Sunday, November 14, 2010


Max is our miracle baby. 

I had all but given up hope of ever conceiving a child again.  I had a preschooler, a kindergartener, and a studio of 30 violin students.  I had started working as a doula, and was loving the increasing number of births I was attending.

We had been to two different fertility doctors, done a few cycles with fertility drugs, with no success.  Our next option was injectable drugs, costing around $3000 a cycle.  There was no way we could afford that, and we had no insurance coverage for infertility. 

I had made peace with being done.  I was excited about it.  I wondered why in the world I had decided "starting over" with a newborn was such a great idea when I was so close to having all that time to myself and developing my career.  I had even put out feelers about a possible midwife apprenticeship. 

At the end of the last cycle, I decided I needed to take one more pregnancy test, to prove to myself that we were done.  Then when it was negative, I reasoned, I could get back to the business of living my life and parenting my girls.

Except it wasn't negative.  And we were thrilled.


Since we were being followed by a fertility specialist, protocol dicatated a "viability" ultrasound at 6 weeks.  I was destroyed when the ultrasound showed no heartbeat. 

"I'm sorry," the Doctor said "There's nothing there.  We should see a heartbeat by now.  I'm afraid this isn't a viable pregnancy."

I don't remember what else was said, except that he told me that I had less than  5% chance of having the pregnancy continue, and that I shouldn't get my hopes up.  He scheduled me to come in four days later to do another check, and  said we could talk about options for ending the pregnancy at that point.

Waiting those four days was excruciating.  I have never experienced grief like that in my life.

We went back in on a Saturday, to find a blinking little heartbeat, and a Doctor who nonchalantly said "Well, it's a good thing we had you come back in to check."


Max's labor was complicated, long, and difficult.  He was born with his cord wrapped tightly around his neck three times, and wasn't breathing at birth.

While I felt his spirit all around me, and knew that he was going to be fine, I found out later that my husband and my mom were very scared for his life.

It took some maneuvering by my midwife and some fancy resuscitation before we heard his first cry.


Shortly after he was born, we started on the crazy medical roller coaster.  Besides finding out that he had a major skull condition, he was also having trouble feeding.  We were told he was aspirating fluid into his lungs, which was a very dangerous condition, and that he couldn't breastfeed anymore because the risks to him were just too great. 

Once again, I was devastated.  Breastfeeding was the only thing I knew.  I consulted with doctors, with lactations consultants, wth specialists.  They all told me the same thing- no more breastfeeding.

What they didn't count on was Max, and the miracles we had already experienced.  Lots of prayer, a priesthood blessing, and I continued to nurse my baby boy.  He weaned a few months ago after 20 or so months of peaceful breastfeeding.  He hasn't had a single lung issue.


I've talked a lot on this blog about Max's surgeries.  They are, undoubtedly, the hardest things I've ever had to go through as a parent.  There are no words to describe what it feels like to see your tiny baby hooked up to tubes, wires, and breathing machines in the ICU.

  To be told that he has a baffling complication from surgery that no one can figure out.  To be told just a few short months after the first surgery that the first surgery was a failure and that he would need a second, just as dramatic and invasive as the first.

Everyone says kids are reslient.  I would never have believed that a week after getting his skull opereated on that he would be beaming up at me, almost as if nothing had happened.


We celebrated Max's second birthday yesterday.  He is a charming, hilarious, full of trouble little boy, like any two year old should be.  It's been months since he has needed a trip to a Doctor's office, an instacare, or an ER.  (And yes, I did just knock on wood.)  His scar is nearly completely hidden in his mop of crazy curly hair.  He shoots basketballs like a pro, (you mean you don't have a Fisher Price basketball hoop in your front room?) is learning new words at a rate of 5-10 per day, (his newest and cutest is "elevator,") and shows no sign of adverse effects from any of his crazy adventures. 

He makes me laugh every day.  He helps me not to take myself so seriously. 

And he taught me a lot about miracles. 


  1. Aw, that brought tears to my eyes! (But I'll admit to feeling a bit extra-emotional lately.) I'm so glad you got all those miracles, and hopefully another one soon to come!

  2. So beautiful. I love how the Lord chooses to show His power so often in this way (through our children and getting them here).

    Happy Birthday Max!

  3. He is a miracle, and one day he will learn how important he is to your family. Happy birthday, handsome Max!

  4. Happy happy birthday (that kept coming out "brithday" for some reason! - am I one of the Chinese commentators? *LOL*) to your Little One~

    I am so happy to see things are going well for your family, I too, had my oldest son (my second-born) born as a "Blue Baby" - the cord was tripled on him, too, and he was darker than a pair of jeans... later, the discovery he had autism was just hunky dory, I didn't care to 'get rid of him' as someone else chose to do, my son was pure magic in my life, and he still continues to be a joy! (he's 25 now).

    During another section of your post, I hearkened back to a day when my youngest was too, on wires and such at Primary Children's -- we almost lost her to Pyloric Stenosis (something I'd never heard of before). I agree with you 200%, there's just no way to describe what it's like, seeing your new baby all hooked up to those wires and machines, breathing for her was something I felt I would do if those machines blipped out one more time. It took an entire Family Fast Day and a ton of prayers - and I told the doctor I was expecting a miracle, and we got it. Only thing is, I had mentally handed her back to Heavenly Father after they'd asked me to give the opening prayer one Sunday at their Sacrament Services, and that was the first time I'd actually had to say, "Thy will be done", then, in my mind, "but PLEASE, Heavenly Father, help me!" - I really didn't know at that point what His will would be, and needed a great deal of help accepting the fact that it might not be the same as my will.


    That baby girl is now (today) 15-and-a-half (we do donuts for 1/2 birthdays) - she's a high school Sophomore, as gorgeous as they come, and I am grateful for her life (and that of my other six children's) every day.

    Thank you for such a beautiful blog page, it is a joy to come 'visit'~

  5. p.s. My middle daughter, Meaghan is also going to school for her nursing degree - she wants to be a midwife, is that the same thing as a doula?

  6. Happy birthday, Max! What an example of a living miracle!!

    PS: At first, I thought this was the picture of your new baby, and I thought, wow, it sure does look a lot like Max! :)

  7. I found you through Serene's blog. As another homebirthing, breastfeeding mom I was moved to tears by Max's story. May your next birth be healing and peaceful. You're a strong woman with a strong son. <3

  8. Happy birthday little buddy! We miss you and wish we could have been there to celebrate. He truly is a miracle child! Owen still remembers Max's "All done, all done." I'm sure he's saying WAY more by now...elevator, really?


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