I had been treated by a psychiatrist since 17 and was convinced that I needed a plethora of medications to live. I was a college student and had one child. On July 6, 1998, I discovered I was pregnant with my second child. The psychiatrist advised that I should stop all medicine, and he would call me the next day to tell me what was safe for my baby. He never called. He went to Martha's Vineyard to vacation. He left no one to cover his patients. I almost died over the next 9 days withdrawing from Xanex and other medications. I was bleeding, having seizures, unable to eat or sleep or function at the most basic levels. My mental health deteriorated, and I began to believe that my baby was killing me and that I would die. I believed I could feel him kicking despite the fact that I was not far along. I wanted to die to stop the pain and confusion. I literally begged the hospital for help, calling over and over again. They did nothing. Everyday calling emergency numbers and retelling what was happening to me and my child.
I went to prenatal care during this time and I begged a woman at the OB/GYN office to help me and my baby. They treated me like a disease, stating that I was mentally ill and saying no more. It's as if for some reason, I wasn't worthy of being treated like a human and my child was a problem to be taken care of. I literally groveled for help for my unborn child and myself. The more I begged, the crazier I seemed, and the more I was dismissed.
When my doctor returned from his trip (9 days later) he stated all of the medicines were safe for my baby. I started them again, trying to get back on track. I was told that if I carried my child to term, I would most likely end up in a state mental institution for the rest of my life. I had a friend who helped schedule an abortion. I knew that was against my beliefs and went into a Catholic Hospital believing they would nurture me back. I actually thought they would hear the word abortion and rush to make things better. I informed them I was there because an abortion had been scheduled and I was pro-life. I didn’t want an abortion and came to the hospital instead.
I was so relieved to be in the hospital. I remember thanking the psychiatrist for seeing me and explained what had taken place the weeks before. I asked her for my night time medication and was curtly informed that all of the medications were unsafe and that if I took them my child would be born with his brain outside it head and without his limbs. And then they released me. On my way out the door the same doctor who said the medications were unsafe informed me that she changed her mind. They were all safe. I believe at this point they knew they had really screwed up and instead of helping me and the baby, they just wanted us to go away. I was so confused and did not know who to believe or where to turn.
This took place for 31 days of hell. At any time someone could have done something, anything to help. I stopped taking my medication because I didn't want to hurt my baby, and I knew the baby could feel pain after 8 weeks. I didn't want him to feel pain. I realize how sick my thinking was. I was very ill and confused. I terminated my pregnancy on August 6, 1998 under the belief that would die if I had my child and that I would spend my life in a mental institution away from my older child. I had convinced myself that God would give me my baby back.
At the abortion clinic in Pittsburgh I told the staff I was pro life. I had no I.D. and informed the doctor that I was there because I was mentally ill and I could not think without my medication. I was clearly out of it. It was dehumanizing. I later learned that under the circumstances it was considered assault and battery. The years that followed I wanted to die and punish myself. I could hear the baby cry for me, and I had horrible nightmares. Of course, according to my psychiatrist, “It was for the best.”