by Jessica

June 8, 2017

The first time I ever heard anything about abortion was when Bill Clinton won the election in 1992. I was not even three years old and my mother told me that the President wanted to kill babies. Oddly enough, she had just had her own abortion, and from what I now know, regretted it.

I was raised by my dad and stepmom, who are and always have been very pro-choice. In high school, I had a scare where I thought I was pregnant, and I knew the only choice for me at that time was to have an abortion. Thankfully, I wasn’t pregnant and didn’t have to make that choice.

I got pregnant at 19 by a guy I had been dating for less than three months. But, by that time, I decided I wanted to keep the baby. I was totally not in a place to raise a baby, but I knew that without a doubt, I wanted to keep it. And, I did. He is now an incredible seven year old and has changed my life in many ways. After he was born, I knew I wanted more children, but I wanted to be in a better place and wanted to really focus on my son and myself for a long period of time. So, I did. I became a single mom a year after my son was born and I enjoyed every minute of it. I met a man who would become my husband when my sn had just turned two. Eventually, we married and a year and a half after our wedding, and four years after dating, we planned a baby and got pregnant on the first try- we were elated! I announced my pregnancy at about 9 weeks because I had longed for a baby for so long, I couldn’t hold it in any longer. My pregnancy was difficult- I was constantly nauseous for the first three months. At about 12 weeks, while my husband was out of town, I went to the bathroom and had bright red bleeding. I immediately freaked out and called my midwives. They asked me if I was having any cramping, and I said no. They didn’t think I was miscarrying, but wanted me to come in the next morning to make sure. It was a long night and the next morning, I heard my baby’s heartbeat and couldn’t have been more thankful. My midwives put me on progesterone because my levels were very low and I stopped bleeding the next day.

At 18.5 weeks, I had the anatomy scan. It was on November 14th- five days before my 27th birthday. Everything appeared alright and we were having a boy. About two weeks later, we received a call that our baby actually has enlarged ventricles and we needed to see a specialist to have a better, more detailed ultrasound done.

So we went to see a Maternal Fetal Medicine specialist, and had a detailed ultrasound done. The MFM told us that our baby was not a boy, that it was in fact a girl and that she had spina bifida. He told us about a surgery that could help our little girl’s myelomeningocele while still in utero and referred us to one of only a few specialists in the country who perform the fetal surgery. We went to see them in December and qualified except we had to wait for our amniocentesis results to come back before we really qualified. We waited for almost two weeks. By this time, I was 22 weeks, 5 days along and I received a call from the genetic counselor. She told me that our little girl had a chromosomal deletion on the long arm of the 22nd chromosome. Also known as DiGeorge Syndrome. We made the heartbreaking decision to terminate my pregnancy as her quality of life would have been awful, if she would have lived through the at least two surgeries she would have needed.

I am sad every day, but also know that the decision I made was the right decision and I am so incredibly thankful that my daughter never had to suffer. I had to drive to Illinois because abortions after 20 weeks in Missouri aren’t performed unless it’s for the mother’s health. Her heart was stopped on December 27th and then the abortion was performed on December 28th of 2016. I am still grieving and I think I always will be. But I am so thankful for all of my care providers and their swift acting because I was right at 24 weeks (23.6 by LMP) and after 24 weeks, the abortion laws are even stricter. And I did not ever want my little girl to suffer. Having an abortion, and ending her life, was the most compassionate choice I had available to me. My daughter deserved compassion.

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