“You need to get on your hands and knees right now!” the nurse said as the heart monitor sounded suddenly in constant alarm. Everything was happening so fast! I was just beginning to feel like I was going into active labor and now the baby’s heart rate was rapidly dropping. The last thing I felt before I couldn’t feel a thing below my elbows was the warm tinge of my water breaking. “Come on, we’ve got to get you turned over!” I wasn’t quite sure how that was going to happen. There’s nothing like trying to get a whale of a pregnant woman turned on her hands and knees when her epidural just kicked in and she can’t feel a thing…but they moved at lightening speed and with the help of my husband they did it.
The monitor slowly began to sound more rapidly but not enough to make a big enough difference. I shot a look of fear into Nathan’s eyes through an oxygen mask and though he comfortingly assured me everything was going to be okay I could see the fright in his eyes. I could hear the uncertainty in his voice. The next 10 minutes were the scariest of my life…and I learned what praying without ceasing really meant.
“Where is the doctor?” I heard a nurse ask as more and more hospital staff members flooded the room. Equipment was flying and you could cut the tension with a knife. “He’s in radiology. If he doesn’t show up we’re going to take her in” I overheard. They explained that the OR was ready and if the doctor didn’t show up we had to have an emergency Cesarian. I nodded and just kept praying over and over and over…Lord you gave us this baby boy. Please don’t take him away! Don’t take him away! You can’t take him away! I begged. I pleaded. I cried out and God heard…and He answered.
Shortly after our doctor burst through the door and the head resident flatly demanded “You need to fix this!” The doctor looked at me and said “How long did it take you to push your daughter out?” I replied “20 minutes.” He reviewed the heart monitor printout, looked at the door and back at me and said “You can do this! We’re going to turn you over and you have to push him out. We have to get him out now. We don’t have any more time. Are you ready?” I nodded an insistent yes and with a quick…even for a whale…turn and a blaring siren of the monitor I pushed once…I pushed twice and our tiny Maxwell, cord around his neck, was out. No cry. He was blue. I was hemorrhaging profusely as the staff moved in try to get it to stop. Still no cry. My eyes searched wildly up and down his tiny blue, still body waiting. Praying. Let him cry! Finally he started to wail that soft, high, sweet familiar Benham baby cry and I leaned back and breathed deep. They took him over to the basinet to assess him. Maxwell Fernando was 6 lbs. 13 oz, 19 1/2 inches and 4 days late…but God answered…he was okay.
After I was settled in my room with my little guy I called my mom. She told me about another little boy born to a family friend that very day in the very same hospital that was being air lifted to Ann Arbor for heart surgery. Despite all of the fear and uncertainty surrounding Maxwell’s birth I didn’t understand why he was now healthy and safe in my arms and the other little boy was in such danger. I prayed for that little guy and held my baby close so thankful he was alive.
After battling low blood sugar levels because of a low birth weight for gestational age, countless picks and prods and pokes, the inability to stabilize his temperature, having to feed him formula and a consultation with a specialist I was so ready to take my little bundle of blue home. It was several weeks before we heard that the other little boy was doing well after his surgery. Praise God! August 7, 2007 is a day I will never forget.
It was over 11 months after that eventful day of birth that we had to face another day of continual prayer. Maxwell had to have surgery just before his first birthday. It wasn’t physically necessary but highly recommended by our trusted physician and God gave me sense of peace that I knew…no matter what happend…Max belongs to Him. We needed to trust Him and give our son over to Him fully. When Nathan walked away through the double hospital doors into surgery holding our baby boy in his little tiger gown I didn’t want to let him go, but I knew I had to. After a long afternoon of waiting and praying the doctor came out and said everything went perfectly. We were so relieved and couldn’t wait to see our little man.
In the recovery room I will never forget Maxwell gulping down sugar-water bottle after 2 oz. bottle. He wasn’t able to eat all day and he was bound and determined to fill up his little belly. He slept the rest of the night and awoke the next morning as if nothing had ever happened. His recovery was quick and he completely healed in a matter of weeks astonishing his doctor. Praise God once again.
But if things had been different in either circumstance…would I still have praised God? Would I have been okay with His sovereignty? If the almighty God who giveth and taketh away had done the latter when it comes to my son would I have chosen to see His grace? I can say that what I learned in that year impacted my life so immensely. Having experienced those moments…and many more since…my prayer is that I will trust His plan…whether I like it or not and what it taught me was that regardless of the outcome…I must pray…and I must say it is well with my soul. How else am I to live? In constant and continual getting on my knees…just like I didn’t think I could 4 years ago today…even when I don’t think I can…but I know I have to.