Cherokee Schill

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I had 6 abortions.
Originally I was only going to share two of my medically induced abortions. But with my discovery of the criminalization of women for having less than perfect pregnancy outcomes and the refusal of doctors to help women who are miscarrying, I decided I would share all 6.
I have been pregnant 8 times. Two of which resulted in live healthy births.
My first abortion is what is commonly referred to as a miscarriage. Four of my pregnancies ended in miscarriage.
The first pregnancy I ever had ended at eight weeks. I had to go in for a check up and I had just started bleeding. The doctor was reluctant to do anything as there was no sign of infection (I was very fortunate) and the next day I came back with a clump that I had fished out of the toilet. This was to confirm the tissue was fetal.
When I was pregnant with my second child. I had moved and had had my medical records transferred to my new ob/gyn. Where she dutifully noted my previous abortion. I was shocked. This is where I learned that miscarriages are a lay term but the medical term is missed abortion. I had been raised in a conservative family and we kept well within conservative communities. I felt shame and horror at being classified as having had an abortion. My son was born 5 weeks early in December.
He is now 18 years old.
I became pregnant a year after he was born and the pregnancy was not a delight. I had projectile vomiting and lethargy. I began bleeding shortly after morning sickness set in, which for me was around 8 to 10 weeks. I knew I was miscarrying but did not realize how sick I was. I was carrying my son down the stairs when I became dizzy, lost my balance and fell. I called the doctors office and was seen that day and in the hospital that night for an abortion. It was really a blur but I recall the doctor saying something about not having to go to a clinic because it was a medical emergency. I had no clue as to what he was talking about. A few months later my husband and I discussed trying again. I called the doctors office to see when it would be safe to try again. The nurse looked through my records while I waited. When she came back her words were dripping with acid as she said "You just had an abortion! Why would you try to get pregnant again!?" I was shocked and angry by her professionalism and judgmental attitude. It wasn't any right of hers to interpret my medical records. I hung up in disgust and just figured things would work themselves out. My daughter was born healthy and full term. A year later I became pregnant again and again I had the projectile vomiting with the addition of blood shooting out my nose as I threw up. I again had the bleeding and a doctors visit to ensure that the pregnancy was completely aborted. I became pregnant again and had at this time come to the conclusion that my body worked on some bizarre cycle in which it was abortion, healthy pregnancy, abortion.
My second son was born in September. He was diagnosed with cystic hygroma and died in utero at five months. My doctor wanted to end the pregnancy much sooner but I was still traumatized by the abortion stigma that surrounded my last miscarriage and while I knew this was going to be a still birth, I had it in my head that somehow this would make it better or more acceptable. I suffered for another month before I decided that I just couldn't take anymore strangers poking at my pregnant belly and asking me when my baby was due. I asked for an abortion. By this time I started to wake up and realize that my health was more important than other peoples expectations and that I wanted to be around for my children. Children that I worked very hard to conceive and carry. My options were described to me and I chose to be induced. I went through 16 hours of labor to produce a dead baby because I was horrified to go to a clinic and have my pain and suffering compounded anti-choice protesters.
I was told that this would not likely happen again and so I tried again for another child a year later. This ended in miscarriage and convinced that the next one would be a healthy baby, I ended up having a female child with the same genetic disorder and another induced labor with a days worth of labor, pain, and a fever. I opted this time for the induced labor because I wanted my ob/gyn, whom I trusted to be there and I was informed that if I wanted to end my pain quickly I would have to go to a clinic, face anti-choice protesters, and my doctor would not be the one to perform the surgery.
I wanted choices and options. I live in America and found that America isn't so free if you're a woman.

2002 United States

What were your feelings about doing the abortion/s?

My feelings were very negative because for me, these were wanted pregnancies. So I was angry at the callous regard for women who have to have abortions and for the ignorance that is so rampant that the word abortion is treated as a dirty word. For me it was a normal part of my reproductive health care.

How did you do the abortion?

Knowing what I know now. I would have gone to a clinic and kicked every single anti-choicer along the way. Really hard in the knee's.

What was your situation at this time?

Abortion is a normal part of some women's reproductive lives. I'm one of those women.

Did the illegality of your abortion affect your feelings?

They were not illegal but the stigma and the myths that anti-choice radicals promote made a painful situation even more painful.

How did other people react to your abortion?

Disbelief that a miscarriage and stillbirth are abortions. Then questions about how could I really be sure that the baby wouldn't survive etc. Never mind that I was becoming ill and my life was potentially at risk. It was almost like they were so brain washed that they were o.k. with the idea of my two children being motherless if I'd held out a little longer.

legal/illegal

What is your religion?