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Love and Safety

by Abigail

June 3, 2019

My first child died in my sixth week of pregnancy. I didn’t have a choice. We didn’t learn this until week eight. We went for an ultrasound, saw a heartbeat and a panicked look on the technician’s face. She called in a doctor, when we didn’t have an appointment, to tell us the fetus was too small. We had to return a week later to learn that the baby had died. My body didn’t want to recognize the death and I had to induce labor to help my body heal from this death, and had to mentally work through the emotions that came with knowing I carried this death inside of me for almost half the time there was life. I love my child, though I never got to hold them.

A year later, renewed hope. The first ultrasound showed a strong heartbeat. The meeting with the doctor raised concerns about the amount of fluid surrounding our child, especially around the neck—a cystic hygroma. No need to worry, yet. A 3D ultrasound is scheduled, it feels routine so I tell my husband not to come.

I see the shape of my child. I see arms and legs. Hands and feet. Fingers. A nose. Tears run out the sides of my eyes, it was so exciting to see my child.

But I also see the shadow surrounding them. I see the measurements being taken, and feel the tension in the room. The diagnosis—time to worry. There is high likelihood of not coming to term. There are three choices: set up additional tests, do nothing, terminate.

What might additional tests show? “There’s a 95% chance they’ll confirm you won’t carry to term”

What if I do nothing? “There’s a 90% chance you’ll have a miscarriage, the later they come the more dangerous for the mother. If you do carry to term your child will need special care and services and even then may not survive.”

What if I terminate? “The choice is yours, however this is the safest option for your own health and that of future children”

How do you decide to let go of your child, when they are so wished for, desired, loved? I did it by stepping outside of myself, realizing that my husband and I are working through student loan debts, and don’t have the resources to knowingly take on additional testing, services and doctor bills. By realizing that even though it was the absolute last thing I wanted to do, it was the safest choice for me.

My second child died in my thirteenth week of pregnancy. I had an abortion. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t mourn the loss of my children. That I don’t wish I could have decided differently. But if I went back, I know I’d make the same choice. For me and my husband it was the right one.

We love our children, and made the choices we had to make.

Remember that our stories are ours to tell. We’d love to hear your story too!