Friday, December 29, 2017

Matthew's Day~ Our story of our stillborn baby boy

This is taken from my personal journal written in 2007. Matthew was stillborn at 22 weeks gestation. All opinions and views are mine.

December 30, 2007

I am experiencing the hardest trial of my life. Yesterday, Dec. 29th, at 1:30 a.m., we had a baby son born to us. We already knew that he had died.

Our whole family went to an ultrasound checkup on Thursday morning. We were, of course, praying that the baby was whole and healthy- but, we were really excited to find out the gender of the baby and we brought all the children with us.

The ultrasound technician started by measuring the baby's head. The measurement showed growth of 17 weeks. It should have been 20 weeks. He started asking me questions about the due date and if we were sure about the beginning of the pregnancy date. I told him that I had an ultrasound at 12 weeks and that all the measurements were what they should be. At this point, I thought there was something wrong with the baby that perhaps was causing slow growth. Then, the technician showed me the baby's heart. I could see that there was no movement. He said, "Here is the baby's heart."

And I asked, "And it's not moving?"

He confirmed it and I called for John who was sitting back in the room with the kids. I started crying and the technician told John that the baby's heart was not beating and that something must have happened a few weeks ago that caused the baby to die. He could not tell the cause. My daughters were really crying at this point because they understood that the baby had died.

We asked the technician to try to see what the gender of the baby was, but the baby was lying on the stomach, and he wasn't able to tell. The technician was very kind and told us how sorry he was.

John took the kids out to the truck and I stayed at the office to talk to the doctor. My regular doctor was out of town. So the nurse contacted the on-call doctor and I talked to her on the phone. She gave me the option of having a regular delivery of the baby or having a D & E (dilation and evacuation). With the D & E option, I would not be able to see the baby.

I knew right away that we would want to bury the baby and see the baby and keep the baby's body whole. I was able to talk with John about the delivery. He was unsure about seeing the baby's body. I knew for sure that I wanted to see it. John started making phone calls for us- first to our parents and also to the mortuary to start arrangements for a graveside service.

I talked to my Mom for awhile after John told her what happened, but it was very difficult for both of us- we were both crying hard. We asked our parents to call our siblings for us. Later in the day, I was able to set up delivery arrangements for Friday, Dec. 28th. I asked my parents to come and stay with the kids. They drove up immediately and arrived here at 11:30 p.m. on Thursday.

I didn't sleep much that night, I cried and cried all day and through a lot of the night.

John's parents brought us dinner earlier that night (along with Grandma Plewe) and John's Dad came and visited with us earlier on his own. He gave us both blessings of comfort. He also said a lot of things that helped us. He said this was something that couldn't be prevented. That there was no way that we could have known or stopped it.

My daughters also threw a little "party" for us in Allison's room. They used it as a way to cheer us up. They gave us candy bags and party hats and my favorite part was the "makeover" they gave me. They put clips in my hair, put blush on my cheeks, Allison lent me her new dangly earrings, and Rebecca painted my nails a bright red (but left the white tips showing, because it's pretty that way!).

The Lord continually blessed us and has been watching over us throughout these hard days.

We arrived at the hospital on Friday at 10 a.m. They led us to the room where Tommy was born. We were fine about this at first, but, later- I was glad we had an excuse to move to another room (the TV in the first room didn't work all day). Labor was slow- they gave me medication once every 4 hours to start it. 11:30, 3:30, 7:30, and 11:30 p.m. At about 10:30 p.m., I knew I needed to ask for an epidural, but I also knew that the epidural would speed up my labor and I was getting scared of the delivery. I prayed to Heavenly Father that He would bless me with courage to do what I needed to do.

I asked the nurse to order the epidural and the anesthesiologist came right away to administer it. It was painful and uncomfortable, but I knew it was worth the price to get our little Matthew here safely.

At about 11:30 p.m., I felt a man's spirit in the room there to give me comfort. He was there for just a few moments. I told John that the time for the birth was getting close. I also felt that we would have a baby boy. John and I were then able to sleep. I was not feeling the pain from the contractions, so I was very relaxed and comfortable. I woke up and a program about the Tabernacle Choir was on the television. John was still sleeping.

I felt some pressure and some movement happening inside of my body. I called for the nurse and told her what I felt. She checked to see what had happened and told me that the baby had come out, but that it was still in the bag of the waters. She went to get the doctor and I told John (who was just waking up) what had happened.

The doctor and our sweet nurse, Sara, came back and the doctor cut the baby's cord and I could tell that he gave the baby to Sara in some blankets. The doctor was only there for a few minutes, then Sara brought the baby over to us. Before she showed us his body, she said that she could tell from his coloring that he had been gone for awhile. (He was a brownish-reddish color.) She said he's a little boy and we could hold him as long as we wanted to. She left us alone with him.

His body was perfectly formed. His head was the same size as his abdomen. His arms and legs were long and thin- his fingers and feet looked long to me. His little right arm was lying across his chest. I held him in his blanket for awhile, then John held him also. We decided beforehand that his name would be Matthew John Ryan. I was really happy that John wanted to see him and hold him. We both felt completely peaceful.

We also felt a lot happier and a lot better after seeing him.

The Tabernacle Choir at this time (on TV) was singing "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing." This was one of many tender mercies of the Lord during this experience.

Another tender mercy was that our nurse, Sara, had lost a baby at about the same stage in her pregnancy 9 years earlier. She understood and she was so sweet. She first told me about losing her daughter, Emily, when I asked her if she thought my milk would come in.

She gave us some advice about naming the baby- being prepared for others saying things that may hurt us, and forgetting about John's feelings. She was wonderful. She had just transferred from another hospital and I'm sure that she was sent there and at that time to be there just for us.

I will love little Mathew forever. He is and will always be our son. I'm so happy that he is part of our family, even though he is not with us right now.

This is another wonderful reason for us to pray that Jesus will come back to the earth soon. We will have Matthew back and the evil in this world will be gone.

I also felt the Spirit tell me on the day we found out that Matthew was gone, that he was a very sweet spirit and that it was a privilege for me to be his mother and to help him have a body. I need to hold onto these special feelings and tender comfort that the Lord has sent to our family at this time.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

4 months

Oh, we adore these two!!!

Sunday, April 3, 2016

San Diego trip Allison!

Allison made this amazing video of highlights from our spring break trip to San Diego and the surrounding area. Thank you Alli!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Life with two babies

Wow- Alex and Megan were born 7 weeks ago! Time goes by soooo fast and every day has been FLYING by since we welcomed these two cuties into our family.

The good news.... these babies are SO good. They eat regularly, sleep really well at night and smile and coo at us. The day they turned 2 weeks old was the day they both started smiling at us. Later, they added "talking" to us and it's so dang cute! I just know they'll be laughing at us any minute now...

First weeks about Alex:

  • VERY alert
  • Happy when his tummy is full
  • Loves to be nursed to sleep
  • Has a "feeding frenzy" time from 9 a.m.-2 p.m.
  • Big blue eyes
  • First newborn of mine that looks like a Blackwell!
  • Growing fast- I think his head has doubled in size since birth
  • Wearing 0-3 month size clothes
  • Has a deeper, more nasally cry than Megan's
  • Doesn't mind sister kicking him, crying in his face, or laying on his tummy or legs while eating
  • Long, blonde hair... Mom thinks it's time for a haircut already!
  • His nose gets stuffy and he sometimes sounds like a little piggy while he's eating

First weeks about Megan:

  • Little sweetie pie
  • Tiny face
  • Eats only 6 times or so in a 24-hour period
  • HATED her first bath
  • Loves to be swaddled
  • Looks like her Daddy and Becca as a baby... I feel like I had Becca again!
  • Still wears newborn size clothes
  • Has the cutest little feet and legs I have ever seen!
  • Opens her mouth loud and wide when she smiles
  • She looks surprised to see you
  • Still hiccups a lot
  • Sneezes a lot... usually three at a time. Then, she'll have an "almost" sneeze and does the cutest little girl sigh you've ever heard

 Here's an overload of pictures... we had 2 newborn sessions done, one at 4 days old and another at 10 days! I can't get enough of these cuties. I'm so excited for my parents to meet them!

 (I'm always worried we'll favor Megan because she's the girl...
 looks like I overcompensated by taking lots of single pictures of photogenic Alex!)

 Visits from aunts, uncle, and cousins

 One month old!

 Strike a pose