Sept. 11, 2001: 9:14 a.m. EST, Cleveland. I was handing the surgeon stitches he was using to repair our patient's mitral valve. Our anesthesiologist walked up to the head of the table and announced that two planes had crashed into the World Trade Center towers. There was no doubt in all of our minds, unlike the rest of the country who watched it unfold, that these events were intentional. One of my first thoughts was this poor patient went to sleep with a world in perfect order, and when he wakes up everything will be turned upside down.
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Our operating rooms were shut down and the remainder of the elective surgeries for that day were canceled in order to conserve the blood supply on hand. We didn't know that it wouldn't be needed. Authorities evacuated the city of Cleveland, but we stayed until we were sure the people in the area were safe. We were sent home to be on stand-by in case we were needed. It was the quietest night I have ever experienced.
This one day fueled thoughts that there had to be something more to life. My husband and I did not want children: But then what was all the living for? Why bother to struggle? Why bother to exist?
Our first child was born 13 months later. Our second, 20 months after the first. I cannot imagine life without my boys. I never dreamed of the happiness children could bring. I've enjoyed every day more than the previous one, and this is what makes life worth living.
In the months that followed Sept. 11, 2001, my husband and I were thinking opposite of what many other people were thinking: How can you think about bringing a child into this horrible world?
The simple answer is: Because humans are survivors.