"Take a practice push."
That is what the Obstetrician told me as he stood on the other side of the delivery room putting on his gown and gloves. So I did. And before I could even finish the "practice push," Maverick was born. Ryan caught him. I have never seen a doctor dive across the room so fast. Apparently after previously having two other babies, I no longer needed "practice."
Maverick arrived two weeks before his due date because he was in distress. Maverick was dying from a rare bacterial infection.
This week is Maverick's 12th birthday. Every year, I remember back to his actual birth day and thank God for every minute we have been blessed to have him in our lives. He spent weeks after his birth in the hospital fighting for his life, and it could have ended so differently. For many parents, it does end so differently. Their pain and disappointment is not lost on me.
While we were at the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit), Maverick had an IV in the top of his head. He was on a ventilator, he had tubes jammed into his wrist, and a line inserted in his umbilical cord. There were monitors covering his body that showed his vitals on a TV screen and beeped loud alarms whenever something went wrong. He was sedated, we were not allowed to hold him, and he was dying. I spent the first several days in a zombie-like state of shock, just praying to God to heal Maverick.
Every minute felt like an eternity, and I eventually lost track of what day it was and whether it was even night or day. We kept vigil next to his side, just staring at him while we waited for any sign of improvement. After praying for what felt like years, the words to a Mark Schultz song popped into my head. It's called "He's My Son" and was written about parents whose son had a terrible illness. I hadn't heard the song since we lived in Memphis years before. It had been sung at church one Father's Day. The words that I heard in my head are "I try to be strong and see him through. But God, who he needs right now is YOU."
And that's exactly how I felt in that moment. I had done everything I could do (which, incidentally, was not much). The doctors were doing everything they could do. Our friends and family had done everything they could do. Maverick needed more than us at that point; he needed God. You see, God could be with Maverick when I could not. I had to sleep. I had to eat. I had to take a shower. I couldn't be there every minute. But God was. I wasn't even allowed to hold Maverick. But God could. God could be with Maverick through every step of this nightmare, and I believe He was.
And here is the most reassuring part: God created Maverick and loves him more than I ever could. He loves in a way I cannot even comprehend. He was with Maverick through it all, holding him, loving him, and seeing him through. I am only human, but God is God. "God, who he needs right now is YOU." When I thought about all that, I realized I needed to trust God's plan in that situation. I maybe wouldn't like the outcome, but I trusted Him to know what was best for Maverick and the rest of us. That was not an easy decision to come to, but if God loves Maverick more than I ever could, I had to trust that His plan would be the right plan whether I liked it or not.
Maverick's neonatologists prepared us for the worst, as his death was likely. They ran out of options and treatments to try. To this day no one can give a human explanation for why one day Maverick just started getting better. That kid is a fighter and a true champion, and I know God is the reason. There is absolutely no other explanation.
I do not pretend to understand why painful experiences to happen to us. While this situation with Maverick had a good outcome, other situations did not. We have lost three other children to miscarriage. I do not know why these things happen. They leave a pain in a parent's heart that never entirely fades. And who knows what will happen in the future? We could lose a child, one of us could become terminally ill, or an accident could cost one of us our life.
But on Maverick's birthday, we count our blessings. Maverick miraculously was healed and today is a happy, healthy, extremely active boy who hasn't stopped moving since the moment he unexpectedly shot out of me at birth. He serves as our constant reminder to be thankful for each day with each one of our five children. We remember to live each day to the fullest, and we remember what our true priorities are.
We remember that God and good communication got us through that challenge, and that's exactly how we'll get through each challenge that comes our way in the future. That is why we are Communication Consultants and Speakers... we share our story to give others hope, and we assist our clients in overcoming communication challenges and building stronger relationships. We love what we do.
The reason we do what we do really hit me when we spoke at a seminar in Syracuse, New York, several years ago.
We spoke in a dimly-lit old theater, sharing our story about our son, Maverick’s, near-death experience. Afterward, an elderly lady pulled me aside to speak to me privately. She told me that decades earlier she had experienced the very same thing with one of her babies.
But she said back then they did not have the specialized treatments that Maverick received, and her baby ultimately died. She sobbed as she quietly admitted she had never told anyone her story before, outside of her family. She said that hearing our story gave her the courage to deal with her pain and tell me about it. She said she almost hadn't come that night but decided at the last minute to show up. We were both so glad she did. Some healing took place-- for both of us.
That is why we do what we do. We are truly nothing special. We are not spectacular. We certainly aren't perfect. We are not pastors or preachers or professors. We don't have everything figured out. Our story is not the most amazing one we've heard. Our "load" is not the heaviest. We are just real. We just tell our stories and share what we have learned from them. We share how we’ve learned to communicate effectively because if you can communicate, then you can work together to solve any issue. We work with other speakers to help them share their stories, expertise, and lessons, too, because audiences need to hear them.
We feel very passionate about sharing our stories and lessons because there may just be someone in our audience who might gain even one glimmer of hope from what we've been through and what we’ve learned. We do it to tell others that if we can do it, so can they.
We do it for that lady in Syracuse, and for others just like her.
Check out this video about our experience:
If you are interested in having Carrie share her story, "Trusting God With Our Maverick," with your group, please send us a message here.