| This is the 345th story of Our Life Logs |
My life started out in the mountainous state of Utah in 1993. Growing up, my mom was always the one I talked to. Then, she passed away when I was only thirteen. I barely had a relationship with my dad, so life without Mom became a lonely, dark world.
Later, my dad got remarried and his new wife fell completely into the evil step-mother stereotype. She told me that she wanted me out the second I graduated high school. I wasn’t surprised when my dad didn’t stand up for me and curtly agreed. After all, I never felt his love. He said it would be better for everyone if I left. So that’s what I did. It was the first time I left home, but it wasn’t the last.
Thankfully, their marriage didn’t last long. They divorced a few months later and my younger siblings were saved from a harsh fate like mine. My dad moved to Arizona with my siblings, and I decided to come along—not for my dad, but for them. I was the closest thing to a mother they had left.
As I watched my siblings grow up and become independent, I decided it was time for me to experience the true freedom of adulthood. So, I packed up and moved back to Utah to live with my boyfriend whom I had left behind in the move. When I told my dad about my decision, he fell back on what he was familiar with: coldness.
Without the slightest warmth in his tone, he said, “If you show up at my doorstep pregnant, I won’t open the door.”
I was hurt by his words, because I might have been young, but I wasn’t naïve. I knew this was what I wanted, so with his words in the back of my mind, off I went to live my new life.
Unfortunately, life sometimes has a funny way of disturbing the well-crafted plan you’ve built up in your mind. I left home thinking the world was my oyster, only to realize this “world of freedom” I was chasing was just a part-time job at a fast-food joint. With a plus sign staring back at me, I sat on a toilet wondering, what am I going to do? I’m not even 19 and I’m pregnant. I was scared. My dad had made it very clear that he wouldn’t accept me if I had a child out of marriage. He never really cared about me. I thought, why would he be there for me now?
But at the same time, I was extremely thrilled. Ever since I was a child, I had carried a baby doll around telling everyone how excited I was to grow up so I could finally be a mom. After falling seamlessly into a motherly role after my mom died, I thought maybe it was my life’s calling.
My father’s cold words echoed in the sterilized room that I laid in waiting for the doctor to verify the positive test. Tears started to well in my eyes as my doctor referred to my recent medical history. It didn’t even cross my mind that I wouldn’t–let alone couldn’t–have this baby.
“You won’t live through this pregnancy. You’re an active smoker, and the heart surgery you had two years ago to attempt to close the holes in your heart puts you at risk.”
“I’ll quit smoking, I’ll exercise every day, I’ll do whatever it takes,” I begged, tears running down my cheeks.
My doctor looked at me with kind eyes; the deep wrinkles on his face already told me the answer I didn’t want to hear. “You won’t live through this pregnancy and chances are, neither will the baby. It’s very early, the test is positive, but there isn’t a heartbeat yet.”
Liar, I remember thinking to myself as he rattled on about all the facts. I felt as if I could hear the heartbeat inside of me. This was my baby and I didn’t want to give up on the possibility of being a new mom even if I was still young.
I went home to tell my boyfriend the news and he was, of course, devastated, but also upset with me.
“If you go through with this, you won’t ever be a mom because you won’t be here to raise this baby or any of our future kids,” He said as I argued my case to him.
Almost crying, he begged me to listen to the doctor. I knew the idea of me aborting this baby tore him apart, but it was the lesser of the two evils in his mind. He didn’t want to lose me or our future family.
However, despite what my doctor said, I couldn’t take no for an answer. I called multiple doctors for second, third, fourth, and fifth opinions. Every doctor I called told me the same somber news: my heart wouldn’t last through the pregnancy.
With this verdict, I was faced an impossible choice that literally everyone had an opinion on. I wanted to keep the baby but that meant I would be saying goodbye to my future life, future kids, and future husband. My fear constricted the excitement I once felt about being a mom.
I knew the decision I had to make, and in accepting that, I was filled with an overwhelming guilt and hatred for myself. I never thought I would choose to do something I shamed other women for doing. I wish I could say I made the decision to abort the pregnancy because logically it made sense. My own doctors told me to. The truth is, even though it was the logical decision, I did it because I was afraid—afraid my family would never talk to me again, afraid I would die and leave my baby without a mother, afraid to lose a family I didn’t have yet.
I was shaking as I clutched my boyfriend’s hand as we drove to Planned Parenthood. My sister’s words played in my head, “A good mom would have died for her baby.” The words carved a dark place inside me, digging deeper with each street we passed.
I was still shaking when we pulled into the parking lot. The sun was shining as if it were completely unaware of the tragedy that was about to happen. I don’t remember much between parking the car and ending up in the cold room with my legs spread open. I don’t even remember what the people who stuck the suctioned tube inside of me looked like. But I remember being cold. I remember being afraid.
I remember they treated me as if I were an animal. They literally sucked the life out of me and then placed the tube with the barely growing life inside on the table next to me with little care. They shoved an IUD inside of me and left, only saying, “Sit on the chair for 20 minutes. You might feel nauseous.”
My head was spinning. I didn’t even make it to the bathroom. Vomit covered the floor around me as I laid there helplessly, feeling like an animal. No nurse rushed in to make sure I was okay. The worst part was I didn’t blame them for not checking on me. I felt worthless.
A year passed with dark thoughts and overwhelming guilt. But with the start of 2013, hope was on the horizon that things would be bright again. That summer I got married, stopped smoking, went in for regular check-ups for my heart, got the IUD removed, and did everything I could to be healthy enough to carry a child. A small spark inside of me still flickered praying that being a mom was still a possibility for me, even though darkness surrounded that flame, telling me I didn’t deserve it. I was still desperate to try.
That small glimmer of hope sparked when my doctor told me it was possible to have a safe pregnancy. But the flame dwindled just as quickly when three years passed and I still couldn’t get pregnant.
Every month I tracked my ovulation and would run to the grocery store to buy a pregnancy test even if I was only a day late. With every test that I threw in the trash, my hope deteriorated more and more. I wondered if maybe I was being punished. As more weeks passed with no luck, I convinced myself that I would never be a mom. You don’t deserve to be happy after what you did. Why would somebody like you get a second chance at motherhood? The thoughts attacked me viciously until my self-esteem was completely gone.
Until one day, when the line made a positive sign rather than a negative. I sat on the toilet staring at the pregnancy test in disbelief. It had taken three years, but I was finally pregnant. Tears rolled down my face, as I realized I had been given a second chance.
January 2017, I gave birth to my first son. The pregnancy was easy with only one complication at birth due to my son’s large head. A C-section was inevitable. The amount of light that flooded into my life after I conceived my son helped me get things back on track. It helped me see that I wasn’t worthless. Through him, I was shown that I did deserve this happiness in my life.
Not only did I get the opportunity to have one son, but 11 months later, I had my second child, and later, my third. I wasn’t cursed after all.
My husband believes that our baby we couldn’t have back then is actually our son we have now. He just had to wait a little longer to get here. I’m still not sure what I believe, but if I ever get the opportunity to meet the child we lost after this life, it will be a blessing.
This is the story of Annie Forster
Today, Annie is a strong, healthy 26-year-old mother of three children living in Utah with her now-husband, who has been there for her every step of the way. Finally having a chance to experience the world, Annie got unexpectedly pregnant just before she turned 19. Having the baby could kill her with her health condition at the time, so she was faced with the tough decision to abort the child, which led to years of her feeling cursed when she later faced three years of infertility. When she did get pregnant with her son, she no longer felt cursed and is happy now. Annie loves being a mother and is currently trying to have a fourth baby. Annie hasn’t had any further problems with her heart and feels very blessed for the life she has. She still feels sad about the first pregnancy she chose not to have, but thinks it’s okay to still feel sad about it. She’s happy to be able to share her story in hopes it will help other people through their stories.
This story first touched our hearts on May 22, 2019.
| Writer: Paris Smith | Editor: Kristen Petronio |