When I started thinking about having children and even long before.. I would never have guessed that the word abortion would ever be part of my vocabulary. I am definitely pro-life, and have been an active advocate against abortions, even doing speeches and presentations on the matter. I always thought that it was a black and white issue, and I am sure that for most people it still might be… I kind of wish that it was still that easy for me. But my life and view of things have changed dramatically over the last 3 years.
I’ve always wanted to be a mommy. I even wanted 6 children! But when I was about 20 years old, I was diagnosed with endometriosis and polycystic ovarian syndrome. My doctors told me I would have to have a lot of medical help if I want children and one doctor even told me that I will never have children. About 9 months after I got married, I went to the gynecologist and she told me my chances of getting pregnant without medical help is about 0.05%. I was devastated, and decided to discontinue my contraceptive medication. We weren’t planning children right away, but it seemed senseless to use if I am not really able to get pregnant.
I got pregnant 3 weeks after stopping the contraceptive.
I was so overjoyed and in awe of this amazing miracle. I had a very tough pregnancy and had morning day and night sickness for the full nine months. I had almost every possible ‘side effect’ of pregnancy and lost 10kg during my pregnancy. My baby boy, Helgard [HG] was born a healthy 4.52kg through normal delivery (I believed in doing things as natural as possible). One of my friends had her baby 1 week before my son was born. Her baby died when she was 3 months old. She had Edwards syndrome. This friend is still struggling severely. And not knowing this would change my view of things.
When my son was about 10 months old, we decided to get pregnant again, and again it happened so quickly. This time I got so sick right from the start, and it was really bad. We went for the first scan at about 9 weeks and everything looked pretty normal, but I was REALLY sick. By the time we went for the 12 week scan, I was hospitalized 3 times for dehydration because of the severe morning sickness. When we looked at the baby on the sonogram we could see something was very wrong.
This ended up in weeks and weeks of testing and worry and uncertainty. We were so devastated. This was (I thought at that time) the worst thing that could happen to anyone. By the time I was 21 weeks, the tests could not diagnose anything specific, but we could see with every scan how the baby was deteriorating. We went to see a fetal specialist and were told our baby was suffering from advanced heart failure. His lungs, kidneys and liver were much too small and his limbs were under developed. The specialist told us that heart failure this severe was not very common in a baby this size. She also informed me that there was no life expectancy for this child and that he would probably not survive another 2 weeks inside the womb. By this time I have lost 12kg and have been hospitalized 6 times. I have been prodded and poked by needles and emotionally I was dead. Because of the risk on my own life, we decided to end the pregnancy. Terminate. Abort.
This was horrific. I wanted this baby so bad, but he was so far gone. Through this whole ordeal we kept praying and believing in a miracle… but despite people telling us that ‘if we just believe and pray and keep faith, he will be fine’ he was not. I believe that God can do ANYTHING. But I also believe that just because He can, it doesn’t mean that He will. God has His plans and His timing. And sometimes people get sick and die. And my baby was sick and dying.
I cannot begin to describe the devastation of holding your lifeless baby in your arms. We could see by the severe swelling and malformation that he was never meant for this life. We had a post mortem done, and he was diagnosed with a rare genetic mutated disease. There is no baby born alive with this disease. Although this was difficult we made peace with it and tried to move on.
We still desperately wanted another child. I really put everything in front of the Father and told him that I don’t think I can face something like this again. So I prayed feverishly for a healthy baby and a healthy pregnancy.
I had so much faith. And I believed everything would be fine.
About 5 months later I was pregnant again. We were so overjoyed, especially in light of our loss. But again, despite my belief that things will be easier, I was very sick. I made the hospital my home every second week. At the 12 week scan everything looked fine, and I was so relieved that I cried. But this relief turned into the worst devastation I could ever imagined when we went for the 20 week scan and found out that this baby (we named him Christian) had severe spina bifida . We went to see a specialist again. And the prognosis was horrible. Although there was life expectancy, everything else was really bad. They also told us to go for more tests because it was very likely that there were other illnesses as well.
I felt like I had died. I could not believe that this was happening. AGAIN. My heart felt like it was ripped out of my chest and into a million pieces.
I believed. I prayed. I fasted. And still this was happening.
We had to go through the process of deciding on this baby’s life. Again.
I still don’t know if we did the right thing. But we ended the pregnancy. I held my broken and hurt baby until he went cold. I have cried a river of tears and find it so difficult to be happy for my friends that had normal and healthy babies. There are no words to describe this loss and the agony of our decision to anyone. I don’t think anything else in life I will face or have to decide on, will be this difficult. A part of me died that day. And I will mourn for the rest of my life.
We have been judged on our decision, without compassion. And although I am sure that this might be a struggle for the rest of my life, I still have hope. I know I am loved by our Father. And I know my babies are with Him and they are not hurting and suffering. I am the one suffering. Most of the time I feel that I made the right decision, but I question myself constantly.
My faith has been tested in ways that I would never have dreamed possible, but I still have faith and I know that my Father held me through this whole thing. And I picture Him crying with me. I don’t understand why any of this has happened, and doubt that I ever will in this lifetime. But I know I have a deeper understanding of God the Father, and I know I am close to His heart.