Dentist and DX’s


IVF isn’t going as well as I expected. Not terrible, just not as well as I had hoped. Eh. Whatever happens, hapens. I just wish my body was going to give me a fightin’ chance.

So I’m at the dentist today talking to my hygienist. The last time I was there, a year ago, I talked openly about my daughter’s NTD. I don’t know if I used the words abortion or termination, but I think I gave off that impression.

So today, I was back (after having cancelled/rescheduled multiple times) and we were complaining about insurance companies.

DH: Ugh, I know. When I lost my baby last year, my insurance wouldn’t cover my procedure. All the providers were out-of-network. I found someone I really liked, and got my insurance company to approve him, but it still took months for me to get my money back. My doctor was great! He was so compassionate!

Me: Who’d you see? (I knew exactly what “procedure” she had and who she saw. I just didn’t know if she tx’d for a fatal dx or a grey area, like mine.)

DH: Dr. X.

Me: That’s who I saw!

We talked for awhile about how awesome he was, how compassionate and caring he was. I told her that I testified in Austin this summer and that Cosmo ran my story on their webpage. She was amazed. She then told me that she tx’d for Down’s Syndrome. I think she was seriously shocked that people would judge her for making a decision in the best interest of her child. She said it perfectly: I’d love my child no matter what. I could deal with this. But it’s not me who has to deal with it.

We talked about how DS was a grey area, and that people don’t understand all the complications that go along with the dx. We talked about my daughter’s dx and all the complications that were involved. We talked about how she used to work at a day care center for disabled children/adults(?). We talked about how she was at work when she got the call that her son officially had DS and a patient told her “I hope you keep the baby.” Again, I don’t think she realized that the fundamentalists included HER in the anti-abortion issue. I think she learned the hard way.

I know it would have been completely against the office policy to contact me, but I really wish she would have. She said not many people knew what happened, but even so, she lost two friends over it. She deleted her Facebook because we are in Texas during a vitriolic election with Wendy Davis, the “Abortion Barbie”. Too many of her friends were making ignorant and hurtful comments.

1:3 women will have an abortion. Whether you are aware are not, you KNOW someone who had an abortion. 10% of all abortions in the US happen after 12 weeks of pregnancy. In my experience, most women who have had a late term abortion (after 12 weeks), just let people assume that she miscarried because of the stigma.

I got the feeling that the woman I was talking to wasn’t as well supported as I was. I wonder if she found good on-line resources like I did. I hope she was able to properly mourn her loss instead of merely delaying it. I had all those questions that I didn’t get to ask because I had a pick shoved in my mouth most of the time.

I just hope that it was helpful for her to connect with someone who made a similar choice.



5 thoughts on “Dentist and DX’s

  1. Pingback: Ouchies, Follies, and Estrogen! | Fingers Crossed!

  2. Thank you so much for sharing your experience with your dental hygienist. I can only imagine how much your words meant to her … that she finally got to open up and share with someone who was non-judgmental and had chosen a similar path as hers.

    I know of only two other women in real life who have experienced the same type of loss issues as mine. One is a friend and the other was a woman I met through an online support group. I cannot express how much it meant for me to know and meet another person who has gone done the same path, making the same grief-giving choice.

    People really don’t understand the many complications that can and do go hand-in-hand with diagnoses like Ds and NTD to mention only a couple. The media has done a fantastic job in presenting the happy, sweet disabled child that everyone loves to love … and make prom king or queen. What we do NOT see is an accurate portrayal … a well-rounded one of the complete picture of Ds … the older adult suffering from Alzheimer’s dementia to include the struggle it took to actually make that diagnosis in the first place. Nor do we see the young adult with Ds who knows he is different, will never be neurotypical who struggles from severe anxiety and depression. Those who are not picture-perfect — those that are the most effected and lowest-functioning of the disabled — are kept hidden and not presented to the public lest more fear and discrimination against the disabled occur. It is an unbalanced portrait that fails to include non-verbal, non-ambulatory, total care people with severe multi-faceted disabilities. Where are their photos on billboards and in promotional ads to limit disability intolerance?

    There is a fetishization of media-portrayed image disability that honestly helps no one.

    Others can’t understand the range of possible poor diagnosis outcomes with any of these developmental, structural malformations and/or chromosomal disorders that effect the quality of life for the little one, the mother and the family unit as a whole.

    I’ve come to accept that no one can truly understand what you’ve experienced with the loss of a wanted baby when a heartbreaking choice like pregnancy termination is made … unless that person has walked in your shoes.

    Anti-abortion proponents can’t understand why women won’t simply use their bodies as incubators carrying a fetus to term who will unlikely survive, or use perinatal hospice, or set up adoption, or simply deal with the poor prenatal diagnosis she has been given and deal with it as her fate instead of electing abortion for medical, personal and individual reasons. I say that it’s unconscionable to knowingly put another being out there set so far behind the eight ball as they will have multiple physical, emotional / psychological, cognitive, social and financial hurdles to contend with their entire life — it’s like a prison sentence trapped in an inescapable unchangeable body.

    Why would you want your loved one to begin life like this? Obviously we didn’t.

  3. Thanks for writing. There’s so few who will and if we don’t speak about our experience it adds to the guilt and doubt and grief.
    I work with young adults with disabilities and can just only agree with what’s been said. No one sees the young woman (with ds) who can’t leave the home because she is too anxious, or the constant illnesses, hospital admissions ans operations and physical problems. But we could cope with those. What I am struck by is how far society can’t deal with behaviours that are different so families of kids with ds get more and more isolated. And funding cuts mean all the parents are terrified about what will happen to theirs children when they are too old to care for them. I’ll be honest, there are some lovely kids I work with. There are others who are clearly in pain and struggle with their lives.
    Sorry if I’m ranting. My child my darling baby who I lost had OEIS which is very rare and clearly devastating. But still the termination was the hardest thing I have ever been through.
    We need this support and I thank you amazing women for your wisdom.
    We rip our hearts into shreds but save our babies from that pain.

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