Remembering Dr. George Tiller
This is a long one, about the work of Dr. George Tiller, who was murdered two years ago today. "My Kansas Story".
My son was my long awaited journey into motherhood. He was my lifeline the day my brother died and I thought the world was ending. He was the glimmer of hope that was offered to family members that horrible week that we had four family members die. He was my everything and then he was gone.....
Thirty minutes later our world crashed around us. The doctor and sonographer began by taking measurements and showing us all the baby's major parts, but they slowed down when they got to the spine. My son had his back up against the placenta and they couldn't get a very good view but what they could see was not good. The baby had spina bifida. There was definitely an opening from L1-L3 but they couldn't tell anymore than that. Then they proceeded to the baby's heart and showed us the echogenic foci that could be indicative of Down syndrome....
We decided at that point to continue the pregnancy because we had so many unanswered questions and were unwilling to end the pregnancy when the worst-case scenario appeared to be that the baby wouldn't be able to walk. ...I noticed a change in the baby's movement patterns. He began to move for shorter periods of time and not as often.
...This time we found that the baby's lesion was larger than they had originally thought, it now appeared to be from L1-L5. The most horrible part was that the baby had developed ventriculomegaly: fluid on the brain. At this point, it had had yet to affect the size of the baby's head. I laid on the table crying and knowing in my heart at that point my son was not going to make it.
When we got home my husband wanted to discuss termination but I was absolutely against it. I was in complete denial about his condition and his eventual outcomes. I tried really hard to start fights with my husband so that I wouldn't have to face reality. Luckily I have a wonderful husband who basically let me vent while softly continuing to press me to face what was happening.
We returned to the doctor 10 days later at 22 weeks 5 days and found that the baby's brain measurements were the same, which made everything so difficult. His fetal movements had continued to decrease and I was beginning to return to reality. We asked our doctor about options for termination and he explained that unfortunately we had passed the deadline in our state, so our only remaining option was to go to Wichita.....
...I thought I would lose my son, my marriage, and myself. I was also angry. I was angry with God that He "let this happen." I was angry with my husband that he couldn't fix it. Mostly I was angry with myself because I hadn't been able to save my son.
..I was unprepared for what I would see because during the two weeks since our final ultrasound the baby had developed severe hydrocephalus.
...I hate that my son is gone. I hate that I had to make the decision to end his life. I hate that my womb and my arms are empty. But I am strengthened in the fact that I made my decision by focusing on him and what was best for him. I am eternally grateful to the wonderful people that guided me through this horrible experience with compassion, love, and understanding.