Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Will You Die for a Cause, or Will You Live For One? Ectopic Pregnancy and Honoring Life: Part III of III

My Challenge to the Reader
A Response to the Invited Speaker List for Vision Forum’s 2010 Baby Conference

Note:  In the summer of 2008, Vision Form started a campaign to advance their idea that pre-emptive surgery for a woman with a tubal pregnancy constitutes murder of the unborn as an elective abortion.  Individuals who were outspoken or quoted in that discussion have been included as invited speakers at VF’s July Baby Conference (which will also host the famed Duggars of the TLC/Discovery Channel).  I believe that VF will use this vehicle to further advance what I find to be their very dangerous and distorted position concerning tubal pregnancy.

Please start with Part I  and  Part II.

Please note again that I cared for an unusual population of people when I dealt with obstetric (OB) cases in ICU.  I would imagine that only those nurses at that facility have seen the broad population of people in an underserved region of the country with the high acuity that the population that I reference.  It is not typical.   But I must ask myself, according to my causality and my faith, why did I have these experiences and what is my responsibility to the women who suffered and died?  What is my duty to those who lived due to miracles?  What is my responsibility to the husbands of the women I mention here who wept so sadly at their wives’ bedsides over the loss of both spouse and child?   What is my responsibility to the profession of nursing, something that is a holy calling for me?  What is my responsibility to all women?

I believe that I have been put in a very unique place to bear witness to the truth that some women die from peritonitis and sepsis if they don’t first hemorrhage to death following ruptured tubal pregnancies.  The medical profession respects their rights and is sometimes encouraged that people are willing to stand by their convictions, but the profession does not see them as martyrs.  I am here to bear witness about the pregnant women for whom I’ve cared as they struggled against sepsis. 

They were real people!  I talked to them gently and encouraged them to keep fighting to live as I washed their faces which were distorted with tubes.  I swabbed their parched tongues with cool water.  My own heart raced for them as I soberly raced to help to save them, these very real women for whom I had the honor to know in some way, rendering care to them.  I remember staying after my shift to wash clumps of blood from their hair so they could look and smell clean when their grief stricken families came in to visit them, these real women.  (Their acuity made these concerns of hygiene a luxury, because the nurse on duty was so consumed with immediate concerns of the woman’s survival.)  I watched the grief in the eyes of my coworkers as women slipped away from us, and the joy they displayed when we were able to help these very real women.  I stood at besides with their families as they came to see their dead daughters, not always managing to contain my own tears, trying to comfort the family and to help them not be alone in that moment.  I wept as I wrapped these young mothers in death shrouds to be taken to the morgue.   And my eyes swelled with tears every time I heard my husband talk about another case of the “Church of the Stillborn.”  We do what we do because we hate death and love life, and I bear witness to the Church about these women whom so many seem to think don’t really exist or don’t really suffer very much.  And I still weep.

Vision Forum has announced “The Baby Conference,” and those who were outspoken during this discussion in 2008 have been invited as speakers at this event in July 2010.  I believe that they will capitalize upon the fame of the Duggar Family to again convince themselves that they are more special to God than other “Canaanite” Christians like me, using this conference as a vehicle to advance this disturbing thesis regarding tubal pregnancy.  While their critics are characterized as Mengeles and Sangers, the humble mother can feel transcendent and connected to something critically important in a culture of death through her stand upon the sensationalism of what has been taught to her as the highest virtue.  It appears to followers that “no group does what Vision Forum does,” though cultic groups like the “Church of the Firstborn” boast a much longer history of doing the same thing in this case.  Their activities have been recorded as far back as the 18th Century.

When I was younger, I used to idealize the idea of martyrdom for the cause of Christ to the point that I would dream about it.  I felt great worth and transcendence, at one with my Creator, when I thought of sacrificing myself for a cause, particularly through serving others.  I could imagine no greater honor and thought of it as wisdom.  Then I got a little older and much more tired, and I realized that there is such a thing as “throwing your life away.”  (Not all situations are always “do or die,” and definitely not so all of the time.)  I began to realize that it is much wiser to be balanced and that zeal and drama without balance can be very fruitless, even though it made ME FEEL better.  That drama was just a drug that I used, and that the idea that any action at any cost was often a tactic used by manipulative ministers to get more money or more of a devoted following.   Those things became like a carrot before the horse for me, because I never got much reward for the big dramas.  Not that I’ve mastered the art of deciding what risks to take…  Yet, I pray that I may never stop learning. 

I hesitate to use Scriptures here because so many modern day Pharisees have trite answers to explain competing meanings away, and I do not want to be numbered among those who suggest that they have a Scripture verse with a static answer for every contingency which absolves people from thinking and responsibility.  So in closing, I will offer this food for thought for women who will do anything to help their children live.  I challenge you to consider that you have to show yourself accountable before God for the value of your own life, the talent He has placed in your care for His honor and glory.  In a tubal pregnancy, your baby cannot survive, and you can die, despite what “In a Shoe” has to tell you.  You don’t always have the option for “Watchful Waiting.”  I hope that you will consider this:
To be brave one short instant is no easy matter;
it is easier to die for a cause than to live for it. 
Madame La Comtesse Diane de Vobrillac,
a confidante to King Louis XVI and friend of Ben Franklin
If you have a tubal pregnancy, and knowing that those small percentages do represent real women, I challenge you to consider that God may want you to honor your own life and to live for the cause of that life He has given you.   Live to be a helpmeet to your husband and the other children that God has also given you.   I think that you have become that one sheep that Jesus challenges us to go out to rescue, leaving ninety-nine behind in the wilderness because His heart breaks over your distress.  I challenge you to think of your duty to Him, and I respectfully ask you to think about it for yourself.

Also of Interest:  No Longer Quivering’s Response to “The Baby Conference”