UNDER THE MICROSCOPE

NEW SPECIMENS OLD SPECIMENS THE SCIENTIST MY LOG CONTACT ME
09/29/2006 - 6:55 a.m.

Mary, why aren’t you around at 6:54 a.m. (4:54 a.m. your time) to persuade me not to do this?

THE A WORD

Years ago, my friends and I gave up on discussing it. We even stopped using the whole word. We let the yellers and the screamers push any rational discussion or dialogue right off the internet. I'm currently thinking we were wrong. When you leave the field, you have to agree to accept just anything. But I cannot accept just anything. It's time to discuss the "A" word. I said a few days ago that I believed in the power of stories. It's time to tell mine.

I am fifty now. The likelihood that I will get pregnant today is very low—but my Great-aunt Gussie had a baby at my age after a lifetime of hoping. A regular Sarah, that woman was. It is not yet impossible although I've done what I can do to prevent it. I've had myself sterilized. I did it not long after Day was born. Me, and not FogieKnight, because I am the one who has been told that I risk my life having more children. If I died and he remarried, he might want more children and should be free to have them.

I did not do it lightly. I might have wanted more children but I did not let my mind go there. It stopped going there as soon as the doctor strongly, strongly suggested I not have more children. He thought it too risky. He thought the chances of having a stroke while giving birth were just too high. He had looked at the records from when I had Kat. She was born by caesarian and, for reasons no one understood, my blood pressure went very, very high as I went into labor although it had not been too high during the pregnancy. Since no one knew why, no one assumed it would repeat. So no one said anything.

But then it happened when I had Day and that birth was completely different. Day was not born by caesarian. Again, I did not have high blood pressure during the pregnancy. Again, there was no reason that anyone could point to but there I was, giving birth with very high blood pressure. Luckily, I was not together enough to pick up that the concern was not just for Day.

So, where did that leave me? Where does it leave me? No one knows what happened so no one would be able to testify for sure that it would happen again. What exactly are the odds? Who knows? And who should be able to decide whether to take them? Is the decision for FogieKnight and me or for some judge?

It's not a matter of my religion. As I understand it, my religion is pretty clear about the whole thing. It could be a matter of life and I am to choose life—my life, not potential life. I am not Catholic. I do not follow the precepts of some Protestant religions.

I cannot accept that there is no choice or that the choice is not ours—FogieKnight's and mine. Even more, if possible, I cannot accept that I should not be able to take steps to avoid that choice.

And so it's time to tell my story.

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