This election is personal

Or the letter I am too afraid to share with those I love.  

Dear Friend or family,

You are considering voting for Trump. You’ve heard all the news. I don’t think there is anything I can say about Mr Trump that would change your mind.  

But I would like to talk about Mike Pence, Trump’s running mate and governor of Indiana. Mike Pence not only signed, but advocated for a law that specifically bans terminations (including by induction of labor) for reasons of medical diagnosis of severe or fatal conditions.  

To make this personal, I’d like to remind you that we had a 100% fatal diagnosis for Noah. If we had lived in Indiana, or if Trump/Pence were to able to push this through nationally (a huge fear of mine) our story would have been all the more heartbreaking.  

As it was we got Noah’s diagnosis, 2nd opinion, and chose to induce labor. We were able to have my mom come and stay with Owen and meet Noah. I was able to deliver him, hold him immediately, and spend as much time with him as I could. It was devastating and heartbreaking.  
But if this law had been in effect, we would not have had that option. I had terrible hyperemesis. Before Noah’s diagnosis, we were discussing implanting a feeding tube for the remainder of my pregnancy. We would have had to do that. We would have to wait. To explain every day to our two year old that yes, his baby brother was in mommy’s tummy now, alive, but that he would die within minutes of being born due to the severe brain damage that left him unable to even breathe. And I would have had to deal with every person who I saw in the next 4 months congratulating me. Asking about our baby, and deciding whether or not to tell them, or whether I could wait until I was alone to cry.  

In addition to surgery to implant the feeding tube for me, I would have required another surgery. Because of his hydrocephalus (excess fluid in his brain that was crushing it and causing massive brain damage) his head was growing rapidly and a vaginal delivery would not be safe. So I would need a cesarean. I wouldn’t be able to hold him right away, because I would be in surgery. I would be strapped down and stitched up while my son was dying. I would have to lay down on that table knowing that the law said that my son had to die away from me.  

My son Noah now has a younger brother, Samuel. He doesn’t replace his brother, but having him here helps me heal. But if I had been forced to have the cesarean at 36 weeks instead of inducing at 20 weeks, his pregnancy would have been very different. Having less than 18 months between deliveries after a cesarean puts you at greater risk for a uterine rupture, which can be life threatening for both mom and baby. My boys are only 16 months apart and it took us months of fertility treatments to have Samuel.  

There are so many choice that a ban like takes away. And they all harm parent and siblings who are already enduring the worst grief imaginable. The fact that Pence would choose to specifically target families like our, to take away our right to let our baby go with peace, is unconscionable.  

So please, consider me when you cast your vote. Consider all of the other families like ours. Consider that it could one day be someone you love. And consider what a vote for a ticket with Mike Pence on it does to us.  

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