Struggling for breath in the hospital emergency room, I worked to inhale the medicine flowing through the mask over my mouth. And as I fought, I thought again about the woman who gave me birth and then, as I saw it, abandoned me in the hospital to die.
I was born in 1946, very premature and weighing under three pounds. Placed in an incubator and given oxygen for my underdeveloped lungs, I spent three months in the hospital. The couple who wanted to adopt me was not allowed to visit, as I was not expected to live. The adoption agency feared for their emotional lives should they become attached to a baby doomed to die.
My mother traveled back to her home soon after my birth, returning only to sign the relinquishment papers when it appeared that I would survive. At that point, I was placed with my adoptive family. Until then, I had only the nurses to care for me, and it was one of them who baptized me when I was three days old.
Ups and Downs.
The breathing problems I had as an infant…
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