Saturday, March 28, 2009

God saved her.

Thank you, Anchoress, for beating the drums for life. I am in awe of people like Faith's mom and Eliot's parents. There is already such tremendous social pressure to abort the "less than perfect." Everyone owes these parents their deepest gratitude for sheltering and loving their beautiful children. It smooths the way for the rest of us when we have to make the difficult choices.

I wish I could say that I always trust God that way, but too often I don't. Everything I know today I learned the hard way - including life.

Abortion is ever-present in my life. So many women lawyers I know waited too long to have children, only to resort to Clomid, IVF, and other fertility means. If they get lucky and it takes, "selective reduction" is the next step in the fertility process. Whatever you call it - abortion, reduction, procedure - it seems sterile and clean, modern and responsible. It's the only thing you really can control when it comes to childbearing, which every woman finds out is more of a medical wilderness than you can imagine. Abortion seemed like the only easy answer for a universe of hard problems. Of course I was pro-choice. Everyone I respected was. And if it conflicted with my church, well, then maybe the church was wrong. Besides, how could I believe in a faith that would force me to behave so "irresponsibly." How could I believe in a faith that would force so much gratuitous pain? Pro-life seemed like being pro-cruelty in some circumstances.

Then I got pregnant.

And you know what, it was kind of gruesome. The sicker I got, the more weight I lost, the more I became convinced that no one, no one had the right to dictate that I or any other woman to go through this. I lost 12% of my body weight in two months. Swallowing anything, even water or my own saliva, made me vomit. When I finally got insurance approval for a $100 per pill anti-vomiting drug, it held the sickness at bay so long as I didn't try to move. I was dizzy and sick even in my sleep, when I could sleep. But even as I blamed my body for being so tremendously bad at being pregnant, I grew to love the tiny baby inside.

But love without grace wasn't enough to stop me from trying to kill it. At 18 weeks and some change, we didn't know the gender, so when the hemorrhage started, the baby was still an "it." And when the doctor said he had some bad news, I was the one who asked for the "procedure."
The emergency room doctor gave us some privacy while he left to go schedule the D&C. I didn't want to face delivering the remains of my dead child at home. They'll just take it out, he said. A friend in the same position only took one day off work when her first fetus was determined to be "growing too slow" and removed. It was New Years Day. I wouldn't even need to take vacation.

My ob-gyn came in a few hours later to do the pre-op. Yet another pelvic exam left me so sore I could hardly move. Hospital policy required a Foley catheter for an ultrasound that hurt every second it was in. Insult to injury - the ultrasound showed that my body was having severe contractions. I don't know what it showed the baby's body as doing. All they told me was "dead."

"Schedule the procedure," I demanded. I know my rights.

I was angry when my doctor told me it was better not to do any medical intervention if at all possible. What were we supposed to tell our families? "Oh hey, my dead baby is going to fall out of me any minute. And Happy Holidays, by the way." Ever tactful, we told them exactly that.

And then we waited.

How many days are you supposed to wait for your dead baby to fall out of you?

We waited 22 more weeks.

There is such relief in not having to be God.

She is so beautiful it will make your heart stop.

I nearly killed her.
I wrote that a few months ago. She's even more beautiful today.

By rights, I should never get up from my knees in thanksgiving to the Lord for saving me, and her, from my outrageous and ungrateful stupidity. It was such a close thing. The thought of what could have happened causes me physical pain.

God intervened, but it should not have been that close. Who am I to reject the gift of life, just because it's going to be scary and messy and potentially painful? Who am I to reject the gift of faith? What stupidity to reject the only bulwark and protector of all children - born or unborn - against the scared or selfish or misguided acts of their own parents. God gave me everything I needed to know to save my children, and I disregarded the information. By rights, I deserved no child. But God is merciful.

It's a hard thing to hold on to what is right in this world, but the parents of Baby Faith and Baby Eliot have done it. I am certain that their loving example will give comfort to those who struggle against the modern world to see that there is another way.