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Monday, September 22, 2014

A Broken Body Means a Painful Pregnancy, by Lauren Lee

I am a mom of a three year old little girl and had no plans to get pregnant again because I have a severe spinal injury -- a fused pelvis full of metal and can barely walk.  I am in constant pain.  My pain was so severe I was on dilaudid pills.

I got hurt while on active duty in the U.S. army, during training.  My condition is a result of multiple injuries.  First I broke my leg -- a complete compound fracture, but I was lied to and was told it was only a sprain.  So I then attempted to jump out of a 5 ton vehicle with 100 lbs of gear on my body.  

The drop off was 5.5 ft high -- I was standing when I jumped.  My ligaments across my sacrum could not handle the stress because the leg had not healed at that point, so my pelvis gave out on impact, resulting in bi-lateral tears across the SI joint.  I then kept going, even though it was painful -- just like I did with the leg, because my dream was to be an airborne soldier.  While practicing to fall from an 8 ft tall platform, the same thing happened to my other side and my pubic bone.  I now have half of a pubic bone, and the only thing holding my pelvis together is my metal hardware, most of which is loose.  So there is a lot of pain from that.  I have several more surgeries to undergo because the first two were not done properly.  


It's been extremely painful.  My life as a person has completely changed since I got out of the military and that in itself has been a journey.  I've been all across the USA to get treatment for my condition.

That aside, when I became pregnant, I had only been dating the father for a month and a half. The first time we were intimate, our choice of birth control failed.  I didn't think twice about it, because it took 10 months for me to conceive my 3 year old daughter.  So when our “protection” malfunctioned, I brushed it off.  I had no clue that at that moment, I had become pregnant.  

A few weeks later, when I wasn’t even late yet, I took a pregnancy test and it came back positive.  I had convinced myself at first to get an abortion.  I talked myself into it thinking it was justifiable because of my injuries and how hard it would be on me.  And the list of how easy it would be on me was long if I just got an abortion.  I was sold on aborting as my solution, despite having some Christian background.  When I called my boyfriend to tell him I was pregnant, he just wanted to support whatever decision I made.  

After first visiting an Ob/gyn, I went to one appointment at Planned Parenthood, without telling anyone I was going.  At the first appointment, I was 10 weeks along.  They performed an ultrasound and I saw the baby -- I saw that at just 10 weeks, she looked human.  I had already detoxed off my pain medication and was still having severe morning sickness.  My boyfriend and I were on a break from our relationship.  So I made the follow up appointment for a couple days later to have the "procedure done."  

The day before, I was still convinced it was the thing to do.  On my way to the abortion clinic, I started to throw up, per the norm of my morning sickness.  I pulled the car over -- I was alone and I couldn't stop puking.  Since I was late for the appointment, I rescheduled for the following day.  The same thing happened; however, instead of feeling nothing, I looked at the ultrasound photo from three days prior, saw the little human, and just started to cry.  

I realized I had made so many “me” and “I” statements.  I am poor, living on V.A. disability.  I found a bunch of reasons to not have this baby.  But as I sat there, I realized I made a choice to have sex -- the baby did not ask to be here.  At that moment, I realized, “Who am I to pick which of my kids lives and which one dies?”  It wasn't as simple as a “procedure,” and that was the thing -- I was going to kill a baby.  The baby has a heartbeat, a face, fingers and toes.  

That day, I turned around went back home and prayed.  I had a “come to Jesus meeting,” as I like to say.  I felt bad that I even considered killing my child, and I asked for forgiveness.  I told the baby’s father I couldn't do it, and he said he was glad I didn't – that he thanks God I did not!  We haven’t been a couple long, but we decided no matter what happens with us, we will be there for our daughter.  I had even considered adoption if I felt I couldn't care for her myself.

This pregnancy wasn’t easy -- in fact, my baby girl was diagnosed in utero with a rare heart condition -- a right-sided aorta with a vascular ring, and also bladder issues.  I had trouble walking and had to use a wheelchair and walker.  My nausea almost had me hospitalized and lasted 24 weeks.  I ended up with placenta previa, as well as placenta abrupta at 20 weeks, which healed itself.  I had to see a neonatal specialist, as well as a regular doctor.  I needed to have a c-section two weeks early because of my pain.  I have a pubic plate and bilateral SI joint fusion, so I could not push a baby out.  A pelvis specialist was on call while I was in the operating room during delivery because of my hardware and nerve damage.

I am sharing my story because if I can complete a pregnancy being in pain, having disabilities and not being super-rich, anyone can.  I am so glad I continued my pregnancy!  There is no way I would have been able to forgive myself if I had gone through with the abortion.  Now I have my beautiful daughter -- Alexia Grace, born August 27th.  I know I am a good mom, and every child deserves a chance at life!

BIO:  Lauren Lee is a freelance photographer in Anchorage, Alaska:  Photography by Lauren Lee, specializing in maternity and baby photos, and also enjoys doing make-up artistry.  She's now a pro-life blogger with http://www.savethe1.com, addressing the "hard cases" of poor in utero diagnoses.

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