Dear Rep. Joe Walsh: I DO EXISTCecily Kellogg
Because of you, today I told my story again. Because once again someone in elected office is saying, without a moment of hesitation or doubt, that I do not exist.
That women like me women forced to terminate a wanted pregnancy to save our lives don’t exist.
Please listen carefully: YOU ARE WRONG.
I still remember October 26th, 2004 like it happened today. I was not quite six months pregnant with my sons, Nicholas and Zachary —
Remember their names. Nicholas and Zachary.
— when I was told the news.
One son had already died, and I needed to be admitted to the hospital.
I didn’t know how sick I was. Well, I knew I was sick; I was constantly vomiting, I had massive amounts of excessive fluid yet I couldn’t seem to pee more than a trickle at a time but I thought it was just the twin pregnancy.
That night my preeclampsia that’s the disease I had, it turns out dramatically worsened causing my blood pressure to rise out of control and my kidneys and liver to shut down. I was in immense, blinding pain. I was vomiting non-stop.
My doctors tried their best, at my insistence. They’d wanted to have me go into labor right away, but I begged them you see, I wanted my surviving son desperately, and he was too small and sick to be born so early to try treatment first. No one knew that I wouldn’t respond to treatment. No one knew how much worse I would get that night.
And I could not have expected to find myself at dawn surrounded by an army of doctors, telling me and my husband, gravely, that I was dying.
I sobbed. I begged. I pleaded with them to give it more time, even as I threw up while I talked to them.
They said this, exactly: either we would both die, or my son would die and I might live.
Within moments I was in surgery.
Within an hour I was no longer pregnant.
And now, nearly eight years to the day, I am sitting and weeping as I type this because I miss my boys so. damned. much. Every single day I miss them. It is a grief like no other.
You aren’t the first wildly misinformed idiot to make a statement like this. It’s much easier, of course, to believe that I don’t exist. That lives like mine need saving.
It must be immensely comforting to believe that.
Trust me when I say this: I wish desperately you were right. That today my bright and shining boys were here with me, seven and a half years old, wrecking my house and torturing the dog on a daily basis.
Nicholas and Zachary. Remember their names.
I’m tired of trotting out my story and telling it again and again to prove people like you wrong. I’m tired of relieving that day, of smelling the hospital smells again, of feeling the needle slide into my spine to numb me while tears streamed down my face, and of waking up in recovery with a broken heart and an empty womb.
But because of you, I’m saying it again:
I EXIST. MY STORY IS REAL. IT SUCKED. IT HURTS STILL TODAY.
Also, just for the record:
Fuck you, Representative Walsh. Fuck you for diminishing me. Fuck you for making me cry today. Fuck you for not taking twenty minutes to find out the truth before you opened your mouth in your debate. Fuck you for minimizing the pain women like me feel every single day.
We exist, Representative Walsh. WE EXIST.
More Uppercase Lowdown…