Tuesday, April 10, 2012

This hit home

As many of you know, my husband and I have 3 children - 2 boys and a girl - in that order. When our first born was 5 weeks old he got extremely ill. So ill, he almost died before we could get him transferred from the hospital closest to our home where he had been in intensive care for a week to the Phoenix Children's hospital where specialists (and there were only 2 in the entire state at that time, 1984, that could handle the particular problem our gravely ill child had).

Like the couple in the clip below, our child was hospitalized for a long period of time - for us - 5 months the first time and then many shorter hospitalizations thereafter. His prognosis was dire and his future - uncertain. No one could tell us that he would grow up to be a healthy, happy child with no lifetime residual problems. It was one day at a time and one hell of a stress on my husband and my relatively young marriage.

We got our first clue we were in for an extremely long haul when a group of doctors came into our son's hospital room one day and told us that they strongly recommended we see a counselor and a social worker because what we were in for can really do damage to marriages and often does. Then they continued on with the suggestion that we were welcome to move some of our furniture from home into a "special room" they reserved for the families of children that are going to be there "indefinitely".

I cannot tell you how challenging and how stressful that time in our lives was. I not only agonized over our very sick baby and his very uncertain future, but I agonized over whether our marriage could handle the challenges we had ahead of us.

Then going home, was yet another unbelievable challenge. They did not feel we should take our child home just yet, and we felt we should. We knew we had no experience managing the broviac central line he had implanted in a large vein so that meds and blood products could be administered directly into the bloodstream or the feeding tube he needed because he couldn't eat. But keeping him in the hospital had become a one step forward, 2 steps back dance because of all the secondary infections our poor little baby with the compromised immune system kept falling prey to in that very germ-y environment.

After many battles, even one in which we threatened to remove our child from every machine he was connected to and steal him away in the dark of the night if they dared give him a blood transfusion using blood that did not come from a family member. This was was 1984 and they actually told us they would give him the transfusion if they felt he needed it and we could not stop them. Our fear was that HIV was newly on the scene and they would have to use untested blood. Tests for HIV did not come available until 1985. We did, by the way, win that battle and had doctors we'd just stood toe to toe screaming in their faces later tell us they would have done the same thing. We also succeeded in talking them into training us to care for our son at home, something they had never done before.

So home we went, relieved to be out of the hospital, but scared about saying good bye to the safety net we'd depended on in the hospital. But thankfully, our son slowly started to get better and we slowly got more confident that our child was going to be ok.

But like the couple in the clip below, there are other problems that come with severely sick infants. They are usually developmentally delayed, and in our case and the couple below's case, our child could not eat. He had to learn how to eat - a challenge of epic proportions. Who knew?

Our marriage made it, but many do not. Our child made it, in fact he eventually thrived and excelled in every thing he did. And we were finally able to redefine normal for us to mean something closer to what other couples take for granted.

So seeing this clip below hit me on so many levels. I KNOW without a doubt what this loving, beautiful couple went through, sacrificed, and laid in bed at night and worried themselves sick about. I know the lack of sleep and barely being able to put one foot in front of the other but doing it because a very sick child requires it, I know the major celebrations and tears of joy over tiny victories like getting our child to put a piece of banana to his mouth, at almost 2 years of age, and eat it and keep it down.

And I KNOW that this loving, beautiful lesbian couple could teach straight married couples a thing or two about love, marriage, sacrifice, and parenting.

I have to agree with Patrick when he so aptly says:
How does Ross Douthat, who argues that well-adjusted individuals have a duty to bring children into this world, square that position with his opposition to marriage equality? If the tender loving care shown in the video above below {correction mine} isn't an example of model parenting, I don't know what is.
But I would not just single out Ross Douthat on this, I'd be dragging out the so-called marriage protectors from NOM, the Hierarchy of the Catholic Church, the Mormon Church, and all those faux Family Advocacy organizations who only advocate for families that fit their very narrow template and I'd ask them to watch this clip below and tell me why they believe this amazing couple doesn't deserve to be parents because I'll be damned if I can figure out why.


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