After recently suffering an ectopic pregnancy and repeatedly hearing the word ‘abort,’ I’ve decided it’s time to speak out and share my testimony to help others should they ever have to live the unfortunate events that my husband and I endured.
To fully understand my story, I must share some background information. I have suffered from endometriosis and polycystic ovarian syndrome my entire adult life. I was blessed with a beautiful child well before I was ever ready. When I brought my first born into the world at the young age of 18, I had no idea how much of a miracle she was for me until I decided at 26 that I wanted another child.
My husband at the time had been married before and had 3 children. He had gotten a vasectomy. Knowing my desire to have another child, he got the procedure reversed, but pregnancy continued to eluded us. To my unpleasant surprise, I was the problem. His vasectomy reversal had worked much better than expected with a sperm count 6 times what the doctor had hoped for. I immediately began infertility medications. Within months, I was pregnant, but the joy was short lived, as I miscarried exactly one week after finally seeing a positive pregnancy test.
Fortunately, my sorrow was short lived, as I became pregnant again the month immediately after the miscarriage. After a difficult pregnancy that included 3 months of bed rest, I brought my second daughter into the world. This brought our grand total of daughters in our household to 5 – his (3), hers (1), and ours (1). My husband was adamantly done having children. Therefore, in 2006, I agreed to a tubal ligation.
Unfortunately, my marriage quickly deteriorated, the details too long to explain here for the purpose of this story. In 2010, at the age of 30 and starting anew, I found myself questioning my decision to have my ability to have children surgically altered. Engaged to my current husband, my heart ached for us to have the bond of a child of our own.
I can’t fully explain this desire. Both of us had been married and had children prior. He has 2 sons, and I have my 2 daughters. We love each other’s children as our own, but as a woman in love with a man, I knew I’d want to bear his children as his wife.
This led to a surgery in 2010 to see if the tubal ligation could be reversed, but the results were just the opposite of what I had hoped. Once inside, the doctor saw a tremendous amount of scarring and damage. One of my Fallopian tubes had to be completely removed. We were told we would not be able to have children naturally.
Over the years, my husband joked that he would defy nature and that the medical community underestimated his “Michael Phelp’s swimmers.” He was right. Fast forward to January 30, 2014 and incredibly, we found ourselves pregnant. Sadly, the joy of this pregnancy would also be short lived, as the following week would turn into the most difficult week of my life.
Due to the previous surgeries, I was at high risk for an ectopic pregnancy. On February 3, while waiting to be seen by the obstetrician, I began to have horrendous pain. An attempt to do a sonogram only validated my worst fears. An intrauterine pregnancy could not be visualized. The area around my only tube and its corresponding ovary did not look normal or promising. As the doctor said, “If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s probably a duck.” Being that he felt certain the pregnancy was indeed ectopic, I was then asked how I wanted to abort the pregnancy.
I didn’t. I am pro-life. I could not kill my unborn child. With my life at risk and a pregnancy that could not survive, I was sent to the hospital. Repeatedly, during the discussion of my treatment, the word abort was mentioned. Each time, it caused me to dig my heels in a little deeper. I insisted on serial labs to watch my pregnancy hormone values. They were dropping. I was losing the pregnancy, still treatment options were all described using that heinous word – abort.
As a healthcare professional myself, I understand that the medical term for a miscarriage is a ‘spontaneous abortion;’ however, that is not the context in which the word was being used in my case. I was being asked to ‘terminate’ pregnancy. I couldn’t do that.
I insisted on another sonogram to the dismay of the doctor. No heartbeat, yolk sack, or other sign of a living, viable pregnancy could be found. My pregnancy hormones continued to drop on blood tests. My child was gone. Finally, on February 6, with my own medical knowledge and confirmation that treatment was not an actual abortion of my pregnancy, I agreed to surgery.
Medical staff at my follow up appointment yesterday still referred to my surgery as termination and abortion of pregnancy due to ectopic findings, but my own review of my test results says otherwise. My pregnancy was already lost. Surgery was done to dispose of the remains, which my body could not do on its own and to repair the damage being caused. I did not choose my life over my child’s.
A similar comparison of what I did can be made with the mother that miscarries, but needs to have a d&c procedure to remove the remains of the pregnancy that she was unable to pass on her own. As explained by the American Pregnancy Association,
D&C, also known as dilation and curettage, is a surgical procedure often performed after a first trimester miscarriage. Dilation means to open up the cervix; curettage means to remove the contents of the uterus. Curettage may be performed by scraping the uterine wall with a curette instrument or by a suction curettage (also called vacuum aspiration), using a vacuum-type instrument.
In the case of miscarriage, nowhere is this procedure referred to as an abortion. This leads me to ask, “Why refer to my surgical procedure, also intended to remove a failed pregnancy, in such an ugly fashion?” It is possible I hold such a negative connotation with the word abortion because of my pro-life views, but it does seem to be inconsistent in its use when compared to other miscarried pregnancies.
I share this in hopes that medical staff will choose their words more wisely and other pro-life mothers that have the misfortune of experiencing an ectopic pregnancy will be able to understand and seek treatment without the guilt or remorse I felt. Because of the use of one seemingly harmless word, I suffered for days longer than necessary and risked my own life in the process. Thanks to the Lord, I am recovering both physically and emotionally. I know I did not abort my child. I know I did not hold my own life at higher value than his or hers. I just want everyone else to know it too.