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Thursday, November 4, 2010


I work at an abortion clinic and I have a pregnant friend and a pregnant acquaintance. For what it's worth, one pregnancy was planned, one wasn't, and both are welcome. I can't wait to meet their babies, and I tell them that. I even call a 9-week fetus a baby in the case of the shopkeeper I chat with. It's all about the intention, and even though I can completely visualize what her 9-weeker looks like thanks to my pathology experience, and it sure doesn't look like a baby, I respect that her outcome will be, barring any complications (knock on wood), a full-term baby.

See how I knocked on wood there? After clinic work, which includes D&Cs for miscarriage management and terminations due to fetal anomalies, I can't think of a pregnancy without thinking of what could go wrong. I also can't ask about the gestational age (I do ask the pregnant ladies in my life, "How far along are you? because I know it would be odd to inquire about gestation like I do at the clinic. We try to avoid "How far along are you?" because it implies that a pregnancy will be carried to term.) without envisioning the development I've seen in pathology. I can't visualize the third trimester development because I've never seen that, but I really do feel so fortunate to have gotten such an intimate glimpse of human biology and development. (And no, I don't say to my friend, "Oh! Your baby is about the size of a mango! Have you had an anmiocentesis? Because now is when something might go wrong.")

Working at the clinic isn't just about abortions. I've met the babies of clients who have decided not to terminate and who brought the baby to see us. We also provide care for infertility and we cheer when someone gets pregnant. Several co-workers of mine have been pregnant and bring their kids to work to see all of their aunties. I once told a toddler, "I remember seeing you on your mama's ultrasound around 19 weeks!" Remember the Jennifer Baumgardner book, Abortion and Life? That's my life. Abortion and pregnancy and life and me, and they're all beautiful.

Stock photo because that's just all-round safer.

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