Tuesday, January 23, 2007

The sanctity of life

Today is the 34th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision which made abortion legal and wide-spread.

As we sat in church Sunday, we listened to a brief presentation from a representative from a Save-A-Life center our church supports. I looked at the pews packed with 18 to 25-year-olds and was so thankful that their mothers did not abort them.

During my child-bearing years Steve and I chose to have most of our babies at military hospitals. Steve was on active duty in the Marine Corps, and military hospitals did not do abortions - ever, under any circumstance. We did have a couple of babies at civilian hospitals which routinely did abortions and the difference in the care and the attitudes of the medical professionals was startling and scary. One of those babies was born alive after natural labor and an intervention-free delivery, and Steve made it a point to get us both released from that hospital as quickly as possible.

The other baby was born dead (at 20 weeks) a few years later at a different hospital. For that baby, my doctor insisted on inducing labor. This was my second baby to die at 20 weeks gestation, and for the first one I had been at an Air Force hospital and where they did numerous ultrasounds and blood tests for hours and hours to make certain that there was no life at all. The nurses, doctors, and technicians were kind and compassionate and kept repeating over and over that they knew this was hard for us to bear, but they must be absolutely certain this infant was dead before they would proceed with any kind of treatment or procedure. If the baby was clinging to life, they would fight to preserve that life as long as possible. If not, then the doctor wanted to go ahead with a D&C because I was already starting to bleed, and he feared I could hemorrhage hours away from a hospital. I was scared, Steve was praying, friends at church were praying, and God ministered to us both through the kindness of these strangers at the hospital.

We were living in a different state a few years later, and had had a healthy living baby after the one that died in utero. I was pregnant again, and again was half-way through the pregnancy when I noticed the same symptoms that had occured when the other baby died. This time I was unable to get military care for the pregnancy, and when my civilian doctor realized that my baby had died, he decided to induce labor immediately at the local hospital. I did know that they did abortions there, but I wasn't really considering what that would mean to me - a woman not aborting her baby, but one losing the child so desperately desired. I was put in a bed in a room and hooked up to an I.V. Two nurses bustled around, but rebuffed my small efforts at conversation. Finally I asked them what was in the I.V. and one rattled off a list of chemicals and medicines and finished up with "... standard ____ Clinic procedure." My entire body felt nerveless, I felt as though my heart stopped, and my face surely expressed the horror I felt as I screamed, "What?! Is my baby alive? Let me go from here!" I knew the ____ Clinic was one of several abortionists in town. The kinder of the two nurses gently pushed me back on the bed and said that, no, my baby was not alive, but this was the method used to induce labor.

The rest of that experience - labor, birth, and the "care" I received afterwards were just as unpleasant. I was grateful that I had God! He was the only one with me throughout. The nurses and doctors were busy, Steve had 5 little children at home and couldn't get away until/unless he could get babysitters, and we told my parents not to make the 10-hour drive because a hurricane was supposed to hit our area in a day or two. There were complications after the birth, and I hemorrhaged and had to have emergency surgery. The hospital was unable to reach Steve before the surgery because our line was tied up (with people calling wanting to know what was going on and how they could help) so he didn't even know about the surgery until after it was all over. That was around midnight, and he couldn't come to the hospital - even with the children - at that time. The difference in the actions and attitudes of medical professionals at a hospital that routinely did abortions and those at a hospital that never did abortions, even accidentally, was striking (and obviously memorable).

I've had 18 pregnancies and from those God has given us 7 living children. I'm grateful. Life is a gift from God. It is precious - from start to finish.



Anonymous Carmon Friedrich said...

Oh, Laura...you have been so brave and you are so blessed with all those children, the ones here on earth and the ones in heaven. Thank you for telling about what you and Steve have gone through to have those precious souls.

12:42 AM  
Blogger Jennie C. said...

Laura...That is frightening. I didn't know really that civilian hospitals did abortions. I had one of my kids at a stateside civilian hospital, and it was lovely, but mostly because I didn't show up till I was ready to push. No time for them to mess with me! But I didn't know they did things like that. Thank you for sharing.

5:29 AM  
Blogger Sherry said...

That is scary. I fear for my daughters who will someday be giving birth to babies in a medical setting where all the doctors have knownis the easy availability of abortion. It is so easy to be railroaded into something that you don't really understand when medical professionals are telling you that you must do X immediately. It's so important to find a doctor that you can trust.

2:18 PM  

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