Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Where Do I Begin?

Gosh, where I do begin? 

I haven't made a post since December. Boy, how things have changed since then. I would give anything to go back to December. Back to a time of Christmas shopping and spending time with family. Back to a time when we were excited about expecting our second child. 

On October 30, 2008, we found out that we were expecting our second child. We were beyond thrilled. We didn't share the news with many people in the beginning. With the holidays coming up, we thought it would be the perfect time to tell our families. I went out and bought a Big Brother shirt for Matthew so we could tell our families by having him wear it. I actually bought it to tell Steve but it kinda backfired on me. Oh well. We had planned on telling my family on Thanksgiving but some unexpected doctor appointments came up so I finally had to tell my mom so she could help watch Matthew while I went to my doctors appointments. They were so happy that we were having another baby. We had planned on telling Steve's parents at Christmas time since they live in NY and this was our year to be out there for Christmas but the weather changed all of that. Steve ended up telling them over the phone. They were also very excited. 

So the months started to pass and we quickly came upon the big ultrasound. There was no question in our minds that we were finding out the sex of our baby. If you know us, we are planners so the more we know, the better we can be prepared.  On February 23, 2009, we found out that we were having another boy! We were so excited. I think some people, including Steve, thought I would be disappointed because it wasn't a girl but there's no way I could be disappointed. The thought of having two sons thrilled me. 

A few more months passed by. We started to plan the nursery. The furniture had been bought and the theme had been picked. We decided to go with sailboats. I was originally going to do a jungle theme but Steve really wanted sailboats. We found a bedding that we really liked so the decision was made, sailboats would be the theme. We started to clean out the spare bedroom and prepare the room for our new son. We had planned on painting the room over Memorial Day weekend. 

On May 9th, my mom threw a small shower for me. My family and close friends attended. I received so many wonderful gifts for our baby boy. This was also the weekend of Mother's Day. I had been by myself the whole weekend because Steve and Matthew flew out to visit his family. We hadn't been to NY since Easter of last year so he wanted to go out for a visit. I opted not to go because of the shower plus we didn't want to kennel our dogs and I doubt my doctor would have let me fly anyways since I was 31 weeks. 

On May 10th, I went to church that morning. As I was sitting in church, the baby was moving like crazy. The pastor preached about Mother's. It was a great service and all of the mother's received a beautiful rose. Later that day, Steve and Matthew flew back from NY. I was so happy to see them, I had missed them so much. That was the longest time I was away from Matthew and it wasn't easy. After I picked them up, we headed to my parents house for dinner. It was a great Mother's Day!

The Tuesday after Mother's Day, I was home with Matthew. We played outside for most of the day. It was a beautiful day. Later I started to realize that I hadn't felt the baby move. While Matthew was napping, I decided to lay down for a little while to see if I could feel the baby. I felt nothing but I didn't panic. He usually didn't move much during the day, he moved more in the evenings so I figured I would try to lay down again later to feel him moving. Later came and I still felt nothing. I was hoping that maybe he just moved positions and that was the reason I couldn't feel him. So the next morning, when Steve was leaving for work, I mentioned that I was going to call the doctor to ask them if I should come in since I hadn't felt him. So we said our goodbyes and Matthew and I proceeded to get ready for our day. Never in my wildest dreams would I expect that day to go the way that it did.

I dropped Matthew off at daycare. As I was driving to work, I called my doctors office. I told them that I hadn't felt the baby move the previous day so they wanted me to come in for a non stress test. I called Steve to tell him that I was going in. He wanted to know if he should come too but I told him no, that I'm sure everything was fine plus by the time he got to the doctors office, I would probably be done and on my way to work. 

When I arrived at the doctors office, they took me back to the room. I sat down in the chair and the nurse proceeded to hook me up to the machine that monitored the baby's heartbeat and to see if I was having an contractions. When the nurse tried to hook up the monitor for the baby's heartbeat, she couldn't find it. I asked her if that was normal and she said no. I started to tear up. She said that they were going to have the doctor do an ultrasound. They took me to a room and I sat there for what felt like forever. Finally the doctor came in but there was no ultrasound machine in the room so we had to move to a different room. Great, all I was thinking is "can we get this over with. Just show me that my baby's heart is still beating and everything will be fine." 

The doctor started the ultrasound. He showed me the baby's head then he moved down to the heart. This is when my nightmare began. There was no heartbeat. I can't even begin to describe to you how I felt at that moment. I guess shocked would be the correct word. He looked again just to double check and sure enough, there was no heartbeat. I immediately started to cry. He had to leave the room to get another doctor for a second opinion. She came in and confirmed it, said she was so sorry and left. The doctor started to tell me what needed to be done. I was given the option to go in that day or the next morning to deliver our son. Originally I had decided to go that afternoon but I changed my mind when I found out that my primary doctor was on call at the hospital the next morning. He asked if I wanted to stay there and call my husband or if I wanted to leave. I wanted to leave. I wanted out of that office.

When I got in the car, I called Steve. I was crying so hard that I could hardly make out the words that our baby died. But somehow he understood exactly what I said and immediately left work. I couldn't believe that this was happening to us. How could this happen? Our baby was perfectly healthy, why did he have to die?

We arrived at the hospital at 7am on Thursday, May 14th. We were immediately taken back to our room. The doctor came in and explained what was going to happen. Unfortunately I already had an idea of what the procedure was going to be. (I have a very close friend that went through this horrible experience almost 2 years ago. She came to visit me the day I found out our baby was gone. We sat and cried for a few hours. She has been more help to me than she'll ever know. I'm so thankful God has put her in my life.) It was a long day. It was filled with some laughs and a lot of crying. 

At 8:11pm, Andrew John was born. He weighed 4lbs, 11.5oz and he was 18.5" long. He was perfect. He looked just like his older brother, just like him. His skin was so soft. His tiny hands and feet were beautiful. He had a head full of hair like his brother did when he was born. Our family was there with us so they were able to see him and hold him. Matthew was also there. He met his baby brother and we took some pictures together. 

I stayed overnight at the hospital. My mom stayed with me while Steve went home to stay with Matthew. Andrew stayed in the room with us. I just couldn't bare to send him away yet. The next morning I was discharged. Steve came to pick me up and we said our final goodbyes to Andrew. I didn't want to let him go. I wanted to take him home with us and keep him forever. This was our child. We weren't suppose to be mourning over him, we were suppose to be celebrating his life and taking him home to start our life as a family of four. But God had a plan. I don't know what it is or was but he had a plan. I firmly believe that. Sure, I'm upset that God would allow us to go through this painful journey but I also believe there are reasons far more than I can comprehend. 

After leaving the hospital, we went to the funeral home to pick out a casket, something we never in our lives would imagine we would have to do. We picked out a beautiful white casket that was perfect for our son. We had a small, private funeral at the cemetery on Monday, May 18th. It was a beautiful, sunny day. There wasn't a cloud in the sky. 

I miss Andrew so much. I miss feeling him move around in my belly. I miss that I'm not going to be able to decorate a room for him. I miss that I'm not going to feel that joy of holding my newborn baby boy. I'm devastated that we didn't get the chance to know him, know his little quirks, his little expressions. But I do believe that Andrew had  a sense of humor even if we didn't get to experience it. Something happened at the cemetery that I will share at another time that made Steve and I laugh. Now you might think that that's a bad time to find humor in something but we had no other choice but to laugh about it. 

Our angel is in heaven now, looking down on us. I believe one day we'll see him again. I also believe and hope that he will be looking out for Matthew and will be with him during his journey in life. People have asked us if we will try again and without a doubt we will but another baby will not replace Andrew. He will be forever in our hearts and we will never, ever forget him. 


Lisa said...

Thank you for telling your story, all about your wonderful Andrew John. (I have an Uncle that is an Andrew John)
I have been thinking a lot about you and your family since I heard from Amy. Words cannot express my sadness for you. I am so glad Amy was able to offer you some comfort through this, I know you were a great supportive friend to her when she lost Nathaniel. It sucks that you too share this terrible kind of loss, but what a blessing to be able to support each other.
Andrew is in good company with some of the most beautiful Angel Babies in Heaven (mine included).
Lots of love and healing wishes to you and Steve and Matthew and all your family.

Tamara said...

Shelly - I've read this blog post so many times and my heart is just broken for you, Steve, Matthew and Baby Andrew.

I wish this didn't happen, I wish I could have held Andrew and we could have celebrated his life.

Andrew isn't here but he's in a good place with his best pal, Nathaniel. Together they will rule up there, I just know it!

I'm proud to be one of your "close" friends that was at your shower for Andrew. I love you so much.

Alicia said...


I found your blog through modern bliss. I am so sorry for your loss. I wish I had been on mb when it happened so I could tell you then. I cannot imagine what you are going through. It takes a strong person to see God and humor in situations like this - you are your husband are so strong. I will be praying for you and your family.


Mackenzie's Mommy said...

I just read your story and I'm so very sorry for your loss. It broke my heart to read that you had to learn the news that Andrew was gone without your husband by your side. I hope Andrew and my baby girl Mackenzie are friends in Heaven!