Thursday, March 20, 2014

Jaxon's story

So, at the dinner last week, one of the moms was telling me about a project that she started.  She was going to make a book to go in the Hope Boxes that would include some of the stories of hope moms and their babies.  She said she would love for me to submit my story for the book!  I was thrilled!  Mostly at first because I get to share my boy with people who will genuinely appreciate hearing about him.  But not only that, but this would be a chance to help someone.  Someone with a similar story could read about our story and connect to it and feel like she is not alone.  Kate said something recently that hit the nail on the head. We like reading about other people with similar stories because we get to borrow their hope.  Yes!  Exactly.  You are so lost, you don't know what to think or feel.  The grief is all consuming at first.  These stories help tremendously.

So, I want to share with you what I submitted to her…

            My name is Michelle Garza and I have a beautiful son, Jaxon Nicolas, who lives in heaven with Jesus.
I will always remember the way he would constantly push up on my ribs.  It was like he was asking me, “Mom sit up straight, pleeeeease!  You’re squishing me!”  I remember asking my midwife if she could guess how long he was, because it was like he never had enough room.  I was only about 6 months along at the time, so in my mind I’m thinking he HAS to be long.  I will never forget her answer, “No honey, you’re just short!”  Yea, we’ll see is what I knowingly smirked back at her in my head.
My husband and I chose to welcome Jaxon, into this world at a birthing center in downtown Dallas.  I felt safe there because we were 3 minutes from the Big Baylor hospital just in case of an emergency.  But, I felt even safer at the birthing center because I knew I wouldn’t be pressured into using Pitocin, an epidural, or having an unnecessary C-section.  I wanted a drug-free labor so that my baby would latch on immediately and we could successfully breast-feed for as long as we wanted.  I prepared for the pain with an 8-week birthing class, read the books, bought the essential oils, and we had the recipe for homemade “labor-ade” (which I never had the time to make.)  Yes, I was “crunchy,” and I had the false assumption that if I did all of these things, nothing bad could possibly happen.  I thought I was in control.    
The day before I reached 38 weeks, everything began to change.  I went in for what I thought would be a quick check-up.  Well, not quite.  My blood pressure was noticeably higher than the week before.  Not hypertension yet, but my midwife wanted to do a couple of extra checks.  She started pressing on my belly, smooshing Jaxon around, trying to get a feel for his size.  After surprisingly feeling that he was smaller than he should be, she scheduled a sonogram for me the same afternoon.   
What they found was my amniotic fluid was low and Jaxon was measuring at only 5 ½ lbs.  I thought, no way that’s possible!  He’s constantly pushing up on me!  I was ordered to go home and lay on my left side, rest and drink lots of water, and they would check me again in 3 days.  If my fluid level didn’t improve, I would be induced.  I drank water non-stop because in my head I pictured I was building up my amniotic fluid and I was going to make it safe for Jaxon.  I was still in control. 
So there I was, 3 days later on the morning of Nov. 12, absolutely sure that my fluid level had gone up, happy to see my baby on the screen again, and anxious to hear that everything was back on track.  All too quickly my heart froze in fear as I heard the news that my fluid level dropped even further and they indeed were going to induce me.  My pulse then shot through the roof and I was on the verge of tears, but I trusted that they were making the right call and I went along with the new plan. 
My midwife began the induction that day at noon, with a Cook double balloon catheter that is used to thin and dilate the cervix.  Not to worry, there were no drugs used and this was perfectly safe and is common with midwives.  I was told to go home and rest and that I could expect some cramping, but more than likely, I would not go into labor just yet.  I was supposed to remove the catheter after 12 hours and then I would go back to see her in the morning after getting some sleep. 
Well, my labor began about 4 hours later, and by 12:45am we were at the birthing center in active labor.  My midwife turned on the Doppler several minutes after we arrived and started moving the jelly around in search of a heartbeat.  Jaxon’s heartbeat was never hard to find before, but she was struggling to find it.  This wasn’t happening and I wasn’t even entertaining the thought of something so horrible.  She called the dr. at Baylor and we rushed over.  I still wasn’t entertaining the thought.  Jaxon was fine.  I started to pray.  I told my husband to text everyone and ask them to pray.  If we did this everything would be fine. 
The sonogram room at Baylor was dim and cold.  I climbed up on the table, laid on my back (which was absolutely the worst position my laboring body wanted to be in), and grabbed for my husband’s hand.  I will never forget the fear of those searching eyes in that moment.  My midwife’s eyes, my husband’s eyes, the eyes of the sonographer and the nurses in the room.  My husband fell to his knees and wailed, he already knew.  The last time we felt Jaxon moving was around 9:45pm.  My husband knew his son.  He would kiss the bottom of my belly where Jaxon’s head was and in response, Jaxon would jump and kick up.  It was very noticeable.  Between the hours of 9:45pm and 12:45am, my boy passed away.  We were almost there.  I keep the memories of that night locked up in the vault.  With tears falling down my cheeks, I write this with such indescribable pain, I have no words other than my God, why?  
In this brokenness, I have pleaded with God to perform a miracle and just rewind time so I could go back and change what happened.  I’ve been so angry with Him because He didn’t save Jaxon.  I want the sweet illusion of control back.  I have so many questions, and most of them are simply questions that I won’t have an answer to until I reach the other side of heaven.  My faith was shaken to its core, and all that was left standing was its bare foundation.  I had to choose between resentment and thanksgiving, anger and hope.  I am still learning that if I want to find peace, I have to give up trying to control and I have to trust. 
I delivered my firstborn on November 13, 2013 just a week and a half shy of his due date.  We don’t have any concrete evidence of what happened, but we suspect that his cord was pinched.  Jaxon was a healthy baby boy, weighing 6 lbs. 12 oz. and 22 inches long.  I got confirmation of something that I already knew- Jaxon was going to be a tall boy after all, just like his daddy.  He had his daddy’s facial features for the most part, but I can claim his pudgy, pointy chin.  Oh, and I will also proudly claim his perfect little feet.  Oh, how I miss those baby toes.  I will forever remember the color of his hair, or rather colors of his hair.  He was blessed with not just brown, not just blonde, but also with red hair!!  Wild, colorful hair- a perfect match for his wild, colorful personality.   
In the weeks after Jaxon’s death, I was told many times, “Jaxon only felt love.  Jaxon is in a better place.  Jaxon has touched so many lives, what a legacy!”  I do deeply appreciate the kind words and know these things are said in purest sincerity to make me feel better, but there has only been one thing that offered me true comfort.  God finds ways to remind me, “you will see Jaxon again.”
It took me some time before I opened my Jesus Calling devotional by Sarah Young again, and I’m so glad I did.  I turned back to November 13th, the day that changed it all for me, and this verse was waiting for me-
 “I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in Him.  Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13
When I read those words, I could hear a soft whisper in my ear, “I promise you, you will see your son again.  I know what it feels like to lose a son.  I am crying with you.  I will carry you through this.  You can trust me.  I keep my promises.”  

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