In 2007, the due date for my son was May 2nd. Shiloh Stone Maxwell Adams was born January 10, 2007, weighing 1 lb 4 oz. It was by far the greatest day of my life. That morning was very chaotic nothing seemed to flow. My wife had not seen her Dr for a few days and we in fact had only been communicating and visiting with the Dr. on call, who fate would have it was a friend from college. I don’t know if Shiloh would have survived his first few seconds without Dr. Diggs.
It’s hard to forget the swirling chaos…the NICU staff setting up to receive Shiloh once delivered. I will never forget the solemn faces, tears, and the electricity of the moment. But what I remember, what I dwell on is how the room went silent when our Dr. turned on some music. I do recall it was a gospel song, but I never sought out the name or artist. Perhaps I’ve intentionally avoided finding out, maybe as a way to use my memory to live outside the moment because hearing the song over and over would place me too deep in the fear and uncertainty of that moment.
My life began at that moment, but my journey did not begin until my son passed away 6 ½ months later. Now, 5 years later, everything has come full circle. Shiloh would be turning 5 on January 10, 2012, and although I can’t hug him, I can feel his loving embrace. It’s because of his strength and courage that I’m hear today. From the first time to the last time I stared in to his big brown eyes, he has inspired me to be better, do better and anyone fortunate enough to spend time with him immediately felt their life change. He was and is special and he taught me several things during his short visit with us.
A preterm birth is difficult to get your head around, and it absolutely brings you to the brink of insanity to think about infant mortality. I’ve lived through both and they are real, but I’ve discovered that you are not defined by what you go through, but how you go through it. I’m doing this to honor Shiloh courage, strength, and determination. Because that’s what you need to get through this thing called life. Shiloh taught me that everything comes at a price…the good and bad.
I ride for Shiloh is my journey back to forward. Riding a bike to do it represents my life’s lesson. You have to stay in the moment, your life depends on it; there’s no gear for reverse; look up the road, but not too far; and maintaining a good pace is the only way to reach your destination.
Me and Shiloh are going to “push, pull, lift, and kick” infant mortality in the gut. Will you join us?