Pete Buttigieg, former presidential candidate and current U.S. Secretary of Transportation, shares his feelings about “vulnerability and gratitude” in an emotional essay about his first year as a parent with husband Chasten Buttigieg love” view. In an article published on Medium this week, Buttigieg revealed that both of his children were hospitalized with respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) shortly after birth, and how horrific the experience was for his family.
Buttigieg, his husband and their two children — Joseph August (Gus) and Penelope Rose, twins born in the summer of 2021 — all contracted RSV last year. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM), RSV is the most common bacterium that causes lung and airway infections in young children. The virus tends to cause peak outbreaks between fall and spring. There is no vaccine yet, but researchers are working on it.
“By October, we were starting to feel more confident and comfortable with all the routines (and surprises) of parenting,” Buttigieg wrote. “Then one day, the kids got a cold. It was a quick cough. Then Penelope started having trouble breathing. On FaceTime, our doctor expressed concern about the way her abdomen retracted under her ribs as she struggled to breathe in air.” Pei Nelope was taken to the hospital first, but Gus was taken to the hospital shortly after with a “mottled” appearance to his skin.
The twins were discharged after a few days of supplemental oxygen, but Gus’s condition worsened and had to be readmitted the same week. “We watched things go from bad to worse,” Buttigieg wrote. “Regular visits by a nurse turned into anxiety and repeated consultations in varying combinations by an increasing number of respiratory therapists, nurses and doctors.”
Buttigieg went on to describe how in While his son was ill, his thoughts were chilling. “In a dark hour, I wondered if my weeks of parental leave would equal full time with my son, this beautiful baby I first saw his face a few weeks ago, and now his life has changed It’s important to me as much as myself.”
During this time, Buttigieg continued to do whatever work he could, holding frequent meetings at the hospital where his son was located. “The days are blurry,” he wrote, adding that they “live between a hospital and a hotel, between a cafeteria visit and a Zoom call, between fear and boredom.” After about a week in intensive care , Gus showed signs of improvement, “and is starting to get better day by day.” The day his breathing tube was removed meant “new hope” for their family.
Thank goodness Gus has remained steady, and the twins recently celebrated their first birthday with a handful of cakes for the first time. As he reflected on the joyous moment, Buttigieg shared his gratitude to the friends, family and healthcare workers who helped him and his husband.
“It is true that even under normal circumstances, bringing a village to raise a child, our village has been serving us,” he wrote. “But so is the policy, from the research that helped develop modern medical strategies to treat our son, to the basic legal protections that come with my marriage to Chasten, making sure our insurance companies and hospital staff will be like anyone else. Treat our family.”
Buttigieg also admits “yes, sometimes parenting is scary.” But this tough year taught him a lot about caring so much about another person” magic”. “Parenting is also an expression of hope,” he wrote, “truly one of the deepest and most vulnerable commitments you can make in the spirit of hope.”
- Hugh Jackman reveals his How to keep a journal for his mental health
- Ashton Kutcher says autoimmune disease has left him temporarily unable See or hear
- Dr. Dre says his doctors don’t think he will survive a brain aneurysm in 2021