I recently wrote a post, Not Like This where I explored my feelings about how hard it would be to have your baby die in a very busy, very public situation, like a NICU. What I didn’t tell you is that my husband and I had to go through the mental exercise of making decisions about a Do Not Resuscitate order and removing our child from life support. We had been counseled that it was better to know what you would want to do prior to a situation arising, than to be forced to make huge decisions in a highly-charged emotional state of mind (uh, yeah, like I wasn’t already in that state of mind...)
Take a minute to try to imagine your child being kept alive by a ventilator... his brain’s neurons no longer firing or his heart beyond repair.
It wasn’t hard for me to conjure up. Not even two weeks earlier the mother of a five month old baby girl who had aspirated on spit up during a nap, brought me in to “meet” her child... a baby who was alive now only because of a machine that pushed air in and out of her lungs. There was no need for the t-bone clip to keep the vent in place because this baby wouldn’t fight the tube... this baby would never fight anything again. She looked like she was sound asleep. If only.
Standing there, I remembered with guilty intimacy the guttural cries that had come from this young woman just days earlier when the neurologist broke the news to her that her baby was brain-dead. “No,” she had wailed, “noooo, noooo, noooo” Over and over and over again the protest rose from deep within her, and it had sunk and curdled inside of me. It happened on a Friday night around 9 p.m. My own sick baby was asleep in her PICU crib. I heard that sound, that mother’s anguish, and I had to leave. I went home. I could go home, but I could never abdicate my involuntary and unfortunate role of witness.
My husband and I pretended to make up our minds about various scenarios. I won’t drag you to tears with all the details. I’ll share just one. I would be the one to do it, to take the vent out. Because I couldn't live with the memory of someone else doing it.
So what’s the difference between Dr. Tiller, the respiratory therapist that extubated that five month old and ended her life, and me? If the situation is one where the baby will, without a doubt, not be viable after birth (off the mommy-vent), then is it so wrong for the parents to want a private death?
Reorganization Motivation to Lift Your Organizing Spirits - The following is a guest post on reorganization motivation from regular contributor, Rachel at Useful Beautiful Home. I’ve tried writing this post several...