After reading the divided positions of those who think a woman has a right to choose to terminate a pregnancy versus those who believe that the overturning of Roe v. Wade is the correct decision, I started to think about all of it and what it means to those affected by that.
With each “opinion” posted, there are several more waiting to respond. It seems like a boxing match with each person getting their gloves on and getting ready for the punch, figuratively speaking of course.
One of the opinions I recently read was akin to this person taking a stand on her proverbial soapbox, and while I felt some of what she was speaking about was plausible, it became obvious that it was something that she was going to tap, tap the imaginary hammer as if to prove her point.
I thought that much of what she pointed out was “victim blaming and shaming.” And the responses were quite interesting as well and very few had any sympathy for situations where the woman was clearly not pregnant by choice.
I started thinking about that and suddenly I became very grateful I had never been put in that place where a decision had to be made because I became pregnant and didn’t want to be.
I was lucky. After being married for almost two years, we decided we were ready to become parents. Seven and a half months later our daughter was born prematurely. She had to stay in the neonatal intensive care unit for over a week. She was only 4 pounds, 8 ounces and had jaundice.
Imagine giving birth and going home without your baby. It was terribly hard and while I knew she needed the care of the doctors and nurses, it still was difficult. Though very small, when she was released, she couldn’t drink from a regular-sized bottle, and while I was able to pump my breastmilk a little, she benefitted from the formula more.
She had to be awakened every three hours to be fed, and the tiny bottles that we were given to use had to be filled up with each feeding for her little body to consume and continue to grow.
About four years later, I found out I was pregnant again. Delighted and amazed that we were going to have another baby, but this one felt different.
I remember sitting at a restaurant in the valley with my family and my sister and her husband, and everyone was so happy that we were going to have another child. In my heart I knew something was off.
I was having tiny pings of pain on one side of my ovary area and when my sister asked me about the baby, I looked at her and said, “I’m not going to have this one, something is off.”
About two weeks later, Thanksgiving weekend to be exact, I started to bleed, and my dad, who is an OBGYN and was on call at was then called Holy Cross Hospital, now called Providence Holy Cross. He came and got me and my sister, while my husband stayed at home with our daughter.
Papa told me that I had to be with him, so he could make sure I would be alright. At the hospital they did an ultrasound and saw that I had an ectopic pregnancy, and the egg had burst through the fallopian tube. That is why I was in so much pain, and why I was bleeding a lot.
Basically, I was told, I would have to have a D and C and get everything out, but it would be decided if that was necessary in about 24 hours.
Meanwhile, I was given methotrexate to help to kill any cells that were left. But to take that medication, your exact weight must be used so you are prescribed the correct amount.
Imagine my surprise when my dad asked me how much I weighed. Sheesh, I thought, can I catch a break anywhere? Hence the “Body Images” article that ran recently. Oh, the things we hold on to!
After it was determined that I didn’t need a D and C, I was told that I shouldn’t try again for a couple of months to make sure that everything was out of my body, medication included.
I got very sick with a cough about three weeks later and my left ear was clogged.
My medical school training by proxy of being a doctor’s daughter leaned more toward the metaphysical meaning of my cough and ear problem suggesting I didn’t want to hear the sadness of what I had just gone through, and my cough hinged on the fact my voice had been silenced as I maneuvered through the loss.
A few months later, I was given the green light to try again.
Lo and behold, I got pregnant, even with only one ovary working correctly since the ectopic pregnancy. Seven months and three weeks later, I gave birth to a healthy baby boy. He was five weeks premature, but big enough to be allowed to leave the hospital with us a couple of days later.
My kids are grown, and I am a grandmother now. My baby-making days are long gone. I never had to make a decision because of an unwanted pregnancy. I don’t believe I could ever bring myself to do so, but that is my view for me, and I wouldn’t want someone to force me to do something I didn’t want to do.
It will be interesting to see how this all plays out and I know that in the end, I have to hope that there will be a path of compromise.
I want to believe that, if not for me, but for our collective humanity.
Jennifer Danny is a Santa Clarita resident.