The Baby House

It seems sort of ridiculous to have a swimming pool when the house sits on the beach.  For several years in a row my large extended family would gather in the Outer Banks for a week of board games, surf lessons and gin and wine on the deck.  We found a house that was perfect- four stories of bedrooms, game room, Jacuzzi, pool, beachfront- and even a motel next store for the overflow of guests.  Then my generation became grown ups and we did things like getting married.  Our weddings became substitutes for the annual reunion.  Our parents’ generation wanted the fun to continue so they would move the reunion to England or Ireland, trips that we newly minted grown ups could not afford. But this year the Outer Banks trip was going to be resurrected.

We sat around the Thanksgiving table with some second cousins on Skype.  I was visibly pregnant and my cousins were announcing their news about their pregnancy to the relatives who couldn’t make it to Turkey Day.  We all knew that my sister was expecting too and so we joked that we’d have two houses at the Outer Banks this year- the main house and the baby house.  Stick all the screaming infants far away from the elders, so they could have their vacation in peace and quiet.  I looked forward to the trip as the time when I would be introducing my baby to my extended family.

Two weeks before Christmas, my phone rang and I could see it was my second cousin calling.  It was the middle of the day, but I was home on the couch watching tTV because my work had kindly given me some time off when we received the news that Mabel’s prognosis was poor.  When I saw my cousin’s name on my phone, I assumed she had heard the news and was calling to talk.  She is the wife of a pastor, so I feel like she has an almost natural calling to minister as an extension.  When I answered the phone she started talking about the Outer Banks- confirming we were coming.  There would be two houses, she informed me, so we really would have a baby house!  I tried to respond, but I was at a lost for words.  Through tears, I was finally able to say “Have you talked to my mom?”  She could hear the choked back sobs in my voice.  After I explained about my baby’s lack of fluid, her failing kidneys and underdeveloped lungs, I said “there might not be a baby!”

On Sunday we will be arriving in the Outer Banks.  Showing up to this long awaited trip with empty arms will be painful.  Seeing my sister with her baby, the one that was supposed to be Mabel’s playmate, will make my heartache in so many ways.  I asked not to be in the same house as the baby- I had to ask.  I hate asking for things like that because it makes me feel like a jerk (I know, I know, I’m not a jerk.  But admitting that I can’t separate the feelings I have about my baby from the feelings I have about others’ babies makes me feel like one).  I feel like I’ll be under the spotlight while there and ignored all at the same time.  I’m not sure which I’d rather.

I’ve debated not going on the trip.  We decided to drive there so we have complete freedom over our schedule- what we do each day, when we leave.  I want to go on this trip, because, frankly, I feel like I’ve given up enough.  I don’t want to have to give this up too.  It’s not the vacation I want- one where I’d have my baby  (or heck one where there would be no babies)- but I’ve already learned we don’t always get what we want.  If nothing else, it is a week off of work.  There is something that still doesn’t quite feel right about it- vacationing and having a good time, all when my baby died.  But this is life; I learn how to do the normal things.  I will learn how to vacation.

So in a few days we go to the Outerbanks.  I will stay in the baby house… without my baby.

A Very Merry Birthday

Three years ago I organized a group of my friends to “adopt a family” for Christmas.  We bought toys and gifts for a single mom and her son who were in need. One of my friends asked me afterwards, “if they can’t afford Christmas presents, what happens at their birthdays?”  I knew of many programs in the community that help struggling families, but I had no answer to her question.  We spent the next year creating our own non-profit to address such a need.  A Very Merry Birthday was born.  We matched a child at the local Boys & Girls club with a volunteer, or “Birthday Hero” who would buy that child gifts and a cake.  The goal was for the child to take the gifts and cake home to celebrate with her family, promoting togetherness.

I love birthdays; I think they’re kind of a big deal.  I always throw myself a big party to celebrate mine.  My family still exchanges gifts on each other’s birthdays even though we are now all adults.  I love getting other people gifts, especially if they are well thought out.  I may be a little late in getting gifts to their recipients (sorry mom, it’s coming), but I come through.  I always gave a good birthday wish to anyone on facebook who had a birthday.  For our wedding we did a charity fundraiser and names A Very Merry Birthday as one of the charities and raised thousands of dollars.  Because every child deserves a birthday.

Mabel had a birthday but it was also her death day.  I am still having trouble digging deep and finding those celebratory feelings for others.  No more facebook posts wishing others happy birthday.  I still get gifts for my family, but I’m a whole lot slower.

The nonprofit I started with my friend is on hiatus.  She valiantly took over the whole thing in December when Mabel was diagnosed with a poor prognosis.  I’m so grateful she was able to see the school year to completion- it was a lot of work for the two of us, I can only imagine how she managed on her own.  We are taking a break as we figure out the future of our organization.  The idea of helping other kids celebrate their birthdays while Mabel never will is a little painful.  I’m working hard on myself and trying to learn how midwife again in the face of my loss, I don’t have much left to give at the end of the day.  So for now, A Very Merry Birthday sleeps.  Our motto, Every Child Deserves a Birthday, has never rung truer.  My child deserves a birthday, too.

Meghan was fun

When I turned 33 I had a Cowboys & Ninjas- themed birthday party.  Every year I would have some sort of theme party to celebrate turning one year older.  Previous themes included: 80s, Bowties & Moustaches, MadHatter and Pizza & Chocolate (I know, the last one was lame; it was the year I was planning my wedding and planning a big theme party just seemed like too much that year).  Throwing a good theme party takes some skill.  You need to pick a theme that is exciting enough that good photos will be shot but easy enough that most people can find something in their closet to wear. Cowboys & NInjas seemed to meet that criteria. I try to incentivize my guests by giving out prizes, which I tend to make up on the spot.  Some are obvious- like best bowtie and some are spontaneous- like best 90s costume worn to an 80s party.

Bowties & Moustaches

Bowties & Moustaches

MadHatter Party

As the host, there’s a lot of pressure to be in good costume for the party. My first instinct for Cowboys & Ninjas was to be a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, but the more I heard people talking about coming, the less cowboys I thought there would be, so I scrapped my green hoodie in search for something western. Creativity struck and I ordered some men’s underwear- the tighty whitie variety- and got my red and blue markers out to decorate.  I found a tan colored tank top, a cowboy hat and boots.  I made a guitar out of cardboard.  Soon I became the Naked Cowboy.

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It was a hit.  It took a lot of guts to prance around in just underwear and a tank top, but that’s the kind of person I was.  I liked being the center of attention, making people laugh.  I may or may not have made some new friends slightly uncomfortable, with my faux- near nudity.  We played the Wii, ate Ninja food (pizza, sushi, shumai) and Cowboy food (pigs in a blanket, cowboy dip) and prizes were awarded.  Best group costume (a set of four Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles- far better than the costume I planned) and best Denim on Denim for the cowboy.

I was so carefree at that party. That was in the “before.”  I was fun, uninhibited, guiltless in my enjoyment.  I threw parties!  Now I live in the “after.”  Small talk is harder.  Smiling doesn’t come as easily.  I don’t want to be center of attention.  The idea of running around a party in such an outfit feels wrong.  I know this is all part of the grief journey, but it’s discouraging how long it takes.  I thought I’d be in a different place by now.  I know doing the job I do has complicated my journey and I try to remind myself that, but I’m struggling to find joy in my job again.   Every now and then I see glimpses of the old me- truly enjoying her self, finding satisfaction at work.  I can remember what she was like.

I miss the old Meghan.  She was fun.

A fairytale

Once upon a time in a land far away, a group of children played outside in the warm spring air.  Suddenly, a dark cloud appeared out of nowhere and sent a storm of heavy, cold rain, drenching the kids.  They all scattered, running breathlessly for cover.  A loud crack and flash of light filled the air and the storm passed as quickly as it had sprung.  When everyone wiped the rain from their eyes, they saw their playmate standing burnt in a smoky haze.  Of all the children running wildly about, she had been the only one hit.  Lightening struck and left her dazed, with her own personal storm cloud above her head.

She didn’t run fast enough.

It’s because she didn’t eat her vegetables before her desert.

God wouldn’t give her more than she could handle.

They all said, thankful it wasn’t themselves who were hit.

Rain poured constantly down on her from the dark cloud that followed her like a lost puppy.  No one wanted to play tag with her; no one invited her to picnics; no one shared their lunch with her, for fear of getting wet.  Cloaked in their own invincibility, they enjoyed their dry warmth and looked at her with pity and fear.  They didn’t want her cooties.

When storm after storm passed and no other child was hit, they soon forgot about her, with her rain-drenched hair and water-wrinkled fingertips.  So the little girl packed her things and walked far far away, leaving all her playmates in blissful ignorance.

Not every fairytale has a happy ending.

I know how the story is supposed to go : A period of hot sunny days that parched the earth and began to dry up all the beauty.  Flowers died, trees withered, grass browned.  At night the little girl walked through the fields sprinkling her rain over all the thirsty plants.  They grew and blossomed.  When the kids woke in the morning, they had no idea that their land almost soured.  To them it was everyday beauty; they took it for granted.  Only the little girl could see just how beautiful it was.  It took the contrast, her living under a raincloud, to see how beautiful the sun was and how it made everything around her grow.  She still lived under that rain cloud, but now she understood.

That’s how my book is supposed to end.  I love the idea of writing a book, but a book needs an ending and I haven’t figured it out yet. There has to be something uplifting to make the reader feel good.  I have my moments of optimism, but I have not come out of the storm yet.  Once I can claw my way out and live in the sunshine again, then I”ll have my story.

Dear Bootcamp Instructor

Dear Bootcamp instructor,

I was never a fan of group exercise.  I was happy running when I wanted, for how long I wanted.  But as pregnancy shaped my body and complications with my baby arose, I found I couldn’t run for both physical and emotional reasons.  With a broken elliptical at home and no gym membership, I was uncentered and anxious without my exercise routine.  I finally caved in to a friend’s entreaties to join her at “bootcamp.”  My first class, I arrived early and sat in a near panic attack as all the women in the 6pm class performed different exercises in near seamless coordination.  Everyone looked so good!  I was overwhelmed.  Then the warm up nearly did me in.  I left feeling on the fence about whether this bootcamp was for me.  I tried again at an early morning Wednesday class and left still feeling undecided.  I had an ultrasound later that day with my doctor (a fellow bootcamp-er) and I remember telling her I was like 50/50 on whether I liked it or not.  I gave it one last shot on a Friday morning class that you were teaching.  When I left, I began thinking, I could like this.  In the car on the way to dinner later that night I was telling my husband about my day and told him about the good class I went to with the friendly instructor.  And then there you were at the restaurant- smiling and remembering my name!  Like I told you the other day, that’s what sold me.

Over the next three weeks, the exercise saved my sanity.  I learned to love jam ball slams for the anger I could release about my baby’s health.  When I was admitted to the hospital, the doctors (my colleagues) all had a good laugh at rounds about how their admission for the day (me) would be late because she wanted to go to bootcamp.

I tried to continue the pace in the hospital, taking time each day to do a mini-bootcamp while tethered to the fetal monitor.  You’d be surprised what one can do in a small hospital room attached to a six-foot wire.  My husband even got me a medicine ball for my birthday, which I celebrated in the hospital.  I yearned to do some jam ball slams, but my midwife and doctor (also fellow bootcamp-ers) didn’t think it would be a good experience for the patient in the room below me.  My doctor thought I was a great research project in itself, showing that a baby with no fluid did just fine through vigorous exercise.  How cool it was to watch her heart rate never falter while I did ball taps and squats.  Your class was even on my mind in labor as I told my midwife between contractions, “this is harder than bootcamp!”

My midwife let me return to bootcamp at 2 ½ weeks postpartum, under her supervision.  My daughter was buried, my family had all left and my husband was back at work- I was alone and terrified of my grief.  In the initial days, I wouldn’t get out of bed, barely eating.  Going to bootcamp gave me a reason to get out of bed, brush my hair and eat breakfast.

Upon returning to my first class, I sat in the car crying until the last possible moment.  I was scared of the memories- being somewhere that I only knew in pregnancy, seeing people who might ask about my baby, unaware that she had died in my arms.  I made it in that day, as you know, and many days that followed.  That first day wasn’t the only day that saw tears.  The nice thing about bootcamp is I can’t make it through a class without a red face dripping with sweat- a nice camoflauge for the emotion that would spill out without warning. 

Bootcamp allowed me to step out of myself for a bit.  I took a momentary vacation from my sadness everytime I thought “only ten more seconds of climbers,” and sometimes I dove deeper into my grief, using my anger to push me further.

As you may have noticed, I come pretty much exclusively to your classes.  I found myself going almost exclusively to your classes, looking forward to the bubbliness and kindness you showed.  You didn’t treat me weird- you didn’t ignore the fact that I was back, no longer pregnant but childless, nor did you treat me like I had some sort of leprosy.  I was comfortable.  I was coming to your mid-morning classes (one that I dubbed the “mommy class” because of all the kid chatter that happens before warm up) and I could come alone- without the crutch of my friends from the earlier classes- because I knew you.  You knew my name from day one.

I often think that the person you see at bootcamp is not the “real” me, though I’m not so sure anymore.  There I know I am quiet and keep to myself. Other bootcamp-ers might even find me unfriendly, as I learn how to smile and make small talk again.  I might not show how much I enjoy being there and how much my body and mind need to be there.  This new timidity and shyness is a function of the “after.”  In my other life, the one “before” I carried a baby I knew might die, “before” I had to take my daughter off life support, “before” my world came to a halt, I was outgoing and friendly and would have told you all this in person.  I suppose that is why I am writing this.  All the times I have referred to “bootcamp” in writing this, I‘ve really been thinking of YOUR bootcamp.  I feel like I’m in AA, going back, making amends, thanking all those who have helped me on my journey.  I was procrastinating writing this because my journey is far from over, but a friend encouraged me to do it.

So in case I haven’t been vary clear… Thank you.  Thank you for your cheer, your motivation, for knowing my name, learning my story and welcoming me.  Thank you for giving me a temporary reprieve from and insight into my sorrow at the same time.  Thank you for making your class a warm place, full of exertion and encouragement.  You’ve helped me enormously.  You are an excellent trainer and wonderful person.

Thank you.

 

Kid Art #2

“When is Meghan going be here?” they were asking.  I was running late after an especially therapeutic catch up dinner with a friend.

When I arrived at their house, they were waiting for me at the end of their driveway.  The five year old jumped up and gave me a hug.  “We’re having a party!” she said with her little girl voice, the kind that can’t quite get the R’s right.  The six year old ran inside wordlessly and came back with the shell he had painted last week.  We all went inside and they both skittered away, returning just seconds later.

“This is a girl in red who is chasing a spider and she picks it up and puts it in a bag,”  she says, only “girl” sounds like “giwl,” “red” sounds like “wed” and “spider” sounds like “spida”

photo (19)

 

 

“Look!” he shows me another Karate Carrot.  “And that’s another one in the background.”  He grins up at me, so proud of his work.

photo (18)

10 (non-grief) Things About Me

An online magazine, Still Standing, which is popular in my babyloss community recently posted an article encouraging us to share about ourselves beyond what we usually share related to grief.  I’ve had several bad days this week and so the timing was good.  I need to remind myself that there is more to me than just grief, because some days it’s hard for me to believe that. I enjoyed reading Baby Boy Blue’s post and was inspired to write my own.

 

1. Where were you born and where do you live?

I was born in Providence RI, lived my first months in Warwick RI, then off the Belgium for two years, returning to Warwick before I was potty trained.  I spent the rest of my childhood in a small town in Massachusetts.  I went as far away as I could for college- California- and found my way to Connecticut by way of a short stint in DC.

 

2. What is your favourite food?

Chocolate, Hands down.  Bread is a close second.

 

3. Where have you traveled to?

Living in Belgium my during the first two years of my life I’ve traveled all over Europe, but I couldn’t list where.  In my memorable life, I’ve been to the east and west coast plenty and had my first real introduction to the Midwest after meeting my husband’s family who lives there.  I’ve been to Hawaii and Puerto Rico.  Internationally I’ve been to France, Belgium, Netherlands, Ireland, England, Switzerland, Italy, Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Ecuador and Panama.

 

4. What are you reading right now?

The second in the Divergent Trilogy.  I read the first one a while back, felt it was just another version of The Hunger Games only less good.  But then I saw the movie Divergent and now I want to know what happens next.  As I read I’m reminded why I stopped after the first one.  Just finished The SIlver Star by Jeannette Walls.  I bought it at a library book sale in a quiet town in CT while biking during a camping trip.  I usually read on my kindle so it a total throwback to have a paper book.  Also recently finished The Empathy Exams: Essays by Leslie Jamison for my book group (which I didn’t attend- though it would have been a good book to talk about).  I recently gave up reading Pap Smears and Pet Goats by Pamela Wible, MD because she was too cheery on trying to solve the health care system- just quit and start your own practice! just like that! Bleh.

 

5. What is your favourite colour?

Purple. I wrote about it here.

 

6. Your favourite book?

The Red Tent by Anita Diamant-  You know the bible story of Joseph and all his brothers?  Well, he had a sister and mothers.  This is the story of the women left out of the bible.  It spoke to me as a woman, as a former catholic and as a midwife.  I also hold a favorite place in my heart A Tree Grows in Brooklyn and The BFG.

 

7. Most amazing day of your life?

Aside from the birth of my baby (also the saddest day), my wedding day! I had lots of fun planning- we kicked a kickball down the aisle (we met playing kickball), had a cake eating contest and did a choreographed thriller dance.  I would plan another one in a heartbeat if anyone would like to fund it.

 

8. What have you been procrastinating on?

There’s pair of pants Chris needs hemming, a poster needing framing, rooms needing cleaning.  Plus there’s a bunch of hobbies Ive been meaning to start.  Chris got me a sander as a gift one year.  I wanted one because I had this great idea that I’d start refinishing furniture.  I’m the kind of girl who loves picking up perfectly good furniture on the side of the road.  I could sand them and repaint them.  I even have an old little side table ready to practice on. Someday….

 

9. What is a strange fact about you?

I am polydactyl! I was born with six fingers on my right hand.  As an infant the doctors did a highly technical procedure to remove it- they tied string around it until it fell off.  I lived my childhood with a little nubbin that people often thought was a wart.  So in high school a dermatologist removed it and it grew back!  In grad school I had another dermatologist try again and now all that is left is a faint scar.

 

10.  What is your perfect idea of a night in?

Homemade BBQ chicken pizza eaten on our patio on a warm summer night, chocolate chocolate chip ice cream and a movie with my boo.

 

The view from my patio.

The view from my patio.

I am Still Standing in memory of Mabel.

Snippets  

“How’s the baby?” she asked all smiles.  The joy in my office was palpable- she was there with her sister, as her support person for her first OB visit.  They both remembered me from her last pregnancy and clearly remembered that I had been pregnant myself not too long ago.  And now they wanted to bring me in and share the joy with them.  How sweet of them to ask; it actually pained me a little to give the truth.  “Oh, my baby died.”  Shock.  Disbelief. Discomfort.  “Oh no, I’m so sorry,” they say, with brows furrowed unknowing what more to do.  “She was sick.  We knew she was sick.”  That made it better somehow.  Sympathetic “oh”s followed making it easier to transition back to the visit at hand.  I did not cry or break down.  I was just mesmerized at how I felt that I had to make them feel better about my baby’s death.  I practically said, “It’s ok that she died because she was sick.”

____

We were talking of her plans for labor.  “I’m pretty easy going,” she said. “I don’t care if I end up with an epidural or not, a c-section or not, as long as she’s healthy.  I just want a healthy baby, you know?  As long a she’s healthy.”

I don’t know.  I have NO idea what it’s like to simply want a health baby.  It’s not all that matters.  Each time she said healthy, the word stabbed me in the chest.  Of course every one wants a healthy baby.  But now I feel like there’s some sort of ignorance, or even greed to that wish.  Like playing a scratch card- everyone wants  to win $1million, but I’d be happy for $1, as long as I could take that dollar home.

I cut her off with a quick “ Yup.  You’re next appointment is in one week.” And I left the room, exposing my pain with some unintelligible mumbling of certain cuss words under my breath.

___

I walked into the exam room and I could see the exasperation already on her face.  Young and annoyed to simply be pregnant, she glared at me as if it were all my fault.  I have faced this look before.  Many women are uncomfortable at the end of pregnancy.  They want to know when they’ll be able to sleep again, to be rid of bad heartburn, to shed their newly acquired cankles.  We spend their whole pregnancy talking about one date- their due date.  I explain in the first visit how it’s an estimated due date, give or take two weeks, but that lesson is long forgotten by the time that magic day rolls around.  They are done; they just want to meet the darn kid already, not realizing they are about to trade one set of difficulties for another.

I used to be more sympathetic.  Now as I looked at this young woman giving me a sour face and I want to shake her and scream You don’t know how good you have it!  I don’t smile at her, trying to be her sympathetic ally.  No coddling about understanding how tough it is to be so pregnant.  Gone are the words I use to sweetly remind her how nature works and time will bring her a baby.  Instead I talk robotically about the protocols for induction leaving emotion and compassion crumpled in a heap in the corner of the room.

_____

“Man, labor hurt like H-E- double hockey sticks!”  Her actual use of that phrase almost made me laugh.  Her baby was a few years old, but she still remembered.  “Do you have kids?”

I had a daughter.

“Oh, “ her voice dropped and her face took on an appropriate somberness. “Is that you in the sign?”  I nodded.  “I was reading it in the waiting room.  I’m so sorry for your loss.  She was beautiful.”

I smiled “She was, thank you.  And thank you for reading about her.”  And with just the right amount of pause I add, “ and yeah, labor did hurt like H-E-double hockey sticks.”  No derailment; we are back on the path

______

If a patient declines genetic testing it is our practice in my group to make sure we document that they wouldn’t terminate for those reasons.

“If you knew you had a baby with Down Syndrome or Trisomy 18, would you consider terminating the pregnancy?”  I hear them say no and write the words in their charts.  Over and over I say these words- several times a day.  How can I not think of Mabel?

 

What Mabel can do

I received an email from a friend and fellow midwife not long ago.  I wrote yesterday about what I didn’t want my blog used for.  I don’t want her story to have a negative impact.  This email my friend sent is the opposite.  This is the intended purpose of my bog.

“Anyway, today I happened to be at a gathering with a mother of one of the little girls who was killed in the Sandyhook shooting. They built a playground in her honor near our house that we like to play at. I kept wondering if I should mention anything, or, if it would make her feel badly at the party to remember. But, I thought I you, and all you and Mabel, and that you like to talk about her and have people remember her. I thought this mom might like it too. I introduced her to [my 3 year old son] as “Alison’s mom”, and he told her how much he liked Alison’s playground. I think it was the right thing, I want to thank you for sharing and teaching.”

Learn.  Empathize.  Remember.

This is what Mabel can do.

A Sensitive Topic

Warning: I am touching on a controversial topic.  I am trying very hard to share my feelings but also be respectful.

One of the things I like to do is to monitor the “stats” of my blog- how many views, number of visitors, search terms, where people link my blog.  It makes me feel heard.  I am amazed seeing how far my blog reaches (hello South Africa, Montenegro and Finland!).  And sometimes I stumble on other blogs I want to follow.

There is one site that links to my blog that I can’t see- it’s a closed group on baby center for those who have terminated a pregnancy for Down Syndrome.   I cannot see what they’ve written about my blog, but I do know it falls under the heading ”the mom who chose to carry her t21 pregnancy to term and the result.”  I am not here to pass judgment on women who choose to terminate and women who choose to continue- whether it be a baby with Down Syndrome or average chromosomes, whether she be a healthy baby or one that will be born sick, if even alive.  I am not here to make anyone feel bad about the decisions they make.  I recognize I cannot possibly understand other people’s circumstances, and so I support women in their own decisions about their bodies and their families.

But I hope no one reads this blog and thinks- well, that’s too hard, so I might as well save myself the heartache and just terminate.

This blog tells the story that not every pregnancy turns out the way you would think.  Accepting a Down Syndrome diagnosis did not give me a take home baby.  But choosing to terminate might have ended a pregnancy that would have ended in health.

People can terminate their pregnancy, whether it be complicated by Down Syndrome or not.  That is there personal choice; I have my own personal views.  There are things I would hope I would do in my own life when faced with certain circumstances.  I also recognize I can’t know what decisions I would make until I am faced with them.  However, my professional and political views are simple- support women throughout their life cycle, in whatever way they need.

If there were a woman in this online group who was my patient, I would care for her as gently as I would any other woman.  In fact, I have cared for women who have terminated pregnancies with Down Syndrome.  I want this group to know that their choice was hard, that I do not judge them.

Though I do want to share a few thoughts with these women.  To the women of that group who have read my blog:  Please do not use my baby’s story as justification.  I don’t want Mabel to be anyone’s reason she uses in choosing to terminate her pregnancy.  You had your reasons, and I am sure they were good ones.  Since you are in an online support group for terminating, I can tell you are struggling with your decision.  You were faced with two impossible choices: terminating a pregnancy and continuing one when you are unready. You made the best decision you could with the information you had at the time.  But please leave Mabel out of it.  I made the difficult choice to carry her and give her the chance, understanding my risk of losing her.  She deserved every second of the six hours she lived.  Despite my heartache, I would do it again, even knowing the outcome.