No Telling How Severe

Mar 9, 2015 | Posterior Urethral Valves (PUV)

They were unable to tell me how bad the damage actually was.


I just had an abortion at four months gestation.

My pregnancy was a big surprise, and I was almost as surprised by my own reaction to it. I had been petrified of motherhood. How could I ever be a good enough mother?

Eventually I overcame my fears and ambivalence. I started really looking forward to having this child, and making all kinds of plans.

The doctor’s office called to say that my blood screen results indicated a problem. I thought maybe that meant I had diabetes or high blood pressure. Nope. It turned out the screening test assessed my child as being at a high risk for spina bifida.

I was sent to a specialist for high-risk pregnancies, and it turned out my child didn’t have spina bifida after all, but something else: Posterior Urethral Valves. This meant he was unable to urinate and as a result his bladder, pelvis and kidneys were already damaged. They were unable to tell me how bad the damage actually was.

They gave me my options and told me about some experimental procedures to prevent further damage. I did not want my kid to suffer and after doing much research, I couldn’t even bear the “best case scenario” for him. The best case scenario was that he would have to be born premature (because of oligohydramnios causing even more developmental problems), have surgeries, catheters, and possible a kidney transplant and feeding tubes.

I contacted some families of children with PUV, and they advised me not to abort. I joined a support group and got advice, and I also followed the message boards there to learn more about the types of procedures, surgeries and care these children needed. It overwhelmed me. I felt I wouldn’t be able to handle it emotionally or financially. I don’t make much money. My boyfriend and I would never be able to afford the medical interventions and support our baby would require.

The worse part of the decision all is that each case is different. There is just no way to tell how severe a case will be, or whether or not the child can even survive.

I sought and received the opinions of four separate medical professionals, and three of them recommended ending the pregnancy. The fourth refused to make any recommendation, but instead provided me with medical statistics of prenatal surgeries and procedures and their possible outcomes.

With much thought, I decided to end the pregnancy. This was so recent that I still feel empty inside. I’m heartbroken, although I believe I made the right decision.

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