I want to start with a promise that this posting is not going to be a repeat of anything you will read on another blog after the first few sentences. It’s about time that I dedicated a post to this subject. What better time to do it. Tomorrow will be the 33rd anniversary for Roe V. Wade. I want to offer a big thanks to La Shawn Barber for the link and great post today titled Blogs4Life/March for Life.
I write this post as a man with first hand experience on the subject of abortion. I have witnessed more than one abortion first hand, meaning I was in the room with a friend or girlfriend when they got an abortion. I want to make it perfectly clear that these abortions were performed on women before I even met my wife. I will not go any further in explaining the details to maintain the privacy and dignity of those women who were involved. I shared this because I want you to understand that I speak on this subject from a position of experience.
I look back on what I was a part of and regret it deeply. I wish I could go back and have a chance to do things different. So where does that leave me? It left me in a position of confessing and repenting of my sins before God. I have been forgiven by God and I have repented. One definition of repent says, “To feel such regret for past conduct as to change one’s mind regarding it” according to Dictionary.com. I like this definition because it clearly states what I have done. I felt such regret for past conduct that I have changed my mind on abortion. Obviously I once believed that abortion was just another form of birth control.
Let me tell you a story about where I am today now that you know where I come from on the subject of abortion. It was less than 20 weeks into my wife’s pregnancy with our second child that we got some disturbing news. A standard ultrasound found some abnormalities that warranted a level II ultrasound. My wife’s doctor at that time wanted her to go immediately for the level two ultrasound, but I had to leave later that day for a ten day trip to California. We went for the level II ultrasound as soon as I got back into town. That doctor’s visit was where we learned that our baby was going to be born with a very rare heart defect. They found on the ultrasound that his aorta was plumbed up wrong to his heart (interrupted aortic arch) in addition to having an enormous hole between the ventricles called a Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD). The findings were confirmed in a pediatric cardiology lab at the local medical university a few hours later where they performed a fetal echo cardiogram. That was not the end of the findings with his heart, but that really has no bearing on this story. The emotions were absolutely overwhelming as we prepared to leave the room where the echo cardiogram had been performed. I will share with you a very small part of the manuscript of a book I am writing about our experiences.
The whole thing had really not sunk in for me just yet. The staff realized that we were near a state of shock. They told us to sit as long as we needed before leaving. They offered contact information for us to call with any questions that we had after we got home. They scheduled follow-up appointments for Sherry to have the echo cardiograms throughout the remainder of the pregnancy to see if the defect had progressed in either direction. We finished our talk with the doctor and prepared to leave.
A nice lady from their office escorted us to the elevator. What happened next still gives me chills to this day. I started to have trouble breathing. My knees felt as if they were about to come out from under me. I grabbed the wall and asked if there was somewhere I could sit down. The lady walking with us immediately helped me into the nearest room. I sat down and began to sob uncontrollably. Sherry comforted me as she cried. I cried and gasped for air for a while. It seemed that nothing could stop it. The reality of the day’s events had finally caught up with me.
I would guess that you are saying that this is a really emotional story, but what does it have to do with abortion? Well, this is where abortion comes back into the picture. It was made very clear to us that we should come back to the clinic where the level II ultrasound was performed before we went home that day. My wife and I did go back, but we did not know why it was so important. You may have guessed by now. The staff in the clinic wanted to make sure that they offered us an opportunity to get an amniocentesis. We were puzzled as to why an amniocentesis was so important. My wife ended up asking straight up, “What is the big deal with getting an amnio as soon as possible?” Well it turned out that with my wife being at approximately 22 weeks pregnant was on the edge of some threshold for getting an abortion if we chose to “not proceed with this pregnancy”.
If you are curious as to what a baby looks like at 20 weeks in the womb then you will find it in the picture on the right. This picture is from the Option Line which I will talk more about later. I could not put my hands on our ultrasound picture from that day, but it looks very similar only without the color.
The staff in the OB clinic was pretty adamant about presenting this option to us because a rare heart defect like this one could be linked to something genetic that could end up taking the child’s life shortly after the delivery anyway. One big problem for my wife was that she is deathly afraid of needles and she told them so. They made it clear that we had options with or without the amniocentesis. It didn’t take long in this conversation for both of us to say in stereo, “There is nothing a lab test is going to tell us that will change our mind on proceeding with this pregnancy.” Unfortunately that was not the end of the push for an amnio. My wife finally had to request that it be written in big letters on the front of her chart, “Do not offer this patient an amnio again!” Needless to say, she was not offered another amniocentesis during regular office visits.
The pregnancy did eventually have some complications that required an amnio fluid draw. This is where the doctors drew off more than two liters of fluid form around the baby in the last two weeks before he was born. We requested at that point to have the fluid checked since they were drawing it anyway. The test did find a micro deletion of the 22nd chromosome called 22q11.2 which is not a genetic condition not normally associated with death of a newborn.
The follow up to this portion of the story is now a blog called Caden’s Page. I officially started Caden’s Page on the day of Caden’s birth which was Election Day 2004. We chose the name Caden because of its meaning “Fighter”. His middle name was chosen to be Gabriel meaning “God is my Strength”. We could not have picked a more appropriate names for this little boy.
The moral of this story is that an abortion in our case would have robbed the world of a wonderful person. Caden is now 14 months old an absolute joy. He is smart, energetic, and he has a personality that will melt your heart.
I believe that the reality of what an abortion means does not sink in for most people who go through with it. Many are like I was when I was younger. I had never seen an ultrasound. I had no clue what a 12 or 15 week old fetus looked like. I just could not picture the fact that this was a little human being inside these women’s bodies. Then I got married. I went to be at my wife’s side for every OB/GYN visit during the pregnancies of our two boys. I got to see what they looked like at different stages of the pregnancy. I believe that if more people were able to visualize the life that they were about to take, then they would make a different decision. I feel that this is a key starting point to reducing the number of abortions in this country.
There are groups out there who are working to get ultrasound machines in clinics where people go for abortion counseling. There are some great resources on the Focus on the Family web site. The Focus on the Family site links to a great site called Option Line. The Option Line site offers guidance on where to go to get pregnancy counseling. The link earlier in this post points to a page with some great pictures of babies at different stages of a pregnancy.
I am signing up tonight to become an official member of the Pro-Life Blogs. If you are a pro-life blogger then I recommend that you let people know it. If you are pro-choice, then we have something in common. I am pro-choice as well. I believe that every couple should have the “choice” on whether to engage in sexual relations. Once a couple conceives they have pasted to point of choice as it relates to the life or death of the child.
Anyone who exercises their pro-choice rights to have sex are in fact choosing to become pro-life!
Another great resource to check out: Be Not Afraid