I am an invisible mother...
TW: Sensitive discussion about pregnancy termination
In the fall of 2015, I had been diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) and after reviewing my ultrasound, my OBGYN said I would more than likely need hormone treatments in order to conceive. With this information, I never in a million years thought I would get pregnant naturally. My doctor said that birth control would help regulate my hormones, but it was essentially only masking the issue. A clean diet and daily exercise would help reduce symptoms, balance my hormones and possibly even reverse the PCOS.
I changed everything I was doing. I made a habit of regularly working out and kept a strict clean diet. I was feeling better than I ever had. And then July 22nd, 2016 came. The day I found out that I was pregnant. I was involved with someone that I did not want to be having a child with. In every single aspect of this situation, it was indeed, a mistake. That said, my own morals pushed me to do what I believed, was the right thing. Make the relationship work to the best of my ability, and be the best mother I can be.
The day came for my first ultrasound. While hanging around waiting to leave for the appointment, I used the restroom one last time. To my horror, I was bleeding heavily. I immediately cried out for help. I called the doctor's office and they advised me to visit the emergency room. After checking my vitals and doing bloodwork, they suggested I still go through with my appointment to make sure that if I had miscarried that my uterus was clean of any tissue. A blessing from God showed me a beautiful heartbeat on the screen. Healthy and strong for a 6w-old tiny nugget. The tears of joy and relief flowed uncontrollably.
I never understood the excitement parents get from seeing an ultrasound. A small alien-like grey and white blob on a piece of paper... how moving could it really be? The moment I saw that tiny little flickering heartbeat on that screen, was the day my world changed. Everything changed. I had the most precious being inside of me. A life that I was creating, growing, feeding, and already keeping alive. My baby had me wrapped around its finger before I ever got to meet it.
I had to go back every week for three weeks to get ultrasounds. The doctor wanted to make sure that the baby was doing okay and that my bleeding had stopped. I was 9wks along the last time I saw the heartbeat.
My short time experiencing pregnancy was actually pretty amazing. I had nausea from the time I woke up until about 4:30 pm. Just in time for dinner. That baby wanted everything, from pizza to wings to pasta. But... if I even thought about those things during the day, I was running to the bathroom. I never got sick, just was sick to my stomach. All the time. All the things I loved to snack on were absolutely repulsive to me. The smell of baby wipes was awful. I couldn't even step foot into an Aubauchon's without having to walk right back out. I was nervous as hell in the car. Especially if I had a passenger. Apparently, the motherly instincts were kicking in early. Aside from nausea and exhaustion, I felt pretty good.
The joy and excitement only lasted for so long. It was overshadowed constantly by the instability in my involvement with the baby's father. One day we would discuss baby names and the next he'd question my morals. It was a roller coaster of planning and pumping the breaks. I had made it incredibly clear that while I am 100% PRO-CHOICE, termination of a pregnancy was not something that aligned with my own morals. It just was something I never saw myself being able to do. No matter what the situation was.
Weeks 9-11 were hell. His push for termination became more persistent, angry, and manipulative. I had never experienced mental or emotional abuse until this point. In the moment, I didn't even know what was happening. Abusers can be VERY good at what they do. They'll break you down and tear you apart, and then fix you so you feel dependent on them. It's a sad a vicious cycle.
At the beginning of week 11, the baby's father came to me and begged for a termination. Made promises. Good promises. Manipulative promises. I cannot explain the amount of confusion I was experiencing. I turned to my parents and my best friend. They all begged me not to go through with it. I felt so lost. I was fractured, in every way.
On the day of my appointment, we went to breakfast and took our time getting to the clinic. He sat with me through the paperwork and questioning from the nurses. From the moment I walked through the door up until the procedure, I was asked at least six times if I was sure of my decision. When I went to the restroom, a nurse followed me in to make sure I wasn't being forced into the decision. My answer was yes, but that I felt like it was the right thing to do. I was given one last ultrasound. I declined to see my baby. I hated what I was doing, I hated myself. I didn't deserve to see it.
The next part was the most excruciating. The pain that is endured during something like this is not only physical but emotional. Especially when it's not what you want. The one positive thing I can take from that day was knowing that the coward who got me pregnant had to watch me scream in pain as my dream was taken from me. An image that will forever be burned into that man's mind.
That horrific day was September 7th, 2016. I was just shy of 12wks. I had many dreams of me holding a baby girl on my hip. I knew that's exactly what I was having. She looked like me when I was a baby. Bald with blue eyes. She was beautiful. I wish I had gotten to meet her.
The days that followed were horrifying. I cannot even begin to explain the amount of grief I felt. I was abandoned by the baby’s father the day after the procedure. Bringing to light every single lie I was told. The only thing that kept me alive during this time was the revolving door of family and friends. Oh… and lots of medication. I am quite sure I was under sedation for two weeks straight, at least.
I know that I don’t owe anyone an explanation, and no one has the right to question me on this. I still stand by my own morals and believe that pregnancy termination will NEVER be an option for me again. However, I will support any woman who chooses to make this decision. Your body, your choice. Always. No man should ever make a decision for you. No matter what the situation is. I will also say that no matter what your situation is, this is never an easy decision to make and should not be made lightly. You don’t know going into it, what the long-term effects will be on you.
Today marks five years since the loss of my baby girl. I think about her daily. What she would look. What she would be like. To this day, I still carry guilt and grief. It has taken me five years of therapy and a support group to be able to share my story.
This is only Part 1 of this story. I want to share how it has affected me over the last five years, how I’ve managed to cope, and the challenges I have faced because of that decision. One thing I can say… I will never let anyone shame me for that decision, my pregnancy, sharing of my story, or how I cope. My body… my choice. My story to tell.
For you are the only one who heard my heart from the inside…
Quinn Elouise – September 7th, 2016
I encourage you to share your stories. Even if it’s only privately. Everyone’s reason for their decision is unique and you’d be surprised by how many women around you have experienced a pregnancy termination. If you have, you are not alone… I am happy to have an open or confidential conversation with anyone who needs to talk to someone. There is a group of women that I hold close to my heart. Complete strangers when I met them but quickly turned into sisters. I am forever grateful for them, their strength and courage to share their stories, and for being a part of my healing process.
Stay tuned for Part 2…
Let your sun shine ☀️