I learned yesterday that my mother was given this scientist's medication (his discovery) three days before I was born. For those who may not know, my mother - who had me at 39 - experienced an unexpected, severe intestinal issue that required surgery during her pregnancy with me. After I was held by doctors in utero, above her body, so they could perform this life-saving saving surgery, I was born in October 1989, three and a half months premature. That's around 27 weeks - absolutely insane.
I weighed an astonishing one pound, 15 ounces, fitting perfectly in the palm of my father's hand. Daily spinal taps due to brain hemorrhaging, the staff at the University of Michigan NICU, and presumably this experimental drug saved me from paralysis, developmental disabilities, and truly, my life. I have a handful of autoimmune skin disorders, but I am otherwise perfectly healthy.
Very often I forget how lucky I am, what the story of my birth really means (especially in the late 80s), and how I was blessed to be born in Ann Arbor with the help of Dr. Clements's knowledge. My mother and I are forever bonded by Friday the 13th, life-changing nurses, and this amazing science.
Check out the full article from NPR here.
In the coming weeks, look for a new post / personal essay on friendship, adulthood, and learning to let go, my first long-form piece in many years. Thanks for reading!