Thursday, July 12, 2012

I have been silent here for so long. I am not sure why. I got lazy and distracted and tired. I would start to write and then feel it was redundant or I could not form my thoughts. I am sad to say, that in many ways, Facebook has become my form of expression. Ideas copied and fragments of my thoughts and passions. Yet there is so much I do not write there. So much is hidden. I have lacked the discipline to express myself here. While my love and devotion for J are still strong and our relationship is at the five year mark, what has brought my voice back is my outrage, grief and heartache for a friend.

She and her husband conceived a child, their third. She is sweetness and gentleness personified. Their first two children are boys and this is the girl that they have been wishing for. She is now in her seventh month and last week, she went for her third routine ultrasound. That is when they were abruptly told that the baby appeared to have anencephaly and would die and nothing could be done. Anencephaly is a condition were the skull and the brain do not fully develop. these babies often miscarry or are stillborn, but if they are born alive, they only live outside the womb for a only short time. After having an enhanced ultrasound and a vaginal ultrasound, to confirm the condition, they discussed termination of the pregnancy with the doctor. Faced with delivering a baby, only to have it die in her arms a short time later, she decided to abort the pregnancy. I know this was a heart wrenching decision for these parents. Unfortunately, the hospital called her today, to tell her that, because this would be a late term abortion, she could not exercise that option. She is being forced to carry and deliver a baby, who has no chance at all of living. She is being forced to have this baby and then watch it die.

I have watched and grieved while this country has fought about insuring that citizens have healthcare. I have watched the poor be maligned and marginalized. I have watched as women in this country have their rights and their choices restricted and denied. I have watched battles about gay marriage rage and be won, only to be pushed back again. I see people all around me that are passionate about their ignorance. When presented with the truth, they are deaf and blind, but they soak up every lie that is tossed in their direction. I used to think that all of this was the birthing pains of our country growing with the times and moving towards a new direction of acceptance and fairness. Yet, I am quickly becoming fearful that what we are birthing is a malformed brainless baby that cannot live. I want better than that for my grandchildren. I want more than that for myself. I am ashamed to live in a country that is driven by fear and hatred. One where being poor is a crime, being a woman is unfortunate, being gay is a sacrilege.

Tonight, I am grieving, for my friend, for her family and for our country.


Sue said...

I feel so bad for your friend and her family...and I share your anger at the unjust laws which deprive her of the right to make such a personal and painful decision. Please give her a hug from a stranger. Pain shared is -- shared.


oatmeal girl said...

Infuriating. And it's those without a lot of money who suffer from this the most. Because the rich can always hop a plane and go to a state or a country where the procedure they need is still available.

Sadist's magick said...

It is infuriating! I feel for your friend.

I had an anencephaly baby almost 30 years ago, like your friend i was also in my 7th month. At the time, I was living in South Africa and system was vastly different, terminations were allowed under three rules only - 1. if the woman had been raped; 2. if the pregnancy was risking the mother's health or 3. if there were abnormalities of the fetus.

There were few discussions after it was discovered that Thomas was an anenchephaly baby, but they were less about termination options; the termination was a given. Labour induction was begun within an hour after the scans. Due to circumstances, i eventually had to have a c-section and was told he died straight away.

Looking back, i feel torn at the way things were handled. I was not given any choices, perhaps a good thing considering how young I was - my gynae was very patronising and yet, somewhat paternal as well. The nurses were all very matter-of-fact talking about if he lived for any length of time, he would not be fed but would be 'made comfortable' and that he would be taken away as soon as he was born as 'it would not do me any good to see him'. That haunted me for the longest time.

argh .. sorry I've written quite a lengthy comment. As much as I think about my children who've died, I don't spend time going into the details and am always surprised, on the rare occasion that I do, just how raw some of the feelings still are. Thank you for this post.

Alice said...

Thank you, ladies for all of your comments. I just can't express how sad and angry this whole situation makes me. When she made the decision to terminate the pregnancy, she was so afraid that people would judge her and she worried about making the wrong decision. Now, to be told that she does not have that option forces her to feel that judgment and guilt even more.

Alice said...

Magick, I can't thank you enough for your comment. I know that sharing something this personal and emotional has to be difficult. I don't care how many years go by, the pain is there. The passage of time can dull the sensation and process the grief, but losing a child is a hurt that never fully heals, regardless of the circumstances or length of time we have them. I am sorry that you were not given the opportunity to see and touch your baby. As painful as that would have been, it, perhaps would have given you some closure and comfort.

Yvonne said...


Hugs...I'm still out here...Glad you are still out there too.

I'm so sorry for your friend. I am frustrated that she was even given the option of terminating the pregnancy and then having it snatched away...but now it has been, I hope that she finds peace in allowing the full experience of her grief to be felt and known. Sometimes, hard as that is, it brings resolution that otherwise might not have existed.

And I too hope our world were different than I often fear it is, let alone will be. The thing I hold on to is that ~most people are good, decent and kind, even if many are ignorant and making bad decisions.

Alice said...

Yvonne, Thank you. She is making peace with this, but I know this is a terribly hard thing for her. I'm glad you are still out there. I'm glad to see I still have any readers after being MIA for so long.