Mommy and Me

Mommy and Me
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Sunday, November 13, 2016

What does it mean to be pro-choice?

I've been called out as someone who has had an abortion... let me be clear, I have not had an abortion, do not condone or support abortion, and will never support them, however I have been in a situation that very closely if you don't know the details resembles an abortion, and had things gone differently would have been an abortion.  Let me explain.
In December of 2011 I started to bleed as if on a normal period, it seemed very normal so I'm going to assume it was, however that would have meant that around Christmas I would have become pregnant, I didn't however know this when I began to bleed again for what I assumed was an early period, the information is more clear in another post of mine and you are free to look it up, but I'm going to be brief here on the details.  The second 'bleeding' was extremely heavy, and I ended up having my husband take me to the ER.  I couldn't imagine any reason why I would be bleeding so heavily.
In the ER they gave me a blood test to determine if I were pregnant and to determine other things, the results came back positive for pregnancy.  I was astounded, because not only did they just inform me of pregnancy, but also the loss of a baby, because at the time I was sure I was in that moment miscarrying.  I was wrong about the miscarriage though, as it turned out I was pregnant another three weeks.  During those three weeks I had multiple blood tests to check the level of the pregnancy hormone in my system.  I also had multiple ultrasounds to determine why I was bleeding, but for three weeks no one could find my baby.  I prayed it was just so tiny, or that I'd already lost it, but I also prayed that my baby was safe, that it would grow stronger, and I fretted over each and every blood draw, and prayed that my baby would defy all odds.
January 26th I went to the ER for what seemed like the billionth time.. this time was different though.  This time they found my baby.  As is policy in the ER they wouldn't let me see the screen during the ultrasound, though I wanted so badly to get a glimpse of my baby, even if I was to lose that baby, I wanted to see it.  But I didn't get that privilege.  Instead the ultrasound tech finished up her work, and left the room.  Patrick also left the room to call his mom who was watching our children.
Someone came in with a medic kit and placed it on the bed and said I would be moving to another part of the hospital soon.  I didn't understand anything that was happening and no one told me, until a nurse came in and nonchalantly told me that I was about to be taken to the OR for the removal of my ectopic pregnancy.  I didn't at that moment even know if they had found my baby, and when she realized that she apologized profusely and left the room completely embarrassed for the way I had just found out my child was about to die.  The child that I had mourned over, prayed for, and yearned to have a reason to hope for....
Then they did move me, they took my hospital bed down a very long hall that lead to another building, the place babies are actually born.  And they began to talk to me about what was going to happen.  I'm a doula, I know I have choice... I know I can tell them I don't want certain things, I know I have rights to informed consent... but all that was shot to hell when I was told what was about to happen to me, and my child.  I did at one point ask if I could refuse the surgery, and a confused and compassionate nurse informed me that doing so would endanger my life, and that I would potentially die, but yes I did have that right.
How could I choose to honor my own life above that of my child though?  How could I choose me over a baby?  All the way down that incredibly long hallway I prayed, I cried, I asked God to please take my baby before I could be called a murderer... I am pro-life, how could I be here, in this situation?  How could I argue for the life of children if I choose my life over that of my child?  This was perhaps the biggest moment of my life, where my entire belief system came crashing around me asking, demanding answers to things that were previously far away, and irrelevant to me.
In the end believing that I had no choice but either the death my child or of both myself and my child I did allow the surgery, but prayed so fervently that God would take my baby, that it could not be said that I had an abortion.
The next day in the hospital I wept bitter horrible tears, I sought the help of every person available to me in the hospital to answer my questions, to ease the burden of my 'choice', or what I thought had been my choice, to choose life, mine over my babies... No one could ease the despair in my heart, no one could answer my questions... I was distraught and could not be pulled from the torment of what had happened to my child.
Two days after surgery the Doctor who performed my surgery had heard about my despair and came to speak to me saying she was sorry she hadn't come earlier, but that she had hoped the doctor who had been caring for me the day before would have told me a few things about the surgery.. that doctor had told me that the surgery had gone well, that is all I knew.  What I didn't know was that when I was laid on the operating table, before surgery began I hemorrhaged, I bled so badly that they knew if they didn't stop the bleeding they would have to give me a blood transfusion, and that my husband and I were wanting to avoid that as long as possible, in the blood was a tiny fluid filled sac, apparently not developed enough to have a heart inside, but a perfect, tiny sac... I had a miscarriage on the operating table before a knife had even touched me. Because the baby had been so little formed, and the nature of my bleeding they went ahead with the surgery anyway to be absolutely sure that everything was cleared and that I would have no further trouble.  The Doctor informed me about my beautiful ovaries, the right one had previously housed my baby, she said that I would be able to have more children and said she was sorry for my loss but in no way did I have an abortion, the baby passed on its own by God's amazing grace.
Now, did I choose my life over my child's and it just turned out good?  You could look at it that way, but I urge you to look at some other details.  First, had I not been a doula I wouldn't have known I had the right to refuse a procedure or the right to even ask about it.  But second, no one had told me that there are actually alternatives to that treatment.  I wasn't given any choices to be honest.  I could die nobly on principle or I could live after a life saving operation, that is what I was told... but the truth is that more than 90% of ectopic pregnancies resolve themselves if carefully monitored.  The truth is that if an ectopic pregnancy doesn't resolve itself there have been two cases of successfully moved embryo's, meaning that they took the baby out and put it where it should have been in the first place... not in a dish beside the mother they operated on, and to be fair I'm not sure if one of the two babies survived, but the other of the two absolutely did.  And here is another wonderful thing... If a mother's tube were to rupture as they assumed mine would have, that doesn't mean death to the mother or the baby 100% of the time.  There are plenty of documented cases of mothers having ectopic pregnancies outside of the womb and if discovered they can absolutely result in a healthy baby and mother... of course careful monitoring should be done in such cases, but this is not a death sentence to either the baby or the mother.  Had ANYONE told me that before this all happened to me I NEVER EVER would have conceded to the type of surgery I had let them do... AT the WORST I would have said the only way I consented to the surgery was if they were to put the embryo (which by the way is a baby) in my uterus and let God decide what was to happen after that... but they would never have been able to take my child away from me.
Given that this information is not standard care for women in my situation I feel inclined to inform those of you who are pro-choice that no choice is being given to the mother who wants their baby, but the baby has implanted someone deemed unsafe... she is not given a choice of whether to carry that pregnancy out to its own end or to end it early.. this game you all play where women need to have choices, it is a lie.  A BOLD FACED LIE.  I was given no choice, I was not even given informed consent.. I was told what the doctors and nurses were trained and it wasn't even close to the only option I had...
For another thing, abortion is a willful act of ending a child's life, whether by the choice of a mother or a doctor, but in the case of life threatening situations where a mother could really die, and her child has no opportunity for life, these things would be taken care of, monitored, and carried out in a hospital.  It should never be assumed that a woman with a life threatening health condition would walk into an urgent care center and not be sent immediately to the hospital, so it should also never be assumed that the clinics who perform abortions and offer other family planning items would perform an abortion to save the mother's life.  Those clinics are not for life saving, they are for life ending.  The END.

For a look at some amazing stories related to ectopic pregnancy visit: