At just 17 days old Max has had his second major neurosurgery.
The temporary drain they originally placed had to be removed and, just as expected, the fluid in Max's head began to fill up again. So today, the surgeons placed a permanent VP Shunt. The surgery went fine with no problems, but recovery was rough on Max. I guess through the course of surgery and with the shunt, he drained a lot of fluid. It seemed to shock his system quite a bit. The nurses and respiratory therapists had a difficult time getting him balance on the ventilator again. Its a lot of technical stuff that I don't completely understand, but when it comes down to it he was really struggling to breathe.
Tyler and I sat back as they all scurried about Max's bed, trying to "adjust this" and "change that" in hopes to bring down "this pressure" or "that level." (Sorry, I'm not a medical professional, so I can't really be super specific and try to explain it.) I kept asking Ty if he was worried, and he would shake his head calmly. I tried to not panic. I knew we had fervently prayed and felt peaceful about this surgery and Max's recovery. But in that moment, the stress and my fears began to make my mind question what my heart knew. I began to feel afraid.
I had been putting off going to pump, because I didn't want to leave during Max's struggle, but eventually engorgement won and I had to leave. As I walked out and headed for the pump room I felt the tears start to well up in my eyes and the dreaded lump form in my throat. I was desperately trying not to cry. I sank down into my chair, pulled out my phone and opened my Gospel Library app, which holds my scriptures and church articles and talks. A talk by Dieter F. Uchtdorf was already open, "Be not afraid. Only believe."
I read through the talk and at the very end was a passage that spoke just the words I needed during this moment when my faith had become overpowered by my fears. It read:
"...even in the toughest of times, the Savior will say to you as He said to an anxious father on a crowded street in Galilee, “Be not afraid, only believe."
We can choose to believe.
For in belief, we discover the dawn of light.
We will discover truth.
We will find peace.
...Have courage to believe.
Be not afraid, only believe."
When planted directly in the most harsh of circumstances, sometimes, we can feel our belief slipping out as fear creeps over us. In those moments we must find the courage to rise above our fears and have the faith to believe and trust in our Eternal and loving Father in Heaven. Fear is the absence of faith. Fear is the dark and faith is the light.
Despite Max's prognosis we remain hopeful and have faith in the Lord. We know and understand that we may not have our son for very long. We understand his condition looks bleak to the doctors. We trust their professional and medical opinions and understand the reality of what is. Max has very little chance of a quality or long life. What little brain matter there is, is not enough. Even his brain stem is missing the most vital and important parts. That's all true. But we still choose to believe in miracles. We choose to have faith, no matter what those miracles are and no matter when we will lose our son from this earthly existence. Why? Because we believe. We believe and we trust that Max is a special spirit, sent to us to teach us and strengthen our testimonies. How could we not remain faithful to a Lord that has so abundantly blessed us? How could we fear when we have seen so much light? We can't when there is so much still to believe in.