At our first-trimester ultrasound we were told our daughter would likely miscarry within a month. She had hydrops, open bowels, and heart abnormalities. We were shocked and wanted answers, although none ever really came. After tests came back all negative for common genetic disorders and infections, our providers recommended a pediatric heart surgeon for surgery immediately following her birth.
I came in for an amniocentesis the first day that I could, at 16 weeks. They said the ultrasound no longer looked abnormal and this testing was unnecessary. We were again shocked, but ecstatic–feeling as though our prayers had truly been answered.
We were devastated when the next ultrasound, done at 18 weeks, showed numerous abnormalities. We had an amniocentesis done immediately, but the complete results would not all be available until after our due date, let alone within the time frame for making a decision regarding pregnancy continuation or termination.
We met with a pediatric genetics doctor and genetics counselor. From what information was available, the doctor believed that she most likely had lethal autosomal recessive amyoplasia (arthrogryposis). The outlook was horrifying, including breaking bones upon delivery and requiring immediate ventilation. There was no hope for communication, even to know if she was experiencing pain or not.
We decided to do the right thing for our daughter and prevent her from suffering in such a way. While I have always respected the right of an individual to make this decision, I honestly never imagined making it myself. I truly believe that we did right by our daughter and made this choice out of love, with her best interest in mind.
It saddens me to hear people devalue this important, legal healthcare option. A baby should not be a punishment. No unwanted child should be born to feel unloved. Most people will not give up a child for adoption, even if they believe they’re ill-equipped for parenthood; imagine the emotional turmoil of such a loss when mixed with postpartum hormones and chemical bonding. It annoys me to hear people claim to never consider abortion because nothing could have been a better choice for our daughter. How could someone know that they would exclude this option in the same circumstance?
Abortion is an option. It is a personal decision made for personal reasons. I am thankful I had the option. I don’t wish it on anyone, but I pray that God continues to help protect the legal and safe availability of abortion to all women.
I am thankful for all the kindhearted people who support and care for women in this situation.