I Have A Say Thanks to My Mom and Dad!!!

Being the oldest of 11, I am so thankful, especially now, for my Mom and Dad saying "yes" to life! Growing up, we never had a ton of money. My Dad was a high school chemistry teacher and my parents decided from the beginning that they wanted to have one of them home with us. My mom gave up her teaching career, and raised me, followed by 10 others! My Mom also taught all 11 of us at home for part of our childhood before we would head off to Nativity Catholic Grade School. My Dad worked long hours, eventually earning other degrees so that he could first become dean, then principal, and finally, when I was a sophomore, he was named Roncalli High School's first president. My Dad and Mom both sacrificed SO MUCH for us.

I remember, even as a young person, getting stared at by people, and I remember the comments they would make. I can still hear a dental receptionist asking my Mom "Are these all yours? You know how children are made right?" followed by a real insidious but ditzy chuckle, followed by a secretarial gum crackle. My Mom and Dad were always tight budget wise, and I'm sure at times ached with a desire to not have to take bags of clothes from other families so that we could have clothes. I'm sure my Mom and Dad had desires to simply go to Nordstrom and buy us and give us all our own new clothes and Gameboys and Reebok Pumps etc. I'm sure they at times really wished they could just get a new car and not have to drive a fifteen passenger van around. I'm sure at times they wanted really badly to just go to a restaurant and sit back and enjoy a big expensive meal instead of having to cut coupons and craft together economic meals on the stove.

But they chose life for us, and they chose sacrifice for themselves.

I often think about that ditzy secretary now when our family gets together almost every weekend for dinner to laugh and hang out. Some of the siblings might be out of town or busy with other obligations, but inevitably, all weekend long, every weekend, our family gets together. Sometimes, when we're out at a restaraunt, I see the couples who are alone with each other. They hardly talk to each other and the loneliness is palpable. A part of me feels bad that we're having so much fun with our 8 tables shoved together, telling stories, laughing good hearty and healthy laughs. Sometimes I wonder if one of the couples sitting in the restaurant quietly and solemnly is that dental secretary - who now has piles of money and can eat wherever she wants, but doesn't have hardly anyone to share it with. My heart breaks for the people who are alone, especially the ones who are alone because, when they could have been having children, they instead bought into the contraception lie and lived for themselves only.

I have a say today, and so do my ten younger brothers and sisters, because my parents chose life. Mom and Dad - thanks a million!!!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Catherine was Told to Abort but She Has a Say

As a Mother Who Was Told to Abort - I Have a Say

For years, I was told I was infertile, incapable of becoming pregnant. The cause was unknown.

I was heartbroken, but accepted that it was God's will for my life.

In my mid thirties, when I was diagnosed with an auto immune disease, I was put on high doses of steroids, a medication called plaquenil, and some pain killers to take if I need them. These medications did their job. Slowly but surely my body stopped attacking itself, and began to heal. Unbeknownst to me, these medications also allowed my body to conceive a child. I was so focused on my new diagnoses, I hadn't even considered pregnancy. I was more than 8 weeks along before it occurred to me that I was probably pregnant. When a test confirmed my suspicions, I was shocked! I consulted with an OB over the phone who reassured me, and made an appointment to see my rheumatologist the next day.

I was completely unprepared for that doctor's visit. He chastised me for being irresponsible. He threw a pen across the room in disgust, slammed down my chart, and told me that if I didn't abort the pregnancy I would lose the baby anyway, and probably destroy my kidneys in the process. For good measure, he added in that if that wasn't enough, the medications I had been taking would probably cause the baby to be deformed. (Oh, dear, he believed imperfect children should never be born.. how shocking! )

I fired that doctor on the spot, but left his office in tears, traumatized. How could anyone be so heartless?

My next appointment was with a neonatologist who specialized in high risk pregnancies. We started our visit with a discussion. He was honest. Yes, these were not ideal circumstances, but he was completely supportive of my decision NOT to abort. He promised to do whatever was medically possible to see me to viability, and we both agreed to leave the rest in God's hands.

When we finished our meeting, he conducted an examination which included an ultrasound. It was the first time I saw our twins. Not one, but TWO babies! And according to all measurable standards - they were perfectly formed, and thriving.

As time went on, complications did occur. Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome, and some preterm labor definitely kept me in constant contact with God. We set a goal to get to 18 weeks before I needed to be hospitalized and continuously monitored. At 18 weeks, I was fine! Ultrasounds and other tests two to three times a week continued to amaze everyone. The babies were stable, my kidneys were fine, and my pre-term labor had stopped!

The boys were born at 32 weeks. I was not admitted to the hospital until the day before they were born. They came home after a short stay in the NICU, and have grown and thrived. Today I have strong, healthy, intelligent boys.

It makes me shudder to think that someday in America, another woman in my position may not be deemed worthy of the care I was given. After all, I was sick, and my babies didn't have very good odds of survival.

Any sensible panel would have looked at the numbers and said, no way. Especially considering they were twins, and with the Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome was factored in. Using some sort of statistics rubric, the logical conclusion would be that the babies would have been born as micro preemies and spent months in the NICU.

My children have always been overachievers. They gestated two months longer than expected, and their NICU stay was less than two weeks, rather than the two months that was originally estimated on the day they were born.

The only "imperfection" worth noting is that they have Asperger Syndrome. I'm sure that if they can ever isolate the gene for that, someday, it will be a viable excuse for abortion as well - and what a shame that will be. My boys are beautiful, amazing, and so very loved.

We are a homeschooling family. Our curriculum includes daily lessons in Catholicism. They are being raised to have a say, too. ;)

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