On April 29, Lauren Accurso passed away while giving birth to her son, Matthew Jr. Her husband, Matthew, was left to care for four children, including a newborn baby who was fighting to stay alive on life support in the NICU. According to a GoFundMe page set up for the family, Lauren's death was caused by a very rare medical emergency, and there was no way to prevent it.
"[It was] very sudden, really, just through text message and a phone: Something is happening, and we need to pray," the family's pastor, Matt McCloghry, told the local news. "It was really shortly thereafter a group of us went down to the hospital, and we heard the news."
As for baby Matthew, it was a matter of life and death due to the "immense trauma when he was born."
"People are praying. There are so many people praying," McCloghry, told TODAY. "We need to pray and ask God to do a miracle. He can heal this baby. I believe Matthew is going to go home with a clean bill of health."
Sadly, baby Matthew Jr. was no longer able to fight, and his father had to make the gut-wrenching decision to take him off life support. Through his pastor's Facebook page, Matthew wrote a letter to those who have been supporting him.
I want to start out by letting everyone know how thankful I am for each and every person around the world who has been lifting me, Lauren, my daughters, my son Matthew and the rest of our family up in prayer. The texts and emails have given us more encouragement and hope than you will ever know. Please know that we would love to connect with each and every one of you but the circumstances make that nearly impossible. We read each message and see each gift of support and we are SO honored by all of them.
Today was one of the hardest days of my life. It will forever be etched in my brain. I sat in a room at Wolfsons hospital with 15 highly qualified medical professionals who all care deeply for our son Matthew. Unfortunately, the last thing I ever thought I would have to talk about as a father was now very real and happening.
For those of you who may not know, Matthew is suffering from significant brain injury due to a prolonged period without oxygen during his birth.
As a result, several serious complications related to cognitive function and development have become a reality for Matthew. At this time Matthew is being supported by a breathing machine requiring an airway tube, and also a feeding tube. Based on the severity of his condition Matthew will not be able to sustain life without these medical devices in place, what we would typically describe as "life support". Over the past few weeks doctors have attempted to wean him off the machines, but sadly the results have not been positive.
Upon hearing this news, My first reaction as Matthews daddy was to sweep my sweet boy up and carry him as far away from machines, medications, life support and hospital smells as I could. I wanted to whisk him away to our family condo on the beach and let the healing kisses of his sisters, grandmas and cousins cleanse his little body of all his infirmities, but as life sometimes does, I was brought back down to the reality that my only son, the sweet boy that my wife so diligently and lovingly carried for 9 months is in a situation that daddy could not fix. The ONLY hope in all of this could only come from his heavenly daddy who placed breathe in Matthews lungs from the very beginning.
TODAY, I was faced with something no father should ever have to face. The decision to place Matthew on endless life supporting contraptions and medications or allow God to carry him where He will. So many thoughts have run through my head. "What more can I give Lord, you have my soul mate and now my son? That is all I can bear. Please shower your mercy over me. This weight is too great!"
Some will hear our story and think, what an awful tragedy.
Some will think, where is God when we need him?
Some will say, see, miracles don't happen.
But do you want the truth? Matthew is a living miracle. See, Matthews coming into the world was far from normal. The minute his mommy took her last breath Matthew was thrust from the most peaceful world one could ever know into a chaotic frenzy to save his mother and him.
Without an ounce of oxygen he made it in an ambulance, to an emergency room, through an emergency c-section and into a NICU. Matthew then defied all odds and opened his eyes, breathed on his own, pumped blood through his strong heart, moved his limbs without rigidity and even made coo noises. His body slowly began to function, and he even gripped my finger when from what we were told, that should have been impossible.
Often times we consider things miracles when the miracle looks how we want it to look. What I've learned is that miracles are miracles whether we choose to see them or not. My miracle was having my soul mate by my side for almost 20 years and then being so blessed to give her 4 gorgeous babies.
My miracle is holding my son for as many precious moments as possible and when the time comes, lifting him up to his mommy so that she can hold him for the first time in paradise.
Thank you so much for all of the love and support that you have showered Matthew and our family with. It is because of your prayers that we have been able to have the sweetest family times around Matthew.
I would be so grateful for your prayers in the coming days as we work with the doctors and medical staff and plan to see Matthew off to his mommy and Heavenly Father.
To hear of a father who is left caring for three young daughters after losing his wife and son in heartbreaking. A GoFundMe page has been started for the family, and more than $160,000 has been raised for their support.
It will take a lot of time for the Accurso family to come to terms with their tragic loss, but knowing they have faith in the Lord will help them on their journey.