A tale of two abortions

Yes, women really will die

The doctor above is in Wisconsin. She was waiting to know if she could perform a D&C on a woman whose pregnancy was no longer viable.

Thanks to the Roe vs Wade overturn and thanks to everyone who voted for that monster, Wisconsin has reverted to an abortion law written in 1849 – one that forbids abortions except those necessary to save the life of the mother. Three physicians need to agree on the diagnosis that the abortion is necessary.

A law from this century also requires

  • An ultrasound that the “provider” (I hate that term – it’s a physician) shows the patient
  • In-person counseling
  • A 24-hour wait

BUT TEXAN! you argue. THE WOMAN IN THE STORY ABOVE – THERE IS NO WAY THAT BABY WILL SURVIVE! WHY SHOULD THERE BE ANY QUESTION?

Well her life isn’t threatened, is it?

Except it could be. And once sepsis sets in, it could kill her in less than 12 hours.

So let’s look at two possible incomes. I will use my own experience as an example.

Wedding week version 1

I am, much to my surprise, pregnant. We weren’t trying but we weren’t not trying, either. So there you go – the thing that I had feared almost my entire adult dating life has happened but it’s not a disaster.

We’re having a very small wedding – immediate family only, mostly because we fear how Mr T’s parents might act around our friends and my relatives. They are mean drunks and they have made their disdain my family clear in the past.

Plus they have made their dislike (this term is probably not strong enough) of me very clear.

As in, not only did they tell Mr T not to marry me – according to them, I am a gold-digger, to which I say that I am not a very good one – but also threatened to boycott our wedding, to which I said Don’t let the door hit ya where the good Lord split ya.

Yet Mr T wants his parents at his wedding so he finally uses the one weapon he has in his arsenal: He tells them I am pregnant and that if they ever want to see their grandchild, they will come to our wedding.

(I wasn’t going to let them see my kid even if they did come to the wedding, but I was letting Mr T do Mr T. No way would I expose a child of mine to their toxic anger and constant criticism. I had seen how they treated their other grandchildren.)

The Friday before our wedding – at ten weeks, I start spotting.

On Saturday evening, Mr T’s parents arrive.

Late Tuesday morning – the earliest appointment I can get, the doc tells me that nope, the fetus is dead. I go by myself because we don’t want to tell Mr T’s parents what’s going on. It’s none of their business.

At 7:30 a.m. on Wednesday – again, by myself, I have a D&C. The D&C doc came into work early – she did not want to let this wait. “It can cause problems if the tissue isn’t removed,” she tells me.

Wednesday evening, with me high (or trying to be high) on the vicodin they gave me – it hurts to get a D&C – Mr T and I take his parents out to dinner and to a karaoke bar so they can hear him sing. Mr T happens to be an excellent singer, a talent he inherited from his parents, and one we thought would please them to see. Nope. When Mr T starts to sing, his dad starts raging that it’s TOO LOUD and walks out of the bar.

On Friday, we get married.

And here we are today. Older, no kid, but alive and mostly happy, although our country is turning into a banana republic and that is distressing.

Wedding week version 2

On Friday, I start spotting.

On Tuesday, the doctor says nope, the fetus is dead. But because my life isn’t in danger, there is nothing he can do. We just hope for the best – sometimes, the body expels the tissue and that’s it.

But sometimes, the tissue becomes infected.

On Thursday, my mom, my mom’s gentleman caller, my brother, my sister, and Mr T’s bonus daughters arrive. They are the people I want to see.

Also on Thursday, new things start happening with my body. In addition to the spotting, there is a nasty smelly discharge. I get a fever but I have chills at the same time. And the pain is getting bad.

I call my doctor. They fit me in after regular hours. I make some stupid excuse and leave the house – none of the people I love know I’m pregnant. The only ones who know are Mr T’s parents and they never say a word to me about it. (Even in Version 1, they never say a word. Ever. Maybe they thought Mr T was lying to them and I never was pregnant?)

The doctor runs some tests. It could be an infection that could be – could be – life threatening. Not always. Sometimes, it just leads to a hysterectomy, which is not life threatening.

“I need to get two of my colleagues to look at your chart before we can go further,” he says. “I can’t do a D&C unless two other physicians agree that it’s necessary to save your life.”

He makes an appointment for me to get the required ultrasound, but can’t get one until Monday. He also makes an appointment with a counselor, but a counselor isn’t available until Monday, either.

Sepsis after a miscarriage is rare.

But I am the lucky person who always gets the bizarre side effects of everything. Does Benadryl put you to sleep? It keeps me awake. Does Lyrica solve your headaches? It not only does not solve my headaches, it makes my hair fall out. Plus I am a “geriatric pregnancy” and that’s a risk factor for sepsis.

On Friday morning, my doctor calls me: the tests show sepsis.

“You need to come to the hospital right now so we can try to treat the infection with drugs,” he says. “And we need to do a D&C, but until you have the ultrasound and talk to the counselor, I can’t even take it to the hospital lawyer.”

Sepsis can kill in less than 12 hours.

Instead of getting married that afternoon, I get IV antibiotics.

But it’s too late.

I die.

The End.

6 thoughts on “A tale of two abortions

  1. Well, we’re all certainly glad that it was story #1, but not everyone is that fortunate.

    You and I both are old enough to remember when things didn’t always go well – hell, they didn’t a month ago before this decision. Sadly, I remember when “back alley abortion” was a thing and when people I knew had to find them. At about age 16 a neighbor (and “older woman” friend of my parents) took me aside and made me promise that if I ever got pregnant* that I would tell her, because she “knew a doctor who would help” and she would take me without telling my folks. * At that point, I knew what she meant, but was still hoping some one would kiss me more than a peck, so didn’t feel the relevance!

    At this point, we need to do a couple of things: #1 help women to get to places/states where they can get legal abortions with licensed physicians – Virginia is still one, and I will welcome anyone who wants to come for a visit. #2 vote the bastards out in November. I know it means some folks will need to hold their noses and choose the candidate with the D, but it must be done so that we can give control of both houses to the D’s and get federal legislating that protects a woman’s right to control her own body. #3 be somewhat public about our support for choice, especially those of us who are a bit on the older end of the age continuum. The hardline conservatives have been very public in their opposition to abortion for years, but I think they do not realize how many of us there are or how broadly we represent the population of the U.S. I think they think we are a small group, but we are NOT!

    Keep yelling, Goldie, and I’m so sorry for your experience. Know it was devastating to have that happen at all, much less the week of your wedding. Big hug! BIG!

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    1. Thanks, webb. xox

      Yeah, I don’t think the Rs realize that even Rs have abortions. I know so many woman who have had them – and these are just the women who have told me quietly, in secret. It’s so much more common than anyone thinks. It’s easy to oppose it on principle when it’s available, but with the kind of story coming out like I copied – the doctor waiting to hear from the lawyers, maybe some people will be hit with the true implications.

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    1. And yet – even as they realize what this means, you are right, Patricia – some of them will shrug and say Oh well that happens sometimes. I don’t want women to die – I can’t even believe I’m going to type these words – I don’t want women to die! but if they must die, I hope they are the women or the wives of the men with this attitude.

      But I don’t want them to die!

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  2. Um, me too – a wanted pregnancy, then a period that didn’t quite stop for weeks, then a trip to the doctor, a blood test, next day another doctor, an ultrasound, and surgery for an ectopic pregnancy that was causing internal bleeding. The surgeon was surprised at all the blood, and if he had been required to consult anybody but me, I would have died. Neither he nor I knew how urgent my condition was until I was in surgery. Decisions about my body, about any woman’s body, need to be between her and her doctor – no one else, ever. Foilowing the rules would have killed me, but apparently that is irrelevant to the discussion of those who force their will upon us. I’ve never understood more clearly that it’s not about life and it never was.

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    1. Just the gross juxtaposition of our screams for gun control after yet another child is slaughtered against their claims to care about life – they are evil hypocrites.

      I’m glad you’re OK! That must have been terrifying.

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