Home > Parenting Lessons > January 19, 1993

January 19, 1993

I am dressed in clothing that is suited for working construction in the winter – old jeans, work boots, and some heavy flannel.  Just 4 months earlier I had walked out on an office job where I was able to stay out of the elements while wearing clean jeans or dockers with an oxford shirt.  I gave up a steady paycheck with benefits to slog it out building houses in the middle of winter where the pay was based on how many days of work that could fit in the ‘good’ weather days.  Oh, and I had no benefits with the new job.  No insurance.  No pension.  No nothing.

Of course, I made this move when my wife was pregnant with our first child.

‘Smooth move Exlax.’  Those are my thoughts as I scrape ice off the two vehicles that we own as they warm up in the early winter morning.  One vehicle will take me to work and the other will be used by my wife to make the trip to Dayton, Ohio for a high risk pregnancy check-up.  Yeah, I guess I should catch you up on that particular point.  On December 21st, my wife went in for her first ultra sound and discovered we were having a little girl and that she was 4 months along.  Two days later on December 23rd, the doctor called us both back to the office to inform us that we had a non-viable fetus.  She, the doctor, had wanted us to schedule an abortion.

In the 27 days that had elapsed between that moment and this one, my wife and I had learned what an emotional hell the decision process is for contemplating ending the life of a child we had dreamed over.  Three genetic counselors had given us the same news as the doctor who had reviewed the ultra sound with us.  Our ‘fetus’ had a severe neural tube defect generically known as Spina Bifida with Hydrocephalus (water on the brain) secondary to that condition.  If an infection didn’t kill her, the Hydrocephalus would destroy most if not all of her brain function.  If she somehow survived through childbirth, our best hope was to have a child who would never be self aware.  She wouldn’t know us.  She would never give us a hug or say I love you.  She would just be a body where the dream of our daughter was supposed to be.  That was if she survived.

We had talked over our options with family members and some thought we should have the abortion, some supported us whatever decision we made, and then there were those who told us that they could never forgive us if we went through with an abortion.

I’m 21 years old as is my wife.  I am working a construction job with no benefits while my wife makes a few bucks working at a local pizza shop.  We barely have two nickels to rub together and we are facing the prospect of giving birth to a baby which will need extensive medical support if it survives the pregnancy.

What would you do if you were me?

Well today I am going to go hand mix some mud for two brick layers while my wife heads off to the appointment by herself.


It’s funny.  Not ‘ha ha’ but strange.  For some reason I decided at the last minute to call off work, which I can’t afford to do, and go with my wife to her pregnancy checkup.  I am actually sitting in the examining room, still in my work clothes, watching the doctor as he does his thing.

The doctor’s expression just changed.

Something’s wrong.


18 years ago my wife and I were in a hospital room for a high risk pregnancy checkup when she was almost 5 months along with our first child.  The doctor looked up at us during the checkup and told us that my wife had gone into labor.  She was 4 centimeters dilated and the amniotic sac was protruding from the cervix.

My wife would be rushed from that room and admitted into the hospital where she would be given Magnesium Sulfate to stop the contractions and placed on an inverted bed in the hopes of having gravity work to pull the amniotic sac back inside the womb.  This would cause her to become very nauseated with the inevitable outcome of upchucking while hanging upside down.

That was January 19, 1993.  Our daughter would not be born until January 23rd.

I am going to try to recall some of the events of that week over the next few days as our family prepares to celebrate the 18th anniversary of Lauren’s birthday this coming Sunday.




  1. January 20, 2011 at 12:22 pm

    I am so looking forward to hearing this story Tony. I have read enough of your posts to know that Lauren is a loving young lady who is deeply loved by her parents. Let the story begin… AND it is good to hear your voice again.

  2. January 20, 2011 at 7:28 pm

    Thanks for sharing Tony!

  3. January 21, 2011 at 3:35 am


  4. January 21, 2011 at 4:22 am

    Thanks everyone.. I appreciate your taking the time to read the ramblings of a doting father. 🙂

  1. January 21, 2011 at 3:56 am

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