I'm Not Pro-Choice. I'm Not Pro-Life. I Am Heartbroken.

by Madison Luscombe

I know. It’s a controversial title. One that made you click on the story hoping it would swing toward your views. One that would make you proud to say, “I’m pro-life,” or “I’m pro-choice.” I’m not sure how you will feel after you read this, but I truly hope I am able to give you a view from my side of the street.

I am not here to persuade your opinion in any way. I do not choose a side myself. I don’t care what your opinions are. I will continue to respect you no matter what. Now, please take a walk in my shoes for a few minutes:

First, let me say that I am scared. My heart is racing as I type this. Never have I felt this way. Never have I been terrified to share my story. I have seen post after post about this topic, and I felt as though God was demanding that I share my story. The story I prayed and cried through. The story that I have chosen to keep from all of you for fear that I will be judged or hated. For fear that everyone who looks up to me will be disappointed within seconds. I am done being scared. I am done hiding my experience. I am done feeling shackled. I am ready to be free.

My husband and I found out that our baby was extremely sick with hydrops on June 30, 2016. Not the simple case of hydrops that doctors find at 30 weeks. It was the case that threw my doctors for a loop. I was 16 weeks pregnant, and my little boy was filled with fluid. All of his organs were being crushed: his brain, his lungs, his heart, his stomach. Within a week, his heartbeat had gone from 153 bpm to 135 bpm. My doctor told me he had never seen a case so bad this early in a pregnancy. Two others doctors confirmed this: “The prognosis is poor. Your baby is dying.”

My heart was broken. I don’t remember much from June 30. It was a day of darkness. I barely spoke. I barely lived. The baby I wanted and loved was dying. I researched everything I could to find a cure. I begged the doctors to test me for every infection. I prayed. I screamed. I cried. I hid in my room.

Termination. Abortion. The one thing I always said I would never do was now staring me in the face. My doctors were not allowed to recommend termination. They couldn’t directly tell me that it was the best choice. One doctor told me he knew what he would tell his daughter to do as he shook his head. One doctor walked into the room and handed me a piece of paper with abortion clinics written on it. As I spoke with the doctors about the risks for myself and my baby, I knew what they thought was best for me. I did have one nurse who insisted upon the idea I carry my little boy until I miscarried because “it’s going to happen and you will regret an abortion.”

I am a Christian. I am a human. I am a partner. I am a mom.

I prayed for guidance.

I researched everything I could.

I discussed my options with my husband.

I made the best decision possible for my baby.

Because there is such a strong fight against abortion in Texas, I was not able to stay home during this horrifying time. I had to pack up my bags and drive to Albuquerque, New Mexico. That’s right. I just found out my baby was dying a week ago, and now I am leaving my family to drive five hours away to do something I was dreading. I was sick about it. I had peace because I knew it was what I needed to do, but I was scared.

I was being sent to doctors I didn’t know, staying in a hotel far from home, and I was saying goodbye to my baby. A baby I would never get to see or hold. Why? Because it isn’t legal to induce labor at 17 weeks pregnant in Texas. That is an abortion, and it is wrong. It is wrong to end the suffering. It is wrong to give up. It is wrong to save your life by giving away one that would never be.

That is why I am scared to share this with you. I don’t want you to hate me for making a decision that you may call “selfish” or “murderous.” I don’t want to suffer from the disappointment of others while I am still suffering from the loss of my little boy.

My heart breaks every day. Not because I regret my decision. I don’t. But because I lost my little boy. Just like anyone else who experiences the loss of a pregnancy.

Photo credit: Madison Luscome

There are people who live every day because of life-support. They are kept alive by something bigger. My cousin was when he was 1 1/2 years old. He had brain cancer. He was on life-support for months until my aunt and uncle made the decision to “pull the plug.” There was no quality of life left. That is how I like to view the life of my baby. I was the life-support. He was living because I was breathing and eating for him.

The moment he would have entered this world, he would have never been able to breathe. His lungs would be full of fluid. His organs would not have grown much larger than that of a baby at 16 weeks as the fluid would have continued to crush and restrict them throughout the rest of the pregnancy. I was the life-support, and I pulled the plug. There was no quality of life left.

I am not pro-life. I can’t be after the experience I was thrust into. I am so thankful that the option was available. I don’t want to imagine a day in age when someone in the same boat as me would not be given that option. I don’t want to think about a woman being forced to carry a baby that was going to die and possibly kill her.

I am not pro-choice. I don’t understand how someone can terminate a baby that is healthy and perfect and innocent in every way. It breaks my heart.

With all of that being said, I believe that God created people and medicine and procedures for a reason. I believe that he gave certain people talents and desires. I believe that when something is medically necessary, we should not bash each other for making a decision. You never know what it is like to be in that person’s shoes.

So before you spew hateful words on social media about how mothers who abort are “monstrous murderers” (yes, I actually saw that comment on a post), remember that we are all humans who make decisions every day. It doesn’t mean anyone has to agree with them.