A highly desired pregnancy and abortion

by anna

December 31, 2019

I thought it was interesting that my doctor labeled my pregnancy “highly desired.” I mean, don’t get me wrong it was very highly desired, it just seemed weird that this was a relevant medical notation. I had been trying to get pregnant for over three years. I was overcome with joy to find out my partner and I were finally expecting, were finally going to have a baby.

But from day one, something felt off about my pregnancy. It’s hard to explain but something just didn’t feel right. [side note: I know now that part of this was because the societal story of what a pregnant person is “supposed” to experience (eg morning sickness, swollen breasts, elation, glowing skin) is actually a load of bull and a social construct. But beyond that pressure to have a certain experience, something inside of me just felt wrong.]

My dread grew steadily over the following month or so, and culminated in a panic attack at work. I drove to my OB and in hysterics insisted something was wrong. They conducted an ultrasound and assured me everything was fine, that the baby was fine. I even heard the heartbeat. Confused but reassured I went home.

A week later, my sister and partner came with me to a routine ultrasound. Once the image was on the screen, the doctor grew quiet and I knew bad news was coming. I started sobbing, and she gently but firmly placed her hand on my shoulder. “I’m so sorry,” she told me, “but this pregnancy is not going to make it.”

I was devastated, but also somewhat relieved. i was relieved to know my intuition was right, that there was something seriously wrong. I wasn’t crazy or just overly anxious. The baby had a genetic defect and would likely stop growing soon, and certainly wouldn’t have survived outside my body.

My doctor laid out the options. I could have a surgical abortion to terminate the pregnancy, I could wait to see if it would pass on it’s own (there was a chance it would,  but also a chance it was too far along to pass without aid), or I take a pill to speed things up.

For me there was not a moment of hesitation. I wanted the pregnancy terminated immediately. Apologies if this is too graphic, but the feeling of having a dead baby*, a baby I wanted, stuck in my body just waiting to come out, was too much for me. I felt invaded, I felt sick, and I needed it out of my body ASAP.

I had an abortion two days later. I remember feeling so grateful to my OB for terminating the pregnancy so quickly. I’m so glad she didn’t make me wait for my body to “pass it on its own.” I hated my body at this point, I felt it had failed me, I couldn’t trust my body to do what I needed. But I knew I could trust my doctor.

As much as my pregnancy was “highly desired,” so too was my abortion. I think it is morally unacceptable that someone should have to carry a pregnancy they don’t want, for whatever reason.

*I don’t think a fetus is a baby for everyone. I don’t think abortion is necessarily terminating a baby. But for me I had spent over a month excitedly preparing for this potential baby. Thinking about their name, their eye color, if they would have my nose or not… So for me, for this pregnancy, it felt like my baby.

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