A pro-life woman whose unborn baby girl died in the womb shared her experience on her blog. The loss of her daughter, whom she and her husband named Olivia Amy, led her to reflect on the lives abortion takes every year.
Lisa and Bill were expecting their fifth child, and the couple was eagerly awaiting the baby’s birth.
Just like with my other pregnancies, we spent time wondering if this child was a boy or a girl; deciding on names; dreaming what he or she would look like and so on. Reading over the fetal development pamphlets was amazing; we got to “watch” our baby change and grow daily.
Lisa’s checkup at 14 weeks went well; she and her husband heard the baby’s heart beating. But when Lisa came in for her 21 week check-up, things were different. They could not detect the baby’s heartbeat.
When my doctor entered the exam room where I was waiting, she asked how everything was. My first response was “Not good. I haven’t felt the baby move at all.” She assured me that sometimes a mother might not necessarily feel movement this early; maybe the baby was just less active than my others were. She listened with that little monitor that amplifies the beating of the baby’s heart, searching, for what seemed like an eternity. I now know with brutal clarity what the expression “the silence was deafening” means.
Her doctor scheduled an ultrasound to determine whether the baby was still alive. The couple prayed for a miracle:
We cried and we prayed. We prayed for the baby to be okay; we prayed for the strength to deal with this horrible situation we were thrust into; we prayed for understanding.
Sadly, their prayers seemed to go unheard. The ultrasound revealed that the baby had died at about fifteen weeks.
Because Lisa was pro-life, she knew what a D&C, a common treatment for a miscarriage at that stage, would do to her baby (he or she would be torn to pieces). She wanted to wait and see if her body would expel the baby naturally. When this did not happen, she went into the hospital to have the the child delivered.
They monitored her carefully as she took the first dose of medication. She mentions how nurses printed out her ultrasounds from previous visits. The nurses conscientiously identified the baby’s parts to her:
They took so many pictures; labelling where possible so we could identify them – an arm here, a knee, the baby’s face. I will be eternally grateful to the social worker who arranged for this. In addition, she also obtained copies of our original ultrasound for us as a surprise. Even though the pictures are very grainy and a little hard to make out the images, the thoughtfulness and effort behind getting us these ultrasound images will never be forgotten.
Then the second drug was administered and Lisa passed the body of her unborn baby. She says:
All the knowledge I had of fetal development and life in the womb could not prepare me for what now lay before my very eyes. Although her facial features were slack and not completely defined, we could still see a very distinct resemblance to our other children’s features. Most amazing were her perfect little hands, one of which fit perfectly across the nail of my index finger. Closer inspection showed distinct fingernails at the end of each of her delicate fingers. We marvelled at the tiny little toes at the end of each foot. The muscles and tendons of her body were all in place; viewed easily just by moving her arms and bending her legs. She was so beautiful; so amazingly, perfectly formed, perfectly proportioned. It is so unfathomable that people refuse to acknowledge this as a human being; that babies this age and older are being killed every day through abortion.
There is a huge contrast between the fate of this wanted child, who was mourned by her parents, and the fate of each of the thousands of aborted children who died that day. The nurses on the unit celebrated this baby’s brief life and printed out the ultrasound pictures, carefully identifying the different parts of the child.
If this baby had been slated for abortion, one of the nearly 200 babies aborted between 13 and 15 weeks every day, everything would have been different.
Her mother may have been rushed through the procedure, and if the abortion was being done by induction, there’s a good chance she would have been sent away to expel the baby’s body alone, in a hotel room, rather than being carefully monitored in the hospital. As for an ultrasound – not only would the baby’s picture not have been explained and labeled, there is a good chance abortion patient would not have been allowed to see the ultrasound at all. According to one former abortionist:
They [the women] are never allowed to look at the ultrasound because we knew that if they so much as heard the heartbeat, they wouldn’t want to have an abortion.
Most likely, the unwanted baby would have been dismembered in a D&E procedure, disposed of as medical waste (if not thrown out in the trash) and completely forgotten. This unwanted baby, in contrast to Lisa’s child, would never be given a name. Should the value of a child be determined by whether or not her mother wants her?