By Cynthia E.
Recovery, Grief & Decisions
Editor’s note: This part four a four-part series. It is a brave and unflinchingly honest story involving a rare medical emergency during a clinic D&E, and we applaud the author for her courage in sharing it, and offer our condolences on the loss of her baby and her fertility.
Too uncomfortable from surgery to sleep in a bed, I spent several sleepless nights in the Lazy-Boy, crying. I would think about the surgery and how terrible the pain was. I would think about the doctor. Rage would come over me. Why did he not stop? I would think about how I could not give my husband a son. That was what would make me cry the hardest. It all would not have been so bad if they could have saved my uterus. Having the diagnosis of Down syndrome, having to make a terrible decision, having to suffer all the pain during the dilation and extraction, having to have exploratory surgery, having to have everyone at the hospital know what I had done and look at me with their judging eyes, having to go through recovery. All of it could have been brushed under the carpet, forgiven and forgotten if they had just been able to save my uterus.
But they didn’t and that’s what I have to deal with. So now what? What do we do from here? How do we complete our family? How do I give my husband his son? I briefly researched surrogate mothers. Of course, that is so expensive and there is no guarantee that the pregnancy will take. I also looked into adoption. Again, very expensive and there is a long waiting list. Then there were finances. Could we even afford to have another child? I’d just spent four days in the hospital. Lord only knows how much that was going to set us back. We were already falling behind by having to pay for all the Ob/Gyn visits and paying ahead for the delivery. I would circle these ideas around and around in my head. What is the solution? What will make this all right?
Before Steven had to return to Texas, we talked about our family plan briefly. Basically he was thinking he’d like to adopt an older child, while I was thinking an infant. But we decided to table the discussion until after the New Year. He said he had too many emotions right now to think straight about adopting a child.
The night before he left, I laid next to him and sobbed. Just a few short weeks earlier we were going to have a baby in a few months and now we were barren. I felt inadequate. I was no longer whole and I would never be whole again. Why did this have to happen now? If it had to happen, let it happen after our family is complete. I cried and cried. Nothing could make it better.
Life Goes On
I am now six months post op. The New Year came and went but we still have not had a heart-to-heart about adopting a child.
Sabrina has brought many challenges to the table. She developed Esotropia (one eye turned in). We took her to the optometrist and learned that she was extremely farsighted. She is now wearing glasses which hopefully will correct this disorder. If not, she will need surgery. Additionally, she is still not talking. She is now in Early Childhood Intervention for speech and behavior therapy. She has a significant speech delay and has some behaviors which are warning signs for Autism. However, it’s too early to go slapping labels on her. She’s only been a fully sensory-integrated person for a couple of months and she’s been making marked improvements. Right now Sabrina needs my full attention. It may be that Sabrina will be our one and only child. It makes me sad because I think about my childhood growing up with my brother. Sabrina will never know the joys of always having a sibling to play with and talk to. It also makes me sad that Steven will not have a son to do guy stuff with.
The medical bills came in around $15,000. We have not had any luck getting a lawyer to take our case because the clinic was in a conservative west Michigan city and they do not think the case is winnable. Our best chance for adopting was to win the lawsuit against the clinic. We figure it’d take about 30K to make things right. $15k for medical bills and $15 towards adopting a child. To this whirlwind of uncertainty I say the Serenity Prayer:
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.
Right now I have a loving husband and amazing daughter. I am choosing to rejoice in my blessing, the ones received and the ones yet to come.