A “living miracle” newborn fighting for his life in the NICU after his mother died during childbirth will be taken off life support, his family said Tuesday.
Matthew Jr. was born April 29 to Lauren Accurso and her husband, Dr. Matthew Accurso, but has been “suffering from significant brain injury due to a prolonged period without oxygen during his birth,” his dad wrote in an emotional Facebook post shared by the family’s pastor.
Lauren, of Jacksonville, Florida, died while giving birth at age 37, leaving behind her husband and their three children, but Matthew Jr. pushed through, despite the complications.
The newborn’s progress was looking up, as his vitals were strong and he was doing well breathing and “digesting food like a champ,” according to Mary and Peter Camiolo, who organized a GoFundMe page for the Accurso family.
But things took a turn this week, and Matthew Sr. confirmed that after much deliberation, the family would be taking the baby off life support.
“Today was one of the hardest days of my life. It will forever be etched in my brain,” he wrote in a Facebook note posted by pastor Matt McCloghry. “As a result of [his brain injury], several serious complications related to cognitive function and development have become a reality for Matthew.”
The father explained that because of this, Matthew Jr. relies on a breathing machine and feeding tube to live.
“Over the past few weeks doctors have attempted to wean him off the machines, but sadly the results have not been positive,” he wrote. “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.”
Matthew Sr. continued, noting that while it was an agonizing decision, he still considered his son a “living miracle,” as he managed to defeat the odds and open his eyes, breathe on his own and pump blood through his heart.
“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,” he 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.”
He concluded: “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.”
In addition to Matthew Jr., Lauren and Matthew Sr. shared three daughters: Ali Rose, 8, Naomi Belle, 5, and Layne Louise, 2.
The high school sweethearts were married in 2004, according to her obituary.
“[It was] very sudden, really, just through text message and a phone: Something is happening, and we need to pray,” McCloghry told WJXT of the family’s heartbreaking loss. “It was really shortly thereafter a group of us went down to the hospital, and we heard the news.”
“Her personality was just lovely,” he added. “She was so bubbly. She was an incredible wife and incredible mom but she was a strong believer.”
A GoFundMe to support the family has since raised more than $160,000.
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