MOTHER LESS CHILD by Jacquelyn Mitchard
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Madison (Wis.) newspaper columnist Mitchard nearly bled to death in her late twenties after a rupture ectopic pregnancy: this is an account of her journey from that moment through a diagnosis of sterility, extensive surgical and medical interventions in search of a cure, grieving, the disruption of her marriage--until the ordeal ended with adoption of a son. Mitchard's recollection of the initial catastrophe is muffled by physiologic shock: she later learned that ""one of the slender, curving, four-inch tubes that carry an egg from ovary to uterus has swollen, swollen and finally burst--spewing out, along with a fountain of blood, some tiny, gelid 'products of conception,' six weeks old and having no business there in the first place. . . By the time I reached the hospital forty-five miles away, I had lost a third or more of my blood."" Surgery removed that fallopian tube; subsequent testing revealed that the remaining one was blocked (after Mitchard tried for months to become pregnant again); and, in a sequence that will be wrenchingly familiar to others, Mitchard found herself totally adrift. Her work paled alongside her desire to have children; the depth of her grief not only took her by surprise, but left husband, family, and friends uncomprehending and increasingly unsympathetic as the months wore on. (Meanwhile every young woman of her acquaintance seemed to be pregnant or giving birth.) Mitchard underwent surgery in an attempt to open the remaining tube, explored the in vitro and surrogate-mother possibilities, and initiated adoption inquiries regarding foreign children. Then, a baby became available privately in the area; within a week after Mitchard and her husband had brought him home, it was apparent that the newborn had Down's syndrome. After much consultation, the heartrending decision was made to give the baby up to other, more experienced adoptive parents, and Mitchard finally was able to adopt a normal, healthy baby boy. She is eloquent and passionate on her ordeal; readers in similar straits will find, in vindication, that their feelings are not, after all, so unusual. And the ending is blest, for Mitchard a miracle: ""Our son is here. He is in the world with me. He is here as I drift off, and he will be here in the morning when I wake up.

Pub Date: March 25th, 1985
Publisher: Norton