Matthew and Lauren Accurso, high school sweethearts who had been together for 20 years, had been anticipating the arrival of their fourth child, a boy.
Baby Matthew Jr. was supposed to enter the world and be joyfully brought home to meet his three big sisters, Ali Rose, 8, Naomi Belle, 5, and Layne Louise, 2.
But the Accurso family’s hopes came to a devastating halt when Lauren, 37, suddenly died during childbirth on April 29. According to the family’s Go Fund Me page, her death was “an unpreventable and very rare medical emergency.”
Matthew Jr. was whisked into the NICU, fighting for his tiny life and “suffering from significant brain injury due to a prolonged period without oxygen during his birth,” according to a May 14 Facebook post.
In the midst of grieving for his wife and caring for his three daughters, Accurso did all he could to be at the hospital with his newborn son.
While it appeared the baby’s health was improving at first, things took a sad turn for the worse.
Accurso wrote a letter, posted on Facebook by his pastor, Matt McCloghry, to thank everyone who had been supporting his family during such a chaotic, sad time.
Accurso explained the heart-wrenching decision he had to make to take Matthew Jr. off life support and spoke of the miracle that his baby’s life had been.
“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,” Accurso wrote.
“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.”
“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,” Accurso continued.
“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!’”
Accurso went on to explain that his only son’s life had been a miracle.
“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,” he explained.
“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,” Accurso wrote.
“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.”
On May 17, McCloghry posted an update to let everyone know that baby Matthew passed away. He was held in his father’s arms until his final moment, surrounded by close friends and family.
A Go Fund Me campaign has been set up to help see the Accurso family through this sorrowful season.