Driving up to the building scared shitless. I get out of the car and hear people yelling… cursing… screaming at me, calling me names.
I sign in and find chair. I’m looking down at my feet completely ashamed and feeling guilty. I hear this high pitched voice “C—”. I feel like I have been sitting an eternity. I am sat in this small room with three plastic chairs and those thick glass blocks as walls. I had been sitting for hours, waiting to be in that room. I hear a small knock at the door and I can hear the door knob turn. “C—…” I look up, there she is. This look of sorry on her face…. I am instantly comforted by her presence. Dark brown hair, flawless skin. She’s my counselor to help me through all my decisions today and tomorrow. I’m sitting in the chair holding a small baby blue beanie. She asks, “May I see it?”
This is where my story begins….
I found out I was pregnant with my third child… I couldn’t be happier. My daughter was just starting first grade and my son was not even a year old. I couldn’t believe it. I was so thrilled but scared.
I had heart problems during my pregnancy with my son but knew this was something I would continue to struggle with. Every week I was worried about cardiac arrest, or a stroke. I had ultrasounds on my heart done and we knew that I would have to have surgery to fix the issue but I couldn’t while I was pregnant or breast feeding. I also knew I would only have the issue during pregnancy… so this was always in the back of my mind.
During one of my prenatal visits I accepted the optional blood test for detection of downs and sb. I wanted my daughter to know how tough I was to get the test done. She had seen me get the test with her brother, and shots. She just thought I was so tough.
The following day I was sitting at the dining room table cutting a ‘Skittles’ outline out for a Christmas present project, my phone was ringing. “Hello” it was a nurse from my dr office. My blood test results came back abnormal. She asked if I could come in today, Thursday, for a sonogram. I couldn’t make it because my daughter was getting off of the bus any minute. I told her my anatomy scan was on Monday and asked her if it could wait until then. She was very adamant and told me I needed to be seen sooner. I requested for tomorrow, Friday. She said she would fit me in.
I remember waiting in the room for the technician. Frightened. Excited. I couldn’t wait to see the baby again.
And there was the image I had been waiting on… the little face I had fell in love with. I laid there in silence for two hours, I had no idea what she was doing. She was measuring, and counting, and more measuring. She told me she was ready to reveal the gender, IT’S A BOY. The surprise was overwhelming shadowed by my dr coming into the room. There was something wrong. Terribly wrong. He started with “I am so sorry”… I had a amniocentisis. Another sonogram. I also had an MRI. All in one week. All of which confirmed. Spina Bifida, Hydrocephlus, Chiari II, and a heart malformation. No limb movement had been detected during any of my visits, and what I thought were kicks and squirms were really seizures. I talked to a pediatric cardiologist, and neurologist. His prognosis was hard to swallow. He would at 24 hours old require three major surgeries. Spinal, brain, and heart. His ability to survive being on bypass for that length of time would be nothing short of a miracle, and unheard of. I was really struggling. I had to think of my son, and his quality of life. What did that really mean? I needed to be selfless, and honest. The drs at children’s deal with this every day. They were scared of my son’s outcome. His body at the state we were at in gestation was depreciating. We didn’t qualify for the MOMS Trial due to the severity of his diagnosis and my health condition.
I had to come to a realization, he would never grow up. He would never be happy. He would life his very short life in pain and being on constant watch. What life did I want for him? What life did he deserve?
This is the time to be selfless. He would not survive infancy. I couldn’t let him suffer, because I was against termination of life. I had to look within myself and realize he didn’t deserve my selfish reasons to just want him to be born. He was sick. He was loved.
I choose to terminate my pregnancy for medical reasons because he didn’t deserve to suffer one more day.
I would have been angry months prior to this day if I heard any woman say those types of things… how dare her… how dare I judge a woman that I never walked a moment in her shoes.
That day I sat in the waiting room waiting to see a dr on my last day with my son. I heard these women talking, laughing, and just talking about why they were there. They didn’t know each other, but you would have thought they were very close. Talking about their lives, their futures, their plans for the evening. They were clearly not in any position to be mothers. They talked about selling food stamps, struggling for gas money to the clinic, drugs, alcohol. Hating their body and this “thing” that they were carrying around. I hated them for that moment. But I then realized… they didn’t have the ability to carry out a healthy pregnancy. They were being abusive to themselves. And it was her decision. Not mine… how dare I at that moment judge her… I was not in her shoes.
I planned my son’s cremation. I visited with him before funeral home picked him up. I cried and blamed myself as I brushed my fingers across his toes. I would never forgive myself.
I’m still ashamed. I didn’t feel tough anymore… But I know without a shadow of a doubt, I made the best decision for Lucca Christopher. His quality of life was more important than anyone’s opinion or acceptance of me.