Please welcome Amanda Elkohen for this guest post about her third birth. She writes at Rabbi’s Wife.
This was my third pregnancy. I felt like I had a good handle on things. We traveled to the US in my 6th month with no problems, and I had low blood pressure in my 3rd trimester, which made me dizzy a lot, but was otherwise manageable. With my previous pregnancies I gave birth long before my due date, so going all the way to 40 weeks seemed like such a LONG pregnancy!
Once I was “past due” I was referred to the hospital clinic for checkups three times a week. At the second checkup, my world was rocked. They sent me for an ultrasound because I had been measuring big. I don’t think excessive ultrasounds are a good idea, so I hadn’t had one since my detailed scan at 23 weeks.
You can always tell when they think something isn’t right, and I got that sense from the tech who ran my ultrasound. She sent me right back to the OB with a hastily scribbled note I couldn’t decipher. When I walked into the office, I was pleased to see the doc was a religious woman, wearing a scarf over her hair. She explained to my husband and I that I had “too much” water and that she was certain it was an indicator that the baby was damaged in some way, because I had refused some of the testing (advanced glucose and genetic screening) and missed the window for others (because of our travels) . She recommended feticide. We were both totally floored.
Whatever a person’s beliefs about abortion may be, I couldn’t fathom why you would kill a child that was PAST DUE, a fully formed individual just waiting for delivery. A child fully capable of surviving outside the womb. We refused to even consider what she was offering, and told her that if the child had problems, we would deal with them. She made some phone calls and declared the need to induce me immediately, preferably by c-section. I also refused this, as I really desired to give birth normally, as I had the previous 2 times. She tried offering late-term abortion AGAIN, using the Israeli doctor’s best friend, guilt. We refused again, but I was starting to feel very shaken by the whole experience. She insisted that I return for another ultrasound the following day.
On our way home from the hospital, we called everyone we could think of to pray that things would come out favorably. When I returned the next day, it was a different doc, who read my new ultrasound and couldn’t figure out what all the fuss was about. My water had reduced by 1/3 and she absolutely refused to induce me. She agreed to strip my membranes and let nature take it’s course over Shabbat. I went in again on Sunday, and when they were stripping my membranes again, my water broke. Since the clinic was right in the hospital, I just walked over to L&D and checked myself in. I figured the worst was over, I would have my baby in 12 hours or fewer. Silly me. You can go over to my blog to read about the c-section, which was also a nightmare.
I’m still very angry at this doctor for offering, insisting even that feticide was the right choice based just on an ultrasound.
My beautiful boy is a testament to the fact that doctors are not the Almighty, they make mistakes.
- Do these frequent checkups after 40 weeks do more harm than good? I was always pressured to induce even though there was no indication of any problem.
- I’ve also been made to feel guilty when I refused certain prenatal tests. Israel has the highest level of prenatal testing in the world.
- It’s important to file a complaint when something happens in the hospital, with a copy to the health ministry. That is the only way to effect change.
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