Friday, 16 March 2018

In my shoes

I was inspired to write this piece because of the brave and harrowing tales that have come out of late, on the Facebook page In Her Shoes. This is a marvelous page, and the perfect way for those who don’t understand the complexities of the 8th Amendment to see how it has affected everyday Irish women. When you’ve never been in a situation yourself, it might be difficult to grasp others stories -especially when each case is so different to the next. It’s also hard to understand how the 8th amendment effects far more than abortion laws and has had detrimental results on the health and lives of wanted pregnancies, and the women involved. 
For those who wish to learn, In Her Shoes highlights these stories perfectly.
If you live in Co. Louth and have a story to tell, please contact Dundalk4 Choice and we will write it up on our page.

CW: Miscarriage, foetal tissue, trauma. 

“I can’t detect the heartbeat” -A dreaded sentence. It still hits me in the face.

I was 23 and pregnant -unplanned but I knew I didn’t want to have an abortion. I had been using contraception, but these things happen. Shortly after we found out I broke things off with my boyfriend as I didn’t see a future with him anyway, and decided to go it alone. It was going to be tough, but I knew it would be the best thing to do for me and my future child.

My first appointment went normally, the nurses were nice, and I filled in the usual forms. I looked a lot younger than my actual age and I was very aware of this, it’s always been something that has worked against me. As there was a query over gestational ageing I was sent for a scan. I think I had missed at least two periods, but was unsure if more. The doctor had guessed I was about 10 weeks along.

Going for the scan by myself everything happened so quickly. “I can’t detect the heartbeat” was all that was said at first, that sentence ringing in my ears and hanging in the air for what seemed like an eternity. As utterly devastating as that moment was, I knew there was no hope. I knew I was far enough along for a heartbeat to be detected. They estimated the foetus to be around 8 weeks or so, meaning the pregnancy had ceased about two weeks prior to my scan. I waited, shocked, to hear about how they would go about a D&C. But it was not mentioned. Instead they hurriedly tried to tell me “there’s still hope as you aren’t bleeding”, and “we just have to wait and see, but there’s nothing we can do”. I was confused, even more confused and lost than I had been at hearing the news I had miscarried. What did they mean, was the scanner broken? Even still, they knew the growth should have been more than 8 weeks along…