The Face of One Who’s Health Was At Risk (“When the health of the mother is at risk”)

by Migdalia Rivera

Before the birth of my youngest son, I had two miscarriages and an abortion. That pregnancy haunts me to this day. My son, my precious child, would have been 12.

During that pregnancy, I was placed on partial bed rest. I was high risk. My body had so much trouble holding onto my boys. Yet, this pregnancy lasted longer than the other two. I was about 6 months along. We thought we would hold him in our hands in just a few short weeks.

We didn’t.

I went home with empty hands and I mourn him every day.

I recall that day as if it was yesterday. My water broke as I was talking on the phone with my cousin, Lourdes. I had been having cramps on and off. I wasn’t supposed to be walking but I had another child to care for. He needed me; as a result, I had my now ex-husband leave work and escort me to his after-school just 5 short blocks away. My ex was rushing . He had missed so many days already, I knew he was worried he would not make it back to work on time. I tried to rush. I couldn’t. The pain hit 3 blocks into our trip. I doubled over. I had to stop. Eventually, the pain stopped. We made it to our appointment and I returned home.

As directed by the Doctor, I drank lots of water and laid down with my legs propped up. The Doctor said this would stop the cramping. It did. I was reassured.  I turned on the television and called my cousin Lourdes. As we were chatting, I felt a gush. I thought I had an accident but it didn’t stop. It didn’t stop.

Ignorantly, hopefully, I tried to stanch the flow by holding my hands over it.

It didn’t work.

I called my ex-husband as I left the apartment. The amniotic fluid continued to leak out of me. It wouldn’t stop as I walked. I recall looking back, I had left a trail. In the back of my mind, I wondered how my baby would survive. I felt him kicking, shoving, and as my body released the fluid, I saw it. His hand pressed on my deflating belly. His tiny fingers shoved against a stomach that had shrunk.

My ex-husband raced home. Thankfully, he worked only a few short blocks away. He put me in the car and raced to the hospital. They sent me to a room. A Doctor came. I can’t recall his name. The only thing I remember is that he said I had to expel the fetus.

“The fetus?” I thought.

It’s not a fetus. This was my son. The son, I had anticipated. The son, I had hoped for. The son, my ex-husband and I had planned. No, this was not a fetus. This. Was. My. Child.

The Doctor went on to say that I could not leave the fetus inside. It would cause an infection without the amniotic fluid. At best, he would die from an infection. At worst, we would both die from the infection.

I couldn’t believe it. I did not WANT To believe it. I frantically tried to call my high risk Doctor. I would not do as this Doctor said. I would not consider it. I began to dress. I could not stay where they would not attempt to save my son. The Doctor and nurses on staff tried to convince me. I refused. I was going to my hospital.

The Doctor pulled my ex-husband aside and spoke to him. He told him I was in danger. He, my ex-husband, tried to talk to me. He seemed unsure but was willing to follow my lead. He called my Doctor. They spoke for a short while. Shortly after, I was given a release form and taken via ambulance to my Doctor’s hospital.

She was waiting.

She escorted us to a room where she conducted a physical and took a sonogram. My son was alive and moving. I saw him. I saw his small body. I saw his fully formed hands and toes.

She reiterated what the other Doctor had already said. I refused. I would not abort my son. I was adamant. There had to be a way. Lord, I prayed for a way.

Over the next two days, the Doctor tried to convince me. She noted the baby was not fully developed. She noted if, and that was a big if, he survived he would have disabilities. She noted that the longer he stayed inside of me, the greater the risk of infection for him and for me. I didn’t want to listen. I wanted my unborn son.

I. Wanted. My. Son.

The last time I saw him, the last time I felt him, he was stretching out his hands. His fingers were pressing on the inside of my belly. I saw every single one as he stretched inside me, trying so very hard to find more room.

I opted to have  general anesthesia. I could not go through the process of expelling him via a vaginal birth. I could not imagine going through the pain, of seeing him, to have to leave him behind. I was not that strong.

I went home that day, broken. The decision to terminate that pregnancy was decided because my health was at risk; however, if not for my oldest I would have attempted to hold onto that pregnancy. As my only child, he needed me. I was, and still am, his sole guardian. I had full custody. Where would he go should something happen to me? Who would take care of him? How would he have felt growing up without a mother? All these questions went through my head as I lay in that hospital bed. I may have yearned for my unborn son but I had a live, feeling, hurting son at home. I could not risk leaving him without the care of a mother.

Why do I share this with you, my readers?

I am one of the many who sometimes are not considered by others who are adamantly pro-life. My abortion was induced because my health was at risk.  I am one of many who had the option to choose … I am a Christian and I believe it should be an individual choice that should not be taken away. Plain and simple, we should all have the ability to make our own decisions about our bodies and our lives.

That day when I returned home, I hugged my oldest, Karl, extra hard. My son was alive. He. Was. Alive. And because of my decision 12 years ago, I am alive and I now have the opportunity to hug my other son, Andrew, as well.



About the Author

Migdalia Rivera, also known as Ms. Latina in social media, is a single Latina mother of a teen, tween and 2 Australian Shepherds. When not blogging, or chasing after her energetic bunch, she connects influential bloggers with brands and PR agencies via her blogger network, Stiletto Media.

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Sili October 24, 2012 at 3:40 pm

Thank you for having the courage to tell your story. Sending you loads of hugs.

Sili recently posted..Operation Christmas Child

2 Lourdes Colon October 24, 2012 at 3:52 pm

My dear beautiful cousin, I remember all too well those days. You were and still are one of the STRONGEST women I know. love you. xoxo

3 Alexandra October 24, 2012 at 3:53 pm

Migdalia…this post has moved me to tears. This post touches me so deeply as I have had my own experiences recently with pregnancy loss. It has affected me in ways I hadn’t imagined and I still grieve. We, as women, as mothers, as caregivers, as lovers, have the most amazing ability to grow life within us. To feed ourselves, to feed our unborn children. To feel their movement, to feel them come to life. I understand that many women are unable to experience this – for those that are we know, it is the most amazing thing in the world, something that we wouldn’t change for anything. I will not begin to say that I understand what you went through, how you felt, and how you are coping with that loss. But my sister you are not alone, you are not alone in dealing with your loss and you strengthen us, you strengthen me through your words and I commend you for your honesty. For your strength to give voice to something most of us would not think to share such personal pain on such a public platform. Your two magical wonderful boys are so grateful to have such a giving Mother. I love you.
Alexandra recently posted..Boston Girls Night Out at the Sheraton Copley Hotel!

4 Vanessa, DeSuMama October 24, 2012 at 7:02 pm

Oh dear, I too am moved to tears as I snuggle my infant son, so grateful for his health. Too many people don’t consider mothers in your situation, those against an abortion, but forced to make a choice. Un abrazo muy grande amiga. Much love to you.
Vanessa, DeSuMama recently posted..Career Motherhood: How Working Moms Inspire

5 Unknown Mami October 24, 2012 at 9:26 pm

Thank you for sharing your story. I know that retelling it must be hard. I was told that my youngest might not have any kidneys and I waited until the last possible moment. We got lucky and she has one kidney, which is all she needs to lead a healthy life. Still if it would have turned out that she had no kidneys, I do not believe I would have had it in me to see her to term, give birth to her, and hold her in my arms just to watch her die because a baby with no kidneys will not live more than a few hours. I just don’t think I would have survived that option emotionally, so I understand that having a choice even when it is a choice that you would do ANYTHING not to have to make is so very important. I am glad you lived to share your story.
Unknown Mami recently posted..World Series 2012

6 Melanie Edwards - ModernMami.com October 24, 2012 at 9:26 pm

Migdalia, thank you so much for sharing such a personal story. My heart goes out to you.
Melanie Edwards – ModernMami.com recently posted..Fun at SeaWorld Orlando’s Halloween Spooktacular!

7 Chela October 24, 2012 at 11:24 pm

My heart just broke reading your post! Thank you for having the courage to share your story. I’m sure it will help someone facing similar experiences and hopefully expand the dialogue on abortion. Abrazos, hermana…you ARE that strong.
Chela recently posted..See You in September

8 Ofelia October 25, 2012 at 7:01 am

As tears stream down my face I can only say ..

Thank God you survived. I can’t imagine being in your position. Your fight to save that unborn son. I have seen you with your Karl and Andrew, the love you show for them. Words fail me.

Thank you for sharing.
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9 ToughCookieMommy October 25, 2012 at 7:34 am

You are very brave for sharing such a personal story. My mother went through a very similar experience and she often thinks about it and discusses it with us. You are absolutely right, there is too much gray area that needs to be considered in this Pro-life/Pro-choice debate. Thank you so much for sharing your story with us.

10 Li October 25, 2012 at 11:02 am

Thank you for sharing such a personal story. You are very very brave.
Li recently posted..Can You Commit To Me-Time For 21 Days?

11 Miss SP November 11, 2012 at 3:44 pm

I can’t even explain what reading this did for me. I can’t even imagine the pain you went through, and the pain of your unborn fighting for his life! That is an awful decision you had to make, and God knows you did what you had to do for your own health and safety. Thank you so much for sharing such a personal, intimate story from your past. God bless his innocent soul.
Miss SP recently posted..#CurlyHairProblems

12 alissa November 13, 2012 at 6:03 pm

This must of and still is a hard thing to have gone through. HUGS! I can’t even imagine the pain and suffering you went through.

I often question abortion. My mom and my sister carry the gene to pass on Trisomy 18. Many people abort those children when they find out they are pregnant with them. My sister has opted twice to have children with this. Her oldest died about 6 hours after birth. Her youngest is a year old. He’s had jaw surgery, his adenoids out, his massive hernia fixed, his club foot fixed and now has 2 tumors that are being treated with chemo.
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