After my termination of pregnancy for fetal abnormality it's not the pain that matters, it's the emotional trauma
I (age 28) fell pregnant after 9 months of dating the most amazing man. I never took my birth control pill at the same time every single day and this attributed to me falling pregnant. I think I became more fertile after cutting down on alcohol for about 5 months. We decided to change our lifestyle as we were getting quite serious and preferred quality time over partying.
Intense nausea made me realise I was pregnant
I was spotting around the time of my period so I assumed I had a light flow that month. What made me realise that I was pregnant was the intense nausea. I also completely blanked out and when I regained my senses I couldn't recall what really happened that day. What pregnant women tell you about having porridge for brains... is true?
I totally freaked out and took a test in the evening and one the next morning. I couldn't believe that the tests were positive! I plummeted into depression. I always wanted to make my parents and his parents proud. I always wanted to do things the right way.
The nausea, vomiting, rib pain and back pain that followed didn't help me feel any better. I think I felt so many symptoms so early on because I'm naturally skinny.
I opened a magazine page on abortion
I told my boyfriend straight away. He agreed that we were in no position to keep a baby. After that discussion, I opened a magazine I bought along with my tests to a page on abortion and what actually happens to the baby. I took pictures and sent it to my BF.
We agreed we couldn't do that to our own flesh and blood. We also agreed that although we weren't where we planned to be when we had a baby, we could pull together and make it work. Our parents would come around and help support their grandchild. people with less, have bigger families.
I felt guilty for being selfish
I felt guilty for initially being so selfish. I lived alone, had my own car, had great medical insurance and had a good job with benefits. What more did I want? If I gave up my flat, we would have easily afforded this child. I also had a loving and supportive bf with great parents that we could live with. As scared as i was, there was no reason to abort.
I took a digital test that showed that I was more than 5 weeks pregnant! A few days later, I started bleeding and cramping. A friend rushed me to an obstet I saw years back for a checkup. After seeing me he gave me medication to help strengthen my uterus and sent me on my way. I was told to have strict bed rest for a few days.
As the weeks crawled by, my symptoms got worse but the love for our baby grew and the shock subsided. We were really going to do this. We were going to have a baby! and it would be okay.
The 11-week scan was unsettling
At my 11 week scan, the doctor saw something unsettling on the scan. It was fluid around the skull. He said that it could be cystic hygroma... a hard indicator of down syndrome. Our world shattered... especially after seeing our active baby and hearing his heartbeat.
Doc wanted to prescribe me a tranquiliser but I refused. I would be positive for our child. We set up an appointment with a foetal specialist the following week. Although we were determined we would beat this, we held off telling our parents till we knew more.
The week that followed was an emotional roller coaster for me. Pregnancy hormones don't always allow for positivity and all things nice. I had to download soothing music to keep me calm. I had to do whatever I could to ensure our baby was okay. My state of mind was crucial.
Her face fell but she said nothing
The day of our consult with the much sought after specialist arrived and we were strong and positive. There was no doubt in my mind our baby would be fine. BF by my side, we looked wide-eyed and bushy tailed. When we told the doc what my doctor had picked up her face fell but she said nothing.
After an hour of intricately scanning the baby's vital organs and cord, measuring his limbs and getting him to stretch and move around, we were given the earth-shattering news...
We were given earth-shattering news
I noticed that baby wasn't as active as the week before and I broke down into tears. He wasn't moving because he couldn't. His abdominal organs had developed outside of his body. His umbilical cord was too short. It looked like his yolk sac was still with him.
His width to length ratio was not proportionate. I ached to hear his heartbeat but she refused to play it for me. I told her that just a few days ago I felt him kicking and it now made sense why the kicking had stopped. He could barely move his legs.
She was a conservative doctor, meaning that she did not encourage nor perform abortions but here she was telling us that there is very little chance that baby will survive to full term. Even if he did, he would have to be rushed into surgery to put him back together... which would cause other complications for him.
His legs couldn't straighten and that was another concern for me. He did wave constantly and that brought us both to devastating tears.
He had too many structural abnormalities
We made the decision to terminate the pregnancy. How could we give our baby a life we wouldn't have chosen for ourselves?? He had too many structural abnormalities. I declined an amnio because if he had no chromosomal abnormality, that would be worse. He would know that he could never be like other kids.
I called my obstet after the specialist had given him her diagnosis. With a heavy heart, I told him our decision and 13 weeks after falling in love with our baby, I was booked into a hospital for an emergency abortion.
We did a scan a few days before, I couldn't look but I was told that baby was curled up. He wasn't even waving his hands now :( I felt like he was suffering even though he didn't know any better. I'm sure he was very happy in my uterus submerged in fluid. At the hospital, the friendly nurse inserted a tiny tablet deep into my vagina.
I kept repeating a prayer for my child
After an hour I started getting contractions. It killed me to know that that was killing my precious baby. My BF provided support and stroked my hair as I lay there riddled with pain. The nurses injected my bum with painkillers and just as I thought I couldn't take anymore the pain went dull.
I could just feel an internal struggle in my uterus... no pain. I kept repeating a prayer for my child as I dozed off into a deep sleep.
I hated knowing what was happening to my baby
I was awakened by the pain once more and the nurse came to insert a second tablet. I soon required a second injection. A while later, a nurse came to take me to the theatre for a D&C. I welcomed it. Please end this trauma. I hated knowing what was happening to my baby. I said sorry and goodbye to him. Till we meet again my little one.
When I woke up, I was heavily drugged. I was so grateful for the drugs. My emotions would allude me till it wore off. My darling bf was waiting for me eagerly in my room. The procedure may have taken about 15 minutes.
5 days after, it's the emotional trauma
The doctor gave me medication to clean out my uterus. It's now day 5 after the medical abortion and the meds are causing a bit of period pain and bleeding. The pain doesn't matter. The emotional trauma is what kills me.
I know I did the right thing. I blame myself for not taking better care of my body. I was told by the specialist that this sort of thing happens. Something could have gone wrong during conception. A healthy baby isn't always reproduced.
As women, we blame ourselves
I was never on drugs. I stopped drinking. She said it could have been the environment meaning my body could have had some sort of infection. None that I was aware of. Instead of wondering for the next time, we had some cells sent off for testing.
As women, we blame ourselves for such things. I need peace of mind. I need to know if it was something that just happened or if there was in fact something wrong with either of us.
Like miscarriage, I don't think I'll ever be the same
Much like a miscarriage, I don't think I will ever be the same after I lost the baby. I think the only thing that would help is when I fall pregnant again and have a healthy baby.
Notice I don't talk about how my BF feels. I think he's being very strong for me. I also think that men deal with things differently. They don't show as much emotion as we do. I feel guilty. He was so excited. He'd kiss my little bump and talk to his "boy". After the diagnosis, he quickly shifted his attention to me and I regrettably resented him for being so strong about it all. Hormones are a funny thing.
Please note that I am in no way against a normal abortion (those not done for medical reasons). In my case, I thought we were more fortunate than say my 20-year-old self.
Susanne sent this story in on 23/06/2015