My aunt was just visiting. She enjoys books with very dark themes and story lines. I explained that I have never liked anything especially scary but that during residency and became a total lightweight when it comes to reading. My sister now pre-reads everything for me to make sure NOTHING awful happens. I read a lot of books written for tweens.
My aunt wanted to know what happened that changed that.
A lot did, but I told two stories. One was a horrible accident in which a minivan full of kids and parents was smashed up pretty badly. No one was wearing a seat belt or sitting in a car seat. We were all called to the ER to help. It was awful.
The other was a woman whose baby died at full term…she came into the hospital thinking she was having her baby and I had to tell her that her precious child was dead. I will never forget her gut wrenching sobs. Never.
Those were just two of many incidents that taught me just how precious life is.
When I became pregnant with my son, I would go up to labor and delivery every time I was on call and do a quick ultrasound, standing in the little alcove in the hall where the ultrasound machine was stored. I didn’t care that it was a little ridiculous and someone might see me standing there with my scrub top hoisted above my pregnant belly. I wanted to see that my child was still alive. I would stand there as long as I could, just gazing at that tiny heartbeat, the kicking legs and waving arms. Alive.
After he was born, my greatest fear was that either my child or I would die. I decided I could handle anything else. But not that.
When he was three, my son was diagnosed with multiple special needs, some conditions he might or might not outgrow and some he’ll have for the rest of his life. I was devastated. But my next thought was that at least he didn’t have something fatal.
Now my son is a charming, creative, energetic six year old and I also have a two year old daughter. I love them both more than I can ever express. And I will, no matter what happens to them or how successful they are in life. Which is why they are both fully vaccinated. The risks of vaccines are much lower than the risk of death from the diseases they prevent. And I’d rather have my children alive and in my arms.