Mom to Maximus Wright Bloom
Born March 1, 2011 and died March 12, 2011
San Francisco, California
My second pregnancy was uneventful. I did not have high blood pressure like I did with my first pregnancy. I did not have to be hospitalized like I did with my first pregnancy (for a placenta tear). The pregnancy, while tiring, since I was now running around after a toddler, was as perfect as can be. All the tests that were done came back normal.
I went into labor exactly three days before my due date, just as I had with my first son. At 4:30pm the contractions really began and my husband came home. For the next couple of hours we timed them and I sat on my balance ball trying to find some relief. I had my girlfriend coming over at 7pm right after we put Matty to bed. At 6:30pm, bath time, the contractions grew more intense, but I thought that I could hold on for thirty more minutes. Matty insisted that I take a bath with him, which helped.
At 7pm I hobbled to the car as my girlfriend was walking up the stairs; I could hardly speak. Josh called Labor & Delivery from the car to let them know that we were on our way. He dropped me off in front of the emergency room and I insisted that they wheel me directly up to Labor & Delivery. Max arrived 40 minutes later. The delivery was uneventful. I was shocked to have Max immediately on my chest. He was so perfect. For hours after the delivery, I could not sleep…I just stared at my beautiful baby boy.
I could not wait to go home. Labor & Delivery was crowded and I was sharing a room with a first time mom. Plus, I could not wait to introduce Matty to his baby brother. All the newborn tests came back normal and we were discharged to go home. My mom and Josh picked us up the next day. The next day we took Max to his first check up at the breastfeeding clinic. They said that I was doing a great job and Max was getting plenty of breast milk.
That Sunday morning we had a Brit Shalom for Max (a ceremony without a circumcision). All of our close friends and some of our family were there. It was a beautiful ceremony. We were so happy.
On Saturday morning the 12th Max and I decided to go with Matty (and Josh and his mom) to his gymnastics class. I was so proud showing my beautiful baby boy off to everyone. After gymnastics class, we decided to go to the zoo because it was a sunny, beautiful day. Matty loves the zoo and he could not wait to bring his new baby brother; he had been talking about it for months. We saw the lemurs and the made our way to the train stopping to look at the animals on the way. Matty rode the train a couple of times and we started to make our way to the petting zoo.
Along the way I had a weird feeling and I wanted to check on Max. He had been sleeping on me in the Moby for the last hour since we arrived at the zoo. Josh helped me pull him out and we noticed the blood around his mouth. He was unconscious. I was in a state of shock. I don’t remember moving. Josh’s mom rushed Matty into the photo booth; he did not see a thing. Josh rushed Max to the table and began infant CPR with an off duty EMT and a pediatrician who were passing by. I called 911 and stayed on the phone with them until they arrived. I saw the color come back to Max, his chest rise and fall and the pediatrician called out his pulse. Josh thought that years from now we would be able to tell Max about the day we saved his life.
But when the EMTs from the fire department arrived he was unconscious again and was never again revived. There was only room in the ambulance for one of us and I was too much in shock. Josh went. I was so scared that I somehow hurt my baby boy- did I suffocate him? Did I break his neck? But when he arrived at the ER they announced that it was “non-traumatic” (there were no signs of any outside trauma). I still could not understand. I must have done something. Was it the Moby wrap? I had not used one with Matty.
When Josh arrived at the ER he told them, “I am so worried about Jody…if Max doesn’t make it…” When I arrived with Matty and Josh’s mom (they took us in their fire truck), they were administering their sixth epinephrine to Max. They had not stopped CPR. There was a team of twenty doctors all surrounding him and I was beside him holding his hand and calling his name over and over. They said there was nothing more they could do. They stopped doing CPR and called his time of death.
They said they were getting a room ready so we could spend some time with Max. I remember just wanting to be with my Matty and get out of the hospital. Matty was with a team of nurses and a social worker who he was entertaining.
They presented us with a box that had Max’s hand and foot prints and Matty’s hand prints; later we would get Matty’s foot prints. It had a lock of Max’s strawberry blond hair and a blue ribbon measuring his length. Josh and I met with someone from the medical examiner’s office, giving our report of the day. We met with a social worker that gave us some advice of what to say to Matty. And we held our little boy. But he already felt so cold. I think Josh could’ve stayed much longer. I just wanted to run away.
The four of us took a taxi home and looking out the window saw the rest of the city enjoying a beautiful sunny day. We got home and Josh quickly put away all of the baby stuff into the basement. All our family began to arrive. How come it takes a tragedy for everyone to come? Why couldn’t they all be here to celebrate Max at his Brit Shalom?
A couple days later we realized we wanted reminders of Max around the house. We went to Walgreens and printed out pictures and framed them and put a picture of Max next to each of our beds. He was buried amidst friends and family on Thursday March 17th at the Eternal Home Cemetery in Colma, CA.
Here are the eulogies that were read for him:
From his Father:
Family and Friends,
We gather together in times of both happiness and sorrow. It was only 5 days ago that many of you celebrated and welcomed our new baby boy to this world during his Brit Shalom ceremony.
I felt so proud… holding our new boy and bestowing his Hebrew name Maor. Maor means light and that is what he brought into our lives.
The short 11 days that Max was with us were filled with all the wonder, fun, all the tiredness you could hope for as a parent. We saw color-changing poops and we cheered, we saw smiles in his sleep and we cried.
Matty was so excited to be an older brother. Leading up to the birth, he practiced each day with a doll, and told us he would sing to baby goo goo and rock him in his swing. When Max arrived, Matty was both shocked and happy. I never saw any jealousy from him, just always wanting to know where Baby Max was and if he could hold him. We were so blessed.
Aunt Nina, Aunt Kari, Safti, and Bubbe’ were among those lucky enough to come and spend time with our growing family. Everyone saw our joy.
Jody and I thought that the broad strokes of our family story had been laid down, and it was up to us now to fill in the smaller details.
Maximus and Mattathias were our Princes, we would raise them as brothers and when our work was done they would set out and conquer their own worlds.
But our plans, as much and as hard as we can wish aren’t enough to sway the vagaries of this universe. Now our story, our family legend, has a deep tragedy in it. It may not be the first and it may not be the last. Our lives are an awesome and wonderful mystery, but the other end of mystery is the awful and tragic.
Now sorrow tears my heart and hope strives to mend it.
We will face this trial, like we’ve faced all of our lives so far, with optimism, faith in each other, faith in our fellow people, and a deep unyielding hope for the future.
“Good night, sweet prince; and flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.”
From his Mother:
My Sweet Baby Max,
I couldn’t wait to meet you. When you arrived, your Dad and I were in awe. You were so beautiful. I loved kissing your cheeks and holding you close. I loved sleeping with you, having you curl up close to me, watching you smile and once even laugh. I miss your smell and your big steel blue eyes taking in the world around you. You were so little it was hard to find clothes to fit you, but you were so strong. When Daddy put you on your stomach in the crib you were able to lift and turn your head. Whenever I tried to burp you, you were able to push back against me so you could lay down again.
Matty was so excited to be your big brother. We got Matty a baby boy doll that he named himself, baby Max, before your Dad and I even chose your name. He practiced moving his baby Max doll from the swing to the vibrating seat, and he told us “when baby Max is born, he will like the swing.” And you did. You liked being rocked in the swing, but you loved being walked around in our arms most of all.
Oh Maxie, we’re just crushed without you. Matty told us he can get you back and your Dad and I wish more than anything that he could. We will always have a special place in our hearts for you, our sweet strawberry blonde baby boy.
I love you more than words could say,
“There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.”
– Leonard Cohen
Jody blogs at http://findingsupport.wordpress.com (Within the blog, all of the names have been changed.)
You can contact Jody at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can read the Max’s eulogies from his parents online at http://jbloomdesign.com/maximus.