Ashleigh, Massachusetts

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Wife, daughter, sister, mother to two angels and two fur children.

After five years of marriage, my husband and I decided it was time to add children to our family. After five months of trying, we were expecting our first child. Five months later we discovered at our 19-week anatomy scan that our child had several anomalies and was “incompatible with life.” After being given our options, we decided to terminate the pregnancy by D&E. Four months after that we discovered we were expecting our second child. We were cautiously optimistic – hoping for the best but expecting the worst. At our 13-week scan our second child was diagnosed with anencephaly. With a sense of deja vu, we decided to terminate this pregnancy by D&E. In a span of seven months we lost two children; terminated two pregnancies due to lethal abnormalities. Full story.

Taylorfireflies, Dominican Republic

Taylorfireflies

A 20-something year old about to start a Ph.D in Educational Leadership. Digital artist, broadcaster, educator, & human rights activist from a developing country. Yes… I collect degrees. Married my best friend and rock last year.

At the anatomy scan, we found out our rainbow baby was extremely sick and probably wouldn’t make it. After the top doctors told us it was a matter of time, we chose to terminate for our baby’s sake and our own. The pain is ever-present, but writing about it and reading other stories like ours has been very helpful. I share our story to create awareness and to help others find comfort in my words.  Full story.

Denise, Indiana

denisepic

Nonprofit sector worker, mother of one beautiful living daughter, fitness enthusiast, should be the mother of a baby boy.

I was laid off three days before my ultrasound, and I was mad; who will hire a woman five months pregnant?  I wanted another daughter; I thought it would be really special if my daughter had a sister close to her age to grow up together.  I’m a health nut and pregnancy sits well with me; who would expect a problem?  It’s a boy!  No sister.  Oh, well.  The doctor took a long time to come in after the mid-pregnancy ultrasound.  The baby’s heart doesn’t look right. I already made you an appointment with a specialist. Full story.

Renee, West Virginia

reneeWV

Wife, daughter, sister, stepmother and a mother to my angel daughter.

I was over the moon when I found out I was pregnant. I wanted to scream it to the world that I was finally becoming a mother. From the beginning I knew I was having a girl, and during our 20 week ultrasound my intuition was proved correct. Words can’t express the excitement of watching her move and feeling her kick, knowing this was my daughter.  I had no idea my world would ever come crashing down as the doctor said something was wrong with her. Full story.

Jen, Florida

JenFL

Suburban mom. Former paralegal. Surgeon’s wife. Animal lover. Atheist. My over-reaching list of ambitions includes dreams of becoming a writer, gourmet chef, marathon runner/cyclist, and world traveler. Keenly aware of my charmed life, each day I am grateful. Life has given me more than I ever dreamed and expected…except a 2nd child.  Still learning the lesson of acceptance, I keep moving forward. I’m stronger than I used to be.

July, 2006, my world stopped. A routine 21 week ultrasound revealed our 2nd daughter, Emily, could have a form of dwarfism. A second ultrasound confirmed Thanatophoric Dysplasia, a “100% fatal” condition. The name literally means “death bearing,” characterized by short limbs, a narrow ribcage, and clover-shaped skull. Emily had all of these. Because her ribcage could not accommodate her lungs, she could not process amniotic fluid. I developed polyhydraminos, putting me at risk for placental hemorrhage and possible death. Our perinatologist recommended we terminate the pregnancy. We were handed a slip of paper with the number of a doctor who “helps people in your situation,” and were escorted out the back door into the parking lot. We were shattered. For us, it wasn’t a choice.  A week later, we drove two hours to a clinic, and prepared to say goodbye to our baby.  Full story.

Tara, Virginia

Tara

Mother of two, wife of 10 years, chronically infertile.  A family of my own became my source of constant grief and obsession, overshadowing everything in my life, my marriage, and my career as a graphic designer and interior decorator.

After a harrowing and devastating shock of soul-crushing, intense grief, and the urgency of a lifetime to find out everything we could about our son’s diagnosis, we talked to as many people as we could, and pursued every possible option. We ultimately decided our very much loved, very much wanted son should not live under the medical interventions and lifelong illness that awaited him, and that we had an obligation to our oldest child to not consign him to a lifetime of caregiving, as I had experienced with my own mother.   Full story.

Victory, Michigan

Victory

Christian, wife, daughter, aunt, sister, cousin, friend, neighbor, college-educated, career-oriented, optimistic, loving, kind-hearted, caring, selfless, ambitious, silly, and the list goes on…

After being married to my college sweetheart for four years and together for 11 years, we decided that it was time for us to start a family. We were very excited about having our first child. At 19 weeks, it was confirmed that our little girl had Trisomy 18 and Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome. We were provided with the options to either end the pregnancy, or allow her to die at birth and possibly suffer. We decided to put our angel to rest and out of her misery before it even began. Full story.

Colleen, California

Colleen

I am a 43-year-old mother to two boys; a sweet and sassy three-year-old and an angel, and wife to a wonderful, loving husband. I am a budget analyst for a university.  I love music and singing, although I’m sure I drive my family crazy when I sing with the radio! We have two crazy dogs and two silly cats – the beginnings of our own zoo. I believe we should have the right to choose what is best for our families, our bodies and our lives.

We have a wonderful, sweet, three-year-old son and he is our world. We found out that I was pregnant with our second child just before my son’s third birthday. We were scared – financially, it would be a hardship, and we were worried how we would love our second child as much as our first. My husband and I figured out the financials, and started to get excited for our son to have a little sister or brother. He would be such a great big brother; loving and sweet. We took him to our 13 week ultrasound and he was excited to see “his baby.”  Just my husband and I went to the 19 week ultrasound, and that is when our world began to fall apart.  Full story.

Marketia, Arizona

Marketia

I am a 54-year-old housewife and mom. I love to read, play a little golf, and watch college football games with my husband.

I also had two late-term abortions due to major birth defects. Our oldest son is 27 and the pregnancy with him was completely normal. We thought having a second child would be easy enough and had planned on having at least 3, if not 4, children. Michael was born in 1985.  In March of 1988 I had my first miscarriage. The second and third miscarriages were in 1990. All were in the first trimester, and no cause was found. In 1991 I was once again pregnant.  When I made it through the first trimester we thought we could breathe.   Full story.

Mary, California

Mary

Married for 15 years to my high school sweetheart.  Mom, Daughter, Friend & Survivor. Loves butterflies, reading, listening to music, and being with my family and friends.

In January of 2012, at 33 years old, I found out I was pregnant again. I was scared and thrilled all at the same time. After a very long time I would be starting over, and the thought was both amazing and terrifying all at once. I waited a LONG time for this little one and I was overjoyed.  I never imagined I would  go in for my 18 week ultrasound and my world would come crashing down. I went in with hopes of pink or blue, and left with a heavy heart and crushed dreams.  Full story.

Kari, Texas

KariTX

Mother of four (three on earth and one in heaven), military wife.

In October 2011, I was a 36-year-old, Texas resident, mother of two.  I was a minivan driving, stay-at-home mom with three college degrees.  My husband, a military officer, was deployed to Iraq for the prior 12 months.  We had considered adding one more child to our family and were thrilled to find out that I conceived within two weeks of my husband returning from Iraq. This was our “homecoming baby,” the beginning of our “happily ever after.” Instead, it was the beginning of our heartbreaking story.  Full story.

Keri, United Kingdom

Keri

Mum to an angel baby, unemployed Dog Groomer- job hunting. Dog geek. Owned by two dogs and two cats!

My pregnancy was unplanned and unexpected. My boyfriend and I had been together for a year and our relationship was solid, but at 19 years old, babies weren’t in the cards for a while. I was on the pill, so surely it couldn’t happen! But it did. I was unemployed, and we were scared.  But with the love and support of family, my boyfriend and I knew we could do it, and started to get excited about our baby. Then we had the 20 week anomaly scan, and our world came crashing down.  Full story.

Mari, Connecticut

Mari

Compassionate.  Loving.  Quirky.  Emotional. Mother.

I was 24 years old when I found out I was pregnant. I was scared and shocked. I had bleeding at nine weeks, and from that day forward, I did everything I could to protect my baby. I loved my child, and after every hurdle I overcame, I loved my baby even more. It was the anatomy scan, one which I already feared because of 1:200 odds for T-21 from a screening test, which shattered my world. I said goodbye to Sophia and will never forget her. Full story.

Renee, Texas

renee

Stay-at-home mom to four boys (three here on earth and one in heaven).  Married for 19 years.  Enjoys scrapbooking, volunteering with the PTA, Cub Scouts& Boy Scouts, reading a good book, and spending time with my family.  Most recently, became interested in politics and fighting for women’s reproductive health.

On March 29, 2006, I had a routine mid-pregnancy ultrasound.  My two sons were eagerly waiting to hear whether they would have a little brother or sister.  Instead we heard, “Something is wrong with the kidneys, I am going to get the doctor.”  Four days later we learned our baby was another boy, but that his condition was incompatible with life. His kidneys were full of cysts. No bladder was visible. There was no amniotic fluid. His lungs would not develop. I was given two choices and told that neither would be easy. I chose to end my sweet baby’s suffering.  Full story.

Dana, Maryland

Dana1

Married for nearly 10 years.  Working Mother of two living children, with a 3rd on the way.  Membership Director for a non-profit organization.

In July 2009, I was happily pregnant and excitingly, anxiously expecting the arrival of our second child.  For nearly eight months, I had been loving my baby in utero and explaining to our then two-and-a-half year old son that he was going to become a big brother.  Never, EVER did I imagine I would need to have an abortion…and certainly not one so late in my pregnancy.  Full story.

Kristyn, Texas

kristyn

Anesthesiologist, married 9 years, mother of three boys and one angel, relaxes by reading or doing anything crafty.

 At 16 weeks through my first pregnancy, my triple screen came back abnormal.  The ultrasound that followed revealed Potter’s syndrome, a collection of characteristics caused by severe oligohydramnios (aka lack of amniotic fluid) and incompatible with life.  After 16 weeks, amniotic fluid is produced by the fetal kidneys, bathing the baby and providing an environment for the lungs to develop.  Without it a baby’s lungs will not function and the baby will suffocate at birth.  At 17 weeks 1 day I chose to deliver my daughter Annabelle, who I so desperately wanted.  It was the right decision for us.  Full story.

Heather, North Carolina

heather

Mom of two (one living, one angel). Married 9 years. Former TV Producer turned Recreation Professional.

In 2006, my husband and I were pregnant with our first child.  All of our early screenings and tests were going fine with no signs of complications.  It was at the 20 week level II ultrasound that instead of finding out the sex of my baby, my life changed forever.

The ultrasound tech was quiet….too quiet…and avoided answering questions. She stoically said that the doctor would be in to “go over everything.” My heart dropped through the floor. Something was wrong. I just knew it. A mother always knows. Full story.

Melanie, London, UK

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Married, mortgage-payer, commuter, keen cook, traveller and cat fan.

I’m in my mid-thirties, married, and living in London, UK. We have been pregnant three times and each baby was much wanted. The first pregnancy ended in miscarriage. The second pregnancy we sadly brought to an end because of brain and heart abnormalities. Our third baby also developed brain abnormalities. We decided to bring that pregnancy to a premature end, too. Both babies have since been diagnosed with chromosomal abnormalities, and I have been found to be the carrier. We have had two unsuccessful rounds of IVF with pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (i.e. genetic screening).  Full story.

Grace, Virginia

graceVA

Wife, Mother, Daughter, Sister, Dancer.

I was 26 years old when we decided to start expanding our family.  After almost a year of fertility issues we were told I had PCOS, we were told we would never have a family naturally.  I gave up trying and focused on how to get healthy only to find out a few months later we were pregnant.  Our world was destroyed when the doctor walked into the ultrasound exam room and told us that our baby’s organs were growing on the outside of his body. Our world imploded with just a few words.  Full story.

Breanna, North Carolina

breannaMarried for 5 years. My husband is in the Marine Corps Reserves and a Project Superintendent in the civilian world. I’m a teacher assistant with a soft-spot for Autistic kids. I am blessed beyond belief and wouldn’t trade a day in my life for anything. But I desperately miss my only child Gabriel, and hope to be able to try to conceive again soon.

I found out during my 15 week quad screening that Gabriel had a neural tube defect called Acrania. During my first month of gestation Gabriel’s neural tube failed to properly close, and although he developed a brain and spine he never developed a skull. My husband and I were told that Gabriel’s condition was a 1 in a million thing and at the time it made me so angry to hear that–to not have any answers. Now, I realize Gabriel really was 1 in a million and losing him was a blessing in disguise.  Full story.

Kate, Virginia

KateVAA wife, a mother to an adorable toddler, an army officer, and an attorney. Hopefully a mother of two some day.

My husband and I always wanted two children. When I was pregnant with my second child we were able to have two ultrasounds prior to 20 weeks due to complications arising quite late with my first pregnancy. Despite the two ultrasounds, it was not until my 20 week ultrasound that anything concerning was discovered.  At my 20 week ultrasound we found out that we were blessed with a boy. We also found out that he did not have a functioning heart and that he would not survive outside the womb. After consultation with family and numerous medical specialists, we decided that we would not let our baby suffer and made the heartbreaking choice to terminate the pregnancy. I wish that no other woman would ever have to make such a difficult and painful decision. Unfortunately, I am not alone and our numbers grow with each day.  Full story.

Dr. E, Pennsylvania

DrE2“Dr. E”  is a college professor and clinician in private practice in Pennsylvania. Prior to getting her doctorate, she was employed as a social worker in the fields of end of life care, trauma, and serious mental illness. She is also a trained opera singer and lives with her husband, infant son (at the time of this writing) and menagerie of dogs, cats, birds, fish, and rats.

As a clinician and professor specializing in death, dying, and bereavement, I always focused on helping others through grief and loss. I never expected to become a patient myself when our first child was diagnosed with an extremely rare and deadly birth defect. Our son’s diagnosis of CHAOS proved to me that I am not immune to tragedy or heartbreaking decisions. Having never expected to ever terminate a pregnancy, I found myself forced to end my son’s life prematurely before he died either prenatally of heart failure or, if he made it to term, in agonizing pain and suffering. Full story.

Sarah, Ohio

sarah

Spouse, college instructor, gardener, swing dancer, geek, bird lover, diabetic and insulin pump user.

A year ago my husband and I were expecting our first baby. Our baby would have been the first grandchild in either of our families and everyone was so excited for us. The first inkling we had that anything was wrong was an elevated NT measurement at 12 weeks. We had more testing done for chromosomal abnormalities and, when those results came back negative, we let ourselves start to get excited about becoming parents. Seven weeks later all of those expectations were smashed to bits. Full story.

Carole, Texas

caroleMother of two girls–one on earth, and one in heaven. Native Texan.

No one ever thinks that they are going to be faced with the decision of terminating a much-wanted pregnancy.  My spouse and I were faced with exactly that decision.  On December 1, 2008, I discovered that I was pregnant with my first child.   Four months later, we went in for our ultrasound at 20 weeks and were ecstatic to discover that we were having a girl.

Unfortunately, that moment was cut short when the OB also told us that our daughter had a terminal condition, Hydrops Fetalis.   We decided to have my labor induced.  Full story.

Grace, Michigan

GraceMarried mom of two children.  Writer.  Pearl Jam fan. Administrator of A Heartbreaking Choice.net website and online support forums for women who terminate pregnancies for medical reasons.

The night in February of 2000, when we drove all the way to Detroit in a snowstorm to prepare for the ending of a planned pregnancy gone completely wrong, I told my husband we owed a huge debt of gratitude to the pro-choice movement. Although I had always been pro-choice, I was also careful about birth control, happily married and wanting children. I foolishly, perhaps arrogantly, presumed that I, personally, would never need an abortion. But when I did end up needing one, those rights were there for me.  Full story.

Julie, Maryland

JulieBI’m a mom to three, a psychologist that specializes in Reproductive  Health issues, a wife, and an upstanding member of my community.  I’ve  also had two abortions due to severe brain malformations.

I have always been pro-choice, but when I got married, thought I would never have an abortion. This feeling intensified after having my first child. Little did I know what the future held for me, and how grateful I am that I was able to exercise a choice when the most dire circumstances presented themselves. Full story.

Christie, Virginia

Mom of three girls (two on earth and one in heaven).  Married for 20 years to a fiscal conservative. Raised Catholic.  Suburban, former stay-at-home mom.  Recreational runner. Coffee lover.  Novice gardener.  Advocate for reproductive choice. Former owner of pregnancy termination-related support boards on Babycenter.com. Editor of “Our Heartbreaking Choices.”

In 2003, I was joyously expecting my second baby.  The pregnancy progressed smoothly through the first five months.  As we went in for our routine anatomy scan at 20 weeks, we were prepared (and anxious) to find out the baby’s gender.  What we weren’t prepared for was to hear bad news.  After a high resolution ultrasound, my husband and I were told that our baby’s lungs weren’t developed, and due to extra organs in her chest, would never have a chance to develop.  We were faced with a choice–to carry our baby girl for another four months and watch her likely suffocate to death at birth, or to let her go early.  We heartbreakingly decided to end the pregnancy at 21 weeks gestation via an induced labor. I never, EVER thought I would need an abortion.  Full story.