Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Case of the Tysons: How Did We Get Here?

Imagine finding out you are pregnant with your second child. You take some routine prenatal tests and discover that you are HIV+ positive.

Suddenly your world turns upside down.

You are told you must begin treatment immediately to prevent passing the virus on to your child.

The very next day you begin to experience nausea, fatigue, diarrhea. You worry. Will these drugs hurt my baby?

Your questions and fears are summarily deflected by the chanting of global statistics and risk-benefit factors.  Like a drum that keeps the beat of your rising panic.

None if it makes sense.

You live in a small town with your family. You run marathons. Eat organic. You never did drugs. Or were promiscuous. In fact, you and your husband have been together for over decade.

You go to a support group, because that’s what people like you are supposed to do.

(People like you. People who are going to die of AIDS. People who are not going to see their children grow up.)

You tell the folks at the group your story.  Does your husband have it? You tell them he hasn’t been tested. Heavy sighs. Rueful glances. They’ve seen this before.

So your husband gets tested.

He’s negative. So is your ten-year-old daughter. Whom you breastfed for 3 years.

None of this makes sense.

Your uncomplicated pregnancy becomes a surreal schedule of scans, tests, and anonymous specialists. They politely revolve in and out of your life to that drumbeat, getting louder now.

You do your own research and discover others that have the same questions as you.  You decide to stop the drugs and you feel better. Your doctors don’t agree with your choice, but what can they do?

You son is born and he’s beautiful. You tell the doctors you don’t want to put him on the meds. You say out loud that you plan to breastfeed.  This is a mistake.

The nurse tells the doctor. The doctor tells the hospital attorney. A rash of phone calls are exchanged. A petitioner from the court arrives. Armed guards stand outside of your room in the maternity ward.

Within 24 hours your son, less than a day old, is removed from your legal custody.

You wonder in terror, how did I get here? And then your nightmare begins. 

Coming up next: The story of David and Kathleen Tyson as they fought the state of Oregon for the right to make their own decisions for their newborn son. 

Monday, September 12, 2011

Our New Home

This Child of Mine gets a new web address:

Pass it on.......

And in other news:

Over the next few months we'll be examining the topic breastfeeding and HIV. Please pass along any great links and articles, or share your own experiences with this issue.

Friday, September 9, 2011

An Interview with David Crowe and Terry Michael

Please check out the podcast, How Positive Are You? An Interview with Director, Jennifer Wolfe ,  to hear about the making of the documentary, "This Child of Mine".

In the interview we discuss the experiences of the families from the movie, and their personal fights to make medical decisions that go against their doctors' orders, as well as my own interests and viewpoints on these issues.