Wednesday, October 24, 2007

My Story

Like I threatened before, I think writing helps me. I will mark all long winded, personal ramblings with an astric like this (*).

I always knew I wanted another baby. When Kaitlyn was 4 months old, I was ready to pop another one out. Dusty wasn't, and really it didn't make sense to have another so soon.

Dusty and I had planned on getting pregnant in the summer of '07 so we could have a spring '08 baby. Then, the baby could be born during a less busy month.

It was January when I started to feel sick, tired and a little rundown. After a couple weeks, I realized that it had been a while since I had my period and thought I should take a pregnancy test just to rule it out. Really, I just thought that after my IUD my hormones were out of whack and since I kept losing weight, I thought I just needed to work on gaining more weight.

Imagine my shock and surprise when that stick turned pink! I was pregnant. I was scared, happy, excited, nervous, elated and couldn't believe it. We had been so careful, how did this happen? Immediatly, I felt like this was meant to be, our family was going to be whole and we were going to be a big happy family.

Immediatly, I started making sure I was the picture of perfect health. I started my prenatels, started iron (I was anemic with Kaitlyn and knew I would be with this pregnancy), gave up all soda, increased my water intake to 4-6 bottles a day and started eating better and often. I saw my doctor and we saw our little bean. I was over the moon. Kaitlyn was SOOOO excited.

When I was 12 weeks pregnant, we found out we were having a baby boy. We were so excited and immediatly started going through 50,000+ names to pick out the perfect name for our little man. After much debating and much deliberating we chose the name Matthew Jackson. It was absolutely perfect.

My pregnancy was going well. At 12 weeks, my morning sickness ended, my energy picked up and I was in bed every night by 9. All was well. At my *big* ultra sound, I started to think something was wrong. The tech kept leaving the room and coming back, whispering with someone else who worked there. The sex couldn't be verified and I wasn't told of anything being wrong. The next morning, Dr. Zielinsky called me at home and told me that our little boy had a 2-vessel cord and within a week we needed to have a level 3 ultra sound.

The level 3 ultra sound showed that Matthew's heart was super healthy. His kidneys looked a little small, but he was healthy. I never stopped worrying though. I was 20 weeks pregnant.

3 weeks and 5 days after that, I was laying in bed when I woke up in a soaking wet bed. I cried out to Dusty and we rushed around to go to the hospital. Had I of known I wouldn't be coming home for a long, long, long while I would have spent more time packing. Turns out, my water broke. I had so many nurses and doctors running in and out starting IVs, taking notes, taking my blood pressure and hooking me up to monitors. I was told over and over again that Matthew would be born in the next 48 hours and we needed to decide if we wanted heroic measures taken. Of course we did.

I spent 65 days in the hospital. Not once did I complain about being there. I was happy to be there. Every day that I was there was another day that Matthew was healthy, growing and alive. Every day was a blessing. Sure, there were times I was upset, vented and bitched about things, but it was never about being there.

When Matthew was born, I was so relieved to hear his cry. Even though it was painful as can be and everyone got to see my prince before I did, I didn't complain. I was so happy that he was a big 4 lbs and 14 ounces. He was doing amazing. Neither of us developed an infection and we were healthy.

Everyday since Matthew was born, I was grateful. I literally thanked God everyday for allowing us to all be here and to all be healthy. We were so lucky, we were so blessed.

Matthew spent 27 days in the NICU. We celebrated every step. We celebrated every ml he took by bottle. We never complained about him being there. Yes, we wanted him home, but more than that we wanted him healthy. We were so happy that he was ok. We were so lucky that he was breathing on his own and just plain stubborn.

We were so elated when Matthew came home. We were so cautious. We didn't take Matthew anywhere. We kept sanitizer all over the house, we had hand washing stations at each sink. We didn't allow smoke around him or sick people. We even limited our kisses to keep him healthy. All we had to do was get through RSV season and then the fun could start.

Again, I didn't complain. Sure, there were times I was really upset by things, but never about us being home with him. I was happy to be at home with him. We all had fun. We spent our days taking Kaitlyn to school and then going home to cuddle and nurse before picking her up. The three of us would cuddle, color, read stories and watch cartoons. Everything was perfect.

When Matthew was home for nearly a month, he got a fever. I took him the ER and Dusty followed shortly after. We spent 4 days in the PICU scared to death he had meningitis. Again we didn't complain. We just got through it. I hated him being poked and prodded all the time, but it was worth it to keep him healthy.

Matthew was discharged from the PICU on October 1, exactly one month after he was discharged from the NICU.

When he came home this time, we were even more cautious. Dusty and I refrained from contact with sick people, we kept him healthy, we took his temp several times a day, we held him all the time and we called the doctor at the slightest thought that something was wrong.

The weekend before Matthew died was great. Friday was a lot of fun, and Saturday we spent the day together as we did Sunday. Sunday night we got home, unloaded the car and I fed Matthew. He wanted to be held and cuddled. Before I washed my face and changed my clothes, I undressed him to his diaper and swaddled him in his swaddle blanket. He slept so good like that. I nursed him to sleep and cuddled him and fell asleep.

When I woke up at 2:30 to feed him, everything went wrong. He didn't look right, so I unswaddled him and yelled for Dusty. Everything was wrong. Nothing we did could help him. When the doctor told me he was dead I thought the world was ending. I thought it was a terrible dream. I just wanted to hold him. How could he be gone? I loved him too much.

Since then, I've kept trying to figure out what happened. How did this happen?? What could I have done differently? It's almost like a part of my mind thinks that if I figure out what I did wrong, we can go back and change it.

I loved Matthew from the moment I found out he was in my tummy. All I wanted was for him to be happy and healthy. I wanted him with all of my heart. He completed our family and brought all of us so much happiness. Sure he cried, but I was grateful that he had working lungs.

There are so many things I didn't get to do with Matthew. I didn't see him smile at me (he smiled a lot in his sleep), I didn't get to hear his first words, or feel his first hug. I have Halloween costumes hanging up in his barely used room that will never be worn.

I know that the time we were given with Matthew was an amazing gift. It was borrowed time. Anything we had after June 2 was a miracle. But still, it doesn't seem like nearly enough time. I feel like we were robbed.

Dusty has always been an amazing dad and he loved Matthew so much. I only wish we all could have had more time with him. Not a minute goes by that I don't think about him and how much I love him and how much I miss him and how badly I just want to hold him. I long to hold him on my chest rubbing the soft skin on his back and memorizing every aspect of his face and head and hands and feet. I miss the warmth of his skin and his breath. I miss his smell. I miss his cry, I miss everything about him.

I don't understand how we can live in a world that is so technologically advanced, yet still have a need for baby caskets. Baby's are the most innocent and amazing people in the world, how are we supposed to tell them good-bye??

Every day, I wonder how it is possible that I worked so hard to bring him into this world and somehow I failed him. Somehow, I wasn't there when he needed me. I didn't get to tell him how much I love him, I didn't get to kiss his sweet head. I didn't get to rub my fingers softly over his birth mark.

A parent should never have to bury their child. It goes against all the laws of nature. Everyday I think of him alone in a cold cemetery and I miss him. All I want is to hold him and to hug him and to have him back.

And really, there is nothing that anyone can say or do to make me feel less guilt or less blame. Dusty tries and tries and nothing changes. I know it's a normal part of grieving. I also know that when we get the autopsy report, I can use that in the grieving process.

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