I've been struggling to write about something that is both sad and private within my family because I am aware the internet is a public place and it's not my business to air their tragedies. I can't stop thinking about it, though, and it's raised a lot of questions for me.
Basically, a member of my family gave birth to a baby girl the same day as Sam's crash. She was born with only 2 heart chambers and was missing her pulmonary artery. This is a really dire situation, and her mother was actually advised by her doctors to terminate the pregnancy.
Supposedly (and all of this information is like worse than third-hand), one of the mother's friends tried to convince her to carry the baby to term with the argument that even one hour of life would be "worth it" for the baby.
No one told us when the baby was born, and we only found out about it in a Christmas card. We actually didn't even know the mother was pregnant. A photo of a tiny baby fell out of the card, with a brief but optimistic description of her health problems. We called around and got more details, learning the severity of the whole situation.
The deal was, she had to live long enough to get several critical surgeries, and they had to monitor her development along the way in the NICU. I don't know if she was always hooked up to machines (though I can only assume), but the photo showed the baby in her mother's arms. In a recent conversation on the 30th, my father learned she was faring well, that she was responsive, cooing, and exhibiting all the characteristics of healthy neurological development.
Two hours later, he got the call that the baby had died. She lived a little more than three months and that I know of, never left the hospital.
The mother and my family are heartbroken. Her baby was bonding and doing all the things a normal baby does, and obviously she was tremendously attached, especially considering all they'd gone through with her pregnancy. I think they believed she really was going to beat the odds and make it.
I keep mulling over the friend's statement and this concept of being "worth it." What kind of life did this baby have? Did she know happiness? Was there meaning for her, or was her existence mostly reflected in others?
She was a daughter, and she knew her mother. Did she know constant pain and discomfort, too? Was it the simple bliss of a baby who knew no other world? And how must the mother feel now?
I ask myself if I could have ever made the decisions the mother did. Other mothers I've spoken with have said they could never abort a pregnancy late in the term because by that point, you already know your baby, understand who they are, and have bonded with them. A family friend who gave birth to a child with severe Down syndrome has said that even if she knew he would come out that way, she's not sure she could have had an abortion.
How, then, can you know you are doing the right thing for your baby? Is it foolish to pray for a miracle or trust in the benevolence of the universe? Is that what we all do anyway, in the choice to have children?
This is all just terribly sad, and I feel awful for the mother and everyone who's been so close to her through this time. I know I haven't given you many specifics, but if you're the praying type, I think they could really use some prayers out there.