For what seems like my whole life, I’ve been focused on helping women through “crisis pregnancies.” Now that I’m pregnant myself, I’ve realized this is a misnomer. Every pregnancy presents a thousand crises, big and small, no matter how planned. These crises cannot be avoided, but it is our job as pro-life people to stand with those carrying a child throughout their most vulnerable times.
I remember last April, waking my husband up excitedly to tell him I saw the infamous “plus” sign. The plus sign that changes everything, that would turn us from two neighborhood kids trying to make their way in the world to some little person’s whole world. My husband was so excited, but promptly fell back asleep. And who could blame him? After all, he had been taking classes during the day and working late into the night. He had been in bed only a few hours when I woke him up to tell him that our dream of becoming parents was coming true — and this would mean a lot more sleepless nights.
I thought at first I was feeling “sick.” Boy, was I in for a wake-up call! As the weeks progressed, I would struggle to get through work, half-pay attention to my online night classes, and fall asleep suddenly. People wondered why the girl who had always seemed cheerful, was always bringing in cookies and encouraging her coworkers to keep their heads up, suddenly seemed like Wednesday Adams reincarnated. They told me I should have stayed home, that I was obviously very sick. Since I didn’t want to tell most people about the pregnancy yet, I played the martyr card and said I needed to come in today because my department really needed me. After all, I couldn’t take a sick day for nine months!
Counterintuitively, being pregnant made me doubt my pro-life beliefs more than ever before. This is what I’ve been asking women to keep going through? What kind of cruel, cruel monster would wish this on anyone? This is what is considered a miracle? As I lay in my bed, not quite being able to sleep or throw up, but feeling like I could do both, I had a real crisis of faith. But, of course, I was looking at the problem all wrong. My exhaustion, my nausea, and my frustration didn’t change the fact that I had a life growing inside me. All this time, I had thought pregnancy was something I could handle on my own. Actually being pregnant has made me realize the importance of community. Nothing has kept me going like the support of my husband and family. I hope someday I can give this support to another person facing a crisis in their pregnancy.
I’ll never forget the feeling of dread I had one Sunday morning when I went to the bathroom and found I had been bleeding. I was still pretty tired, so at first I just thought, “Oh, no big deal, I got my period.” Then it hit me: no, this was a big deal. I knew some bleeding during pregnancy was normal, but didn’t know how much. I called my mom, who told me to try to stay calm and call my OB’s emergency line. The emergency doctor informed me that, with the amount of blood I was describing, there was a 50% chance of miscarriage, and although it might not help any, I should go to the ER to see what was going on with the baby. My husband quickly drove me to our local hospital, with my mom on the phone trying to keep us both calm. When I got to the hospital, my husband wasn’t allowed to come in with me due to COVID restrictions. I muttered to the receptionist what was wrong, while she and her coworkers joked about eating chocolate-covered cicadas. It seemed like my heart had stopped while the world was going around me like normal.
Emotions that I had never experienced flooded over me in the ER waiting room. Usually my mind is racing a million miles a minute, but in the waiting room it was blank. Dread filled me as I waited for my name to be read. I tried to pray, but I could not really concentrate on even talking to God. All I could do was stare at the mostly empty waiting room, wishing my mom or husband could be there with me. But my only companions were seniors who had fallen or had chest pain. My baby — who I hoped against hope was still alive — and I were low on the triage list.
After my name was finally called, I was seen by a kind physician’s assistant and nurse who told me they had both been in similar situations. I was wheeled back to an ultrasound room, down long empty hallways that seemed so ominous. As the tech got her equipment ready, I whispered, “Please, baby, please still be there. Please be okay.” When she put the probe onto my belly, I could see a little shape on the ultrasound screen. “Is that my baby?” I asked. She replied that it was, but didn’t give me any more information.
After what felt like a lifetime later, the physician’s assistant came to tell me that I would soon be sent home, and I could call my husband so she could talk to us together. She said she wanted to let me know, however, that my baby still had a strong heartbeat. I felt relieved but still worried about my bleeding. When my husband came, we were told that now my pregnancy was considered high-risk and I should rest in bed for a few days. The physician’s assistant said that although it was certainly possible I could have a healthy baby, she couldn’t guarantee that. It was very possible, since I was high risk, that I would still miscarry. She also noted that this is very common and that she thinks it is very important to talk about it. I appreciated her honesty, concern, and passion for helping hurting families. My husband drove me home, made me something to eat, and waited until my mom could come sit with me while he went off to work.
My husband works in hardware retail, and since this was over Memorial Day weekend, he didn’t have a choice but to go to work the next few days. My brother came over to help me clean up after my morning sickness the next day, and on that Tuesday my mom returned to take me to the obstetrician. She didn’t want me going alone in case I felt sick or there was any bad news. Fortunately, my obstetrician said everything looked fine and that I should continue my normal activities. She said the baby’s heartbeat was still strong, and found an explanation for the bleeding that was not a serious threat to my baby. Elated, I ran down the doctor’s building steps to let my mom know everything was okay with her grandchild.
After facing the crisis of thinking I was losing my child, I am now more committed than ever to making sure no one evers feels like they have to prematurely end the lives of their children. I want to help be the support system that my family and husband have been for me during this time. I know my child is so lucky to be born into a community that has already shown such love and concern towards our family’s welfare. Even my dog has licked my stomach and been extra protective of me and the little one I’m carrying.
Not only do I want to personally be supportive of pregnant parents, I also want to advocate for better laws and policies for growing families. I wish I could have taken time off from work when I felt sick during my first trimester; however, because my work had changed owners the month after I got pregnant, I only had a few hours of leave. Because I had only been working for the new owners for three weeks when I was bleeding, I didn’t get paid for most of the time I was off work. This was not too big a deal financially, but if my husband and I were not a two-income household it would be a whole different story. If I were single or supporting both myself and my husband, I would have had to scramble to make ends meet. I’m not sure what I would have done, especially with a large hospital copay looming.
Pregnancy is hard. And expensive. And, well, kinda gross. But even though I haven’t held my baby yet, I wouldn’t trade this little one for anything in the world. I love my baby so much, and I cherish this time we have together. There’s no better feeling in the world than seeing your kid jump on the ultrasound screen, knowing you are in for a world of trouble. Now, more than ever, I know it’s my job to make sure every parent gets to experience these magical moments, surrounded by a community who will support them.