On Oct. 8, 2005, I married the most precious girl in the world: my wife, Blair Schiffbauer. Facebook itself had just become a part of our lives. For the next seven years we built our foundation to be loving parents. On May 20, 2011, I heard my wife scream joyously “I‘m pregnant!” as she held a positive pregnancy test. Later, we learned that we were having a baby boy. We immediately named him Anderson Thomas Schiffbauer.
At full term on Jan. 23, my son was born at 8 pounds, 11 ounces and 22 inches long. Unfortunately, Anderson had a “bad heart.” We never anticipated something so devastating. Minutes after his birth, he lost his heartbeat. CPR was initiated. I sat in the operating room crying so hard that I could not use a logical decision making process. I had to sit because I did not have the ability to stand.
Blair had no idea of these events. The staff continued CPR as Blair, heavily medicated, was transported to recovery, still unaware of Anderson’s condition. Being of the Catholic faith, my father called a priest immediately in the midst of absolute chaos.
The CPR was successful for a short time. Anderson began to breathe on his own, blink his eyes and move his hands and feet. He was baptized during this time. His condition progressively deteriorated. CPR was again initiated. Blair now knew how serious Anderson’s condition was.
Due to the dire circumstances, I made the bold request to transport Anderson to Blair with him on life support. Nothing mattered to me more than having my wife hold our baby alive. She cried hard and the love on her face for him was immeasurable.
As matters got worse, the neonatologist and I walked him back to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. My son then passed away in my arms. I sat holding him in a quiet room as I felt a peace come over me that I have never felt, nor am I able to explain. I had visitors in that quiet room, one of whom has never believed in a higher being. She has since been in church on her own will.
After these terrible circumstances that Blair and I faced together, we felt the need to update our family on a large scale. I used Facebook to give this message:
“Yesterday, my wife Blair and I met an angel. It was a short meeting with an angel, but I had never met one before so I will take what I can get, so to speak. He didn’t stay long, but he was and is the most precious human being that I have ever seen, and every person that saw him was in total awe about his physical beauty, (Seriously guys, this baby was on another wavelength of beautiful,) Too precious to be here on this earth with us. Too perfect for what the world has to offer. He was needed in a different much more beautiful place where he can actually fit in.
“For the fact that God gave me the chance to meet this angel, Anderson Thomas Schiffbauer, I cannot thank him enough. He changed my life forever. For the fact that this angel is waiting on me in Heaven, I cannot wait to be with him yet again. And until then, I will never forget that I was lucky enough to meet an angel on earth. He was baptized by our priest.... He gave lessons that will stay with all of us for life’s longevity. For now, I need only to be with my beautiful wife as our bond is untouchable and my love for her grows every day.”
This message was to give our family the understanding that we were going through a hard time. Shortly after posting this message, flowers, cards, email and food started coming from every direction.
After the compassionate response that I had received from the community, I decided that we would have a flower drive in his name for which people could individually donate flowers to Anderson on his day of rest. I would then deliver them to each local nursing home in our area.
As a result, we had 148 flower arrangements to disperse. Each flower arrangement was delivered by us with a simple card attached that stated “From Our Angel, Anderson Thomas Schiffbauer.” Many smiles were shown to us that day.
As a father who outlived his son, it means the world to me to have such a loving community. With Anderson touching so many lives, we are sincerely proud of his short life here on earth and forever we will refer to him as our angel. We refer to him as our angel not only because he is our son, but also due to the inspiration that he gave everyone around him.
He brought truth from our community that it is beautiful and extremely compassionate.
(Chris Schiffbauer is an Evans resident.)