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On August 19, 2014, I started my day going back to work for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, and I ended my day as a father to a newborn baby boy. My son, Maxwell, now known as Super Mighty Max, was born at 32 weeks and 5 days. He was originally going to be named, Maxwell Brandon McAfee, but after the circumstances surrounding his birth, I felt led (inspired by God) to name him Maxwell Immanuel McAfee.
For those of you who are new to our story, Maxwell is my 3rd and youngest child; he has an older brother (Brandon Jr.) and sister (Brielle) in heaven, so I was really really praying that he would make it out of the hospital alive. It’s obvious that he made it home alive, however what you may not know is, he was born with HIE. According to the Birth Injury Guide, HIE is a brain dysfunction caused by a reduction in the supply of oxygen to the brain and other organs (hypoxia), compounded by low blood flow to vital organs (ischemia). Encephalopathy refers to any condition that results from reduced blood and oxygen supply to the brain. I hope you understood all of that.
Nonetheless, during his birth, I had to wait outside the delivery room, because my wife had to have an emergency delivery and while one of the nurses told me that they would give me updates of the birthing process, the updates didn’t come until much later. Instead, I had to read in between the lines, which were nurses, doctors, and others scurrying in and out of the room in a state of worry and anxiety. Since most of the doctors and staff at Carolinas Medical Center-University knew our history, I had to believe that they didn’t want to witness my wife and I lose another child, thus the reason for worry.
While I don’t know if they were worried or not, I know for sure that I was, in fact worried is an understatement. All I could think was, “No, not again. Please don’t let another child die. We can’t take another loss. Please Lord, go into that operating room.” My emotions and thoughts were all over the place! My emotions and thoughts were all over the place, until a calm came over me; at that moment, I knew that the presence of God was in the room. The Holy Spirit told me, “God is with your wife and son. Don’t worry, relax, God is with them.” Immediately, right there outside the operating room, I began to praise God in advance for being with my family and bringing them out alive and safe. They were still be operated on, but my spirit knew they would be okay, because God was with them.
Fast forward a few hours, the lady at the hospital is now asking me what the name of my son is going to be, I thought about it for a few and then I remembered how God was with them (wife and son) a few hours ago. His name will be Maxwell Immanuel McAfee because God was with him during his birth. The Good News is, God has continued to be with Maxwell, even when I doubted. See, originally, I felt that God being with him, would = (equal) total healing, normal development, no problems, and a typical life for Maxwell.
Unfortunately, total healing, normal development, no problems, and a typical life for Maxwell, has not been our reality. Maxwell has been in and out of hospitals, delayed in his development, had multiple surgeries (with more recommended), seizures, viruses, allergies, and other conditions that are hard to pronounce. Yet, through it all, I’ve finally realized, that no matter what Super Mighty Max has to experience, his name is Immanuel and God is still with him. Yes, I still pray for healing and restoration, but healing doesn’t symbolize the presence of God! God is with us no matter what! In the hospital, in surgery, in therapy, at hundreds of doctor’s appointments, in church, with a feeding tube, or at home in his crib; God is and has always been with Maxwell Immanuel McAfee!
I Love Super Mighty Max,
I’m Erica, Maxwell’s mom who is also known as Max. Welcome to Super Mighty Max dot com, where we will focus on sharing stories of special needs kids who are super, mighty, and blessed and sharing our story of our journey with Max. We are launching this site on Max’s 1st Birthday, August 19th to write and share our experiences with a special needs child.
What is special needs? Isn’t every kid special?
From Kids Health dot org
This means any kid who might need extra help because of a medical, emotional, or learning problem. These kids have special needs because they might need medicine, therapy, or extra help in school — stuff other kids don’t typically need or only need once in a while.
Maybe you know of kids in your school who need a wheelchair or use braces when they walk. Those kids have special needs. They not only need the equipment that helps them get around, but they might need to have ramps or elevators available. They also might need to get a special bus to school — one that lifts them up into the bus so they don’t have to get up the steps.
Kids who have an illness, such as epilepsy, diabetes, or cerebral palsy, would have special needs, too. They might need medicine or other help as they go about their daily activities. Kids with sightproblems might need Braille books to read. Kids with hearing or speech problems would have special needs, too. A kid who has hearing trouble might need hearing aids to hear and speech therapy, too, since it can be hard to say words correctly when you can’t hear very well.
Kids with learning problems often have special needs. Kids with Down syndrome might go to a regular school and might even be in your class. But they have special needs when it comes to learning, so an aide (someone to help) might come with them to class.
You might be able to spot a few kids with special needs, but you probably don’t notice all of them. A kid could have a problem that isn’t noticeable unless you know the person well. For instance, someone could have trouble with anxiety (worry), but you wouldn’t know it unless the kid told you about it. Privately, their parents, teachers, and counselors may be working to help them with this problem.
So, there you have it you know what special needs mean and we all know how special these kids are to this world.
Please join my husband Brandon and I as we write about our experiences and encourage other parents on this life journey of caring for their super, mighty, and blessed children.
Keep the Faith!