I’ve had two miscarriages in my life that I know about. I’ve always had a very irregular cycle; anywhere from 4-8 weeks in between my periods. One was at 18 when I was way too young to be a parent and was still figuring out who I was (at 56, I think I’m finally getting a grip on that). I went to the hospital twice when I started bleeding and both times they told me to just go home. A month later I got my period and I knew that I had lost that pregnancy. Even now, when I think back, I’m thankful because I was not ready and I would not have given the baby up. My attitude was if anyone was going to fuck up my kid it was going to be me.
The second one occurred after my last child, my son, had been born. We had three children at this point and felt our family was complete. Because I gave birth in a Catholic Hospital, I could not have my tubes tied after my c-section. I was fine with that because they were really the best birthing hospital in our area. We had wanted another child after my second daughter was born, but it didn’t seem to be possible. We tried for two years with no birth control and nothing happened. My doctor had me start charting my very irregular cycle, then put me on fertility drugs. Nothing happened. He said I probably wouldn’t get pregnant again without using those heavy-duty fertility drugs that can cause women to have like 6 kids. I wasn’t doing that, so we decided to accept our family of two daughters and go from there. I gave away all of our baby stuff (except the bassinette that was an heirloom) to a young adult in our church who was pregnant.
A year later, I was pregnant with my son. I didn’t know until I was almost three months along because of that irregular cycle. It was a hell of a pregnancy. He had what they call echogenic bowel which at the time they thought was an indicator of Downs Syndrome, Cystic Fibrosis, or something else I can’t remember. My husband and I did the genetic testing that ruled out everything except possible Downs Syndrome. I didn’t want amniocentesis since there was a risk associated with that and I wouldn’t have changed what I was doing. Then I started butting heads with the newest doctor in the practice. The nice, old doctor I’d been with all those years was retiring and was no longer delivering babies. I took the first test for gestational diabetes and was sick for a week afterward. It came back borderline and I refused a second test, saying let’s just proceed and assume I have it.
From then on, he would barely speak to me. There were no reassurances about what I was going through, I was sent to a specialist after the echogenic bowel, and he was kinder than my regular OB/GYN. At a visit at 32 weeks, I told him I was thinking of changing doctors. I was crying and stressed out the entirety of that office visit and I think he said something to my regular OB/GYN. It got a little better after that. About a week before my scheduled c-section, I lost some bloody fluid. To this day, I’m sure it was my mucous plug and they should have done a c-section then, but they sent me home. On the scheduled date, I gave birth to my son. Five years down the road we found out he was on the autism spectrum. Ten years after that, he was diagnosed with Crohns Disease. There are now studies talking about how stress during pregnancy can be linked to autism.
We didn’t think much about birth control after that, thinking Danny was our miracle baby and I wouldn’t get pregnant again. In the fall of 2002, my period was late but I was not concerned. I kept birth control pills around to induce my period when it was late like that. My doctor knew because of how many times I’d run to his office when I was late and he’d do the test and it was negative so it was a pretty regular occurrence. This time, I didn’t do a test first but just took the pills. Usually, it’s a couple of days and I get my period. This time, it didn’t happen. I finally did a test at home and it was positive.
I cried when I read that test. When my husband came home I showed him the test and he started yelling. My parents started yelling. We were done! I wanted to look forward to being an adult again after motherhood. I didn’t want another baby. My personal choice, though, is no abortion. We started resigning ourselves to what was to be. I found a new doctor through a friend and had my first appointment.
One evening my husband and I were walking in New York City where we’d gone for a “date night” and I felt a sharp twinge in my lower abdomen. I didn’t think much about it at the time since it was just once or twice and then it was gone. A couple of days later, I started bleeding. I went to my new OB/GYN and he did an ultrasound. I was no longer pregnant. All that was there was the round space of the amniotic sac with nothing inside of it. I had a D&C the next day.
There are so many ways the new abortion laws coming out would have affected that last pregnancy. I could have been brought up on charges for taking those pills without testing first. Did that cause my miscarriage? I don’t know. I don’t think so since it was a few weeks after I took them that it happened. But I don’t regret it. We were done. We didn’t want another baby. Even when I think about it now, I’m grateful that child – and the one I miscarried at 18 – weren’t born. But the government could come in and judge me for that. They could jail me for it.
A woman’s body is her own business.