As the organizer of Tattooed Hippie Pirate Mommas, I have the opportunity to meet many amazing, unique, strong, powerful, positive women, many of whom I gett o know on a personal level while sharing stories or crying through hardships. All of us are living our lives, drifting down or powering through them with zeal and ambition, keeping our fingers crossed that the next day will continue to bring happiness. This week one of these amazing women had to face a choice that no married mother ever wants to face... so when she asked me to share her story, there was no hesitation. Life is real. And sometimes reality is so surreal you're not sure it's truly happening. This is her story.
My Abortion Experience
I am a registered voter. I am a responsible adult. I have a college degree. I don't sleep around. I own my own home. I pay my taxes. I am a parent.
My husband and I have been married for 10 years this May. We have 2 beautiful children together, in addition to his 2 older sons. After the birth of our daughter, his 4th child at 32 years old, my husband
decided to have a vasectomy. 4 children is plenty, especially considering one is a teenager, one is special needs who lives 500 miles away with his mother, and the younger 2 still require almost constant care.
I intended, at my post partum OB visit, to be fitted with an IUD. I chickened out at the last minute. I knew my husband would be getting the vasectomy regardless, so I wasn't concerned. Surgery time came and
went, but recovery was long and painful. He went back for a follow up sperm count after a predetermined amount of time, and was found to have zero sperm. Hooray! No more condoms, no more worrying; we were free.
Fast forward to the present. We have a 17 year old, a 5 year old, and an almost 2 year old. Suddenly, "surprise!", and I'm 5 days late. Holy shit, what do I do? I knew I was late on Sunday night, and planned to
take a pregnancy test in the morning when any hormones in my urine would be most concentrated. Coincidentally, I woke at 4am. I REALLY had to pee. BAM, before you know it, 2 little pink life changing
lines. Monday was my husband's first day back at work after 6 days off visiting my stepson. I knew he needed to have his head in the game at the office, so I kept the pregnancy secret all day. I was excited, and
terrified. What do we do? We gave away all of our baby stuff after the VASECTOMY. What would he say? Would he think I cheated? I did my research and learned that, although rare, vasectomies can fail. I set
up a cute surprise to tell him, thinking he would be excited too. Wrong. Instead of excitement, I saw shock. I saw fear. I saw sadness. He has only been at his new job for 4 months, and not entirely sure he likes it. If we have a baby, he has no choice but to stay there. We need a secure income and health insurance. Soon we will have college tuition to think about; where will that money come from? There is only so much Daddy to go around. 4 kids, 1 wife, and 1 difficult job are stretching him pretty thin as it is. Another mouth may just break him. Let's not forget that I DO NOT enjoy being pregnant. How is this all going to work?
I'm 33, married with children. I never thought we would be considering abortion again. Yes, again. We were 19 and 20. Stupid, careless, it's a wonder we didn't wind up with an unplanned pregnancy sooner. Our
relationship was young, we knew it was the wrong time for a baby. We set it up, ended it, and moved on. 14 years later, here we are again. It's easy to decide to terminate a pregnancy when you've never been
pregnant before, when you've never held your newborn child for the first time, when you've never felt your toddler's arms wrapped around your neck. It's a much harder choice when you know exactly what you're turning down. On the other side of the same coin, it is a little easier to say NO! to a dozen diapers a day, surprise spit up, sleepless nights, and not showering. It's also becomes very easy to say no to postpartum
depression. What's really difficult is killing the idea of having another baby. This magical, romantic idea that we get the second we see those two lines is crippling. The pain I felt when we decided it's best for our family to end the pregnancy was the same pain I felt when I had a miscarriage at 11weeks. Not much of a human baby at that point, but the death of a dream is heart wrenching.
I was given two different options to end this pregnancy, each with its own risks and benefits. Medical abortion is easy. You take a pill in the office, then follow that up with pills at home. It feels more like
a natural miscarriage. You will pass all the tissue at home; it seems more personal. The other option is surgical abortion, or D & C (dilation and curettage). With this method, you are given IV sedation
and local anesthesia. The doctor dilates the cervix and removes all the unwanted tissue while you are there in the office. It's more invasive, but it's finished right then. You don't need to go home to cramp and bleed all over the place, or see what you've passed. I know I would want to look. At first, I was all for the more passive route of medical abortion. As I sat down, reading through my various consent forms, I tearfully remembered how I learned during my miscarriage in 2009 not to be coerced into sacrificing the family I have for a family member that is still beginning to develop. I regret weaning my son early at 16 months per the suggestion of my well meaning doctor and my clueless husband only to lose the pregnancy I sacrificed for. My 22 month old is still nursing, and I just couldn't stomach the idea of her ingesting cytotoxic chemotherapy drugs via my milk. Thus, I decided that, while scarier and much more invasive, surgical abortion would be my only option. Yes, I am completely ok with my daughter ingesting low amounts of narcotic. I also drink coffee and alcohol while nursing, and my husband and I are comfortable with these decisions. I am not ok with my daughter ingesting "probably ok" drugs for the sake of my own convenience. Of course, none of the above would be ideal, but we play the hand we're dealt.
In the course of five days, I have gone from not pregnant to pregnant back to not pregnant. I know I have experienced every emotion in the book. Do I regret my decision to end this incredibly unplanned
pregnancy? No. It sucks, and is a very expensive mistake, but it is our mistake. It is my life and my family. With the assistance of some great friends, some even better drugs, and the support of my husband,
I made it through this week. I'm a little bruised, but not broken. I am an adult. I am a parent. I am a woman.