Skip to comments.A difficult choice and the follow-through [2nd trimester abortion]
Posted on 07/12/2006 1:00:02 PM PDT by madprof98
We don't feel capable of raising a severely disabled child. It would be different if we didn't have a choice, but we do.
A tear creeps down my cheek when she says it's a girl. I don't know why that makes me cry.
I'd really rather not know. She assumes that like most expectant parents we want to know.
But as its turning out, we aren't like most expectant parents.
We could be, though. In many ways my 45-year-old husband and I could be perfect parents. We're professionals, with university degrees, own our own house, it's even paid off (we're financially careful yuppies). We're also fit -- we do Ironman events, marathons, play golf, travel and help support my parents. But being healthy, and looking 10 years younger isn't enough to fool the gods that govern genetics. It turns out my 40-year-old eggs don't give a hoot that I'm physically fit.
And now our unexpected late-life gift, our 19-week-old miracle is turning out to be tragically flawed. A dreaded extra chromosome -- a triple X -- has robbed us of a healthy baby, the geneticist quietly tells us our child will be significantly lower functioning than other children. Definitely not the treasured only child, the little athlete, we had only so recently and so tentatively allowed ourselves to dream about.
We leave the office in a fog. Instead of celebrating our seventh wedding anniversary this weekend, we now have to make a literally life-changing decision, one too sensitive to share with family or friends. No one has actually said the word, they don't have to. We know what our options: To continue the pregnancy or not?
I cry myself to sleep. My husband researches triple X on the computer. We have to decide quickly because it's already 19 weeks into the pregnancy. We don't feel capable of raising a severely disabled child. It would be different if we didn't have a choice, but we do. Isn't it more cruel to bring a child burdened with so many disadvantages into the world?
The geneticist's carefully chosen words describe the best-case scenario. What's the worst? my husband asks. Doctors won't speculate, but say if we decide to keep the child, they'd like to be "involved." (Ouch!)
We spend a tense weekend, each worried about the other's emotional state. We had already decided if it was a Down syndrome baby (one in 30 chance for a mother over 40) we wouldn't continue. I thought even my church-going mother (who goes door-to-door collecting money for those who are anti-abortion, and their pro-life campaign) could forgive that. But what about this situation; it's not quite Down syndrome, but it's close.
I already know we won't tell our parents.
My husband drives me to the non-descript house in a downtown Toronto neighbourhood. The security guard checks my name off her list and refuses to let my husband in (standard policy). I wait in the ominously quiet but cozy waiting room. I'm curious to see who else is here. A miserable-looking Asian woman, older and more visibly pregnant than I am studies her hands in her lap. I'm guessing she, too, has found something unbearable in her fetus. Two young women, with tattoos and a Queen Street vibe, seem nervous, but not grieving (I assume) unwanted pregnancies. I meet a lovely 47-year-old women from out of town. She has two children and a heart condition. She can't take birth control pills because of her age and health, and this unexpected pregnancy could be fatal. She's angry it took her doctor so long to figure out she was pregnant.
She had to drive two hours to get here.
The procedure is deceptively simple. Doctors call it a D & E , dilation and evacuate, better known as an abortion. The doctor inserts fragile slivers of seaweed into my cervix then waits for the porous pieces to swell and enlarge the opening. It takes two days. It's uncomfortable, but no worse that being pregnant. On the third day, when the cervix has dilated, the doctor clears out the uterus: the evacuation.
A nurse holds my hand throughout. It's oddly comforting. I keep my eyes shut, I don't want to see or hear anything. Afterward, I fight the urge to cry. Two women throw up -- a reaction to the medication. The nurse says they have 20 patients a day. I feel sorry for all of them.
Why can't we just go to the nearest hospital? I hate the sanctimonious people who have made this more difficult than it has to be. No one begrudges couples thwarting God's plan by spending tens of thousands of dollars on fertility drugs, in vitro treatments, donor eggs, sperm, and surrogate mothers -- they get sympathy. But if you don't want to keep a seriously flawed baby, you bundle your pain in guilt and shame.
The other woman waits for me to say goodbye. She whispers "Good luck, try again," and brings me to tears. My husband picks me up.
His work sends flowers to me: his wife who had a miscarriage.
That's what we tell our friends and parents as well.
C. Smyth lives in Toronto.
That's correct, adoption.
I just found out a 14 year old friend of my son has died and then read this. Made me so sad.
My wife and I were told our daughter had trisomy 18 (or 21, I can't remember, but it was a death sentence and/or severe problems).
Pushed for tests, abortion, etc.
Months later, a perfectly healthy baby girl was born. No genetic problems.
How evil. Adoptive parents are available for children with much more severe disabilities than this condition.
By telling their stories, people like this are building support for the pro-life cause. The pro-abortion cause can't hide behind their "13-year-old victim of incestuous rape" scenario, when their followers are coming out with tales like this.
She didn't have a miscarriage. She murdered her baby.
this makes me seriously ill!
not a perfect child? oh let's just toss it and
try again! um, aren't we all a tad imperfect???
Well, I'm sure at least some of her family and/or friends who have read this article have figured out the truth now. If this was the right choice, why is she lying to her family and friends. Deep down, she knows she committed a deeply selfish act.
I have a disabled child (brain damage) who is a delight!!!!! She has lots of difficulties, but her special traits far outweigh her problems.
Yesterday, she was upset about going to speech therapy. She asked if she didn't get the brain damage when she was sick, then she wouldn't have to go to speech therapy.
I told her that's right. Then she thought some more and said but then "I wouldn't be me". I told her that was correct, and that she had a lot to offer, and I like her just the way she is.
Well, good for you. You can soothe your conscience with a lie. It's just too bad for the precious little girl that God gave you that she wasn't quite perfect enough.
Some couples, like myself and my wife, aren't able to have any more children even though we desperately want to. We would have paid you to adopt your "defective" little girl. But you didn't even give anyone the chance to relieve you of the burden of your actions.
I can't imagine the pain this decision will bring you throughout your life and in the next.
This is disgusting. Why does the Left pride themselves on being pro-murder?
"I told her that was correct, and that she had a lot to offer, and I like her just the way she is."
That's because she's exactly as God wanted her to be.
We are souls with bodies, not bodies with souls.
They sound like they're talking about a make and model of a car..
Because they want to play God, more than anything.
I guess she thinks that by publishing this sap, she makes her choice less morally offensive. Self-absorbed twits...
1. She blames the whole thing on her age. No indication that she could not have gotten pregnant earlier than the 7th year of marraige. Probably putting it off for career and financial security reasons (aka selfishness).
2. Those who demand a perfect kid do not understand what it means to love.
3. To write an essay about this indictes that the authoress is properly troubled by her choice to kill her imperfect child. I hope it nage and nags on her to the point that she eventually realizes the selfish error of her ways. That is the only way she will become healthy again.
There are those who will choose to raise that child. No excuse for killing him/her.
Besides, doctors have given dire predictions about the health of an unborn child before, and when born, the child was healthy or at least not nearly as handicapped as predicted.
My wife and I would dearly love to adopt another child. We have several friends and some family that have Downs kids. Despite their learning disabilities, they are without exception the nicest, sweetest kids I have ever seen. It just burns me up when I see this wanton destruction of another innocent human life.
I wish I had a written out copy on the web of the testimony I heard one day, from a woman who was pregnant with a baby who they discovered, late in pregnancy, was anecephalic (no higher brain, I think they simply have a brain stem). She gave the most incredibly moving testimony of continuing the pregnancy to term, delivering her baby and then holding her as she died. And then I read about a woman who is so selfish, she is willing to kill her child because she is not up to a less than perfect child? Amazing.
BTW I have a niece who has Downs. She is an incredible girl, she can read, she holds a job, finished high school. Certainly she will not be able to do what most children do, however she has certainly enriched the lives of everyone around her.
The doctor gave me the results of the first ultrasound with my first child. He said she had a possible heart defect and possibly downs syndrome because she never opened her fists during the ultrasound. I prayed and believed G-d for a healthy child, and she was born healthy and strong willed (probably why she keeps her fists balled).
If it's flawed, kill it.
I hope they run a follow-up piece by Karla Homolka on how difficult but necessary it was for her to rape and kill her own sister.
Or maybe a peek into the troubled yet hopeful soul of Susan Smith?
Or perhaps some original verse by that tortured troubadour Charlie Manson?
Downs is no walk in the park.
Beautiful, and exactly right.
Amen. Love is a choice and a decision to be faithful no matter what. This is why God is love. As wretched as we are He has decided to love us.
I expect the follow-up will be: "A tear runs down my cheek as I place the pillow over Grandma's head. Poor old thing is in bed all day, can no longer participate in Ironman events and doesn't look 10 years younger...what other choice did we have?"
God bless you and your sweet, wise little girl.
A tear creeps down my cheek when I learn that her beautiful face will continue to look serene as the unexpected reality of what we cannot see, but what we are being told by the experts, sinks in. We go home and I quietly cry myself to sleep as my husband searches for more information on the internet. What we should do haunts us throughout the weekend and, of course, we don't want to discuss it with our friends, as it is such a private decision. I think about what I had always envisioned; she would bake cookies for her grandkids, take them for walks, read them stories. Most important, she would be there for me as I told her about my challenges as a mother. But our dream was not to be. On Monday, we drive to the address we have been given and the security guard carefully checks off our names, but won't let my husband go with me. There are other people waiting too, and I scan their faces for signs that they have struggled with their decision as we did. And then, so shortly after they took us into a clean, well-lighted room, it was all over, and I was free to leave, by myself. Several people ask me if I am OK as I leave, and assure me that they will take care of whatever paperwork may be required.
Alzheimers. What's a child to do when faced with the inconvenient and terrible impact it would have on our future?
Neither is life in general. Cancer could strike anyone of us at any time without warning.
Kids in general are not.
A nurse holds my hand throughout. It's oddly comforting.
How deceptively simple it is, if you gloss over the evacuation, if you look at it only through the eyes of self. No one to hold the baby's hand.
Here's the crux of it. The child would not be the perfect person they dreamed about, so they have "no choice" but to kill it. Nice.
Asked the genetic counselor what therapies there were. She said none, but that we could "explore our choices."
My wife and I told her we were Catholic, and that we did not see the point in a test that served no purpose other than to convince people to murder a child.
There is a special spot in hell for such people.
She had to drive two hours to get here.
I cannot find the words to describe the anger I feel right now...
I, too, have known several people who were told that their baby would be born with serious defects only to have the baby be born perfectly normal.
One doctor "showed" the mother on the sonogram that the baby "didn't have a head." The baby was born with a head and perfectly healthy.
Another one was told that she would die if she took the baby to full-term and didn't abort it. She said no. She didn't die, and the baby was born just fine.
I have always wanted to ask people who support abortions of babies with Downs or other birth defects because the baby isn't "perfect" what they would plan to do if their next, "perfect" babies develops autism as a infant/toddler. Would they advocate killing those children? If not, what is the difference between killing a Down's Syndrome baby in the womb and killing an 18 month old because it has autism?
They're professional. They have degrees. They have financial security. They're fit. They have healthy lifestyles. They just didn't have a conscience, or a universe that contains anything other [or more important to them] than themselves. And the kid, by not being consistent with their self image, paid the price.
And, oh yeah, they have no shame. The article proves that.
I got sick reading the article. My son does not have Down Syndrome, but there are kids with Downs who are higher functioning than he is. Doctors have never been able to tell us the why/how, but he is my wonderful treasure from God. I can't imagine a day without his laughter and love, and all that he brings to this family. But what do I know? I never went to college, don't own our own home and the only shape I'm in is round. Not the "best" parent material by this woman's standards.
LIBERAL ANSWER: "If I kill the defective fetus I can then go and whoop it up for a couple of months in Paris before I get pregnant again. Who the hell wants a freak baby anyway? It would be such a drag on the Upper West Side..."
A couple with a Down's child sits close to us in church most Sundays.
He's about 5 years old and we have watched him grow from birth. He's a joy to his parents and everyone he meets. How some ghouls can deem such a sweet fellow unworthy of life is astonishing.
My wife and I were warned about the possibility of Down's when we discovered she was pregnant last year (my wife is pushing 40). I thought about the little guy from church. I knew I could live with that and raise such a child with all the love in the world.
Certainly, the thought of killing our baby was not even considered.
I refused all such tests in all four of my pregnancies, because there would be no "choice" to be made.
The assumption this women made that killing a Down Syndrome baby would be fine with pro-lifers is nauseating too.
People who love their children deal with it. Monsters who can't be bothered with less than perfect children, kill them.
To add some disgust, we're not talking about a gross (by which I mean "huge") problem here, just a marginal problem that every kid has of some kind.
Indeed, odd were that her daughter would have been fine, just from looking at Web MD:
"Triplo X Syndrome is a chromosomal abnormality that affects females. Females normally have two X chromosomes; however, those with Triplo X Syndrome carry three X chromosomes (trisomy X) in the nuclei of body cells. No specific pattern of symptoms and malformations (phenotype) has been found to be associated with this abnormal chromosomal make-up (i.e., 47,XXX karyotype). Many affected females appear to have no or very few associated symptoms, while others may have various abnormalities.
However, investigators indicate that Triplo X Syndrome is a relatively common cause of learning difficulties, particularly language-based disabilities (e.g., dyslexia), in females. Evidence suggests that affected females typically have normal intelligence with IQs that tend to be lower than that of their brothers and sisters (siblings). Mental retardation rarely occurs. Infants and children with Triplo X Syndrome may tend to have delayed acquisition of certain motor skills and delayed language and speech development.
Affected females often are of tall stature. According to researchers, although sexual development and fertility are usually normal, some may have delayed puberty and/or fertility problems. In addition, in some cases, certain physical abnormalities have been reported, such as a relatively small head, vertical skin folds that may cover the eyes' inner corners (epicanthal folds), and/or other findings. Triplo X Syndrome results from errors during the division of reproductive cells in one of the parents."
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