Laws Affect People, Not Abstract Concepts

Filed in Delaware, National by on April 4, 2012

The following is a guest post from Mrs. Xstryker, the wife of Xstryker, a contributor to Delaware Liberal.

Hi DL. I’m Mrs. XStryker. Some of you know me already. I’m not a very vocal member of this community and in that light I’d like to thank the rest of the contributors for allowing me to post this guest blog.

Something has to be done on behalf of women who think this will never happen to them. I know I was certainly one of them.

The law that eventually passed was a “compromise” version of the original proposed law, which didn’t offer any exemptions for fetuses with abnormalities that would make it impossible to survive outside of the womb. In the previous version, women would have to carry their completely nonviable fetus to term, giving birth to a baby that would inevitably die. But now, under the compromise, women carrying nonviable fetuses will be allowed to have abortions after 20 weeks but before the woman would otherwise give birth naturally, provided the abortion procedure occurs outside of the woman’s body. So, in other words, the law will require women to give birth to their nonviable fetuses rather than have the abortion occur internally. [emphasis mine]

When I read that post my blood boiled in a way it has not boiled in weeks. And believe me, I’ve been boiling. Not just as a liberal/woman/Jew/heathen, but as a woman who recently gave birth to a dead baby.

You read that right. I birthed a dead baby about 6 weeks ago.

XStryker and I have been a couple for 12 years, married for 7 and a half (8 this August). We are a healthy, early 30-something, monogamous couple. College Sweethearts. Both gainfully employed. I am even a “small business owner” (I have an LLC set up for my music career). I’m a total goody-two-shoes. I’ve never smoked, I rarely have more than one drink in an evening, and the only time I’ve ever had an encounter with drugs was a bad reaction to Valium during my wisdom tooth extraction. When I accidentally got pregnant a few months ago, we had a lot of issues to look at. We hadn’t been trying for kids yet because of a number of reasons, but we both want to be parents someday. It was scary, but we bit our lips and got ready for parenthood.

XStryker took over all the housework because I was too sick and easily nauseated to do it. I all but stopped playing gigs that would require me to be out too late, and cut back on overtime hours at my day job. We changed our entire routine to welcome this baby, whom we nicknamed “Little Paws.” Our families were ecstatic. Pre-Natal care and screenings and ultrasounds all showed up perfect. My genetic screen was completely clear. All systems were go.

At 14 weeks I got an email from one of those baby websites that you sign up for to tell you how the baby is developing. That email said “Congratulations! Your risk of miscarriage is greatly reduced now that you’ve reached this milestone. Now you can relax.” Hooray for the Second Trimester! Two days later I woke up from a nightmare at 2am in the Worst Pain I Have Ever Experienced. I went into the bathroom and discovered I was bleeding. I called my midwife, who advised me to go to Triage at Christiana Care Hospital. I woke up my husband and he drove me down.

The following paragraph is where it’s going to get graphic. I’m sorry. Trust me, it was worse to actually live through it than it will be for you to read it.

When we arrived at Christiana they had me fill out a form, put me into an exam room, gave me a gown and told me to undress and give a urine sample. I went into the bathroom, sat down on the toilet, and couldn’t figure out why I wasn’t peeing. I realized that I was feeling something akin to an oversoaked tampon. I reached down to investigate when I felt my baby’s foot. Its leg was hanging out of my body. It was the size of a Barbie doll’s foot, and I can still feel that print on the pads of my right thumb and index finger. That’s when I knew it was over. I called out to XStryker that he needed to get the doctor. He asked why. I couldn’t answer that question. I just repeated my original request. An RN came in and I showed her. She went for the doctor, who came in shortly thereafter. They got me into the gown, brought me back to the bed, and I gave birth. Obviously at 14 weeks, this baby was not viable.

I’ll spare you the rest of the details about that night because they’re not necessary to the story. The hospital sent me home with a memory box; it has a certificate with the baby’s footprints (which I honestly don’t need, because the footprint is still on my fingers), a tiny baby hat and a tiny hospital gown which my baby never wore. It also potentially contains pictures of the baby. I don’t know. I can’t bring myself to open the box. It’s sitting on a high shelf in a room I almost never go into.

I had to sign forms stating that I didn’t want to name the baby (it’s against my religious views and besides I still don’t know if it was a boy or a girl), that I consented to have the hospital cremate the remains, and that I wanted an autopsy. In case you’re wondering, it came back completely inconclusive. That’s one of the worst parts. They ran about a million tests and couldn’t find a single thing wrong with me or the baby. The baby just died. There was nothing I could have done to prevent this. I honestly wish there were. For weeks afterwards I struggled looking for some answer, because if I knew what caused this I could keep this from happening again. But there isn’t an answer. Someday I’m going to get pregnant again and worry for 40 weeks straight about feeling a leg hanging out of my body, and I won’t know what not to do.

6 weeks have passed and I’ve long been expected to resume my old routine. People are asking me if and when we’ll try again. Some days are easier than others, but even on the sunniest of days I’ll see some article about some Pro-Life Blowhard talking about babykillers and whatnot and I’ll want to punch them in the face. This is hard enough to recover from, now try to do it while politicians play kickball with your uterus. This particular bill is especially hard to swallow. I’m lucky that I live in Delaware, and that the baby basically forced its own way out. If I’d had to continue carrying that baby after it died, well, I have no idea what kind of shape I’d be in now.

I’m certain that proponents of this bill and others like it manage to sleep at night by telling themselves that I deserved what happened because I am a Jew/liberal/woman/heathen and that’s fine. I’m not going to change their minds. But if you’re at all on the fence about these laws I urge you to protect the women who want to be mothers because there are more of us than you realize. Late term abortions, pregnancy losses, these are women who chose life and had it ripped from them. Life has punished them enough. Let them move on with their lives as quickly as they can and with as much dignity as possible.

*The contributors of Delaware Liberal are honored to post Mrs. Xstryker’s story.  We are inspired by her strength in writing this post.  We wish her and XStryker the best.


About the Author ()

A stay-at-home mom with an obsession for National politics.

Comments (15)

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  1. pandora says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your heartbreaking, important story. This had to be a difficult and emotional undertaking. Our thoughts are with you and XStryker.

  2. Delaware Dem says:

    This should be required reading for every ignorant social conservative Republican fool who thinks they know best on health care decisions.

  3. cassandra m says:

    This is an example of how well women are already equipped to manage their own lives — without government intervention and regulation.

    This had to have been hard for you to write, Mrs. X, but I’m so thankful you shared your experience with us.

  4. Mrs XStryker says:

    It was not easy to write at all. Thank you all for your support.

  5. MJ says:

    Mrs. X, huge hugs from me. Thank you for sharing this with us. It really shows your strength.

  6. Joanne Christian says:

    Dear Mrs. X–My deepest regard for you as you navigate one of the most stark, profound, confusing, clinical,and emotionally charged event females may be designated to experience. Any other comment here sans compassion is misplaced, and I do hope DL would run a separate thread as to not prolong, magnify and exacerebate every emotion you have been through regardless of the goons in Georgia.
    DL has my contact information if I can help “round out” some of the confusion of what you’ve been through. And we have met.

  7. ek says:

    Mrs. X, I read your post early this morning and was too choked up to respond. Thank you for sharing such a painful experience. I hope and pray that in time you will find peace, and that until then, you will have the strength you need to manage your grief and daily life at the same time.

  8. AQC says:

    Thank you for sharing such a personal story. Many years ago I had an “unviable” pregnancy. My obstetrician performed an abortion. I can’t imagine if I’d had to wait to actually give birth. Thankfully, my doctor and the laws did not even consider such a possibility back then. We are truly moving backwards.

  9. Thank you Mrs. X and XStryker for sharing your story. It is very brave of you. My deepest condolences to you. All I can say is the people proposing these laws, and comparing women to cows and pigs are sociopaths. It’s so important to have these personal stories to make people understand the real consequences of these laws.

  10. Your story is now rec-listed at Daily Kos.

    As it should be.

    Like everyone else here, I salute you for your courage and wish nothing but the best for you and your family.

  11. Mrs. and Mr. X,, a mix of feelings have rolled into a grief for your Little Paws whose footprint now seems pressed onto my own fingers as your story is pressed onto my heart – may other hearts be touched and continue to pressure politicians to stay the fuck out of our private lives.

  12. Mrs XStryker says:

    It’s so hard to respond to you all. I’ve been trying to think of the words myself. XStryker and I both thank you for your kind words and support.

    All I can really say is that knowing that this post could possibly do some good has made the last day or so a lot better. So I thank you for giving me this opportunity.

    (DelawareDem I would post this over at DKos as well but I think I’m still on a waiting period to comment and I can’t figure out their site layout anyway. Would you mind terribly passing these comments on to the kind people posting on the diary?)

  13. Aoine says:

    Dearest Ms XSrtyker.

    Thanks you for your courage and sharing your story. I lost a set of twins 25 years ago and to this day I think about who they would have been and what they would have been doing had they survived

    to say that women enter into these decisions regardig lfe and death has made me want to punch those assholes out for 25 years. I was just over 5 months preganant – had LOST 40 lbs in weight due to hyper-emisis gravidarum and they took one baby when I went into seizures and I lost the other with the first.

    there was no reason why – no explaination -I was young healthy etc and It took me 16 years to get up enough nerve to get pregnant again – then the nightmare started – my OBGYN had a CVS test ordered (unnecessary) because I was now and :older: mother – this caused an inter-uterine hemmorage – the test came back – 7 out of 9 cells were :abnormal: and they could not get them to replicate in the lab – and BTW did I want to abort BASED on WHAT info I asked>

    I had NO information other than this was called :mosaisic effect:and they did not know what that was exactly (but by Goodness they had a name for it) – I asked the gender of the baby (not that it was a factor) and I decided to continue with the pregnancy and have an amnio @16 weeks to see if everything was OK – it was a very long 10 weeks

    the amnio came back clean and I delivered a very healthy, beautiful smart baby who has now delightfully contributed to my greying hair and laugh lines – I collected cord blood and placenta material so the study of human genetics at Hopkins could move forward to help other parents faced with these decisions.

    I can only sympathize with your pain and wish you well – and applaud you for your courage in speaking out, we are legion, us women and yes men that have felt this pain and know the tragedy and dispise those that would legislate morality and human grief for the sake of politics

    I hope as you and your partner move thru your grief and pain – please look to the future and if a baby is there for you I pray it will be a happy and joyous occassion for you and will help you heal.

    and yes – we have met as well