The Womb, Being a Woman and Baby Loss
Chrissy Teigen and John Legend lost their baby last week and the hateful, pro pre-born baby crowd came out in full anti-Christ form to attack a grieving family. The adrenaline rush from the hate filled comment section on their social media will be their reward, I won't give them any more attention. No, in this post I'm going to talk about womb issues, empathize with a grieving family and share my story.
From the time I was twelve until I had a hysterectomy at age forty I dealt with excruciating pain at the beginning of my periods most months due to Endometriosis. It also caused me trouble getting pregnant and caused me to have a horrific pregnancy. My doctor said he was surprised I got pregnant at all. After we had Evangeline I wanted to have more kids so we tried mild fertility pills which made the Endometriosis worse. There was one point during the treatment when my period was late so I took a pregnancy test and it was positive. I was so excited. All the pain and fertility treatment was working. My doctor told me to come in for a blood test. I remember clearly that stupid nurse. She was so chipper when she said, "OK, your test is negative." she said like it was great news. I literally grabbed the wall. I was devastated. "What?" I asked. "It's negative. You're not pregnant." She said again in that obnoxiously chipper tone. I swear I wanted to punch her in the face. I got to my car and completely fell apart. It was a horrible day.
My sister miscarried triplets at about four months, she caught them in a Big Gulp cup on the toilet and took the cup with her to the hospital. The nurse showed her all the different sacks. They were fraternal, Only one had really been developing and she could make out where the eyes were starting to form. She also had a tubal pregnancy that ruptured.
The womb is a fickle bitch. Getting pregnant, staying pregnant, all of it is so crazy. If you talk to ten women you could hear ten different stories. I know women who've had tumors removed from their bodies that contained hair and teeth, Some of these type of tumors even develop eyeballs, parts of a developing human that never quite made it?
I watched Amy Schumer's documentary, Expecting and I felt almost every minute of it. She had the same illness throughout her pregnancy that I had, Hyperemesis Gravudarum although I don't recall it having a name 24 years ago when I was pregnant with Evangeline. I weighed less at seven months pregnant than I did before I got pregnant. I couldn't swallow my own spit or I'd vomit. I literally walked around with a spit cup like someone who dipped tobacco and I threw up 24 hours a day. Only in the last 2 months did it taper off to just a few times a week."Hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) is classified as "extreme morning sickness."
Though changing hormone levels often make many pregnant women nauseous, when someone is suffering from HG, they're experiencing very severe nausea and vomiting that leads to weight loss. The true, direct cause of HG is still unknown, but the symptoms are known to show up between 4-6 weeks of pregnancy and usually ease off around 20 weeks, though some women will experience HG for the entire length of their pregnancy. Often, women with HG are unable to keep food down at all and this leads to even more complications, like dehydration and low blood pressure."Even after having a horrible pregnancy and an awful twenty two hour labor with Evangeline, I was willing to try that mild fertility treatment because that's what us women do. We don't "forget" how awful it was, we're just willing to go though the awful again. But treatments ended up making my Endometriosis worse which led to another surgery to clean it out. Then I had some very painful cyst burst and my stupid oven (that's what I called my Uterus) just kept right on being an asshole. So we decided to stop trying. Then our first adoption miracle happened, our baby Steele. You can read about that here.
I remember getting that awful call from the attorney at the beginning of August. The mom had decided to keep the baby. She named him Damien.
Just typing that last paragraph was hard. I think about him every August 26th, that's his birthday. He's 14 now. I hope he's happy and has a good life. I wonder if he knows that another family gave there heart to him too, and thinks about him every year on his birthday?
So I wont say that I know what Chrissy Teigen is going through or any other woman who's miscarried or birthed a still born child. What I do know is that being a woman and having the ability or not having the ability to grow a human inside our bodies is nothing to be taken lightly or spoken about callously, without empathy or flippantly.
Extremist judged her situation from their dark corners and were cruel to her and her family.
I was a pro-pre born extremist for many years. Now I've raised a diabetic daughter who already has vision loss and other health issues due to her twenty two years living with this chronic illness. Her blood sugars have never been under control so it would be very dangerous for her to be pregnant. She has an IUD. I'm very glad she's on birth control. She wants kids but she also knows how risky pregnancy would be to her health. We've had long conversations about this. I've told her that I support the use of the morning after pill if something happened with her IUD and I'd support her choice if she felt she needed to or wanted to get an abortion. I'd also support her choice not to have one, of course. I'm personally pro-ALL-life, so I'm pro my 24 year old daughter's life. I trust that she along with her doctor would know what's best for her life and make the right decision.
This is REAL LIFE. She is not a hypothetical. She's my child. She's alive. A pregnancy could kill her. There's a lot to consider. It's not as cut and dry as people who throw stones like to think it is.
Our bodies are complex and wonderful. Our wombs, infertility, endometriosis, when life begins, viability of a fetus, all these subjects are issues only women can understand fully. Living breathing women and their bodies being debated and tossed around like political footballs, by men mostly, is why we have such extremes when it comes to policy and public debate about reproductive health. Women, not men need to be the ones who decide OUR issues, who make policies that affect OUR bodies.
If I could make something magical happen in this country it would be that women from all political leanings, backgrounds, religions, races and regions would come together and work in a truthful, compassionate, medically sound, scientifically researched, nonpolitical and non extremist way to make all laws and policies that concern women and our own bodies. I think there should be local, state and federal offices of Women's Affairs led by a bipartisan board, not one person, but women working together to solve the issues specific to women. I know that sounds like a pipe dream, especially in 2020 America. But it would be nice.
Maybe then when someone like Chrissy Tiegen post about loosing her baby we could see through eyes of understanding and empathy rather than becoming an anvil chorus.