Week Ten: Kathy Benson

If you were really in trouble, who would you go to for advice? 

Depending on the situation, I might go to my husband Bob, my parents, some of my close friends, our doctors and/or our pastor at church. I know this because they are all people that I have gone to in the past for advice during difficult and uncertain times in my life.

In January 2008 Bob and I got the news that our second child, our first daughter, Molly had a rare and severe combination of congenital heart defects. I was about fifteen weeks pregnant with her. We were told that Molly had an 80% chance of being born alive and 10% chance of surviving after her birth. Our doctors gave us three choices during our pregnancy for us to consider in regards to dealing with Molly’s heart condition. We were told that at some point her heart would begin to fail and then we would have to decide whether to be passive (letting nature take its course), aggressive (which involved me taking oral medication to try to help Molly’s heart beat faster and stronger) or terminate (which we could have done at the time we received the diagnosis, but never seriously considered).

This was an incredibly difficult choice for Bob and I to make. We consulted with both sets of our parents, other family members, some close friends, our doctors and our pastor, who was relatively new to our church at that time. Here is an excerpt from a blog entry that I wrote about our experience seeking advice early on after we received our baby girl’s diagnosis and prognosis:

Over the past twenty-four hours Bob has teased me that I convened a “round table” of sorts, including key people in our life that might be able to help us move towards a decision from both medical and spiritual perspectives…. I don’t know what the next 24 hours will bring, but I trust that after having the input of our round table that when the time comes for Bob and I to decide that “right” path for us to take with Molly that we will make the decision that makes the most sense to us in both our heads and our hearts for our daughter, our son and our family as a whole.

Thank you for your continued concern, support and encouragement. This is a very difficult time for Bob and me and it helps so much to know that so many caring family and friends are lifting us up with your thoughts and prayers. We haven’t given up on Molly and we do believe in miracles. We understand that having Molly with us here on earth, after she is born, may not be possible, but we do believe that we will find a way to honor her place in our family, whether she is with us here or watching over us from heaven.

It is bittersweet to reflect on this time in our life. I find peace and comfort believing that we made the best decisions we could with the information we had at the time. In the end we chose to be aggressive, giving Molly the best chance at surviving longer in utero and after her birth. However, sadly the medication I took was not enough to help our baby girl get to a gestational age (32 weeks) at which doctors and specialists would have been willing and able to operate and possibly heal her broken heart. Molly was born at 29 weeks and 5 days. She lived for about 10 minutes, during which we practiced compassionate care and did not try any life saving measures.

Looking back, having such wonderful advisors in our life to help guide and support us through our journey with Molly was invaluable. We are so thankful that we did not have to make such critical decisions with out input from loved ones and professionals whose knowledge and opinions we respect.

Since Molly was born and died in April 2008, there have been other troublesome times in my life when I have been grateful to again be able to turn to some of those same people for advice and support. I know that in the future during that I can count on them to give me wise counsel and encouragement as needed. Likewise, I try to be there for my loved ones and others who reach out to me to help them through challenging experiences in their lives.

If you were really in trouble, who would you go to for advice?

________________________________

Kathy Benson is a bereaved and blessed mom, writer and group fitness instructor trying to live mindfully and find joy in the journey after dealing with secondary infertility and loss for five years. She lives in Chicago, Illinois with her husband and two living children.

Kathy blogs at Bereaved and Blessed. You can also follow Kathy on Twitter @BereavedBlessed and her Facebook page.

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2 thoughts on “Week Ten: Kathy Benson

  1. Pingback: Thursday’s Voice: Weeks Ten & Eleven

  2. I can’t imagine how difficult it must have been to make those decisions and I’m so glad you had your “round table” for support. You are one strong woman Kathy and your compassion shows in every post.

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