Ideas had been thrown out there about our daughter’s diagnosis. At first it was an increased risk of Down Syndrome. Then the cell free DNA test came back with an increased risk of trisomy 13, not trisomy 21.
And as I sat there talking with the doctor about our options, my mind raced. He’d mentioned before, that most people choose to terminate if the diagnosis comes back as trisomy 13.
After who knows what search I made on Google, I had come to the conclusion that after the first trimester, if we chose termination for medical reasons, I’d be forced to give birth to my baby, instead of having a surgical option.
I remember saying to the doctor, “I have to give birth, don’t I?”
He looked at me and said, “We can do whatever you wish to do.”
We were early in the process. We didn’t have our diagnosis yet. In fact, I think I asked this of him the day we did the amniocentesis. So we didn’t know anything certain yet.
Two days later, he called us with the results. I knew from the moment he said my name, that our baby was dying.
I said to him, “What do we do now?”
He explained that we’d have the chance to talk with a genetic counselor after the weekend, and that we could take some time to gather our thoughts and decide what to do. He mentioned again, that termination is an option and what most people end up choosing. We didn’t discuss the options further.
That weekend, my viewpoint drastically changed as I thought about the real situation ahead of us.
My first thoughts prior to having our diagnosis were very valid, though. I didn’t want to birth our baby initially. I didn’t want to hold her and connect with her. I thought it would be so hard on me to go through that process and not come home with our baby. I thought I’d be making the connection between us stronger, and that I wouldn’t be able to handle it.
I quickly realized something, however, the connection was already there. I was already grieving the loss of our daughter, and we hadn’t even made any decisions yet. It didn’t matter which path we took (D&E, early induction, or carrying to term)- we were losing our daughter and we were devastated.
Holding her wasn’t going to make it harder. Not seeing her wasn’t going to make it easier. Nothing was easy. Nothing was right.
My initial thoughts were about protecting myself. My husband had the same thoughts.
He didn’t want me to have to go through labor and delivery, to have to give her away.
I see a lot of people post in the TFMR group that I started on Facebook. Some moments, I sense a feeling of regret when people talk about D&E’s. Sometimes they weren’t even offered labor and delivery. Other times, the choice was there, but they chose D&E for many of the same reasons I noted above.
Some people choose to not hold their babies. Some people choose to not see their babies. Some people choose to not have pictures taken. Some people do the opposite.
My initial reaction was that I couldn’t handle it and it would make things harder to see her and hold her.
The reality is that ANY path was going to be just as hard as the other. At the end of the day, you have to choose what ultimately feels right to you.
I ended up feeling like an induction was the right path. I wanted to see April and hold her and talk to her and read to her and kiss her and have pictures of her. I wanted to say goodbye and have a chance to meet her. I wanted to have a birth certificate. For some reason that was important to me in validating her existence and her life.
But I share this story, because a D&E isn’t wrong. It isn’t anything to be ashamed of. It isn’t a bad path to take. It isn’t a wrong path. It just wasn’t MY path.
I feel like writing about my induction at times might make people feel regret about their D&E. Maybe it does at times, and maybe it doesn’t. Maybe I’m reading things into some of the thoughts I see in the support group. But I wanted to speak up about it in case that regret is there for anyone.
The truth is that everyone has a different path to take. Everyone has different things that are healing to them, and different ideas on what that looks like. All of us are connected to our sweet babies, and all of us chose the path that we thought would best suit our needs and our baby’s needs.