“I was 21 when I got my first positive pregnancy test.
I miscarried at 12 weeks. I never got to meet her. We named her Carlie.
Then I was 23, and I got my second positive. This baby was strong and healthy. We reached 15 weeks. My body had an autoimmune response. Her placenta filled with blood clots. My OB wouldn’t listen when I said it felt like something was tearing inside of my belly. She said it was stretching pains.
It was not.
I went into labor at 16 weeks, and my healthy baby was born too early, with lungs and organs too tiny for this world. This time, I got to hold my baby for hours and hours after she died. We named her Chelsea.
Then I was 24, 25, 26 — and I was being poked with needles and having ultrasounds and asking questions as someone, anyone, tried to figure out what had killed Chelsea. One doctor finally landed on a genetic issue. I’d need injections in my belly every day when I got pregnant to stop the clots. I was terrified to try again.
Then I was 27 and diagnosed with cervical cancer. They had caught it early; it was non-invasive. I had surgery to remove part of my cervix. My doctor told me that I HAD to try again soon if I wanted a baby.
The cancer would not stay away forever. It was an aggressive type. If it came back, I would need a hysterectomy.
Then I was 28, and I got my third positive. I never dreamed of a name. I had been afraid to be excited.
I miscarried at 6 weeks.
A month passed — and there it was. A fourth positive test. Baby Finley.
My HCG levels weren’t doubling correctly. I went in for an ultrasound; they suspected an ectopic… but there was a little embryo in there with a strong heartbeat. A miracle.
Please, God. Let me bring this baby home alive.
My progesterone was always low. I fought to be placed on suppositories and PIOs.
Please, God. Let me bring this baby home alive.
I was sent to an MFM because of my pregnancy history. Everything was good, normal, and healthy. Strong heartbeat. I found out he was a boy.
Please, God. Let me bring my BOY home alive.
I checked his heartbeat every day with a home doppler. I would hold my breath, heart racing, until I found it. My husband gave me injections in the belly every night, to keep the blood clots at bay. There were no peaceful days. My body was always on high alert, waiting for the rug to be pulled out from under us. Fight or flight.
Keep his heart beating, God. Keep him alive.
We went to a routine scan with our high-risk doctor at 16 weeks. I had previously had so many ultrasounds because we were so high-risk. This was the first one I was excited about. I finally had hope; I had carried Finley farther than any of the others. My little warrior.
But the ultrasound technician’s brow was furrowed. She went to get the doctor.
There was no fluid around my baby boy.
And he might not have kidneys.
And he would probably die without fluid.
And they couldn’t do anything to save him.
And I should start thinking about options.
My soul cracked in two. There was a roaring in my ears.
Not ANOTHER baby, God. I can’t give You another one. Please, God. Please.
We found a group of fetal specialists in Houston who were part of a medical trial for babies without kidneys. Our OB told us that Houston was the ‘mecca’ of medical science in Texas. If anyone could save my baby, it would be them. I braced myself to fight like hell to keep Finley alive.
We went to Houston. We met with the specialists.
And my baby didn’t have heart chambers, to direct the blood where it was supposed to go.
He was missing one kidney, but blood couldn’t reach the other because of his heart.
His brain had split.
His heart was too big.
‘Too big?’ I asked, in a voice that was very small.
‘Too big,’ the specialists said gently. ‘Even if he had fluid in there, his heart has grown too big. There will never be enough room for his lungs to expand. He will probably die in-utero, but if he’s born full-term, his lungs will not be developed. There are too many things wrong for medical interventions to fix. All we can do is help you find a reason this has happened. We’re so sorry.’
My brain felt fuzzy.
My soul felt nothing at all.
Perhaps it had expected this.
God, how could You?
They sent in a genetic counselor and a nurse.
They brought in yet another specialist.
They did further genetic testing to confirm the diagnosis.
They shoved a catheter through my cervix and took a sample of my baby’s placenta while I sobbed on the table from the pain in my heart and in my body.
They did one last ultrasound of my baby, to record his heartbeat for me.
They explained that I didn’t have many options in Texas, but that this was very serious. That there was a chance this would become dangerous for me later on, and my pregnancy history made those chances higher. That it would have to become an emergency for someone to intervene. They were so sorry that there was nothing they could do.
I called a clinic in New Mexico the very next day. I chose one that had a ‘fetal indications’ program. A program for moms with babies who have a fatal diagnosis. The closest appointment for a baby that was in the second trimester was 2 weeks away.
I asked them, in a voice that was very small, ‘If I change my mind, am I allowed to cancel?’ They said of course. Of course.
I wanted to change my mind.
I wanted to be strong enough to carry him to term.
I wanted to meet him.
Then the specialists called with the results of the genetic test.
Triploidy on every single chromosome.
Triploidy was the reason for his anomalies.
Triploidy was non-survivable.
Triploidy causes complications for the mother when the baby reaches the third trimester.
It causes preeclampsia.
And my blood pressure had already been so high.
And I had been pulled off of the blood thinners that were protecting my body from an autoimmune response.
And there was now a higher chance that I might not make it either they said.
And my husband was looking at me with fear in his eyes and saying that he would NOT lose me, too.
And my inner voice said, in a voice that was very small, ‘What if I don’t care if I die?’
I did some research.
I thought of my baby, inside my belly, without any fluid or room to move.
I thought about his lungs.
I thought about how afraid he would be if he was born and could not breathe.
I thought about all the medicines they would give him to block the pain.
I thought about him dying in my arms.
I thought about how badly I wanted to carry him full term and meet him so I could say goodbye.
And I knew that anything other than abortion was selfish.
But God, why ME?
So at 19 weeks, we drove ten hours out of state.
I walked into the clinic alone.
I passed people whose signs said that I was a murderer. ‘Don’t kill your baby!’ they screamed at me. ‘We have resources!’
Don’t kill your baby?
‘My baby has triploidy. He is DYING. He is going to SUFFOCATE,’ I yelled back.
I was angry.
I knew that I was making the hardest choice of all and that those people would never bother to think of what it was like.
They didn’t even ask before they assumed that I, already so far along that my belly was round, just didn’t want the child growing inside of me.
They assumed that I did not WANT the child that I had prayed for, for almost 8 years.
I knew that people like that do not want to understand.
People like that will never have a heart for people like me.
I had the abortion.
My son’s ashes were mailed back to Texas.
Then I was 29, and we all heard that there was a draft from the Supreme Court that said Roe v. Wade should be overturned.
And some of the same people who had supported me when I lost all four of my children were CELEBRATING.
And the others, the ones who hadn’t supported me? They were calling me a murderer and saying I should have let God’s plan unfold, even if that meant ignoring all of the medical professionals and simply allowing myself to die along with Finley.
My soul was on fire.
And I was angry.
And I decided that I would share my story, the WHOLE story.
And I would protest, and I would fight for MY rights, so that one day, someday, if I am ever blessed with a living daughter, my girl will not ever have to fight for hers.
No one should have to share a story like mine to justify abortion.
I should not have to lay my soul bare for your judgment, for you to decide if I am one of the few women who you deem should have been ‘allowed’ to have an abortion. For you to decide if I fit into the few categories that you have decided are acceptable reasons for abortion. For you to decide if I am a murderer or not.
It was MY choice.
And my choice alone.
I made my choice because it was what was best for my baby, my body, and my family.
My choice is not yours to judge, and my rights are not yours to gleefully take away.
Your opinion stopped being okay when it started to take away my ability to make safe decisions for myself.
Your opinion stopped being okay when it supported people in power who stripped my doctors of their ability to care for me in Texas.
Your opinion stopped being okay when you made exceptions in your mind for ME because you know and love me, but you believed every other woman who has an abortion a murderer.
No one owes you their story.
But I have given you mine in the hopes that it will open your eyes to what people have done by supporting politicians who believe that abortion is a state’s right to take away.
Abortion should never have been politicized, but it was. The only thing I can ask you to do is vote with women like me in mind.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Kailee Lingo DeSpain. You can follow her journey on Facebook. Submit your own story here and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories.
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