October 7, 1982

It was a Thursday and for some reason I remained in my nightgown for most of the day. I was supposed to be in school but my mother had me stay home to care for my sister. My father was away in Florida because his father was very ill. My mother was at Sloan Kettering Memorial Hospital undergoing chemotherapy. It was 2 p.m., and I felt as though my period was about to begin. Alarmed, I went straight to one of the medical books on the bookshelf and looked up miscarriage. I was in disbelief. I grabbed my sister, and wearing only my nightgown and slippers, I walked across the street to Ian’s house. I knocked on the door and his mother answered. I said, “I need to go to the hospital. I’m having a miscarriage.” The look on that women’s face was utter contempt. She didn’t say a single word to me. She then slammed the door in my face. I was too embarrassed to walk to the next neighbor’s house and admit to them that I was pregnant. I should have. Little did I know, Ian’s father told the neighbors I was pregnant, but left out that it was Ian that impregnated me. I returned home and waited for my mother to come home. She came home a little past 5 p.m. and drove me straight to the hospital. When we arrived at the hospital I couldn’t stand up straight. Admitting immediately brought me back to the E.R. Within an hour I began hemorrhaging. The pain was so immense that I began thinking to myself, if my body was on fire, it wouldn’t hurt as bad, if a truck ran over me and crushed all my bones, it wouldn’t hurt as bad. I’m sure that’s not true, but it’s what I was thinking at the time. During my contractions a nurse asked me my age. When I told her I was 13 she made a point of letting me know how disgusted she was. Then the doctor came in to examine me. I distinctly remember him saying to the nurse, “The cervix is still closed.” Then he left. He never said a single word to me. He never performed an ultrasound to see if my child was still alive. He never communicated to me that my baby had died. I cannot remember for the life of me whether the baby was still moving or not. I was in so much pain that I was not capable of thinking or speaking clearly. I do remember thinking that I had lost so much blood that there was no way my pregnancy could continue. What I needed was for someone to represent my wishes at the hospital, and keep the doctors and nurses in compliance with their Hippocratic Oath. There wasn’t one person there for me, not my parents, not my friends, not the guy who got me pregnant. In fact, he was living a normal, carefree, teenage life. There was no way he couldn’t know that I went to the emergency room. He was friends and went to school with my step-brother, and my step-brother lived in the same house as me. If my child was alive and could have been saved, I will NEVER forgive Ian Ostrager for not being there for me. NEVER. I was in labor for 15 hours. The baby was delivered the following morning, October 8, 1982. The doctors did not allow me to see or hold my son. I deserved at least that. When I returned home Saturday afternoon I went straight to my bedroom. I remember sitting in my room thinking there was nothing I could do to get my baby back. I was too numb to cry. I didn’t talk to anyone. I kept my grief to myself. I slowly fell into a depression that lasted months. My depression went undiagnosed and untreated.

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