the truth of the matter.

I wasn’t ever planning on telling the whole story.

But, something has been brewing in me. And I knew one day . . . soon . . .  I would have to come clean.

Not because I need a clean conscious. That implies regret. Of which, I have none.

And not because I think I owe anyone anything.

No, strike that. Actually, I do owe someone something.

I owe it to myself . . .

And I owe it to others who have been in our shoes . . .

To tell this story.

The whole story.

I just needed a little push.

* * *

Today, the day the Supreme Court met to debate marriage equality, those in support of the cause started changing profile pictures on Facebook to the red equal signs.

As I watched the red pictures multiply, I started feeling inspired.

I’ve never openly shown support for anything too controversial. Mainly for fear of losing friends or being judged. So, it never crossed my mind to change my picture, even though I do feel passionately about marriage equality for all.

But, today, watching so many people show support for human rights, made me stop and think.

I mean, I would never defriend someone who was non-aggressively expressing an opinion on something no matter how different from my own. If someone is going to chose to remove me from their life or judge me due to my own opinions . . . well, I don’t want them in my life anyway.

Supporting causes and bringing awareness to issues is what brings about change. And if no one shares their opinions . . . or their stories and life experiences for others to consider . . . then nothing in this world ever has a hope of changing.

Yes, I believe in marriage equality. We all deserve love and companionship in this world and I don’t feel it’s anyone else’s place to judge or restrict who someone else loves or wants to commit to. (One justice brought up a good point today, to the effect of . . . if those opposed to gay marriage are opposed because they believe marriage is an institution that should be reserved for the purpose of procreating, well why are infertile couples or those over the age of 55 allowed to marry?)

So, I changed my profile picture to a red equal sign.

And then, I decided to share my own story on a different, yet just as controversial and heated topic.

Pro-choice vs. pro-life.

* * *
I’ve shared a lot of the story about losing the baby.
But, I left out one detail.
It wasn’t a miscarriage.
It was a medical termination.
So, every time someone has said to comfort me . . .
It’s okay, that happened to me.
I’m sorry, those things happen.
Many first pregnancies result in miscarriages.
 
Every time . . . I’ve wanted to scream back . . . really? You had to make the conscious decision to terminate your own pregnancy?
Because, NO, NO it doesn’t just happen. NO, NO this HASN’T happened to you. And I truly hope it never does. No one should have to face this . . . it’s one of those ugly, “what would you do if?” scenarios you talk about with your significant other, but it’s never one of those situations you ever dream of actually having to face.
So . . . no, I did not miscarry.
Though, I desperately wish I had.
* * *
The day of the specialist appointment went more like this . . .
The doctor entered after reviewing the scan and asked if I knew about my fluid situation.
I said no.
She explained I had no fluid. And that I never would have any fluid.
I asked if that was bad.
She nodded, yes.
I asked if my baby had any chance.
She said, no.
I said, but my baby still has a strong heartbeat.
And that’s when she was quiet.
She gave me that look, and I knew.
Even when there is no hope, and even when there is a medical necessity to terminate, doctor’s still have to tip-toe very very VERY carefully around the topic. She couldn’t even bring up the subject without me saying it first.
I asked, “Are you recommending I medically terminate my pregnancy?”
She somberly nodded her head yes and went on to explain I still had the option of maintaining the pregnancy; however, my baby would never be viable. Like I shared previously, my baby never had a chance.
Best case scenario, if you can ever say there was any best case in my situation, I might make it full-term, but the baby would never breath on the outside. Without amniotic fluid, his lungs would never work once the cord was cut. He would also have other severe birth defects due to the lack of fluid.
Not to mention I’d have the mental and emotional anguish of carrying a pregnancy knowing that I was waiting to deliver a still born.
Worst case scenario . . . I was at risk to go into preterm labor or miscarry at any time. Or I’d contract an infection and potentially become infertile. All of which could happen at any time while He Who Shall Not Be Named was gone and I was home alone . . . what then?
Because the baby’s growth had significantly slowed, and the fact the gestational sac was lagging in the first trimester, those were additional indicators something was not right – my water breaking was likely just my body trying to do something, but we had no way to predict what and when.
Yet, I still had a hard time wrapping my head around the idea I had a “live” baby, but that he had no chance. He was essentially on life support in my womb.
The specialist encouraged me not to make any decisions right away. To discuss with He Who Shall Not Be Named and decide when we were ready.
But, I wouldn’t let a loved one suffer on life support with no chance.
Why would I let my baby suffer?
And why would I risk my own life or our chance to have future children, when I have been presented with the facts that there is no chance?
There was never any question what we had to do.
April led me out of the office and sat with me while I made the call to He Who Shall Not Be Named.
* * *
I called He Who Shall Not Be Named and told him our options of waiting it out or moving forward with the surgery to terminate. We never ever had to tell each other what we thought. We simply made plans to move forward with surgery as soon as we could.
* * *
My regular OB called that afternoon to say how sorry she was and how she wanted to see me the next day to talk through our options. When we saw her the next day, again, she could not bring up the medical termination until we inquired. We told her that’s the route we felt we had to take and then she said she whole-heartedly supported our decision from a medical perspective.
She said she could get us in the very next morning so I wouldn’t have to put myself through the emotional torture longer than I needed to.
Before the appointment was over, she asked if we’d like to listen for the baby’s heartbeat.
He Who Shall Not Be Named and I looked at each other like deer caught in headlights.
We already felt like we lost the baby, in just 24 hours had already put distance between us and him . . . and the idea of hearing the heartbeat one last time sounded painful.
I started crying and told my doctor I knew we had no chance . . . I knew waiting another week or two would make no difference and for our own good, we wanted the surgery as soon as possible. But, that I hated knowing my baby was still alive in there.
She said we didn’t need to listen to the heartbeat and told us it was likely there wasn’t one anyway. The pregnancy was going downhill and there was no predicting when the baby would pass away.
Perhaps he already had.
And there is no way to really know . . . but I knew him, I knew despite it all, his heart was fighting and beating away. My heart was convinced his was still beating.
He Who Shall Not Be Named swears there was no heartbeat.
He Who Shall Not Be Named is always optimistic.
And perhaps I just like to torture myself over the decision, even though there really was no decision to make.
* * *
The two weeks following the loss of the pregnancy were the hardest two weeks of my life.
In those two weeks, I had myself convinced we had an option.
Why hadn’t we waited?
I gave up on our baby!
I’m a terrible person!
Why weren’t we brave enough to listen for a heartbeat on the final day?
WHY WHY WHY?
 
In my lowest of lows, in the car on the way home from an errand one Saturday afternoon, I even blamed He Who Shall Not Be Named for pressuring me into doing it.
That’s probably the most hurtful thing I could have ever said to him.
Ever.
We got home and stayed in the car in the garage while I sobbed and I screamed.
He finally cut me off and said I had to STOP. I had to STOP rewriting the facts. I had to remember we made the most humane choice for the baby and the safest choice for my own health. I had to remember how desperate I felt the day we found out the news. How desperate I was for it to be over. How we never even discussed it because we both knew the route we wanted to take. It wasn’t fair for me to pin it on anyone else – there was nothing to pin. It was what it was . . . simply a cruel fluke of nature and it was no one’s fault. There was never going to be a good outcome and I just had to accept that and find a way to move on and have hope that one day, hopefully soon we will have a healthy baby to bring home.
That was the last meltdown I had.
* * *
So, that is our story.
The whole story.
One I initially felt shameful of and one I felt I had to rewrite.
But, one I ultimately feel needs to be told because awareness needs to be brought to this issue.
Medical terminations . . . abortion . . . those are scary, scary words. No one likes to hear them. They sound harsh and cold and cruel . . . but that’s because you don’t often hear the stories of love behind them.
* * *
I have always been Pro-Choice, but this is why it’s now personal. And why I hope to find some way, some how to help fight for a women to always have a right to choose.
That is why I now hear about laws in North Dakota, laws preventing D&C/E’s after six weeks when fetal activity is present, and it not only makes me shake my head and think that’s not right . . . it now makes my blood boil and my blood pressure go up.
It’s because of laws like that why I can’t be quiet about it.
It makes my heart hurt for those women in shoes like mine . . . in shoes where the only other choice is to put our lives at risk and make ourselves vulnerable to an even bigger heartache and tragedy.
What would I have done if we faced laws like that here? How would it have ended for us, what price would we have had to pay?
Why are the people in government who cannot empathize, or even sympathize, with scenarios such as this, why are they the ones enacting laws that govern how I might proceed with such a personal, intimate life event? One that puts my own longterm health and family at risk, no less.
It should be left to women and their significant others, with the guidance of medical professionals, to decide what is best for her and the baby.
It’s as simple and as complicated as that.
* * *
In searching online for others who knew what I was going through, I found an online forum. There was a thread where women were just venting . . .
The question was raised:
Why me? Why us? Why is life so not fair that we were given this grief to endure and this decision to face?
 
Someone answered . . .
There is no reason or lesson to be learned from a tragic situation such as this. However, I do believe these babies with no chance in the world were given to us because we had the mercy to spare them from suffering.

Yes, it’s as simple and as complicated as that.

Comments

  1. I’m proud of you Alison. I’ve told you before and I’ll say it again, you made the right decision for you and your family. Big hugs to you and He Who Shall Not Be Named!! Thanks for sharing your story and beliefs.

  2. You are a brave woman for sharing your story. I think when we have these trials, it’s important to share so others know they are not alone. I hope that by sharing this will bring you a little more peace in this healing process. Also, try, even though it will be hard, not to let people’s negative opinions or comments make you second guess your decision. You did what was right for you, your husband and most importantly, your baby, I don’t know you, but you’ve been in my thoughts a lot lately. Best wishes for you and your family.

    Amy (a friend of Jeremy and April)

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