Every four years, I get very sick of the politics in our country. Last time, it was all about patriotism. Now we are all up in your face about women’s rights, gay rights and the economy.
This post was going to be all about how I hate politics, but in light of yesterday’s announcement from the GOP, I had to change it.
This is now the one about the GOP on abortion. IF you are against abortion, if you follow the GOP stance, please read. I have lots of gray to show you.
This will be long, so get some coffee and sit back. Ready?
First, a story
In 1999, Dr. Jay and I started the simple task of getting pregnant. Pretty easy,right? Some fun too, right? After 6 months of nothing, I was getting very upset. After 8 months, we scheduled an appointment to see my doctor. She was soon not to be my doctor. She was late to the appointment and was pretty flip about everything. She immediately went into the false notion that stress causes infertility. If you follow that link, you’ll find that while there is a link between stress and infertility, it is not clear which causes which.
She sent me to have my fallopian tubes checked (HSG) and I discovered that yes, my tubes were open and yes, I am allergic to contrast dye (never a good thing). It has been documented that the HSG test irritates the cilia in the tubes and can improve the chances of becoming pregnant. I lucked out and we conceived that month of the HSG.
I was excited, thrilled and not the least bit scared. We found an OB and set up an 8 week appointment. Dr. Jay and I went in on a Thursday. We did all of the normal tests and then had the ultrasound. The tech did all of the measurements and I dressed and we waited for the doctor.
I remember that she was a very nice women who explained, by doodling a heart shape on her doctor pad, the ultrasound measured the fetus at 5weeks and there was no heartbeat. She wanted to redo the ultrasound on Monday, just in case the measurements were off. I knew the truth. She was gone. As we left, I called my little one Pathfinder, as she at least proved that I could get pregnant(no, I never knew the gender, but Patherfinder is female).
I had to go to the office alone the next time as Dr. Jay was away on an observing run. The measurements were exactly the same. This time, the doctor explained to me that this was called an “incomplete abortion”. The baby failed to develop, but my body had not recognized this yet. I was still producing the proper hormones for my body to think I was still growing a baby. My options were to wait it out until I fully miscarried (this could take up to 4 more weeks), have a dilation and evacuation (D&E) procedure to remove the baby, or wait another week to check again. I asked how likely was it that there would be a heart beat in another week. She said, at this point, close to 0%, but it was what I wanted. It was my choice.
Dr. Jay was heading home when I sent his phone a call. I had arranged for the D&E to be the next day. He would be home for it.
We went to the hospital together. I could barely talk I was so overcome with grief, but the receptionist was very rude to Dr. Jay and made it clear that she thought he was pushing me into this. I had to finally pull myself together and tell her “the baby is dead. Just give us the information he’s asking for.” Fortunately, the staff in the hospital was much nicer. We had a 2 hour delay as someone had a medical emergency during birth. I did not envy that women at all, even if she was getting her child I was not. I had to sign a parental consent form for the disposal and I was asked if I wanted to have the body saved. I said no.
When I woke up, all was done. I had a wicked headache, an empty stomach and a broken heart. We left after about 30 minutes and went to IHOP where we ate and were just sad.
It wasn’t until after Soleil and Luna were born that I discovered something terrible. As the link I posted states, D&E are abortions. The word abortion, in medical speak, means to end a pregnancy. The condition of the fetus does not matter. I wrote to the CDC and asked “If I had a D&E for a miscarriage, how is that reported to you?” The answer back chilled me. It depended on the hospital. Generally, D&E are counted as abortions. When you see from the CDC the number of abortions in a year?
Yeah, Pathfinder was an abortion.
Doesn’t matter that she would never live.
Doesn’t matter that I carried a dead fetus in me for 3 weeks.
This is one of the reasons I am angry at the GOP. Under their new “personhood” ideas, I would have been forced to carry pathfinder until my body figured it out. That could have taken up to another month.
I have two friends who discovered their child had trisomy-18. Most trisomy-18 children don’t make it to birth. One friend decided to terminate the pregnancy. One didn’t find out until it was past the date of legal termination. He died in utero and was induced at 32 weeks. I photographed his birth. It was devastating to his parents. It was as devastating to this friend as the one who chose to terminate.
I follow Cecily who had to terminate her son to save her own life. His twin had died. She had developed pre-eclampsia. She would have died if she had not delivered the second child.
My cousin developed pre-eclampsia in her 30th week of pregnancy with triplets. In this case, all three survived and are entering 3rd grade. Her choice was deliver and hope for the best, or die.
In Luna’s pregnancy, I developed ante-partum depression. I had to go back on my antidepressants to not commit suicide as the hormones were that strong.
These are real people with real difficult decisions. The GOP would have us believe that women decide one day while walking down the street “Wow, this is too much, I’ll have an abortion” and jump into a clinic. The world is not the black and white. Do women choose to have abortions? yes. Do they choose because it isn’t convenient right now? Some do. Some don’t. Do they choose because they were raped? Does it matter their choice?
Listen, pregnancy is a very unique situation. Two lives in one. A male can never experience the wonder of a pregnancy. Nor can they ever experience the pain of losing a pregnancy. They can never understand what it is like to have to make that choice because no man ever had to.
It was my choice to have the D&E. Others who are not doctors, who do not know my situation want to tell me what to do. I am having signs of perimenaupause. This issue may not be terribly relevant to me soon. But it will matter to me as a person.
It is time for the GOP to step back and stop attacking my rights to make my own decisions. I have two daughters. I am raising them with a strong code of what is right and wrong and pushing YOUR religion on someone else is wrong. Deciding that you know best for everyone in every situation is wrong. Deciding that an unborn child’s life is more important than the living is wrong.
I don’t want my children growing up in a world where men, men who can’t even understand the basics of the female reproductive system, are outlawing how they care for their body.
Abortion is not a black or white. Is it not even stopping a beating heart in all cases. What abortion involves is a large gray mass and the only morals to be invoked in this situation are the ones the woman who is pregnant can handle. This is currently, and should remain a choice for the woman.