Over 10 years ago when I met my beautiful wife Rebecca, I never imagined that legal marriage would ever be an option for us. When I proposed to her a year later it was more of a symbolic and personal commitment to our relationship that I was agreeing to. We had a commitment ceremony/wedding over six years ago now. It was amazing, it was big and beautiful and filled with love. We have been married for over six years. Illegally married. We had a living will and a power of attorney and a medical proxy all drawn up to sign the day of our illegal wedding, we thought that was enough. Two years later when the excitement of expecting our first child approached we were like any other married couple expecting their first baby. Nerves, tears, excitement, panic, happiness, name debates, various baby manuals. The night our daughter arrived went from being this amazing moment that we had both waited so long to share to being our worst nightmare. Long and over-told story short, Ruby(our daughter) fell into extreme distress when Rebecca went into labor and died in utero shortly after arriving to the hospital. She had to be removed via an emergency c-section, without anesthesia and resuscitated. I went with her to the next door children’s hospital leaving my wife, behind. The medical crews were amazing at both hospitals and their combined heroic efforts saved the lives of both my girls. We were never shown anything less than respect as a family and as parents. I will never forget watching my baby girl, small, pale, having endless seizures, intubated, hooked up to every piece of equipment the NICU had to offer, alive only by machine and in the most technical of terms. I remember a nurse and a doctor explaining that there was a new and experimental hypothermic head cooling treatment that she was a candidate for. They saw it as the only chance to quell these seizures and give her any hope of a life with less brain damage than she most certainly already had. The machines would keep her alive, but this treatment may allow her to have a life. I could not consent. I was a legal stranger to my own daughter. My illegal wife was lying next door in a hospital having just had our child ripped out of her and here I am, helpless and powerless to do anything for either of them. By sheer luck and as a part of a series of miracles working in our favor that evening, Rebecca came to and our amazing doctor literally ran her through the tunnels that connected the two hospitals and into the NICU just in time to consent to the treatment. Five years later Ruby is an amazing miracle, a normal 5 year-old, with no lasting signs of her difficult start in life. It’s hard to imagine our lives without her, and painful to remember how close that possibility was to being a reality. Five years later we are expecting a son. Of course we are terrified. One huge comfort is that our state of MN has recently voted to legalize same sex marriage. We will be married on August 1st(the first day we can) and we will welcome our son, via a planned c-section the next day. Our son will be born into a family that benefits from all the the legal protections that marriage offers. My name can be on his birth certificate, he can be covered by my insurance, and most importantly, I can consent to his treatment if Rebecca is unable to do so. I will most likely still have to go through a legal second parent adoption for him to be my “real” son in the eyes of our federal government, but at the time of his birth, in the state where we reside he will be my legal son.