Like salt on a wound...

After a rousing debate on my facebook wall today, I got to thinking about the whole controversy of abortion from the perspective of a woman who has experienced it. Certainly, there is no judgement here, as my pregnancies were planned, finances were secure and Sam and I anticipated each birth with a wonder and excitement. I never faced the need for an abortion like some women do. However, I did have a molar pregnancy in 1996. Interesting fact that I was at that time volunteering as a counselor for the local crisis pregnancy organization where I live. My mind was strongly made up against any procedure that would endanger a fetus or unborn child. When Sam and I learned we were pregnant with our third child, It was six years after our second born daughter. We were excited to learn that I was already about four months pregnant when we went to the ob/ gyn. We were trying hard to have another child and I would get extremely excited when I missed a period or was late. This happened often as I was not very regular. I remember thinking how good it was that I was almost four months along because then there was less of a chance of any miscarriages. I was considered high risk because on my last pregnancy I went in to labor at 28 weeks and was put on bed rest. Our ob/gyn scheduled us for a routine visit with a perinatologist to get a more advanced ultrasound to see how the baby was developing. After viewing the ultrasound, the doctor told us that there was no viable fetus. He said that there was "just a bunch of tissue". We went home and grieved. Unfortunately, we had told our two little girls that we were expecting another baby, so they were excited to see us back from the doctors. I remember Sam and I grieving that night, somewhat in shock from the news that at four months, we no longer had a pregnancy. My belly was swollen and I had symptoms of pregnancy. My mind went back and forth from sorrow to unbelief. Because I was preparing to be a crisis pregnancy counselor, I had heard that sometimes women were told that their developing fetuses were just "tissue" and not a living unborn baby. That night, I dreamt of a baby sized coffin. To this day, I remember that baby and have a deep sorrow from the miscarriage. I needed desperately to see the ultrasound, so that I would have peace that the doctors were somehow wrong. In fact, I was so insistent, that the perinatologist I was seeing took offense to my lack of faith in his ultrasound machine and/or his expertise. He was mechanistic in his response to my distress. He eventually acquiesced to my requests, but, I was left with a bad taste for "specialists'. His words to me were "I'm not going to get into a debate with you about when life first begins". It was more then fine with me. I just needed to know that I was not aborting a live fetus. So, he grudgingly showed me the ultrasound which clearly showed no presence of a baby. I was told that the tissue in my uterus had softened to the point of endangering my life if they accidentally scraped it and caused bleeding that could not be stopped after a D and E. So, it was a pretty serious operation. We decided we will see our baby in heaven one day. After taking a six month break from counseling and just taking care to fully grieve from the loss, I returned to my clients at the center. One of the first woman I interviewed after miscarrying was in for post traumatic stress from having an abortion. Very few people realize what damage is done to a woman when she aborts her child. This particular woman was on public assistance due to lack of being able to focus on a job from the mental anguish she suffered. We sat across from each other in the counseling room, and I will never forget what she said. "It's such a comfort to know that you understand what I have been through." Truly, God comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. (2 Corinthians 1:4)