to feel him move. It didn’t take long and he started kicking and moving all around. I told the doctor and the immediately released me.
When I was about 30 weeks I had some very minor spotting and called my doctor he told me to go get checked out…again everything was fine, and they quickly sent me home. I could not stop worrying about my Matthew and felt something was wrong. Everything remained normal my doctor visits were good. We even had another ultrasound done because my doctor said with the measuring he was doing in the office, Matthew was not growing properly. The ultrasound tech said he was a healthy very proud baby boy and everything was completely normal, my pregnancy was going perfectly. I only had 6 weeks left and my baby boy looked perfect.
On November 17, 2011 I woke up at about two thirty in the morning have contractions, I timed them and they were about 40 minutes apart, my Lamaze instructor said that they could go on for weeks like that so I laid down. I am not sure if I fell asleep or not. At about 6:30 I was re-awoken with worse contractions. I woke my fiance up, called my doctor and we raced to the labor and delivery unit. My fiance Greg ran stop signs, and red lights to get there, doing about 50 the entire way.
We thought our baby boy was finally going to be in our arms and get to come home with us. We never imagined the horror that was to follow. I never dreamed I would be going to deliver my baby and not get to take him home. They were waiting for me when I got to the hospital. But this time when they hooked up the monitor they kept moving it around. I looked at my fiance and began to cry, he told me everything was fine that my sweet Matthew was OK. The nurse went and got a finger heartbeat monitor and said that they needed to determine my heartbeat from the babies. The heartbeats were exactly the same. I began begging the nurse to save my baby and began to pray to God that the monitors were wrong, that their machine was broken.
The nurse went to go get an ultrasound machine, when the tech came in the room she turned the screen towards the door and told me if there was something I needed to see, she would turn the screen around. Greg got to see the screen, but the tech never turned it around so I could see my baby. The doctor on the floor then grabbed my hand and told me that my doctor was on his way to me. She said the words I so badly did not want to hear . . . “Your baby no longer has a heartbeat.” Those are the cruelest words I have ever heard in my life! The most horrific sentence ever created, that no mother should ever have to hear.
My doctor arrived minutes later, I could not stop crying and he looked like he had been crying too. I later found out that my doctor has been practicing for over ten years and is a father himself, that my angel was the first stillborn baby he has delivered. I know it affected him deeply. He even came to my sons funeral and that truly touched my heart.
Then he checked to see if I was dilating, told me that if I wasn’t he was going to send me home, with my baby dead inside me. I couldn’t handle it. I started freaking out. I couldn’t carry my baby around inside me knowing that his heart was no longer beating. I love my son, but I felt like that would be true torture. He then told me I was already dilated 3cm and I was going to have to stay. At this point I did not realize I was going to still have to deliver my baby naturally, then not be able to take him home. I just assumed it would be done by c-section, but that was not even offered to me.
They moved me to another room, gave me an epidural and some pitocin. Then my doctor came back in and said he had cancelled all of his appointments for the day and explained to me that I was going to deliver my son, and encouraged me to hold him and spend as much time as I could with him. It took me awhile to accept that I NEEDED to hold my angel. The nurse explained to me that not holding stillborn children is a huge regret of families. At about 2:50 p.m. my doctor said that I was dilated and it was time to push. By this time my entire family and my fiances entire family was there with us. Greg and both of our mothers were allowed in the room for the birth even though the hospital policy was only two people in the room. My doctor made an exception and said that it was alright.
At 3:18 pm my angel Matthew was born sleeping. 4 lbs 1 oz and 17 beautiful inches long. He looked just like a sleeping angel. He resembled his daddy so very much I cried so hard and held my baby. I kissed him all over, and stared at him forever. I didn’t ever want to let him go. When I was pushing I prayed so hard that when he came out he would start to cry and that all the machines were wrong. But my angel did not start to cry, his eyes never opened. The nurse wrapped my angel in a blanket then gave him to me. I kissed him and begged God to give him back to me for God to take me instead of him. It wasn’t fair my baby never got to have a life.
The nurse said she was going to call Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep to come and take pictures, I didn’t think that I would ever want to see them. Now I look at them every single day. I want to share him with the world so that the world can never forget him. It took about 3 hours for NILMDTS to arrive, so my family took a few pictures before he turned completely purple. I still have not seen some of those. NILMDTS did take absolutely gorgeous pictures. My due date was December 20th my angel was born more than a month early. The doctor said that the placenta had a hole in it, there was blood clotting in the placenta which stopped Matthew from getting his nutrients, and that there was a lot of calcification on the placenta. I am not sure what most of that means but I do know I blame myself everyday for the death of my sweet angel. I know it is my bodies fault, and i will never forgive myself for the death of my son.
A few hours later the nurse came in and told me I had to begin making funeral arrangements. I was at a loss I had not a clue where to begin and was not emotionally able to do it. She wanted me to decide who would care for the burial arrangements for my angel. My fiance stepped up and started doing what needed to be done. He was so strong thru everything. He was my rock. He cried when no one else was around but he did not hide his pain from me. I know he hurts as much as I do. The nurse took my baby before I went to sleep that night. My fiance and I were worried about the trauma it might cause to see his little perfect body breaking down. I cried so hard and only slept a few hours that night. The next morning when I woke I left as soon was they would allow me to. I did not want to be there without my baby.
Walking out of the hospital was the hardest walk of my life. I felt as if I was abandoning my son. I felt and still do feel so helpless as a mother. My doctor called the next day and asked when my sons funeral was going to be and that he would like to try to attend. He cancelled even more appointments with his patients so that he could be there for my angel. The funeral home, and the cemetery helped us to do everything, at absolutely no cost. It was a great relief I had no money and did not know how I was going to pay for my son to have a beautiful service. I am struggling to come up with the money for his headstone and it is one of the cheapest they offered. Mollianna’s Mission began helping me raise funds, but to my surprise Greg’s grandma called and paid off the balance. It will be set this spring. I am worried about it being set as it will close yet another chapter in my sons journey, and open another.
Since this time I have began making care packages for Matthew’s Mission to deliver to local hospitals (hopefully soon all across the country). Stephanie (Beyond Words Designs) has been absolutely amazing in donating these beautiful cards to include in them.
“The mention of my child’s name may bring tears to my eyes, but it also brings music to my ears” I love to talk about my son! It means one more person that cannot forget him!!
If you have a story about leaving the hospital without your baby and would like to share it, please click on the link above for more information.