The morning came too soon. I was still tired and achy, as well as uncertain but willing to carry out the plan that God had so ingeniously devised. Shifting around in my bed and mentally preparing myself, I couldn't believe how surreal everything was becoming.
My mom was sitting next to my bed and Pax was soon brought to our room. I walked over and picked him up. I had a little outfit for him... But Jamie had the cutest "Hello Ladies" outfit for him... And it was quite appropriate because it was Valentines day! So I asked her if he could wear it. She came in and changed him into it.... He was so precious--so delicate.
After Jamie left the room, about an hour later Ben came in with roses for me. They were beautiful. It helped keep me strong in knowing that they loved Pax and in showing me how much they cared about me... It made it all the more easy to come to a place of peace.
As I was Cuddling his face, and wiping the few tears I had... My mom and I Chatted and shared in the bitter-sweet-glorious moment of relinquishing all doubts and ultimately placing Paxton into the arms of another family.
I took more photos of Pax and talked to him. Gave him all the hugs and kisses I could give him before he became surrendered unto Gods Perfect will. I kept staring at the clock, praying for just a little more time... Just a few more minutes, seconds even... To hold "the treasure" God had unburied in my heart-- Exposing it for me to see, but not for me to have.
Time passed away like it never forgets to and the time for Paxton to go, became minutes away. Jamie came in and sat next to me... She put on his little Sock Monkey hat. She held his hand as I held him and pain held my heart.
Jamie let me know that his car seat was ready... And she walked out of the room to give me my last moments with Paxton. My mom and I cradled him and shared in an embracing group hug. We then began to walk him to Ben and Jamie's room. I was given the honor of placing him in his car seat.
As we entered their room, they stepped out so we could place him in his car seat and say our goodbyes. I held Paxton's tiny fingers and kissed every inch of his face while buckling him in. It was at this moment, that my Mom began to cry... And after trying to hold it together... Tears began to trickle from my eyes. I closed my eyes to keep them from coming out. I wanted to be strong... I wanted my Mom and Ben and Jamie to know that everything was going to be okay. Unfortunately, like a Dam that can't hold back water anymore, tears came bursting out from behind my closed eyelids.
"When a woman gives birth, she has a hard time, there's no getting around it. But when the baby is born, there is joy in the birth. This new life in the world wipes out memory of the pain. The sadness you have right now is similar to that pain, but the coming joy is also similar. When I see you again, you'll be full of joy, and it will be a joy no one can rob from you. You'll no longer be so full of questions." John 16:21 MSG
Undeniably, I began thinking of how my tears were showing my failure... How could I comfort my mother when I myself am crying? How am I going to let Paxton see me crying? This isn't sad, this is a wonderful blessing that God has chosen me for!! Lesa, get it together. Be strong!
I started to feel anger grab me... And then I see the wheel chair being rolled up the hallway. I leave Paxton after taking one last picture, and walk into the hallway to give Ben and Jamie hugs and blessings. I want to just run out... I don't want to look pitiful and sit in a wheelchair to be rolled out. I wanted to cry... But I didn't want anyone to see me... So I was mad... Mad at myself for being such a baby. Mad that people were surrounding me and I couldn't let myself cry.
"Fools vent their anger,
but the wise quietly hold it back." Proverbs 29:11 NLT
I heavily sat myself down into the wheelchair, flowers in hand. The nurse started to wheel me away... And I couldn't bring myself to look back... I couldn't stop staring forward... As if to suggest to everyone that I was strong and could move on.
As we were wheeling down the hallway, I saw this lady in a wheelchair as well... But unlike me... She was holding her baby... Her tightly bundled up baby.. She was glowing and smiling. Her husband was behind her... He had the same glow on his face. He leaned down to kiss her as we wheeled on past them.
I looked down at my flowers, and wished for more than anything for them to turn into a baby.
Still trying to hold it together, I remained silent. My mom had gone to get the car and I was alone with the nurse that had been pushing me. She was silent for the elevator ride, and I didn't mind. I didn't want to fill the silence. I felt as if everything I loved had just been taken and as the emotion of heartbreak was standing still, so were the sounds of my surroundings... And I wanted to keep it that way. I knew as soon as my mouth opened, my heart would release all the thorns in forms of tears and yelling.
When we got off the elevator, I was wheeled to the front door of the Hospital and it was there, that what I wanted was compromised when the nurse began to speak to me.
She told me that she admired me for what I had done... That she thought I was strong and courageous. She said she could never do that... And instead of saying anything, I just thought... Yeah, I could never do it either... But I did. I stared down and looked at my toes, then my eyes adverted to my tummy...that, unexpectedly, was relatively the same size as it was when I was carrying pax, only it was now hollow and empty... Visually Resembling how I felt inside.
As I sat impatiently waiting for my mom to bring the car around. The testing of my faith was not over. Jamie had come down, and stood right next to me. She put Paxton's car seat right...next... To... Me.
"For you examine us every morning
and test us every moment." Job 7:18 NLT
I had said my goodbye already and seeing him again in this moment, crushed me. I was so happy to see him again, but I wanted to just reach down and pick him up and never let him go. I tried again to be strong and not let her see me upset or sad. I said goodbye to Jamie as my mom pulled up and the nurse wheeled me out. I couldn't bring myself to say goodbye to Paxton again.
As I pulled myself into the car, I said goodbye to the nurse that had showered me with kind words, looked at my mom that had already put on her sunglasses, shut the door, and then automatically sank into my seat.
I was hurting and I was angry. I felt so cold inside and to make it worse... The sun was shining... Making me mad at God. To myself, I began to ask God why he would allow the sun to shine on such a sad day? I felt as though God was happy and it wasn't fair that he would be happy when he knew I was hurting. Trying to position myself so I couldn't see the sun, I began to let the tears fall. I tightened the muscles in my face, as though I was in agony... But it was not my body, rather my soul that felt defeated.
The car ride felt so long. I just wanted to be home. I wanted to hide from the world. I wanted to let my guard down... I wanted to just give it to God... But I couldn't stop my heart from hurting.
When we pulled into the driveway, after a long silent car ride, my mom and I both got out of the car.. Still speechless. My body felt so heavy. I walked slowly, dragging myself into the house. Opening the door was even difficult, I just left it open so my mom could come in... I was becoming so weak... My legs shuffled along the carpet toward my bedroom. Was I dreaming? Why didn't I have control of my body? I made it to my room just in time... My knees gave out and I found myself falling into my bed. Collapsing in my grief.
Like a volcano... Sobs erupted... Deep, gasping sobs from my core... I let go...Breaking down, Giving up- I put my broken heart on my sleeve for God to mend.
My mom came in and broke down with me--our broken hearts on display to each other. She held me as I uncontrollably wept. And together, we pushed through the suffering.
"Look upon my suffering and rescue me,
for I have not forgotten your instructions." Psalm 119:153 NLT
After laying in bed all day, I felt as if i would be in distress forever...
However, through my tears I knew what I had to do... Painfully, I completely surrendered the Hole in my heart that Paxton had been filling to God and in no time...God reached down his comforting hand and Picking me up in my brokenness... I began to heal.
"And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace. Your suffering is over.” Mark 5:34 NLT
"Through Humility a Son is Given" - Jamie's Take
After an eventful early morning. I awoke at 11 a.m. after falling asleep a few hours earlier with a migraine. It was either a lack of sleep or the stress I felt that had brought it on. I was a million emotions - but was quickly brought to one - when my husband entered the room with roses. It was Valentine's Day. Pax's original due date was today..and we were taking him home today. I was even more proud of Ben because he was coming from Lesa’s room from giving her flowers. He was going to be a great provider - an incredible father. I knew he loved Lesa and this was the only way he was comfortable to tell her. He was grateful, he was in love with her child, he was humbled.
I took some time alone, locking myself in our hospital bathroom - doing a devotion and praying. I wept in my shower, pathetic and broken. I was going to be taking a baby home, while the woman I, we, had fell in love with went home empty handed...
The day couldn't go by fast enough. We met with our Pediatrician - who let us know Pax was healthy and ready to go home. All of our hopes (including Lesa's) was that he would be discharged before Lesa. But as the day dragged on and with no bonding time with Pax (I realize this sounds selfish but being honest) and with the constant feeling that if we did get time it would take away from hers, we cuddled on the bed. I would weep in frustration and conviction. With every new hour came with it was a new nurse who had no idea what was going on and would need to be updated on our 'circumstance' only belating the 'release.' Discharges in themselves take seemingly forever, then tack on legal logistics.
We finally received answers at about 3 p.m. We met with Lesa's lawyer that we provided for her and with the hospital social worker. After many questions and statements, Lesa's lawyer suggested we cover certain costs that we hadn't originally agreed on which we were willing to do - especially after we had already created a bond with Pax - there was not much we wouldn't do. The hospital social worker took Ben and my i.d's - only to question mine after seeing blonde hair on my drivers license and starring into the eyes of a current red head. She had to leave and 'run it through' with Lesa. People sometimes. Honestly I was annoyed - my profession as a hair stylist was coming between us and the swift release of our son.
Lesa and her mom were getting in their time with Paxton. At this point no one knew that we would see each other as much - all we knew is it was going to be about twice a year, so I was trying to be respectful. They were making trips back and forth to the nursery to get his feet and hand prints. My body ached. I can't take her baby away while at the same time I couldn't wait to get my hands all over him. I couldn't wait to lay him down in our bed and snuggle as a family. But she was so happy - holding him and walking back and forth past our door with him.
"being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience" - Colossians 1:11
I felt like the hospital was making it worse and dragging it out.
Then finally, about 4:45 I entered Lesa's room to say goodbye. We were free to leave.
I wanted to honor her time with him but it was time for him to come home. I realize the rest of what I type may seem heartless, that's not my intent. Lesa knows the Lord directed her to this decision and I knew I had supernaturally birthed Pax from my heart. He was ours. I was his mother and Ben was his father. Lesa meant more to me than any other person in the whole planet. Her faith and obedience is a daily conviction to me. I'm a mother because of her sacrifice.
With the news, Lesa took more pictures with Pax and handed us copies of his foot and hand prints. As her nurse came in with papers it seemed Lesa was now also being released.
We all dreaded this. We had asked all the several nurses we had to talked to that we all (including Lesa) wanted us to be released way before her. Now we were leaving together - making good byes impossible.
Lesa eventually made it to our room - as Ben was finishing up loading the car. She kissed him tons and then laid him in his carseat that was sitting on our bed. She began to strap him in when he started to cry. She couldn’t handle leaving him with his last moments being ones of tears. I stepped in, with the prompting of Ben’s nudge and began to help her strap him in. My heart sank and my body went cold. We hugged.
We said good byes. And let Lesa and her mom have some last moments with Pax. As we were headed out the door - Lesa’s nurse showed up at our door with her wheelchair.
Don’t get me wrong, I was mega grateful to have been so well taking care of at the hospital. Later finding out that our stay was free of the hospital. But the complexities having so many shift changes and some nurses who weren’t willing to understand what was going on only to keep Ben and I aloof in hopes of not breaking HIPA, was frustrating.
Lesa was strolled down before us (against all our requests) - so we stalled to give her time to catch an elevator to the first floor and get their car. However as we left the hospital we ran into her again in the main lobby. She was in her wheel chair waiting for her mother to pull up - holding only the flowers Ben had gave her this morning. Our stomachs fell to the floor and both our hearts broke. We were walking out with a diaper bag, flowers and a baby in a brand new carseat.
We stopped to say one last good bye. But Lesa was colder. She was still sweet - but it was as if she had already begun preparing her heart to seperate from him for a time with every foot of distance she took away from him. Her mother pulled up seconds later. Ben had went to get the car - while Lesa, her nurse and Pax and I waited. I watched her get loaded in her car. She seemed limp and lifeless - only giving a bleek smile at us before shutting the door.
Ben pulled up right she pulled away.
As we left the hospital with Pax and his things all snuggled in, I began to take a million pictures and texting them to everyone. We were on our way home (well our friend’s) with our firsts child. Halfway home I texted Lesa and thanked her. I had so much gratitude for her - I didn't want her to think I was done with her. At the same time it was our time to begin bonding with him.
Immediately after getting to our friend’s, Pax was naked and him and I were doing skin on skin, while Ben unloaded that car. He then joined us on the bed for our first of many family moments. We layed with him till our friend’s got home and our first visitors arrived a few hours later. I couldn't stop starring at him, smelling him and kissing him. Ben and I were addicted. Our guests would hold him and I would die inside waiting to get my hands back on him. God is good to us.
The first night was the most beautiful night home ever. He slept every 2-3 hours and wanted to eat and be changed and fall back asleep. It took us a bit to get him situated in his bassinet as I preferred to just hold him. Ben was great too. He was a bit nervous to pat his back to burp him and was trying to get an idea on the most comfortable way to hold him. We took lots of pictures.
That morning Ben had to work then planned on spending time at our home to work on the water issue. I on the otherhand I had all day with the little guy. Pax slept in his bassinet near the window because he was a little jaundice on his little baby nose and fingers. I couldn't get enough. Pax would lay next to me as I would take picture after picture and listening to worship music on our computer. God was present and more than evident to me. I would send pictures to Ben upon is consistent requests. My heart went out to him. He was working so hard and away from his babes.
At about 4 in the afternoon I finally heard back from Lesa. I had been texting and sending her pictures all day and sending her scriptures and my prayers for her. She was hurting but assured me it was what she wanted. The mommy in me wanted to comfort her - but the Lord wanted to do that. He wanted to restore her. So I sent my love and let her know I was available to talk whenever she needed.
"Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion.." - Phillippians 2:1
Ben couldn't of got home fast enough - he wanted his hands on that baby so bad. I remember falling even more in love with him as he held his baby in such pride and gratefulness. He wanted the whole evening with him in his arms and me next to him.
We were a family.
"Humility is the fear of the LORD; its wages are riches and honor and life." -Proverbs 22:4
God was Good. But it came with a cost. Jesus paid it years ago - and Lesa followed behind - humbling herself and carrying her cross. Her obedience blessed a couple, as well as a son - who was given to a woman ready to have a baby and a father who was desperate to love a son. She made the decision to deny herself because of her love for her Father and for her son. I'm forever grateful and indebted.
"I served the Lord with great humility and with tears and in the midst of severe testing.." - Acts 20:19
The Ward Family est. 2/14/2011