Tom and I had some soul searching to do and plenty of discussions.
Marcia: When we found out I was pregnant, our daughter was three at the time and we were surprised but excited. We started preparing for another baby, but I remember it wasn’t a great pregnancy. That may be looking at the situation in hindsight but the pregnancy didn’t feel good. Because I was over 35, we decided to have an amniocenteses. We had had one with our daughter as well. So we waited for the results and the results came back and it was clear there was something seriously wrong with the fetus. It was a mixture of several genetic disorders. At that point, Tom and I had some soul searching to do and plenty of discussions.
Tom: We met with the doctor and a genetic counselor. The genetic problems would have made for very, very serious emotional and physical problems for a child. We did a lot of research into the genetic disorders so that we were well informed as to the possible consequences of bringing the fetus to term.
Marcia: So we decided that, rather than going through with this pregnancy, we would end it. It was best for us, best for our daughter, best for our future. Interestingly, we did talk to my parents about it and the rest of my family and they were all very supportive. I was kind of surprised because my father was a staunch conservative Republican, but he was so supportive of our decision. When we told him what was going to happen and asked him how he felt about it, he said he was supportive because he loved us and knew that his mother had had a miscarriage and that there was something seriously wrong with the child. He said, sometimes God takes care of it, and sometimes you have to.
And so we made an appointment at the hospital. Thank goodness I could have it at the hospital at that time and it was safe and legal. I have to say the doctors and the nurses were just lovely, so sympathetic and sweet to me. The doctor was practicing at St. Mary’s but could not perform abortions there so he did it at UT hospital, and I loved him forever for being there for me during this difficult time. We had friends around us at the hospital that were wonderful and supportive of our decision. That meant a great deal to us. Our daughter got to come in to see me before I went into labor. Tom was with me every minute. It was hard and painful but the fetus was delivered and Tom got to see it and then they did the DNC. The very next day we got in the van to drive to Nebraska to be with my family and I never felt better physically. It was as if my body was telling me that it was the right decision and was such a relief. I felt like running a marathon. You know, it was one of those things I just knew that the pregnancy was not going well and something was wrong. Of course it was hard emotionally just like it would have been with a miscarriage. You think you’re getting a baby and then there isn’t one. And then I got pregnant again a year later.
Tom: With our son.
Marcia: And we went through the amniocenteses again and dreaded hearing the results. But we were so thrilled when we got the results that he was healthy, and we couldn’t have been happier. People ask if I’ve ever had regrets. I regret that the baby wasn’t right. You never want to have an abortion. I had a pregnancy that didn’t end up with baby, but a year later we got a wonderful, healthy child.
Marcia and Tom, East Tennessee