Jonah Goldberg wrote a hard nosed column in reference to Virginia’s Democratic Governor Ralph Northam. By hard nosed I mean calling abortion “baby killing” with no distinction between a full term baby and one newly conceived. A new acquaintance of mine who is a Californian in mourning over the loss of the Republican Party in California offered these thoughts to Mr. Goldberg in response. I don’t know if he published her comments or not but she gave me permission to share them. By the way she considers herself “pro-life.”
To Jonah Goldberg:
“Sorry, your group has really mischaracterized Northam’s remarks. He is a doctor, who has worked up close and personal with parents who have had to make a terrible decision under the worst of circumstances, like my husband and I. We had a baby at 35 weeks that was born live, but with Trisomy 18. Google it, the prognosis is abysmal. We had no clue. I went into early labor at 33 weeks and was hospitalized. The doctors worked very hard to help me keep the baby, while injecting me with drugs to help the baby’s lungs mature, as well as some drug meant to reverse labor. (Sorry, I don’t remember the name, but it makes you exceedingly sick.) I didn’t realize at the time how hard these drugs are on the mother, and could have killed me, but I had already lost two babies due to miscarriage, so I was totally onboard to save my baby. One of the symptoms, which brought on my early labor, was an excessive build up of amniotic fluid, which I learned later is Nature’s way of dispelling an unhealthy fetus. This was ameliorated by putting a tube into the baby’s womb to drain off excessive amniotic fluid. This happened two times over the course of a couple of weeks. The second time, they sent the fluid out for genetic testing. Daily monitoring of the fetal health was done. Before the results came back, they noted that the baby was going into serious fetal distress, so it was necessary to do an emergency C-section. I was not awake during the process, but my husband had been able to get there on time. To this day, he can’t get rid of the shock of the birth of his first child. She was only about 3+ pounds and shriveled and deformed. The hospital put her on life support. You have no idea how hard it is to see your little, sick baby with all these tubes. Two days later, the results came back from the genetic testing – Trisomy 18, with about the worst prognosis that could be. We had a conversation with my OB-Gyn about what our choices might be. We hated the idea of prolonging a life, that truly was not meant to be, with all the tubes and physical intrusion and pain. BTW, after my two miscarriages, I was prescribed a daily progesterone suppository, which was meant to help sustain my 3rd pregnancy, which I did. I would not recommend it, as I feel it helped sustain an unhealthy pregnancy, which would have turned out as an early miscarriage like my other two.) A panel of ethics doctors considered our case. Considering the dismal prognosis of Trisomy 18, we were given permission to allow our daughter to be taken off life support. Maybe the way I am writing this, with 35 years’ hindsight, I am sounding too logical, but, believe me, it was a huge, emotional crisis at the time. She was taken off life support on her third day. I prayed to God that she wouldn’t suffer for too long. Thankfully, she passed within a couple of hours. The next day my doctor came to check on me. He told me that, believe it or not, we were lucky, that worse things could happen. Not exactly the best thing to tell a grieving mother. However, I am 65 now, with two healthy 30-somethings. As horrible as my experience was, life has also shown me that, yes, there are worse things that can happen.
I am writing all this because I feel the extremes of both sides of the question of abortion are too dug in, and talking past each other. And they are both wrong. It is not always a question of black or white. Governor Northam was speaking exactly about people like me, and how things are supposed to happen under the worst of circumstances. Sometimes there are shades of gray, as I am living proof.”
My friend’s comments remind me of an astonishing collection of first person witness on the subject of difficult pregnancies shared with Andrew Sullivan back in 2009 in his blog.
He set them aside after he ended his blog and they can be read on this site titled: Its so personal