At some point during my last pregnancy, I was talking contingency plans with my homebirth midwife. She told me a funny story about another client who had said that were there to be some medical emergency that came down to choosing between the baby’s life and her own, save her! Save the mom!
My response to my midwife was, “yeah, that sounds about right.”
With that attitude, I started reading this LA Times piece, written by an assistant clinical professor of pediatrics at UCLA, Linda Reid Chassiakos.
Chassiakos tells the story of a pregnant woman with a brain tumor who refused life-saving treatment that would have likely killed the 24-week-old fetus growing inside her. Doctors had told her viability for super-premature births is most likely after 28 weeks gestation and after the fetus is at least 2 pounds.
So the mom waited. And waited. Through brain swelling and continued growth of her tumor.
From the LA Times:
To our astonishment — and joy — the comatose woman “hung in” until
the 28th week. At that point, an ultrasound showed the fetus was
probably over the 2-pound mark, and her doctors scheduled the
caesarean. Gasping for air, the child was born at a size and weight
that would give her a fighting chance of life.
Over the next
few days, the new father divided his time between the bedsides of his
wife and his daughter. Neurosurgeons removed much of the mother’s brain
tumor, and the woman regained consciousness within a day. Her tiny girl
did develop lung and gastrointestinal conditions — common to extremely
premature infants — but responded to treatment and continued to grow.
The mother didn’t do as well and died two weeks before the baby was released from the hospital at two months old.
The father is, of course, overjoyed with the little girl. As was the mother for the few weeks of their overlapping lives. But I still think I would have stuck with my original birth/death plan. Save me. Save me!
What about you?