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The Good(military) Wife

by Anonymous

May 24, 2019

Content Warning: abusive clinic protesters

“24, 110lbs, 5’9”, complaining of shortness of breath and dizziness. Let’s get her in for an EKG right away”. This, or something to its effect, was said as I walked down the hall of a modular medical facility that was a temporary wing at the US Amy Medical hospital ER.

I had come in complaining of shortness of breath and dizziness. What I hadn’t expected was to find out(after that EKG and two separate x-rays to make sure I wasn’t dying), what the doctor said next. “Well I have some great news Mrs.*******, you’re pregnant! Only about 3-5 weeks from what we can tell right now with your blood test. I went ahead and made you an appointment at OB and they will be in contact with that day and time”. As the doctor continued his rambling, which is a blur to me now, my heart rate continued to rise as the monitor beeped louder and louder. “Oh god..oh god..what are my options in North Carolina? I am not from here and know that southern states aren’t big fans of abortion. Is it legal here??”, I said through cracking voice as I sat alone in an ER with only the privacy of my gown and cloth room divider, clasping my hands as tightly as possible. “That’s something you and your husband will need to discuss, because we don’t do that here”. That was how this medical “professional” chose to respond to a tearful and terrified young wife of a soldier. Because, that’s all I was to him, the “dependent” as we are often referred to. I was anything but dependent.

**We’d been married at this point for 5 years and my husband was currently in a fairly intensive 3 year training program with special operations that would mean even more time away once completed. I was working full time and taking courses for different licenses, awaiting his completion and our next assigned base. This was it, it was all he’d ever wanted to do and he was finally getting to do it! It was our only focus at that time, and his studies and ability to have very little distraction was our priority as a couple, so that we could make his goals a reality. I was by all accounts, a good Army Wife. Now this.**

I ripped my IV out and requested to be discharged immediately. I was receiving pamphlets on motherhood, a voucher for a breast pump, all of this literature that I kept saying I wouldn’t need. I felt like I was in a dream, screaming so loudly that my throat hurt, but no one would listen. That’s how I was made to feel, at 24 years old, on the opposite side of the country, in an ER all alone at 5am. It was my nightmare. I’d been safe all through high school. I’d never had a real scare or any std. I was so proud of how I’d protected my body and my womb. Now this.

“What about me? What about my turn? Am I going to go from being a minimum wage employee into motherhood? What about MY career??” All things that were running through my mind as I waited for my husband to come back and get me (his training even prevented him from visiting the ER with me that morning and he had dropped me off at the doors with ten minutes to get to work). He knew. He walked in, looked at me, and knew. We walked quietly down the same long modular hall I’d come in, hand and hand, and he said “So what do we do?”.  I had no clue. I didn’t even know if there were abortion clinics in the area. I didn’t know if he wanted to keep the baby. I didn’t know anything. All I could get out was “I’m not ready. I’m not ready.” and he responded with a huge sigh that he wasn’t either. Thank goodness. We were on the same page.

 

Lucky for us, it was legal. There were hoops to jump through, in way of time to wait before I could have the procedure. It was all together 9 days that I had to wait to be seen at my local Planned Parenthood. I was so thankful to learn that there was one in the town we were living in, since prior to getting married PP was my only form of women’s care. When we arrived on site however, I learned that not all PP buildings are the same.

It was a beautiful southern Saturday in July, when we pulled in for our appointment window. I hadn’t noticed anyone when we pulled into the parking lot, and now that I was getting out of my car I saw about 10-12 men women and children with signs screaming at us and walking our way. I had seen things like this on TV but never in person. I instantly turned my back and looked for my husband who was already right behind me. The men yelled things at him as though he’d raped me or was forcing me into this without my consent. The women screamed baby killer at me and pleaded for me to seek their god’s guidance. Now, I’d been raised in an über religious house and I knew how this could go. There was no reasoning with people who’d rather subject their children to hate and conflict, instead of a trip to the park on a Saturday morning. So we both turned, my husband yelled for them to leave and we proceeded past them to the doors.

 

My poor sweet husband. If you’re a woman, and you’re reading this thinking that we have it bad in time like this one…I wish you could have seen my husband’s face and how HE was treated through all of this. They’d take me into rooms without him to ask me questions, then bring him in and ask me the same questions as if he’d maybe sway my answer. He was yelled at the most by those protesters, and not to mention he was completely unable to take this burden from me. Which I think was the worst part of it for him. I felt worse for him than I did myself throughout this whole process. He’d been raised by women, he never wants to see them in pain and this was me, which amplified his feelings.

 

I chose to hear the heartbeat and see the ultrasound prior to taking my first of the sequence of pills needed to start the termination. I chose to do it at home, so I’d be able to process how I’d need. I’m so thankful that I did. My husband wasn’t really comfortable with it and didn’t understand my need to feel it without the sedatives or pain management offered. It was my choice to allow it to happen, and it was going to be my choice how it was handled. He respected that and held me and cried through all eight hours of pain and helped with so much more than I’d like to remember with the results of the termination.

 

It was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. I wrote a letter to who I may have met one day, should I had chosen differently, and I think about them often. I will never forget it and yet would do it all over again. It’s been four years. He made it through his training and landed the gig. I made it out of minimum wage and found my “why”…and we are considering the option of a child, now that it’s our time.

 

If I had not had the right of choice, our country would have been short changed. My husband is an amazing, dedicated, and skilled professional in his role within our military and without him men, women and possibly children would die. Without him, and others like him, our country would be a different and much darker place, and without him by my side I won’t be a mother. So until his call to protect has ended this is OUR choice, to remain without children.

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