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Matthew’s Story

Welcome to our CaringBridge website. We've created it to keep friends and family updated about our son, Matthew. Get started by reading about Matthew's birth story and the introduction to our website, My Story.

Please visit often to read the latest journal entries, visit the photo gallery, and write us a note in our guestbook. And, as always, thank you for all the prayers and well wishes!



Our son, Matthew Edward, was born on March 31, approximately four months before his due date of July 21. He weighed one pound, five ounces and measured 11.5 inches in length. In making his early arrival, Matthew has, from the start, proven to be quite a fighter and an inspiration. We can't imagine our lives, and our family, without him!

The week leading up to Matthew's birth was an eventful one. Chris and I were in Scottsdale, Arizona, where Chris was speaking at a conference. On our second evening in Scottsdale, we attended a spring training baseball game. Near the middle of the game, I began to have a spontaneous placental abruption, where the placenta begins to detach before the baby is born. After leaving the game via ambulence, we were admitted to a hospital in Scottsdale. Despite the wonderful doctors and nurses there, we were anxious to get home. After the doctors were able to stablize the bleeding for five days, we flew back to Kansas City on a direct flight and headed to Overland Park Regional Medical Center. Two nights later, the placental abruption continued to worsen, causing my water to break. Matthew was born about 25 hours later via emergency C-section at 24 weeks gestation. He made a strong entrance from the start, surprising the doctors by crying and attempting to breathe on his own. We were so proud!

We have been told that the survival rate for 24-weekers is about 40%, although the odds are even better in OPR's amazing NICU. So far, it appears that Matthew is determined to be in that 40%. Even with Matthew's strong start, we will need at least four months in the NICU - and countless tests, scans and medical procedures - before we can take our little guy home. Thank you for joining us on this journey, and thank you for all your support! We could not make it through this difficult time without our friends and family.  

Latest Journal Update

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Matthew is TWO!  And,
we are feeling the full force of the “Terrible Two’s” – and it is pretty entertaining,
to say the least.  It may not be the best
method to deal with our dramatic little toddler, but we cannot help but laugh
(most of the time) at all of Matthew’s antics and stubbornness.  He loves (LOVES!) Elmo, animals and snacks of
all kinds - especially donuts.  And he can barely go a minute
without tormenting his big brothers, by tearing up their train tracks, stealing
their Legos, hitting them with Star Wars light sabers, singing Elmo songs at
the top of his lungs – just being a perfect little two-year-old.



On the health front, we’ve had a month of miracles.  I promise we do not use that “miracle” word
lightly.  Matthew has had four follow-up
doctors’ appointments around his second birthday, and every single one of the
doctors and therapists have deemed him a real, live miracle.  Just two short years ago, we were told he had
a 40% chance of survival and, if he were to survive, a 95% chance of
disability.  We had one nurse tell us
that it wasn’t a question of whether Matthew would be disabled, but rather what
kind and how many disabilities he would have. 
That was tough to hear, but we’ve always believed in our little, very
special boy – and we knew that the horrible statistics did not control his
outcome. 



Here is a quick overview of our recent accomplishments: 



Eyes:  In the hospital,
Matthew was diagnosed with severe ROP, a preemie retina disease that can cause
blindness.  We decided to fight for a
newer, experimental treatment – Avastin – instead of traditional eye surgery,
which partially destroys sight to try to save center-line vision.  So far, so good!  Matthew’s pediatric ophthalmologist told us
that he has 20/20 vision, with no sign of ROP or prematurity.  Truly, truly a miracle!



Therapy:  Since we
came home from the hospital, Matthew has received weekly or biweekly therapy
sessions.  For the past year, we have
been working on his walking and gross motor skills, which were delayed.  But now that he is catching up with other
toddlers – and running through our house! – the early intervention specialists
concluded that the therapy sessions were no longer needed.  Can you believe it?!?  We had planned on the therapists helping us
to transition to the school district’s special ed program when Matthew turned
three – but here we are before that transition can even occur, pretty much
dismissed from the program!  On our
request, they are going to provide speech assessments for the next six months,
but if all goes as planned, we will stop early intervention services at that
point.



Developmental pediatrician: 
On a related note, we saw our developmental pediatrician this week, and
Matthew was officially dismissed from her program as well.  Again – can you believe it?!?  He tested within normal limits (for a
two-year-old!) for cognitive ability, speech language and fine motor
skills.  He even showed them his
fantastic artistic abilities by refusing to color on paper and coloring all
over their therapy tables.  That’s our
boy!  He wasn’t quite up to two-year-old
levels with gross motor skills – but given that I am his very klutzy mother,
that’s probably to be expected.  Anyway,
he’s definitely catching up, so we can’t ask for much more. 



Given all these accomplishments and a definite movement into
normalcy (whatever that is), Matthew has been cleared to start “regular” preschool
next fall.  Cue the tears – from me, not
him.  I signed him up for a
one-day-a-week program at Luke’s preschool (and where Andrew previously
attended as well), and I cried as I turned in his registration form.  I expect to be a weeping, anxious mess next
fall.  I really don’t know if I’ll be
able to handle turning him loose in a preschool environment, given all we’ve
been through. . . but I am so thankful we are going to be able to take that
step.  We are so, so blessed.



I have uploaded some pictures of Matthew’s birthday, which
appropriately fell on Easter this year. 
What a day for celebrations!  He
wanted a cake make out of his favorite food – donuts. :)  Happy birthday, Matthew!!