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Topics: Access and Affordability, Pregnancy Care
Area of Life Affected: Family Relationships

Choice Is Essential

At age 40 I found myself pregnant for the second time. Very early in the pregnancy I considered an abortion (along with my husband), due to my age and due to my very difficult first pregnancy, which fortunately had ended with a healthy baby (who was 3 years old when I was 40).

“Better decisions are made when all options are available.”

My pregnancy difficulties stemmed from DES exposure in utero when my mother was pregnant with me, and I had been advised in my mid-30s not to get pregnant due to the potential problems. Nevertheless, we decided to proceed carefully, planning to do genetic testing before I would have a cervical cerclage put in place (a procedure which saved my earlier pregnancy).

All was fine until week 19 when suddenly my water broke. For the next week I was hospitalized and monitored – the fetus was healthy and there was no apparent infection. I was given the option to continue in that manner or to have labor induced. I did not see any way that the pregnancy could continue long enough to allow a healthy baby to be born so we chose to go forward with the induced labor.

After the “birth,” there were complications with expelling the afterbirth, which led to hemorrhaging – almost resulting in emergency hysterectomy (but bleeding was brought under control at the last minute). My only memory of that was waking up in a fog and hearing the physician saying “she looks gray.”

Later I was to learn that due to an infection in my uterus (which was not detectable earlier and which likely had caused my water to break early) the tissue was unstable which led to the bleeding. Further, the attending physician and the nurses who took care of me afterward all were concerned that I would bleed out and not make it.

Bottom line, if I had not been able to make this choice, the infection would have gotten worse, and my life would have been in more danger – possibly leaving my 3 year old without a mother and my husband without his wife.

The ability for women and their families to make informed medical choices is essential. The health of the woman/wife/mother must be just as important as any other consideration with options open to her to make the best decision possible. My life depended on that and I am grateful that no law or government interfered.

I am also confident that better decisions are made when all options are available.

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