Henri’s Story

12032066_900734199962421_4695805052139153805_nThis is a story about Henri Alexander Matienzo. Born October 21, 2015 and died October 26, 2015.


His journey began similar to all other babies in the world.  I’ve known both of his parents for over a decade. His mother, April, was one of my closest friends post High School. When I had my first back in 2007, April was always there every chance she got. I knew then that one day she would be a great mother with how she helped me with my own.

Her time finally came when she found out she was pregnant March 2015. While she was still adjusting to her newly married life, it was a welcomed surprise. A good handful of us teased her lovingly, but still showed her that her support circle was there.

From an outside view, the pregnancy seemed to be going great. Sending her husband, Edward, out for late night craving runs and the typical mood swings. Nobody was prepared for what was to come.


October 20th was when they knew it was almost time. April spend the day in discomfort as she felt him drop. By the next afternoon contractions became real. After a few hours of contractions, they went to the hospital where the doctors realized something was wrong with Henri almost immediately after her admittance. His vitals were not adjusting with contractions as they should which showed signs of distress. A decision was then made to get him out immediately and April was prepped for a C-Section. At this point neither parent knew that anything was wrong other than doctors seemed to feel labor wasn’t progressing correctly and needed him out. As first time parents, you do not expect the worst.


At 406pm EST, Henri Alexander Matienzo finally made his appearance. He was breathing and had a steady heart rate, but something was wrong. He was not responding to any form of stimulation. It was as if he was in a deep sleep. Yes, Henri was born with the cord around his neck, but as something that occurs in 25% of births with over 95% being perfectly fine, they could not say that caused the problem. From there he was transferred to CHKD in Norfolk, VA to be tested to see if they could find out what was wrong and hopefully correct any issues found.

Here is where the long wait started. The next day went by without any answers as tests were performed one after another. It wasn’t until an EEG was done that the grim news became apparent on the evening of October 23rd. Henri’s score was essentially 0, making him completely brain dead. By then he was on a respirator to help him breathe and only his heart seemed to be functioning on it’s own. His quality of life was essentially nonexistent and would have to rely on machines to live out his days. The painful decision to let him go was made and he was given a few days for family and friends to come say their goodbyes.


12186402_10153719075606118_2842126267889629238_oHoping for a miracle, April provided as much kangaroo care as possible as it is said a mothers touch can be healing. Minor reflexes were felt, but he did not awaken from his deep slumber. A final test Monday afternoon confirmed that there was no progress and his brain was still not responding. Monday evening Henri was taken off the respirator around 5pm. By 605pm he had left to go live with the Angels in Heaven.


While his life was short, he was loved by many and will live on in our hearts. This site will remain up as long as financially possibly and any future siblings will know that they have an older brother watching over them and protecting them.