November 22, 2010

Welcome Home, Andrew!

Today our miracle son saw the sky, felt a breeze, rode in a car, and spent his first moments alone with his parents since he arrived in the world on June 28th!

At exactly 21 weeks old (147 days, for those who are counting...) and just over 8 pounds (!) we got to take his leads off for one final time and leave our security blanket and face the world.  It is the end of our NICU journey, but just the beginning of what only can become a wonderful life for Andrew.

Final snuggle in room 202
 
Taking off his leads
 
Going home outfit - made with love.
That's for sure.
(Do you see a dimple here?!?)
 
Untethered
 
Getting ready...

Thank you for everything...

Free at last!

Ready for the car ride!

Ahhh...heading home


Welcome home, Andrew
We are excited.  We are humbled. We are blessed. Forever grateful to the amazing doctors and nurses at INOVA Fairfax (especially our primary team) for saving our sons life over and over these past months. And we are honored for each of you who has read our story, offered prayers (so many prayers...), love, and support to all three of us when we've needed it most. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Welcome home, son. We're so very glad you are here, and so proud of you!

**For each of you who are reading this post, and have followed our story, please consider taking a moment to leave a note for Andrew by commenting on this page (just click on the comment link below). The support has been overwhelming, and we'd love for Andrew to look back on this someday and realize just how many people have been cheering him on throughout this journey.

90 comments:

Libby said...

Congratulations Andrew (and mom & dad)!!! You are finally home - with the ones who love you more than anything in the world. Can't wait to watch you grow and smile and laugh and learn and most importantly, love!

Libbyloo

Kathi w said...

Welcome Home Andrew! Congratulations to you all! This is quite a day. Andrew we will continue to pray for you each day. We are excited to meet you and one day see you running and laughing with the Welch kids. Enjoy these days -- some times each day seems long, but they will fly by.
God is good and we are so grateful he heard our prayers!
Love
Kathi & family

Steph Grant said...

Oh, Baby Andrew, the Grant family has been cheering you and your parents on this whole journey. We're so touched that your homecoming is Thanksgiving week...I know your parents could never possibly be so thankful than they are right now.
All our love,
Tom, Steph, & Ava Grant

Cassie Peters said...

Welcome Home, Andrew! So much for your family to be thankful for this week. Best wishes!

Beth said...

Welcome home Andrew! I can't think of a better Thanksgiving than you being home. Can't wait to see you again!

Lorine said...

Congratulations Kristin and John and Welcome Home Andrew! I know this day has been a long awaited milestone. Andrew you are a true miracle Baby and I am honored to be a part of your journey. I will NEVER forget the dreaded phone call from your aunt Michele telling me that your mommy's water broke at a mere 23 5/7 weeks and asking what she should do. I have followed you every step of the way and am so proud of you and your family. I hope to meet you one day (when RSV and flu season is over of course) but in the meantime I will stay updated through photos and facebook :). Now that you are home give your soak up all that love from your parents and enjoy every minute with them but please give them a well deserved break and sleep through the night rather quickly...they need it :)!!! Stay strong and sweet! Lorine

Allison Nadelhaft - charmcitygirl said...

Wow, Andrew! You certainly threw Mommy and Daddy for a loop when you decided that you wanted to join the world 16 weeks too early! You are a miracle in every way - you first were the miracle pregnancy that your parents prayed for. And now you're the miracle baby who has overcome so much! Welcome home, big boy!

Anonymous said...

Andrew, when you doubt if you are loved, look at your parents. See the love in their eyes and the pride and joy oozing from their hearts. OK, maybe you shouldn't have flushed daddy's iphone down the toilet, but he can get another one. You are brave beyond your years, you are STRONG beyond your muscles, and you are so very loved. Never forget the fight you've fought, you are a winner!
Love,
"Auntie Dee Dub"
(Tracie)

Katy D. said...

Andrew,

So many people have been waiting and hoping for this day. We have fretted over your setbacks, cheered for your progress, and are celebrating your move home. Congratulations on this giant step in your journey.

Welcome home.

Anonymous said...

Welcome home Andrew! There are so many people who have hoped and prayed for this day to arrive. You are blessed with a very loving family. There is so much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving!

Rebecca said...

Welcome home, Andrew! You are all so fortunate to have this outcome, and a healthy and big baby boy! What a wonderful day for your family, and so much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving.

Leslie said...

Welcome home, Andrew! There is so much for your family to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. You are a fighter, and are a strong fellow. We have followed your journey, and kept you in our prayers. Enjoy your time home with your mommy and daddy. Much love to you.

Jane said...

Welcome Home Andrew! You are a survivor and a champ. Let the fun begin! Your mom and dad are very courageous too! Happy Thanksgiving!

Anonymous said...

What a miracle baby!! You are meant to do great things in life Andrew!!

Congratulations to Mommy, Daddy, and Andrew! Enjoy your family time!!

squarepeg said...

Welcome home, little one!! Your mommy and daddy waited so long, prayed so hard, and cried many tears to see this day. You made them parents - what an incredible gift you've already given them!

Kelly said...

Andrew, one day all too soon you'll learn in a history or economics class about a recession the year you were born. What you won't know is that you were a happy respite and much-needed perspective for those of us who followed your progress with bated breath. Your strength and the love and strength of your parents inspired and so we, your fan club, celebrate your arrival home on this the week of Thanksgiving. Still sending love and prayers just because. Love, Kelly and Dan

Our Story said...

Dear Sweet Beautiful Andrew,
You are truly a miracle in every sense of the word. You and your parents are such an inspiration. May you and your parents enjoy this very special Thanksgiving and all of the many other special times to come. Congratulations to you and your mommy and daddy. I can't wait to watch you grow!!!
Much love,
Smilee and family.
XO

Andrea said...

Welcome home!!! So happy that little Andrew is where he belongs:) Congrats to all of you.

Debbie said...

Congratulations and welcome home, Andrew!! You are an absolutely miraculous and beautiful little boy. We've watched you struggle and grow...and now we know exactly what Mommy and Daddy are thankful for this Thanksgiving. Keep on growing, smiling, laughing, learning, and doing all the awesome things that little boys do! You've got a lot of fans!!

SMOOCHIES!
Debbie

neena said...

Welcome home! You have amazing parents who will love you and take care of you.

Anonymous said...

Welcome home sweet miracle boy.

Anonymous said...

Welcome home Andrew! You have had an amazing journey and have proven that miracles do happen. Good luck for whatever the future has in store for you, I'm sure it will be wonderful.

Anonymous said...

We are happy for all of you. John and Kristin, we are so excited for you two. We know the road you have traveled and we continue on a very similar road. We look forward to having Avery and Andrew play together.

Andrew,

Your parents are the definition of love. Through the hardest of days they were at the hospital to be with you. Never losing faith, they advocated for you the whole way. And they became friends to the parents of other children that were going through the same things as you. You will be supported throughout your life and you should always know that you are a miracle.

Quintin, Robin, Madison, Avery, and (Guardian Angel) Sienna

Lorie said...

psstt - hey Andrew, sometime in the future you and I will have to sit down an talk a bit. I have a few things to share with you about your dad. (just sayin').

Congratulations to all of you. Happy Thanksgiving. This certainly makes a special time even more special for me.

J...I'm proud of you, dad. Told ya!

Amy (MyColonyNJ) said...

Congrats to you!! yay for going home

MyColonyNJ

Kendra said...

So excited for you all! It's scary, but you've had more time to practice all that baby stuff! Enjoy.

Kendra

Tiffany A said...

Welcome home baby Andrew!!!!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations and warmest wishes from a blog lurker up in Canada! I have been hoping so much for this day. Andrew is simply beautiful - what a lovely strong boy you have. I hope you have the happiest of Thanksgivings, you all deserve it!

Anonymous said...

Welcome home, Andrew! Your family has so much to be thankful for this year. Best of luck to all of you.

tomatoejane said...

Bravo, Andrew! Can't wait to meet you and see your parents with you. Much love to all if you, a wonderful Thanksgiving!!!

tomatoejane said...

tomatoejane = cousin Julie

Firsttogo said...

Welcome home baby Andrew! I am so proud of you, and we have been praying for you for 21 weeks! Way to Grow!!!

Karyn said...

Welcome home Andrew and congratulations Kristin and John! It has been a rollercoaster journey so far and now the FUN is really beginning!

I look forward to seeing all the FIRST MILESTONE photos!!!

Anonymous said...

Andrew,

I can only imagine the joy that your mom and dad felt when they left the hospital today and walked you through their front door. What a journey you have taken since you came into the world and it has only just begun. I have three boys ready to show you the way, when you get bigger. Welcome Home Andrew, Welcome Home..

Much love
The Shagen's

Anonymous said...

Andrew, what a strong boy you are! Glad to see you are home. Hope you (and your mom and dad) have a wonderful Thanksgiving!
Jennifer (Schino) Morales

Anonymous said...

Dear Boydens,

We cannot think of a better way to start the Thanksgiving celebration. You have been in all of our thoughts and prayers since this summer. There's nothing so wonderful as having a baby in the house at the holidays. Enjoy this special time.

Love to you all,

Molly, Tim, Patrick, and Erin

Anonymous said...

Welcome home, little miracle guy!

Anonymous said...

I am in tears for joy and happiness, rather than worry! I am so please with the news. Andrew is a true miracle and is so lucky to have such a wonderful set of parents. Enjoy your alone time with him! Happy Thanksgiving to say the very least!!!! I send all of my love and healthy wishes to you guys! Thanks for always keeping me up to date on your blog. I enjoyed reading your entries to so much. Take each day very slowly and easy.

Love, Nicole Pritchett

Brooke said...

Welcome home, Andrew!!! I am so, so happy for you all. Enjoy every second with your little boy :)

Brooke (Million$$Baby)

The Smyths said...

Wow!!!! The tears are flowing right now! We are so excited that the time has finally come for your little miracle to go home. We wish you many, many, many happy and healthy days!
Much Love,
Kristin, John, Avery & Jack Smyth :)

Anonymous said...

Welcome home to my 'lil nephew! You came earlier than expected, and stayed a little longer than desired... but the end to your NICU journey is now complete and you're home with the two people that love you the most! Just know that there are many more who 'loved from afar', and we cannot wait to see you soon! Love Uncle John

Anonymous said...

Welcome home Baby Andrew! What a wonderful Thanksgiving blessing! Let the fun begin--- wishing you all the happiness the world has to offer!
Love,
Melissa and Tom Miller

Christine said...

Andrew-

We are so excited that you are finally home with your amazing mom and dad! We know how excited they are to finally have you all to themselves. Your strength and determination are an inspiration! Keep up that fighting spirit- it will serve you well in life :)

Hugs-
Christine, Michael, and baby Callum in Boston, MA

J said...

Welcome home, Andrew!! We are so proud of you and happy for your mom and dad. SAIF has been rooting for you since your birth day :) You are an amazing miracle, and I know you'll be doing big things day!
Jenni
(aka armywife76)

Molly said...

SO glad for you and your sweet little boy!!! A lifetime of happiness awaits. Welcome home, little one!

Emily said...

Beautiful post for a beautiful boy on one of the most special days of his life!!!

Congratulations and WELCOME HOME!!!!

Emily
emmyloustu

Anonymous said...

Welcome home, Andrew! You are a miracle, and while I'll never meet you, your homecoming and your life have touched me.

Wishing you all the happiness in the world!

Jennifer B. said...

You made it Andrew! So proud of you and so proud of your awesome parents! There is a whole lot of love surrounding you! You are one lucky boy...welcome home! I offer up thanks for you this Thanksgiving week...

Margaret L said...

Welcome home Andrew! You are such a wonderful addition to our family. I am so proud to be related to such a strong fighter. Love from your first cousin once removed.

Anonymous said...

Words cannot express how happy I am for all of you! 12 years ago, almost to the day, Tyler was released to us from the NICU...it gives new meaning to "THANKS"giving, doesn't it. Thank you for sharing your blessing with all of us. It has been a light in this sometimes dark life! Love, thoughts, and prayers for you always!
Jessica S.

itsmyangel said...

So excited to see this!!!!! Great job mom, dad, and Andrew :)

Lara said...

Dear Andrew
You are an inspiration. In your first few months you've personified HOPE and LOVE.

Thank you for helping create many "unexpected" smiles and for showing how to turn "disadvantages" into advantages.

And you've got some cool parents as well.
With much gratitude,
Lara

Go said...

Congratulations Kristin, John & Andrew!!! What a beautiful family!! All the Best, Lisa

Aimee Combs said...

Dear Andrew,
I have enjoyed getting to know you via facebook and this blog. I look forward to reading more of your adventures. I give you, your mom, your dad, and the NICU staff an A+ !!! Welcome home Andrew!

Abby said...

Welcome home Andrew! I've been watching you and thinking about you since the day you were born and today makes me sooo happy that you are healthy and able to go home with your mommy and daddy!! You are a lucky little boy to have such great parents and I can't wait to continue to watch you grow!!

Anonymous said...

Welcome Home ANDREW! You are a true fighter...a cute one i may add....May God Bless you and your family....Your parents are so wonderful and you should be so proud....just as they are of you!!!!! So glad you are home with them for some TRUE FAMILY TIME!!!!! Enjoy everyday.....always SMILE....because you have made so many people smile! ALL OUR LOVE!!!!

mrsolsenk12 said...

That is so wonderful that Andrew is finally home and just in time for Thanksgiving. Welcome Home special boy!!!

Cook said...

Welcome Home Andrew!!! What a long journey you have had in your short life so far. It's now time for you all to enjoy being a family at home. Continue to grow and be healthy. Lots of love!

Amy said...

Congratulations, Boyden family! We know that bringing home your baby has been a long awaited dream, and we're so happy for you that the day has come. Andrew is such a fighter, and has a wonderful life of great things ahead of him. John and Kristen-- we admire your strength, courage, and love for each other throughout this journey. Best wishes to you as you adjust to your new lives together as a family at home. Please continue to keep everyone updated as Andrew grows and thrives. A very special Thanksgiving and many blessings to your family.
Regards,
Amy and Tony Adams

Anonymous said...

Welcome home, Andrew! Your mommy and daddy (and many, many others) have been waiting for this day for so long and it finally came! I'm so proud of you, little man. Thanksgiving snuggles are definitely on the schedule this week!! Much love, Aunt Cindy.

theworms said...

Welcome Home Andrew!!!

We are so happy you are home and your parents have a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving.

Wishing you a lifetime of many happy blessings.

Ann said...

As a mother of a preemie who spent almost a month in the NICU after his birth, I can totally relate to you bringing your baby home. What a wonderful day! I am so happy for you. You are going to love watching him grown and learn so much each day. Cherish each day with your miracle baby. He is bound for great things!

Laura D. said...

Welcome home, Andrew! Never forget you are a miracle and God is always watching over you. You have the most amazing parents in the world who clearly love you more than anything!

Here's to a life full of joy and happiness! : )

Sarah said...

I started reading your story when a friend linked it on facebook. It's been such a pleasure sharing in the happiness even though we've never met. I'm so thrilled to see everything's working out. Good luck for the future!

Pyjammy Pam said...

Such happy news! Yay for your little miracle!

jackie said...

Hi Andrew and welcome home!

You have an amazing Mommy and Daddy who love you and are so excited that you are home. They can't wait to watch you grow up, learn new things everyday and follow their example of love and always looking for new adventures.

We all can't wait to meet you (especially Ethan) and are so proud of how strong you are!

Love, Jackie, Chris, Kiersten and Ethan

Tiffany said...

Welcome Home Andrew! You and your parents did an Amazing Job! I look forward to seeing lots of pictures of your wonderful life at home with your family! Have a great Thanksgiving and enjoy! You are a blessing to so many!

Sally said...

Andrew:

Congratulations!! You are awesome! I have been following your journey from Ohio and could not be happier for you that you made it home and are starting a wonderful life with your parents! All three of you are so lucky to have each other. Well done and be nice to your parents when you're older. They earned it. HAPPY THANKSGIVING! :)

-Sally Heckman

Heather said...

Andrew,
Congrats! You are an amazing little man! I am so happy you and your family get to go home and start a wonderful chapter in your lives!
Stay strong!
Happy Holidays to All!

Joe Day said...

Thank you Jesus!
147 days of intercession did it.

Joe

Oneneedler said...

Welcome home Andrew!! May God continue to bless you and your parents. May you know God's amazing love for you.
Kim

Janice said...

Home Sweet Home, Andrew.
You are indeed a living miracle! Thank you K & J for sharing this amazing journey with us. I, for one, am looking forward to the next chapter.
God blessed us this day,

Anonymous said...

Andrew,

Many of us at your father's company have watched you grow from day one. We rejoiced when your parents announced your impending arrival, prayed for your health when you arrived early (keep doing that in life... it will get you places others can't go), and continued to pray in anticipation of the day you would leave the home of your first six months of life.

I pray today that you will one day know the love a parent has for their child; the very same love that your parents have for you. For it is this love, along with your own strength, that has sustained you to see this day.

I'm sure that I speak for everyone at your father's place of business when I say, welcome home young man. Welcome home.

All of us at INTEGRITYOne.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations, Andrew!!! You made it home just in time for thanksgiving. I am very happy for you. I cant even imagine how much happier your parents must be. I know your dad from work and I can imagine him with his big goofy smile jumping up and down with joy. :-) we have all waited for this day..

You are a great inspiration to many of us with your fighting spirit. I dedicated Mile 24 of the Marine Corps Marathon in your honor. Thank you for helping me finish it...

You will still be in all of our prayers. now enjoy your new/real home. May you always bring pride and joy to your family. wishing you many many many years of health and happiness.. affectionately - Kamala Boddapati

Nancy said...

Andrew, you're proof now more than ever that God is good, and he knows a good thing when he sees it. Being one of a very small percentage is a great thing...you will never forget it, and you will always feel blessed!
Love to you all,
Nancy Bahl

Leslie said...

Welcome Home Andrew! Even though we have not met yet, I feel like I know you. You have been through so much and a fighter through all of it. I'm so proud of you. I love you very much. Now your Mom, Dad and you can start a other journey of being a family together. Lots of love, prayers and laughter.
Love, Aunt Leslie

Courtney said...

Andrew,
I'm so happy for you and your parents. You took a special route to get home, and your parents are going to keep on helping you find your own way. Welcome out into the big world.

Courtney Wright (friend of Katy, colleague of your mom, and mother of 23 weeker twins)

Anonymous said...

Andrew, you are one lucky little boy to have so much love coming your way! I know those smiles on your daddy's and mommy's faces will fill moments of your days for many years to come.

Welcome home, little guy, from your daddy's former teacher.

Anonymous said...

Welcome home Andrew!!! Prayers of love are with all 3 of you!!

satto said...

Andrew you are a strong little boy. You have already done so many brave and impressive things...just imagine what you'll be able to do from this day on! You have a big life ahead of you.

Anonymous said...

Andrew - welcome home nephew - fighter - moose- little man! You have come so far so fast and we are all so proud of you and amazed by you! I can't even imagine what you will make out of the rest of your life - destine to be President I think because of the miracles you have shown us and battles you have already won in your short life. I only got to see you for a few short days in person but look forward to a lifetime of Andrew! Welcome home! I love you. Aunt Corrie

Anonymous said...

Dear Andrew,
I don't know you or or parents, but know your friend, Avery's mom who told me you were going home to start your life. I want to welcome you to the world and to tell you how much love has been shown to you already in your life and how much more will be shared with you as you grow. You are a blessing to your parents and will be a blessing to this world. My wish for you is that you feel the love of God and of everyone around you each day of your life.

jjonesaz said...

Andrew, Welcome home..your first Thanksgiving! Your miracle story has given us all a special reason to be thankful this year. Enjoy, grow, learn, love...you have a wonderful life ahead of you. Make that first trip to your father's roots in Granville, Ohio, and learn all the stories of his early years. Part of your Ohio family..Eric and Janet Jones..transplanted to Scottsdale, AZ

Trish Foulon said...

Kristen, John & Andrew,
You are all an inspiration! I am so thrilled that Andrew is going home! Best wishes to all!
Trish

Anonymous said...

Thanksgiving will have a very special significance for the Boyden Family hereafter. What a beautiful end to a remarkable and challenging life experience. Celebrate this gift of life - Andrew.
Love, Carol and Dan

Anonymous said...

A big hug to you little man, and lots of kisses!!!
love, Gary, Lucy, and baby Alaia (b. 07Aug10).
GHS classmate of your dad's

Lorraine said...

Dear Andrew,
I am looking out the window. It's the Sunday after Thanksgiving 2010 and you have been living right next door to me for a week now. It is wonderful to have you here, the newest, youngest and adored child in our neighborhood. Three shiny blue balloons announcing your homecoming are still waving perkily outside your front door. Oh, and look: A hawk just flew by, low and close to our houses, just above the tree. I could see the yellow feathers banding his neck. And there, too, are your parents' cars. Both of them. The silver one and the blue one. And it's past mid-morning! We don't see those cars very often any more. Early in the morning I might look out and see one of them, but if I blink, it too is gone, following the other one like a beacon of love all the way to your crib in Fairfax Hospital, there to sit and wait for your parents who stay with you all day and far into the night. Sometimes I check outside late at night, on the lookout for the moon, or a star, and there I see the cars pulling in, your Mom and Dad coming home for the night to sleep, to dream, and then to wake to the thought of going to see you again just as soon as possible. From now on things will be different in the neighborhhod. We share a common wall with you, our two adjoined houses here on Millennium Lane, but winter has definitely set in and it's too cold for you to be out and about, so I haven't seen you yet, except in the pictures on Joy. But I know you are there! I know you have at last come home to the beautiful home your Mom and Dad have made for you. I know it must be beautiful and I know your little room must be just perfect because I saw all the leftover nesting materials disappear from the house every now and then. All is new and perfect for you. Be happy, little boy! You are surrounded in love. Have a happy life and I look forward to meeting you, our new little neighbor.
Lorraine

Anonymous said...

Welcome home, Andrew! You are a miracle for sure! Love the family of two 30 week miracles

Anonymous said...

Dearest Andrew: You are finally home with your Mommy and Daddy, where you belong!!! They have been so strong throughout your whole journey - making the right decisions for you, advocating for you, and especially loving you so much. I think they would have gladly stayed with you in the NICU 24/7 if possible. I know when times were very tough for you, you could feel their love surrounding you. When you finally came home to Millenniun Lane on Monday, November 22, they were so filled with joy and love. To see them sitting on the couch with you sleeping in your Daddy's arms gave Pops and me so much to be thankful for. All three of you are heroes!!! We're so proud of the Boyden Family and love you all! Mom Mom and Pops

Liliane said...

Dear Precious Andrew,
We were sooo happy to hear about your Home coming!!!! Its been a long journey for dad & mum--They are very strong, and all you have to know is how much you are loved! So many people prayed for you: I had a pleasure of meeting mum at the NICU where you were in room 203, you were one of the coolet dudes there! And i wish you and your family all the best! Hope to meet you sometime, then i will introduce you to my princess Kalela! She would be happy to know you were neighbors for a number of days!
Be blessed.