Oooh, boy, this is about to be a fun one! As you may know from reading this here innerweb site, we're currently pregnant with twins, one of whom is in a bit of jeopardy. We were originally given a 50/50 chance of Baby A (Squirt!) having a lethal chromosomal abnormality due to the poor babe's intestinal situation. Terrified, I underwent an amniocentesis last week to make a determination. To get you up to speed in Amnio World (bad food, thrilling rides) a general result about the baby's chromosomes is ready 48 hours after the test and the full picture comes two weeks later. Our initial results were favorable (yay!) but we're still waiting on the full monty. I'm feeling optimistic to the point of ordering two faboo crib skirts off Etsy.
I have always been hopeful about these babies, but I can't say I was always so positive. One of the worst things anyone has ever said to me was when the doctor mentioned a "wait-and-see approach" to the struggling twin's health meant jeopardizing both babies' lives. If there was a lethal diagnosis and we lost Squirt at a perilous time of gestation, both twins could die. The results of this amnio diagnosis could leave me with a literal Sophie's Choice: inaction, or "selectively aborting" the twin who would die anyway.
Me, I've always taken an "it's never for me, but other people's choices are their business" type of abortion stance. Never for me. I believe peoples' fetuses are like their gardens. To me, my babies are babies at day one and we name them and festoon their ultrasound pictures with Photoshopped hats. Other people may choose to dig up their gardens and build parking lots. To each, her own. I see my little babies at an inch long with their silly ears and adorable heartbeats and know I could never lay a hand on them to hurt them. (If I'm completely honest, it's also because I'm in a comfortable spot. I'm married, secure, happy and want more children anyway. That is to say, I'm speaking from a place of privilege which is pretty dangerous considering people like me make laws all the time.)
So about this quandary.
A woman I grew up with, unlike me, is an unwavering Christian. She and her husband planned for their second child and were devastated to learn of his fatal diagnosis relatively late in their pregnancy. In the slim chance he would survive, he would be blind, deaf, and only alive at the mercy of numerous, risky, painful (million dollar) surgeries. They were broken. I've never lost a child, but I know what they faced was was heavy on their hearts as they went though with the termination. Afterwards, they were able to get pictures with him and put him to rest.
I don't envy their pain, but what I can imagine would add salt to the burning wounds would be the protesters outside the clinic. Oh, and reading the columns of professional journalists like Dennis Byrne calling them barbarians. (UPDATE: He later changed the title of the post, but you can see the original in the slug.)
No one loves a child like a parent. Those facing later-term abortion (just shy of the viability stage) don't do so because they change their minds on being parents. They do so because they have stalled and waited and held on to any hope that their child could lead a life with any quality. They have made decisions for their families, sometimes out of fear of devastating financial costs or in order to preserve the life of a twin sibling. I never could have seen myself considering abortion, but this has been a journey of humility and self-discovery to say the least.
I am so very thankful at the preliminary outlook for my precious struggling twin. I'm also thankful that so far, I haven't had to make a choice that to preserve as much life as possible, means I'd have to end the life of my own child. But if it came to that? The last thing I'd need is a close-minded "journalist" like Dennis Byrne calling me names and rubbing my nose in my horror. Dennis Byrne doesn't love my baby more than me. How convenient, by the way, that Mr. Byrne can't get pregnant and he's finished having children. I've long sensed the easiest path to judgement is immunity.
Now if you'll excuse me, I need to drag out my sewing machine to whip up some nursery drapes.
"Like" this post and read more mildly amusing stuff on my Facebook page!
Type your email address in the box and click the "create subscription" button. My list is completely spam free, and you can opt out at any time.