Patients remember Dr. Tiller: http://www.feministe.us/blog/archives/2009/06/01/patients-remember-dr-tiller/
A few blog posts and comments from Dr. Tiller’s former patients:A Heartbreaking Choice:
Up until the moment I sat across the desk from my OB, I held out hope that he would give my son some chance to beat the odds. I couldn’t believe it when he said that there was no chance that he would live very long after he was born. Since I had not even entertained that idea, I was even less prepared for the next thing he had to say, but those words are burned into my memory forever.
“There is no one in Texas who can do this procedure. The only doctor you can go to is in Wichita, Kansas. I talked to him. He seems very nice. Here is his number.” That was it. There was nothing more he could do for us. I could barely stand up when we rode down the elevator.
Even then, I didn’t connect this doctor to the story on the news. It wasn’t until I was on the phone with them, after we went through the procedure, the schedule, the cost, and all the other details that the woman said, “I don’t know if you’re aware of this, but the doctor was shot last month.”
If I wasn’t so numb, I may have screamed, but instead it just washed over me. I couldn’t speak. She explained that there would be protesters. She may as well have been saying “blah blah blah blah.” It just didn’t sink in. This was something on the news far away in another state, not something that was part of my life.
A few days later, we were on our way. It rained the whole drive up. I told my husband to turn off the Oldies station because I didn’t want to always associate Oldies with this drive. We checked into our hotel, a chain that I will never, ever stay at again because of the memories it brings back. We drove by the clinic just to make sure we knew where it was. Seeing it at night brought us a false sense of security.
The next morning there were throngs of protesters. They had graphic posters. They yelled at us and aimed a video camera at our car. I was shaking all over as I had to show ID and go through a metal detector before I was admitted. All the time I was thinking, “How can those people be yelling at me? I don’t want to be here. I don’t have a choice. Don’t they understand?”
(Full piece here).Another Heartbreaking Choice:
The week we spent in Kansas was one of the toughest weeks of my life, one that I will never forget, nor will I choose to forget, but through my tears of sadness, love helped us through.
We returned home just two days ago, and the pain is ever so fresh, and the memories vivid. A piece of me doesn’t want the pain to ever go away because it is one way for me to stay connected to my son. My beautiful, angelic son, Nathan Jack. Seeing him was one of the hardest things I have ever done, not being able to watch him grow up, or call me “Mommy” is something I will always grieve over, but knowing that we protected and saved him from an existence of hospital stays was our responsibility as loving parents.
We are forever grateful to the Women’s Health Center, the amazing doctor and all staff for being our heaven when we were living in hell. And another:
I was almost 26 weeks. I showed up for my ultrasound by myself. I was scanned for almost 2 hours. This is when my life forever changed. The scan showed that her little brain was severely calcified, parts were not symmetrical and there was fluid. The doctor took me into a room to talk to me. I told her “please just tell me the truth I need to know.” The Doctor said that she had no idea what this meant but that she felt something was terribly wrong. Within two weeks her brain had gone from “normal” to massive problems. I was sent up to Genetics. The counselor told me that the genetic doctor wanted to talk to me. I requested that they wait until my husband got there. The conversation with this doctor was the same, she felt that something was terribly wrong, but they had no idea what it was. “This looks like the tip of the iceberg” we were told.
The hardest thing I’ve ever had to do in my life was to decide to terminate this pregnancy. This all happened on a Wednesday.
Friday we had to go and talk with some perinatologists. They told us that they had never seen this before and that they could not tell us what the outcome would be. We did not even get a percentage of what her life would be like. They told us that she possibly could die in utero, die shortly after birth, or be a vegetable. They told us that we could wait another two weeks and have another scan and possibly an MRI. How could I go on another day? It killed me to feel her move around inside. This was so awful.
We had another appointment with the doctor that performed the terminations. We were told that with my conditions and the lateness of the pregnancy he did not feel he could give me the care that I required. That’s when we were referred to the Women’s Clinic in Wichita, Kansas.
I was 27 weeks by this point. I was terrified. The moment I met the doctor, all of that ended. He was a wonderful and loving man. I came in on Monday and gave birth to our baby girl on Friday. We were able to hold her after, and say our goodbyes. That doctor will always be in my heart.
This happened two weeks ago and sometimes I feel like this isn’t real. I miss feeling her inside me. I miss singing or talking to her, touching my belly and have her respond. The hardest part now is that I will never get to see her smile or laugh or to watch her grow up A day does not pass that I don’t think of her. I miss her so much.
More Kansas stories here. A comment here:
I looked at the woman as she cried about the baby she wanted so badly, & looked in horror at the films showing the cancer eating the child alive. The pain this child must be in & the cries of the parents as they don’t want to let go. Then I hear Dr. Tiller say…”You are so amazing…all the pain your baby is in & you are going to selflessly take that away. You are being strong for him. You are giving him peace he will never know.” 2 days later I cleaned & dressed that little boy before the parents viewed him. The ghastly tumor that had grown through his chest & out his spine a horrific parasite, & a stark reminder of the life he could never have. I watched this little angle at peace & I cried. For all of them. And I felt blessed to be a part of such a wonderful man, who could look in the face of utter hopelessness, & give them comfort. That child was taken home & lovingly laid to rest. That day is how I will remember Dr. Tiller. May his family find the peace he gave so openly.Another at Balloon Juice
In 1994 my wife and I found out that she was pregnant. The pregnancy was difficult and unusually uncomfortable but her doctor repeatedly told her things were fine. Sometime early in the 8th month my wife, an RN who at the time was working in an infertility clinic asked the Dr. she was working for what he thought of her discomfort. He examined her and said that he couldn’t be certain but thought that she might be having twins. We were thrilled and couldn’t wait to get a new sonogram that hopefully would confirm his thoughts. Two days later our joy was turned to unspeakable sadness when the new sonogram showed conjoined twins. Conjoined twins alone is not what was so difficult but the way they were joined meant that at best only one child would survive the surgery to separate them and the survivor would more than likely live a brief and painful life filled with surgery and organ transplants. We were advised that our options were to deliver into the world a child who’s life would be filled with horrible pain and suffering or fly out to Wichita Kansas and to terminate the pregnancy under the direction of Dr. George Tiller.
We made an informed decision to go to Kansas. One can only imagine the pain borne by a woman who happily carries a child for 8 months only to find out near the end of term that the children were not to be and that she had to make the decision to terminate the pregnancy and go against everything she had been taught to believe was right. This was what my wife had to do. Dr. Tiller is a true American hero. The nightmare of our decision and the aftermath was only made bearable by the warmth and compassion of Dr. Tiller and his remarkable staff. Dr. Tiller understood that this decision was the most difficult thing that a woman could ever decide and he took the time to educate us and guide us along with the other two couples who at the time were being forced to make the same decision after discovering that they too were carrying children impacted by horrible fetal anomalies. I could describe in great detail the procedures and the pain and suffering that everyone is subjected to in these situations. However, that is not the point of the post. We can all imagine that this is not something that we would wish on anyone. The point is that the pain and suffering were only mitigated by the compassion and competence of Dr. George Tiller and his staff. We are all diminished today for a host of reasons but most of all because a man of great compassion and courage has been lost to the world.And The George Tiller I Knew at Daily Kos.
These are just a handful of stories, but they help to reveal the complexity of what Dr. Tiller did. The mainstream media has cast him as a “controversial late-term abortion provider,” which is technically accurate. But those late-term abortions he provided were for women in desperate and often tragic situations — women with health complications that made pregnancy dangerous, or women whose much-wanted pregnancies took a turn for the worst. Anti-choicers have latched onto the fact that Tiller’s clinic provided funeral services — if that’s the case, they point out, how is it not clear that Dr. Tiller was killing? In fact, those services were part of the healing process for many families who came to Dr. Tiller in one of the darkest moments of their lives, and who were making unthinkably difficult choices. It’s a tragedy that Dr. Tiller was one of only three physicians providing the late-term therapeutic abortion services that he did. It’s shameful that anti-choicers cast him as a “murderer” for helping women in need. I’ll say it again: The responsibility for George Tiller’s death surely falls on the shoulders of the person who actually pulled the trigger. But when pro-life groups did everything but give him a gun, their hands are hardly clean.