Friday, May 4, 2018

NY Times Reader Call-out

The New York Times has invited women to share their abortion experiences.  I've already shared a lot of my story, but they asked some other, great questions. 

Describe your decision.
I got pregnant during my senior year of high school. I was 18, poor, & unwed (in a rocky relationship). I immediately scheduled an abortion at PP. It was a bit dramatic for my small town because I had always been a "picture perfect" student. I had WAY too much potential to waste and all the "right" reasons to abort (I was one of the valedictorians, over 4.0 gpa, scholarships, Lily scholar finalist, college plans, I'd be an embarrassment to my family & a horrible example to my younger siblings, it would be a giant inconvenience & ruin my plans!) Mind you, I grew up Catholic & pro-life, but none of that mattered now - I had a problem & needed a quick solution. Abortion would erase it. I could forget, go back living my life, & accomplish my goals. Additionally, I'd grown up watching my mom struggle & I never wanted to end up like that! NEVER would I be dependent on a man!! But when my family found out, they held an extremely uncomfortable, awkward intervention & insisted I not follow through. I begrudgingly complied... 

And I'm SO GRATEFUL!! Blake was born during my freshman year in college - Yes, I still attended college, I just chose a closer, community one instead. I still accomplished all of my goals, graduated with highest honors & several awards, and became a respected professional. I learned abortion is not necessary to succeed. Women are strong! We can be moms and still accomplish our dreams! Children (even unplanned ones) do NOT doom us to failure. Implying this or that abortion is somehow “empowering” or essential for feminism & women's advancement in society is unethical & dishonest. Of course, parenting is not for everyone - that's where the beauty of adoption comes in. I realized that in addition to Blake, I too was saved. Learning more about fetal development, listening to abortionists describe 1st, 2nd, & 3rd trimester abortions, watching one who has performed over 1000 explaining that it's never necessary to save the life of the mother, and hearing PP managers discussing their "abortion quotas"... All of these confirm the facts that abortion providers prey on vulnerable women and that I *almost* made a fatal mistake. It reminds me of one of my favorite Maya Angelou's quotes...
I've also become dedicated to living a truly Pro-life life by donating, sponsoring, voting, educating, adopting twice, and supporting moms & children from womb to tomb in any way possible! Compassion (not condemnation) is key! 

Describe the process.
It was simple. We had a Planned Parenthood in our town but it didn’t provide abortions, so I called the one in Indianapolis & scheduled one.  I had to listen to a long scripted speech. I could tell the woman was reading straight from a document & her goal was just to get it over with as quickly as possible. Then some paperwork was mailed to my house which described my son as “tissues” that would be removed. Before showing up to my appointment, I canceled. 

Tell us about your experience after the abortion, including your medical care and any reactions from your family or community.
Immediately after canceling, I felt anger - towards myself & my family. I stubbornly dug my heels in, refusing to admit that I almost made a terrible mistake, clinging to all of the popular pro-choice rhetoric. "My body, my choice." Only... It wasn't my body. It was my son's. From the moment of conception, he had his own DNA, completely unique from mine. But for 10 YEARS I felt angry, defensive, and uncomfortable when the topic of abortion was brought up. 

Fortunately, with age came maturity and acceptance. At the same time, the pro-life culture slowly changed from an attitude of condemnation to one of compassion... And that did it. That opened my eyes and made me realize that it was okay to admit I had nearly made an awful mistake. Thankfully, mistakes don't define a person. Good people can make bad decisions. No one is beyond help. The key is to accept, heal, grow, and learn. 

As for my community...
My peers were surprisingly supportive of my decision, both to abort and to parent. A few confronted me and expressed that they had experienced pregnancy scares. Adults were less understanding of both the *almost* abortion & my final decision to parent. I was sent hate mail, stating I needed to "keep [my] legs together" and calling me a "slut." My parents were accosted. People made comments directly to my face about "babies having babies." But it made me realize that regardless of what you choose, people are going to judge. It motivated me to work hard, stay focused, excel, and prove all the naysayers wrong. It actually made me feel stronger and less concerned about others' opinions. I also realized that we need to change the way we treat pregnant women. A new life, regardless of the circumstances, should be cherished. Women need our support and our compassion, not our judgement or shame.

A "kind" letter I received after Senior Awards Night

Based on your beliefs and experience, do you think abortion rules should be less restrictive? More restrictive?
More restrictive. It was extremely easy for me to *almost* kill my child. I believe women should view an ultrasound, because if they did, they'd be more likely to understand that abortion kills an unborn child. The abortionist should clearly &  honestly describe the process using accurate terms - not terms designed to make abortion more palatable and hide its brutality. They shouldn't cover or hide the jar containing "products of conception," aka body parts. You should know what you support.

What advice would you give your daughter if she wanted an abortion in your country?
I have 3 daughters. If one of them wanted an abortion, we'd have a long conversation. I'd understand her desire. It was my knee-jerk reaction too. But she has seen the beauty of adoption in our family (2 adopted siblings - one domestically & one internationally). She's also seen her older brother, Blake, grow up into an awesome, kind, responsible, smart, helpful, motivated man. We'd discuss fetal development, and I'd carefully dismantle all of the common pro-choice arguments. I'd let her know that she is loved unconditionally, and that we will support her through her pregnancy, parenting or creating an adoption plan, and helping her to accomplish all of her goals in life!


My words don’t glamorize abortion, so The NY Times may ignore them. But maybe, just maybe, someone who needs to read them will. Maybe they’ll plant a seed and someone will begin to question their pro-choice views. While I’m equally passionate about women’s rights, equality, and bodily autonomy, I will never condone the intentional killing of the unborn. Blake taught me the value of life. And now, the wheel has come full circle. We’re planning his graduation party and we couldn’t be more proud!!  

Still pro-life, still pro-woman, still pro-child, and now the mom of a high school grad! 
❤ -Becky 

Saturday, October 14, 2017

A note about the birth stories...

A while back I stumbled upon a group of women sharing their birth stories. I was intrigued - natural births, surgical births, planned & unplanned home-births, planned & unplanned unassisted births (I never even knew "planned unassisted" was a thing?!) I shared in the joy when a healthy, new baby was born. I mourned with and prayed for the ones who didn't have happy endings. Each story was unique. Some women felt empowered; others traumatized. It seems where you give birth can affect how you give birth. A few times a story containing a breech birth would appear, and those would strike a nerve. My #5 was breech.

A bit later I found a site with women sharing stories just of breech births, along with a message inviting others to do the same. Could I write about #5 M's birth? Did I want to? I decided to try & it was much longer than anticipated. I was struck by the contrast between her birth and my most recent, #7. Calm vs chaotic. That led me to write #7 L's birth.

Then I paused. I had already written a ton about the adoptions of #4 S and #6 DK. Now I had #5 & #7's stories done. How could I leave out #1, 2, & 3?  So, even though they were years ago, we broke out the baby books, memory boxes, & old photos, and took a trip done memory lane. The kids & I really enjoyed it! 😄 In fact, I'd encourage any mom to do the same!  So if something doesn't make sense, it may be bc I wrote them in the following order: #4, 6, 5, 7, 1, 2, 3.

Fyi, I have no medical background, so don't take these as expert advice. I started out clueless (yet oddly confident), learned bits & pieces along the way, and now I'm slightly-less-clueless. 😜 Seriously, the more I learn, the more I realize I don't know.

Oh, and these are birth stories, meaning you may find some aspects "gross." I attempted to toe the line between authentic & tmi. They could have been much "grosser"! Reader discretion is advised. 😉

Finally, even though I've mentioned it once or twice within these stories, I feel I must reiterate: None of this is meant to be criticism or judgement towards those who've chosen differently. These are just my experiences/opinions.

Thanks for visiting, -Becky

Friday, October 13, 2017

#3 P's Pregnancy & Birth

After two pregnancies that saw sickly beginning, I swore I'd never get pregnant again! I had my boy & my girl. I.WAS.DONE. And then... I caught "baby fever." 👶 It seemed everyone around me was pregnant - friends, family members, co-workers. I wanted another. I told myself, I won't be so sick this time. It's just a matter of willpower. If I'm just stronger, it won't be as bad. Unfortunately, HG doesn't care about my state of mind. However, to my great surprise & relief, this was my easiest pregnancy. Still vomiting & nauseous. Still hating it. Still swearing that I'd NEVER do this again. (I even have the Facebook post to prove it! 😝) But I was able to stay hydrated & maintain my weight.  👍 So this was more of morning sickness than HG. There's hope, ladies!!!

January 13, 2010 - 35 wks. Everything had been progressing normally. My edd was Feb 17, 2010. At my weekly appt, my ob mentioned I was measuring 5 weeks small. He was a very laid-back guy and wasn't concerned at all. He didn't even suggest an ultrasound. Just said I "hide it well." In hindsight, I believe it's because my due date was off. This was the only pregnancy that I couldn't nail down the conception date, the only one that I took multiple tests for, with the first few coming up negative, & the only one I delivered "late." All others came 1 to 2 weeks "early."

February 10, 2010 - 39 wks. With my due date coming up soon, my ob starting taking about induction. I agree to schedule one if I "go over."

February 17, 2010 - 40 wks. It's Ash Wednesday and my Due Date! We went to mass and even had the priest bless my belly 😂, but no baby today.

February 18, 2010 - 40 wks 1 d. We took B to school, A to the sitter, and arrived at the hospital around 8:30 am for an induction. Like last time, it seemed to take foooooorever, but this time I was told why. Apparently it was a packed house that day. In fact, I got the last room! There were also several students interning that day. I was fine with the college kids - they seemed polite and competent. But I gave them a HARD.PASS on having the high school ones in my room. I love that our hs lets kids do this, (can you imagine witnessing a c/s as a teenager?) but I was still teaching at the time. There was no way I was letting one of my former students in there! I didn't need them running back to school, saying, "Hey, guys! Saw Mrs. Martin's vagina today!" 😝😂

It was nearly 10 am when I got all hooked up. They still hadn't started the pitocin drip yet when they commented that I was contracting regularly. "Yep, that's normal," I said, "I have a ton of contractions and in the evenings they get really strong!" Every pregnancy I've had a ton of false labor/braxton hicks/prodromal labor (whatever the right name is...) It would freak me out, I'd tell my dr, he'd tell me to lay down &/or drink some water, I would, & they'd go away.

So they started me on a low dose of pit. I walked, rocked, danced, bounced, and plie-ed (ballet) my way through contractions. Anything to get the ball rolling!  We'd planned on watching music videos like last time, but got distracted by HGTV & ended up watching House Hunters. WE.ARE.LAME. 😂 A little later, my ob came in to check me. I was 4 cm. He broke my water and said I had 24 hours or he was going to "section me." "Challenge accepted," I replied. Good Lord, I had no fear. Of course, that's when things got super intense...

Less than a half hour later, I was on the bed rocking back & forth when I felt his head slide down. "He's coming!" I said quietly but urgently. Thankfully, this time there was no panic. I'd done it before, so I knew I could do it again. I was in "the zone." It was time, & I was ready! 💪 My husband ran out for the dr. The nurse came and didn't believe me, so I flipped off my covers to show her his crowning head. Dr was in asap. One push and out he came! Our precious P! 💙 6 lb 11 oz, 20.5 in, at 1:09 pm with apgar's of 9 & 9 (It's always that skin color that my kids can't score perfect on... 😏) And we had another true knot! That's 3 for 3!! This time I asked to see the it, and it looked exactly like you'd think a true knot would. The placenta, on the other hand, surprised me. I had no idea it was such a complex organ!

While the dr was still in the room, he commented on my fast labors/deliveries, "You make it look easy!" & "You were born to do this!" followed by my husband in the background yelling "DON'T TELL HER THAT!!" 😂 Later the nurse apologized for not believing me, explaining that "you'd just been checked a few minutes ago and you were only a 4?!?!" And as I walked down the hallway to the pp rooms, she commented, "Last one in, first one out!"  I guess we all have our talents, huh? Apparently mine is pushing out babies...

Like last time, the hospital stay was okay.  👍 to being fed breakfast, lunch, & dinner. 👎 to all the strangers in my room, being awoken/poked/prodded at all times of the night, and being treated like my baby wasn't actually my baby and that they were allowing me to hold him. This time when I got to the hospital, I attempted to keep track of everyone coming in & out by writing them all down. By the time I filled up a whole paper, I gave up. I even took issue with the "required" newborn training. Just tired of being treated like an idiot. (Training which I respectfully declined with my last birth.)

And the whole baby-switching drama of births #1 & #2 continued, but in a different way. When I refused to let them take #3 out of the room, and they fought me on this, bringing in the charge nurse who said they had to take him out for tests. I firmly reminded her that this was my child, and we could leave whenever we wanted to. Any tests could be done... a) in my room, b) with me by his side in the nursery, or c) later at his ped's office. The nurse tattled to my ob, who laughed & teased, "That's right, Becky, we're all trying to steal your baby!" I replied, "Hey, once is an accident, TWICE is a pattern!" Later, I shared my baby-switching story at work, thinking it must be just me, and one of my colleagues said the same thing happened to her daughter! 😲 By the time #7 came, the hospital had changed it's policy to encourage rooming in, but still offered to take baby out for tests, which, of course, I declined.

So that's how peaceful P entered the world. We nick-named him "Buddha," because he turned into such a fat, happy baby. In fact, he was so easy, he convinced me to go for more!

Loving on my no-longer-fat-but-still-happy Buddha baby, 💙-Becky