6/17/2013

THE QUALITY OF LIFE




My grandson Caleb lived for seven years.
He taught us all what quality of life really means.
April and Dallan Moody are pictured here next to their son Caleb's grave.
They lovingly cared for him with joy and gratitude.

THE QUALITY OF LIFE
Years ago my obstetrician called me at home to educate me on the laboratory results of a blood test he’d ordered earlier.
“At your age, your chances of having a baby with severe genetic defects are one in twenty-two,” the doctor said. “After the blood test, your chances are one in two. You have a fifty-fifty chance of having a child with serious problems. Do you still want to continue this pregnancy?”
“Of course,” I answered.
“I can order an amniocentesis to confirm,” he offered.
“No,” I answered. “The results won’t change my choice to have this child.”
“Well, it’s your decision,” the doctor answered. “But remember this choice will negatively affect the quality of life not just for you - but your whole family.”
After I hung up, I felt stunned, unsure how to feel. So I cried. My two-year-old saw my tears and asked me why. It was difficult to find words to explain.
“The baby inside Mommy might be different, I finally answered.
“What’s different?” he asked.
“Different means the baby might not be the same as you and me.”
“Different isn’t sad Mommy,” my young son said.
He was right. I stopped crying.
When I told my husband about the doctor’s report he said, “What ever shape our baby’s in, she’ll still be our little girl and we’ll love her and take good care of her.”
My daughter Alisa was born a few months after my doctor’s phone call . . . perfectly healthy. Will she have challenges during her life time? Yes - we all do.
 

A few years later, the doctors kept urging my daughter April to consider her son Caleb’s quality of life and her own and to reconsider her decision to actively pursue urgent medical care because her son was born without a brain.
“They are not able to grasp what a privilege Caleb is and how immensely he is loved and adored,” my daughter said to me after one long tiring day in the hospital. “Today I met with several doctors and told them our family story. When I finished, they were all in tears. I explained how Caleb is surrounded by love and how our family’s quality of life has been richly blessed by his presence."
 

Every parent takes a life-altering chance each time they conceive a child; but the chance is not between having a “normal” child and one with “problems”. Every child will have challenges - be they physical, emotional, social, mental or spiritual. Each parent is given the soul altering privilege to learn the true meaning of devotion in the midst of those challenges. That deeply personal choice is what creates quality of life. The chance is really a choice - to love - whatever the chances.

My daughter Alisa is now 13 years old and such a blessing to our family.

 
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2 comments:

shirlgirl said...

Beautiful post and a beautiful mother and daughter!

Chocolate on my Cranium said...

I loved this! Your family is such a wonderful example of providing quality of life for every individual.