By Chris Hedrick-
My son is Matthew and this is his story.
My wife and I waited 7 years to try and have a baby. After those who knew said it might take a while to conceive, she became pregnant right off the bat. We were ecstatic. We made her appointments like everyone else and I tried to attend all of them. Besides a little higher than normal sugar everything was pretty smooth sailing otherwise. She had extra appointments just to make sure mom and baby were fine. Then came a hiccup at 30 weeks (November, 27th): her blood pressure had risen very high, very quickly and Matthew was in slight distress but we thought everything was going to be ok. They sent my wife over to the hospital next door for further testing, while walking to the hospital she called me and told me to be prepared to leave work at a moment’s notice. She called back an hour or two later and said to “clock out” and make the twenty minute drive to the hospital. The only time I have ever answered my phone while ringing up guests.
I was told upon arrival that Matthew’s weight had dropped in the last 2 weeks probably in part because of my wife’s blood pressure going up. The doctor gave the theory if we had waited to after Thanksgiving mom and/or baby may not have made it. We called, sent out text messages, and Facebook messages saying baby is coming!!! An hour after I arrived I was putting on a paper outfit to go in the operating room for my wife’s emergency C-section.
When I went in the room they had already started the procedure, so I made sure to keep my head behind the top half of the barrier. After a few minutes and a lot of work and nausea, they had Matthew out. They quickly rushed him to the side room to get him warmed, cleaned and make sure he was well. They pulled me over to see him at which time they had him breathing and the doctor told me he was doing everything he was supposed too. When I first looked at him he looked like a red skeleton not a baby. The doctor asked me if I wanted to squeeze his heel but I thought for certain I would break him if I did that. I was simultaneously scared and excited. I knew God was going to be with him but I still had “what ifs” in the back of my mind. By the time he was wheeled up to the NICU I did everything I could not to cry in front of all the nurses. All the emotion and shock was almost too much. I couldn’t believe I was a dad. I was getting ready for Thanksgiving/Black Friday and now I am a dad.
Things went very well the next few days. His prognosis was pretty grim but Matthew was showing very good signs. He was off all oxygen in 36 hours. Everyone kept commenting on how feisty he was for a two pound baby. Every three hours they would change his diaper, check his vitals and he would always wake up and voice his displeasure on being woken up by emitting a high pitched squeak while flailing his arms and legs out. So for the next 58 days we sat through all the beepings and blinkings. We would visit him every second we got during the day and trying to work with the nurses whenever possible. Checking his progress charts, hoping and praying that he would not have any major issues along the way. Concerns were raised and tests were done but all the tests came back positive. On his last on January 24th he came home at just under five pounds.
We named him Matthew because it means “Gift of God”. This was even more fitting after all that occurred because if God were not with us Matthew would not have made it through with no long term issues. The nurse who helped deliver him said he was the smallest baby she had every delivered. He will always be our miracle baby.
As we approach his one year birthday he has really gained some momentum, he is very quickly catching up to his peers that were born at term around the same time as him. He has needed more help with his milestones then other babies including extra TLC and physical therapy but he is crawling all over the place, has a massive amount of hair, 3-4 teeth, is trying to pull up, eating more every day, observes everybody and everything.