October 01, 2010

week 14. {and thoughts on abortion.}

Warning:  This post is about an OB exam.  Husbands read at your own risk.  
Yes, I'm writing this.  I'm from New Jersey.  I'm not embarrassed by OB lingo.
Well, maybe a little bit... that's why i do the nervous chatter.
No, that is not me in the picture... i take my socks off.  Just sayin'.

My FIRST gynecology experience...

I was a virgin when i got married.  I went to an OB appointment in Northern Virginia, near Washington, DC, for my first appointment.  BY MYSELF.  I'm not sure that they had EVER seen a virgin.  From the moment I signed in, people were staring at me and smiling and pointing.  I was totally embarrassed.  My MOTHER had called and told all of them that I was really modest, that i was a virgin, and that i was getting married.
They ALL asked, "You're a virgin?  Your getting married in a month."  I felt like they were clapping or laughing.
I had a sweet Indian OB who kept saying, "Oh, it is good, it is good you wait.  You will be fine.  Go very slowly.  Fast will hurt, slow will be fine."  As she over and over showed me the ropes with her pointer finger and closed fist, an image i will never forget.

HA!  I was about to kill my mother when i got home from that appointment.  Can you imagine what she said to the receptionist?

Random Conversation from the stirups...
if you know me, in person, you know that i talk.
especially when i'm nervous.
i don't really know what i'm saying when i talk, only that I am funny.  and i often roll my eyes when i recall my silly conversation.

and, what is better place for nervous chatter than laying partially naked with your feet up in stirups at an OB appointment.

yes, i talk.
first... i always laugh at the descriptions your doctor is giving you... touching, small pressure, scoot down more, relax, spread your legs... how can they say these things without busting out?  seriously.

i laugh and tell my current doctor about my previous doctor... Dr. Gove (who i loved, even if i did laugh at him).
He would sound like a backing up semi truck...  "Touching.... Touching... Touching... Touching..."
HA!  who can say this seriously?
does he sometimes say that word when he is cuddling with his wife, just out of habit?  i can't help but wonder. 

Then, i'm totally curious.
What are you feeling for?  What are you seeing?  How am i different from other woman?  No, I don't ask it like that, but i do ask...

my younger sister told me once that EVERYBODY shaves themselves these days.  all the way.
i had never heard that.  and, i worried if i was going to the doctor and he was thinking "here is the amazon woman"  and i didn't even know it.
at the same time, i couldn't imagine showing up all shaved and having him look at me like i'd spent the night on 4th street.
it was funny but really, i was worried.  i asked around (at PTA).  for real.  you can laugh at me if you want, but a woman's gotta know these things.
FYI- the consensus in Texas was "groomed".  ha! 
(yes, i just wrote that.  sorry Great Grandma Moss if you think i'm horrible for discussing these things.)

Here are some of the other grand questions i've had answered, today and at past appointments...
Could you tell I had 6 kids if I didn't tell you?  How?
FYI- my cervix is thicker and pinker than a mother who hasn't had as many children.

I heard that my baby's placenta was thinner.  That if you keep having children, your baby's placenta gets thin like tissue paper and you can just rip through it during child birth.
FYI- totally false.  Each placenta is new and you can't tell from a placenta how many children someone has.
you CAN tell on my ultra sound where my previous pregnancies implanted in my uterus.  but this is not always the case.

Is is unhealthy to have babies close together?  Can you tell from a physical exam a mother who recently had a baby vs. a mother who has waited 4 years.
FYI- nope.  Except if you are breastfeeding or haven't healed from surgeries and not counting emotional stability.  There is NOTHING in your body that stores up between pregnancies.

and, a religious question... when, in my doctor's opinion, does the spirit enter into a baby's fetus.  i am AMAZED that my 12 week fetus was moving and kicking and flipping.  it was purposeful movement, not reflexes.  to me, that means there is a spirit inside.  when someone is dead, they can't move on their own.  someone is alive when their heart is beating and they are choosing movement.
FYI- he says around 5 weeks you can see a heartbeat, and even before that you can see purposeful movement.  5 weeks (one week after you miss your period).  Seriously?  I'm not a fan of abortion.  I just don't understand how it could not be murder.  I've SEEN these babies, they are REAL, they are ALIVE, they are MOVING...  just sayin.

My thoughts on abortion... cause i'm chatty this afternoon.
Texas is a great place to live if you are an OB and don't want to perform abortions.
My first OB moved from Oregon to Utah, because his office was being forced, by law, to perform abortions that he did not feel comfortable performing.
Can you imagine?  Being forced legally to kill a baby you didn't feel there was any reason to kill?  I can't imagine.  (And, we don't hear the media talking about and OB's right to choose.)

Texas is different.  You can't even get an abortion at my hospital, unless the fetus is lethal... not a viable fetus AND the life of the mother is at risk.
Every abortion has to be approved by a committee.
that feels safer to me.  in my opinion, we are talking about human life.
i'm not a complete religious pro-life zealot.
i can see that there are instances when woman have the right to choose.  
(i can see times when people should be given a choice to choose death... when someone is suffering and not likely to survive anyway, when someone has killed many other people, when someone is being kept alive by machines and has no quality of life... it would be hard for me to force a rape victim or an incest victim to carry a baby for 9 months.  i'm not saying that i would choose death in these instances, but i can see that i'd be pro choice.)
i like the idea of a jury or a committee evaluating the facts of the case and deciding when someone could choose death.
(in that one sentence i just offended both my pro life and pro choice friends...)
but, i don't know.
i think sometimes the "choice" is made with too little understanding of the options and the consequences of their choice.
i think MUCH more needs to be done to give young, pregnant women, options.
to help them see that they can deliver their baby and give them up for adoption.
that they would be giving loving, wanting parents a great gift.
i wish woman with a fetus that may/may not survive birth or a fetus that may/may not have birth defects, would be given an opportunity to talk with other woman who have experienced the same diagnosis... who have chosen to birth their babies.  women who have experienced the miracle of birth- sometimes to find that their is NO abnormalities, sometimes to experience birth and death of their angel babies.
i think sometimes girls feel that abortion is their only option.
the smartest option.
i know young girls who have become pregnant and chosen to deliver their babies.
i've known girls who have kept their babies, and girls who have given them up for adoption.
both choices are extremely difficult.  i am humbled to know these strong women.

i have been very close to a few woman who have had abortions.
i know that this is never an easy decision to make.
i have felt their AGONY as they heal from their surgery and the regret that follows them through the years.
even if some have chosen to have repeat abortions, their pain from each one is real and lasting.
Why did they abort their babies?  Because they want to?
No.  The woman I know abort because they are pressured into it.
interesting... i have found that women who make the CHOICE to abort do it because they feel they have NO CHOICE.
They are made to feel that it is the "right" thing to do.
It is the logical thing to do.
Based on poor planning, poor timing, financial worries, marital instability, the thought that "you can do this again a different time and a different place when the situation is better."
I can imagine a girl choosing an abortion on her own, because it is a way to quietly make things right.
But, that has never been the story I have heard.
In the stories I have heard "everyone" thought abortion was best.  The father, the girl's parents and siblings, everyone that the girl went to for advice said this was for the best.  If you love this baby, you won't bring it into the world in this less than ideal situation.

What these women needed to hear was more encouragement, more confirmation of the feelings they were feeling, more information about adoption, more support of family and friends.
In some countries, parents put their "disabled" kids in horrible orphanages.  They believe diagnoses that their child will never walk, or can not talk or think or develop as a normal child... these same children, adopted into loving families- will THRIVE.
I'm confidant that if we as a society would do more, we could eliminate the need for abortion and orphanages and unwanted children. 
We can't just blame the mother... it's society that has failed the child.
 These women (or should i say girls) need to know that the baby inside of them is real.  It is an individual.  It is developing and alive and has a brain and a beating heart.
This baby has the right to live... even if it may not be convenient for those surrounding it's birth.
There are other options.
There needs to be more options and more support.
I'm not sure what the policy is for abortion... but I wonder if things would change if each woman was REQUIRED to have an ultra sound before they agreed.  If they could SEE their alive, moving, kicking, heart beating baby BEFORE they made their decision.
The woman that I know who have had abortions, would spend 2 days and $2000 fighting for a hurt kitten.
They are kind, and empathetic, and wouldn't kill a fly.  Seriously.
And, they LOVE babies.  LOVE them.
Most women instantly love the baby inside of them... they just don't know how they can keep their baby or if they could ever give them up.
Maybe, my friends are all the exception.  but, i am certain if these girls were given support and love instead of encouragement to "be smart" they would NEVER have aborted their babies.
and they would have spared themselves years of grieving.
society could have helped these girls turn a bad situation into a noble situation.
(even now, AFTER they've made their decision... i still think it is our job to love them, to understand not judge and to help them move forward.  cause, i imagine they've already suffered too much.)
this is my opinion.

someday, i would love to work in planned parenthood.
i would love to invite teenage mothers into my home to birth their babies and help them give them to families who are waiting...
and then watch as these young girls resume their lives.
with support.
my heart aches for mothers who feel scared and alone.
when the professor was a teenager, he invited a girl to prom who had just given her baby up for adoption.
he said he didn't do it as a service project, he really wanted to go with her.
but to me, that was just what that sweet girl needed.
to know she had a future.
i need to do more.

and these are my random thoughts from an OB appointment.
thanks for listening.


LAURA said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
LAURA said...

and I think it is quite charming to be talkative and fun...people will always be drawn to you! :)

jenifer said...

laura!! you're worse than me.
my sister says it's better- like shaving your arm pits or legs. but, i've never tried it so i can't say for sure.

and, i think in the olden days women all used to shave themselves before birth... i read that in "what to expect when you're expecting" it was supposed to be more sanitary.

oh man, i REALLY hope todd's grammy doesn't read these comments.

LAURA said...

akkk...sorry, I deleted it for you!!! :) I always enjoy your posts, you make me think about things.

valerie in TX said...

Jen, you're brave. :) Kudos to you for standing up for babies. You are right - research shows that 85% of women considering abortion will choose life if they are shown an ultrasound of their baby. AND, I love that you would be willing to take young mothers into your home to give their babies a chance at life. but...you wouldn't be able to do it through planned parenthood. their version of "choice", like you said, is NO choice. they support abortion and that only - no other "choice".

Katie @ On the Banks of Squaw Creek said...

I totally agree with you on all points - rape and incest, pro choice. And just lately, I have been thinking more about mothers who are told that their babies will not live through birth, etc. I just started reading another blog (and I can't remember the name of it right now!) and she describes what it was like to find out that her daughter would not survive birth (and the baby was stillborn at 36 weeks.) But she talks about how she cherished every moment, every ultrasound, every time she felt the baby move. And that it was worth it.

I have an acquaintance who is faced with the decision to carry/deliver a baby with trisomy 18 or "terminate" and she has decided to keep the baby. I am so glad and I hope she cherishes every movement as the blogger I read about did.

Because I know I would not end a pregnancy willfully under any circumstances, I'm not going to have the screening done. Just out of curiousity, do you get the AFP screening? Sometimes I think it would be nice to be prepared for something like that, but I am such a worrier that I think it's best if I just don't know.

Katie @ On the Banks of Squaw Creek said...

Found it! Get your tissues ready and go here.


Click on Evelyn Naomi on the left.

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