It is truly incredible how you become permanently changed by the birth of your child.
Each time we had an ultrasound, I felt a love for Max so strong that I couldn't even fathom how it could grow. Then he was born, and that love multiplied. And until you experience it yourself, there is no way to know it or understand it. That kind of love isn't something you can imagine or describe; it lives within you, ever-growing by the second.
So, now at long last I was Max's mother. Sure, I had been a mother since I gotten pregnant with Boston, but now I actually had a child here- I had Max. There he laid in his incubator, with his one open eye blinking at me and his tiny little hand wrapped around my finger. This is what I had always wanted, what I had always dreamed for myself since I was a little girl. I was a mother. Now, my life felt complete.
In that very instant I was changed. From that moment our gaze met, everything I did was for Max. I was his Mom and I would do anything for him! And nothing made me happier. I loved getting to proudly answer "Yes!" when asked, "Are you Max's mom?" This is who I was now, and my heart was overflowing.
As the days and weeks went on every waking, and sleeping, moment were about Max. I pumped every 3 hours, I sat by his bedside 8-10+ hours a day, rocked him, read to him, talked to him, prayed for him, met with doctors for him and called throughout the night to check on him. I was Max's mom and he was all that mattered in my life until I almost made myself sick. After 4 weeks of NICU chaos, pumping, rarely sleeping - all on top of my own surgery recovery- I was exhausted. I wanted to be supermom, but I couldn't. That Saturday night Tyler had to practically carry me out of the hospital. My whole body ached and I could hardly stand anymore. This is motherhood; love so great you'll nearly kill yourself to be there for your child.
I was Max's mom and he was my life. While I sat with him, I had trouble even remembering what life had been like before he existed. How could I have ever survived without him? Who was I before I was his mother? It didn't matter to me now. All I wanted was to be a mother, his mother, for the rest of my life!
In the immediate wake of Max's death I felt a great void in myself. That first night home, and many nights that followed, I woke up to call the NICU and hung up only when I suddenly realized I had no reason to call. Sometimes I still wake up in the mornings in a hurry to get to the hospital, and it takes a minute for me to remember that I don't need to go. I'm even all dried up, and haven't pumped in 2 weeks. All the motherly duties I had are gone.
Who am I now that its all done? Yes, I know I'm still a mother... but its just like before. I'm a mother without my children present. I'm a mother, but I have no one here to mother. All I've ever really wanted and all I loved was being a mother. So... what do I do now? What do I do now that Max is gone? After the dust settled and our new life without Max began, I felt utterly lost.
So, who am I now? Well, I'll tell you...
I am the author of Max's incredible story. The journey to get to him and the 5 week adventure we spent with him is a story I must continue to tell. Through pondering, prayer and fasting I have felt the Lord reveal to me a special plan that I am honored to carry out. Not only will I continue to keep this blog and continue to share our story of hope and faith, I will also make a broader effort to share Max's life and my testimony.
I will be dedicating this year to writing a book!
I feel excited, overwhelmed, terrified and ready all at the same time. Most of all, I feel Max standing beside me, encouraging me. I know he will guide me as I work to make this dream a reality. I know the Lord will bless me along the way. I know I have the amazing support of family and friends as I take on such an incredible new challenge.
I am still a mother. I still have a calling to care for Max, and this is how I will show my unfailing love and appreciation for him. I will try to tell as many as will listen about the strong, wild, faithful boy who came to change our world.