Hi Sweet Girl,
I don’t need to know your name or look into your eyes, and I don’t need to have been where you find yourself tonight to know that you’re terrified and in pain. If you find yourself in the greeting of this letter, then all I know about you is that you’re pregnant and you have a choice to make… and I know what your choices are.
This isn’t a letter that will talk politics or preach Bible verses or tell you you’re killing your baby or beg you to choose adoption or tell you you’re an awful person for even considering something like abortion. All of that is about the baby you’re carrying.
This is about you.
It’s not a letter for comments and likes. It’s about you.
My name is Lindsay. My husband and I have always wanted kids and we spent the first year of our marriage trying to build our family the ‘normal’ way, we had sex. After a year of having sex, just the two of us, we called in back-up. After a year of having sex under the careful instruction of a fertility specialist, as a three-some, we went back to having sex, just the two of us. We also filled out our first adoption application. 11 weeks later, we brought home our precious baby girl through an open adoption. My cycles grew more and more painful over the next year and we discovered that I had mild endometriosis – maybe the reason we never conceived, probably not. Our specialist suggested trying again to get pregnant because a pregnancy will wipe out endo. So we did, and we quickly became a two-some again. 2 years later we brought home our precious baby-boy through an open adoption.
17 months later we got pregnant. Just like that, and probably like you did; we had sex and got pregnant.
10 weeks later, I miscarried.
And that was 5 weeks ago.
I have no business talking to YOU about the decision you’re facing tonight. I’ve never faced an unwanted pregnancy. I’ll never have to choose between parenting or abortion or placing my baby for adoption.
But, I was pregnant once and I figure that’s all it takes for you and me to have something in common.
Whether or not I agree with abortion doesn’t matter. I lost my baby. Choose abortion? You will, too.
So here we are, standing on different sides of the same ‘procedure’. And that’s where you come in.
My husband and I had just come from the ultra-sound that showed that our baby’s heart had stopped beating. We were broken, devastated.
The doctor walked in to discuss our ‘options’ with us. We liked him. We could tell that this was the worst part of his job, but it was also a very ‘normal’ part of his job.
“I can give you a pill to take. The pill will cause your body to finish what has already started and will force miscarriage. Or you can go home and let your body figure it out on its own. It might take a few days but it could take a few weeks. You’ll feel strong cramps that are actually contractions. Some women feel more comfortable letting their bodies miscarry naturally.
I had already been bleeding and cramping for almost 2 weeks. Our baby had held on until the very last couple of days and waiting for the inevitable was torture. The physical pain was getting unbearable, as well. I knew my body wasn’t going to handle ‘natural’ very well, emotionally or physically.
“We can also do a D&C — Dilation & Curettage. It’s the same procedure as an abortion, except we’ll give you medicine so you don’t know what’s happening during the procedure. Women do it every day without medicine when they have an abortion. We’ll dilate your cervix by inserting various size rods. I’ll use a scalpel to scrape out the content of the uterus (to scrape out our baby). If I need to, I’ll use a vacuum to suction out larger pieces of tissue (which would be my baby’s body and placenta). When the procedure is done, you’ll have a normal period for about a week. You’ll feel very normal the next day and this will all be over with. You can consider trying to get pregnant again after 2 menstrual cycles, if you want to.”
Here’s where I find my place in writing to you my doctor compared my ‘procedure’ to an abortion, and I’m taking that as permission to do the same.
I had my D&C the next day, and it was nothing like he explained.
Waiting in pre-op before surgery wasn’t ‘normal’. No one treated me like I was ‘normal’. I didn’t feel judged, I felt pitied. I didn’t make the choice to lose my baby, but I still couldn’t look one person in the eye. I couldn’t stand to see their questions. The anesthesiologist asked me if I was ok. “No”, I said. He finished his paperwork and left.
I glanced over at my chart, looking for some written sign to every eye who read it that I had miscarried, that this wasn’t an abortion.
So I imagine if it’s you sitting in that post-op room, our charts would be identical.
They didn’t know my story. They won’t know your’s. Maybe that will make it easier for you, but I doubt it.
The medicine worked right away. I remember kissing my husband, we were both crying. I fell asleep with tears running down my face.
I woke up to a nurse trying to help me put in a sanitary pad for the bleeding. I guess doctors don’t do that after they take your baby out. I remember how terrified I was to pee afterwards but they wouldn’t let me go home until I had.
The rest of the day was a blur. I ate, I slept, and woke up the next morning anything but ‘normal’.
I expected to bleed and I did, but it wasn’t a ‘normal’ period, like my doctor had said it would be. My baby had just been scraped out of my body.
THAT’S why I was bleeding.
My stomach was crampy, but not because of my ‘normal’ period. My cervix had been stretched open with a rod so my baby could be vacuumed out.
My boobs still hurt, I still felt nauseous, smells bothered me for days, I was exhausted. Pregnancy tests still detected my baby but really, they only detected parts of him/her.
The other parts? My body spent weeks trying to clean out the rest of it–of him or her. Three weeks, to be exact. I called my doctor to ask if that much bleeding, if all of the clots and clumps were ‘normal.’ “We try our best to get everything out during the ‘procedure’ but it’s inevitable that we’ll miss tissue,” he said. “It may take a while for your body to get rid of what we missed.” Something I wish he had included in his explanation of ‘normal’.
I want to share this with you because even though I didn’t make this choice, I wish so badly that someone had been able to prepare me for what would follow a ‘procedure’ that was so simply explained in words. My baby was already gone, but the pain I have felt every day for the past few weeks as I’ve faced one of the worst experiences of my life is indescribable.
I don’t wish that… this…on anyone, whether they choose it or not.
You? You have this choice. I don’t know what you’ll choose in the end. It’s not up to me and it’s not my business. But I want so badly for you to know, and I want you to know before.
This isn’t about your baby’s life.
It’s not about the politics behind abortion or what the Bible has to say about it.
It’s about you.
Nothing about the decision you’re considering is ‘normal.’ That’s why the process you’re in right now is painful and terrifying. It’s not ‘normal.’
After a D&C? After an abortion? Your baby is gone. Officially. Whether you wanted this or not. The reality is sickening. There aren’t any choices left to be made. There aren’t any more appointments to make or people to call or research to be done or pills to take.
Your baby is gone.
And you have changed.
That part? About you changing? You don’t know that you’re choosing that, too.
Maybe your baby’s heart had already stopped beating, or maybe it stopped beating during your ‘procedure.’ It doesn’t matter because the pain is the same.
And that ‘normal’ that will come when it’s all said and done?
It doesn’t come.
Sure, you’ll find a new ‘normal.’
But when you get your period, you’ll think about that one that should have been ‘normal,’ and why it wasn’t.
When your cramps tell you that your period is about to start, you’ll remember the cramps that should have been ‘normal,’ and why they weren’t.
When you have sex, you’ll have a moment of sheer panic when you remember, and then a tiny part of you will wish for the moments ‘before’ all over again.
And all of a sudden, your new ‘normal’ consists of choices that have become memories, and no matter how hard you try, memories don’t change.
The emotions that follow something like a D&C, no matter how or why that D&C happened…they don’t go away.
It’s true, I haven’t been in your shoes. And I’m thankful for that.
But I’ve been quite a few things.
I’ve been the girl who only ever wanted to be a Mommy. I’ve been the who wanted so badly to experience a pregnancy. I’ve been the girl who lost babies in the adoption process. I’ve been the girl who got pregnant after 7 years of infertility. I’ve been the girl who had a miscarriage. I’ve been the girl who lost a baby. I’ve been the girl who had a D&C.
I AM the girl who is trying desperately to recover, and I’m the girl who is absolutely terrified for every woman who will ever face being who I am right now — who I have been for the past few months, who I will be if and when my new ‘normal’ ever comes.
Choose to parent. Choose abortion. Or choose to place your baby for adoption.
It’s true that the after-effects of all three will last forever. When your newborn hasn’t slept in days, when your toddler is laying in the middle of Walgreens throwing a fit because he wants a pencil. Or when your best friend gets pregnant and you somehow know in a split second exactly how far apart your babies would have been. When your period reminds you every month of the one that should have been ‘normal.’ Or when every picture, letter, and visit with your precious child makes it possible for your heart to break and heal all at the same time.
Only one of those choices makes a face disappear forever. That part is about your baby.
Only one of those choices results in a pain and memories so deep and so gut-wrenching that it has the potential to ruin you. That part is about you.
I’ve also been the one who was blessed enough to become a Mommy by two different women who chose to push through the pain and fear. Even though the choice they made was painful, it at least carried with it the chance for a lifetime of healing, and of knowing the precious face that they chose to carry.
I didn’t choose to lose my baby, but I wish I could change it every second of the day.
I don’t know how our family will grow from here, if we’ll adopt again or if I’ll get pregnant again. While both of those are exciting things to think about, neither one will bring that baby back and neither one will ever take away the pain of the process of losing him/her.
Now? I’m the girl who wishes I could do something to make sure that no woman ever has to experience this pain. From a miscarriage? I can’t change that. From an abortion? Maybe I can.
I have friends who have had abortions. I don’t know anyone who has had two. I no longer wonder why.
I have friends who support abortion, who have also had miscarriages and D&C’s. The pain I hear in their voice every time their precious baby and that horrible ‘procedure’ are brought up is excruciating. It makes me wonder how, even if they see abortion as simply a choice and not a decision between life and death…how they would support anything that could cause that kind of pain for another woman. How can they think it isn’t the same?!
I can’t promise what your future will look like. But abortion? It will change you physically and emotionally. That I can promise you.
I don’t envy the decision you face, and I’m praying that you feel supported. I wanted you to just know, maybe not from someone who has been right where you are right now, but from someone who has been on the other side where you could be soon.
I wish I could hug you and tell you that, no matter what, it will be ok. But that’s not comforting for me to hear right now and I won’t put that on you, either.
Even if I don’t know you, I’m sorry you’re in pain, and I’m praying with everything in me that your pain stops here. It’s comforting to know that you can make that choice. This place where I am, choose not to be here. For you.
The choices that come later can be for your baby. This choice? This one can be for you.