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Abortion During a Global Pandemic

August 7th, 2020

My Story…

 

I was five days late, which isn’t uncommon for me. I kept having cramps, the normal cramps I get before my period, but days passed and still no period. Something didn’t feel right though so I grabbed the last pregnancy test under the sink. I honestly just thought I was wasting a pregnancy test, but both lines showed up right away. I cursed under my breath and stared at the pregnancy test waiting for one of the lines to disappear, but of course, it stayed there.

More cursing happened once I remembered we are in a global pandemic and medical services are limited to only essential. I remembered reading about abortions being restricted in Texas and Ohio, how awful I felt for the women being affected by these restrictions and wondered if I now would also be affected by these restrictions.

Decisions are not easy for me, I second guess myself too much, overthink things, etc; but this was one decision that was made as soon as the test said positive. No weighing pros and cons, no talking to my husband, discussion with friends or family – it was the right decision for me.

I grabbed my phone and scheduled an appointment with Planned Parenthood, which was for the following week. At the same time, I texted my husband to tell him I was pregnant. He was in physical therapy and would not see my text for another hour. During this hour, I thought “I have health insurance. Do I have to go to Planned Parenthood? Can I go to a doctor? Who performs abortions?” I called OB/GYN offices that showed up under my health insurance when I searched for abortion. One wasn’t taking new patients and the second replied “we don’t do that” when I asked about terminating a pregnancy. Then I just searched for abortion providers in my state. A clinic 30 minutes away showed up on the search, I had passed this clinic multiple times when I lived in that city so I called.

I explained I needed to terminate a pregnancy and they started asking all the necessary questions. After I answered everything, they said they could schedule the procedure for the next day, but first I had to speak to a provider who would call me later that afternoon. I was extremely relieved and thankful to live in my state. Here I am in need of an abortion during a global pandemic and can chose between two clinics near my house.

My husband saw my text and called me, when I picked up he sounded excited. My heart sank and I started crying at this point. This would not be an “us” decision, this was a “me” decision. When he came home, we sat down and talked. He explained he sounded excited because he didn’t think I was serious when I sent him the text. He had married me knowing I did not want to have children and would still love me no matter what I decided. I told him I was afraid I would lose him for terminating the pregnancy, but I could not become a parent to make him happy because I did not want to become a parent; as I had told him months before he proposed. He continued to reassure me it was my decision and he would not resent me for it. Even if this decision ended my marriage, I was not going to turn back on it because I knew it was the right decision.

The provider called me, asked me all the standard questions – if anyone was forcing me to make this decision, if I needed counseling, and then the medical questions. They explained what a medication abortion was and what to expect during the appointment and after. They also explained the precautions they were taking at the clinic due to COVID-19; which meant I would not be able to have anyone accompany me.

My sister was due to have her second child in about two weeks, but the doctors had told her she might go into labor earlier. She had four miscarriages prior to this pregnancy. I mourned the loss of the pregnancy every time. Though I do not want to have children, I love being an aunt. My nephew is my world and was beyond ecstatic for my sister’s second child. I struggled whether or not to share what I was going through with her. I was not looking for support, as I mentioned before, I knew my decision was right no matter what anyone said. I finally told her I was pregnant and terminating the pregnancy.

The next morning I woke up earlier to get some work done prior to my appointment. Due to the pandemic and lockdowns, I had been working from home for about two months. I made up an excuse about not feeling well and that I’d be on and offline that day and would make up my hours at night when I felt better. I told my husband he did not need to come with me as he was not allowed to be in the clinic with me and I was only allowed to be in the clinic for the procedure, the rest of the waiting had to be done in the parking lot. Most of the time I spent at the clinic was in my car. I filled out all the paperwork and waited to be allowed back inside. During this time my sister and husband continued to check on me. Once I was allowed back in the clinic, the provider explained what each pill would do, when to take what pill and how. I took the first pill exactly 24 hours after finding out I was pregnant.

Eight hours later, I took the second set of pills and braced myself for cramps and bleeding. I had one bad cramp that made me go into fetal position, but nothing else happened. The next day, I kept waiting for pain and bleeding. I would get a cramp here and there and brace myself for pain, but again, nothing happened. I called the clinic and explained nothing was happening. They told me to take the backup set if nothing had happened at the 24 hour mark. So I did and again braced myself for pain and a lot of bleeding and again, nothing happened. My sister had had an ectopic pregnancy and was concerned I was having one too because nothing was happening. Finally, 48+hours after taking the first set of the second pill, I started bleeding.

I felt relief and kept reading about what to expect at this point. Everything said to expect blood clots, but I wasn’t expelling blood clots. I was bleeding less than during a normal period, but it had just lasted longer than a normal period so I brought this up during the 1-week check up call from the clinic. The provider thought it was strange it took so long for the bleeding to start, I wasn’t feeling pain and I wasn’t bleeding much. They were also concerned the pregnancy could be ectopic. I went into the clinic right away for bloodwork and an ultrasound. The ultrasound did not show anything and the bloodwork came back low. They said the procedure likely worked and to come back in a few days for more bloodwork to ensure the procedure had worked and the rule out an ectopic pregnancy.

A few days later I went back for bloodwork which showed the procedure had worked. Throughout the week after the procedure, I went on with my life as normal. I kept biking, but couldn’t run because my breasts had swelled up so much it was uncomfortable to run. Everything said not to exercise, to take it easy, but since I didn’t feel much pain, I continued with my life as normal. I was only two or three weeks pregnant, which is probably why I did not feel pain or much discomfort from my abortion. I am a married woman in my 30s with a husband, a house, a dog, a stable career and I had an abortion. I am grateful I live in a state where I could have an abortion as soon as 24 hours after finding out I was pregnant, even during a global pandemic.

He didn’t tell me…

December 23rd, 2019

How I felt at the time…

Scared, alone.

How I feel now…

Haunted yet not regretful.

My story…

I was 19. It was 2012. I thought I was in love. I was very vulnerable at 19, I just wanted love. I never had a conversation about sex or protection with my Dad who raised me. My stepmom only said “if you get pregnant I’ll kill you. I started dating a guy that I hated at first. I just got terrible vibes from him and now I know. He was a bad boy and I slowly fell for him. He had previously gotten a girl pregnant and told me how he attacked her online and in person because she got an abortion. Me being stupid and young brush it aside. I had sex before with boyfriends, but it was different with him. He never used protection and I couldn’t get birth control because I still lived at home on my parents insurance and my stepmom said no birth control no sex at all. I didn’t have anyone to talk to and honestly didn’t think I could get pregnant. The pull out method worked right? But he always was ripping my pants off to have sex and then would stop because he back hurt. He said he couldn’t finish because of the pain. I believed him. I should have realized it was a lie. He was trying to get me pregnant. He would say he couldn’t finish when he already had. I couldn’t feel it, I couldn’t tell. Is it my fault for trusting him? Is it my fault for being stupid? I found out I was pregnant and attacked me too. He broke up with me and said I was lying. He had all of his friends attack me online and in texts. I had no one to turn to. My own best friend said it was my fault. I couldn’t tell me parents because my stepmom always said “I’ll kill you.” Lost and scared the only thought in my mind was abortion. I made an appointment and didn’t show. I called the one person I thought I could trust, my high school sweetheart. He took me to the abortion clinic, past the people screaming at me for being a murderer and held my hand as I cried slient tears. I went into the room and sat on the table. I will always remember the single spot of blood on the floor. A permanent mental reminder of what I’ve done. I laid back and looked at the sunset poster hanging on the ceiling. I had to be held down by two nurses as I screamed in pain. When it was over I went to the car and cried. Cried for what I did and mostly because the shame I felt about how relieved I was. I never talked to the coward who got me pregnant, but three years ago he had a son with another girl. That was his goal. His family left him and he wanted to create his own. I still haven’t told anyone except for my husband. It’s a scar I live with, but don’t regret. It kills me, but it was meant to happen so I could find myself and a healthy life.

One, Two, Three…

March 3rd, 2018

How I felt at the time…

Nervous, ready, scared

How I feel now…

Grief, relief

My story…

Next week I will be going to the Women’s Clinic to have my third abortion. I need to tell my story because the truth is, for the first time I am starting to grieve from the two abortions before. I start to wonder if there is just something totally screwed up in my head because I continue to not use protection and here I am pregnant for the fourth time, getting an abortion for the third. The first two definitely were nerve wracking and emotional but I was ok. This time I’m terrified out of my mind.

To start my story… I do have one beautiful little boy who is 5 years old. I am 29. First: Summer of 2015, I was off to rehab for 3 months for my drug addiction. When I got to rehab, I was told I was pregnant. To keep this story short, I had a surgical abortion at 11 weeks. I knew that the substances I had been putting in my body and the medication given to me at rehab had caused severe developmental issues already for the fetus. I also knew I was going to leave rehab to come back home and try so hard to stay sober and be the best mom I could be for my son who was 2 at the time. I was scared but I knew having a child while trying to stay clean and raise my son was my number one goal.

Second time: Fall 2016, I started dating a guy much younger than me. He was on a completely different maturity level than I was. I found out I was pregnant. 4 weeks along. My father was very sick and was in the process of dying this exact same week. I was not financially stable an neither was he. I took the pill for this abortion and I knew it was the right decision at the time because knowing my emotional state already having my father pass, my past drug use, I would have gone downhilll very fast trying to have another baby. The pill was so much worse for me than the surgery. I woke up after taking the pills and had to buy a new mattress. Third time: Next week 2018, I don’t even know. I’m about 6-7 weeks. I don’t know if I want to go through with surgery or pill, I have relapsed with drugs, I’m scared out of my mind this time.

Both times before I was so sure and had no doubt. Number three just seems so crazy. I feel like a bad person and I know I’m not. I make bad decisions. I worry what people will think even though only two of my close friends know about this. But I put myself in other peoples heads and wonder what they would call me or say to me. I’m just not in a good place mentally about this time and I’m scared.

 

Surgical termination at 12 weeks update 3rd day

February 3rd, 2018

Just writing another update. My last post was three days ago after I had my abortion, which I wrote about the details of, the procedure itself was painful but I was well cared for and consider it overall very positive. I have gone through many emotions since then including a lot, I cannot stress this enough, a LOT of learning and reflecting that I am so grateful to be experiencing although it has been hard.
Physically I have been fine, some cramps and lower back pain I took an ibuprofen just once but I mostly feel fine so far. Bleeding only the first two days. We will see how that goes as time progresses. I do have a ton of energy back which is nice.
Emotionally I have felt many things. Relief about not continuing a pregnancy that didn’t feel right and from feeling uncontrollably emotional, scared, depressed and stuck. Realization that things would have been okay and some regret that I didn’t see it though, although not really because I never would have been able to learn these things and have this perspective, which I am grateful for. Gratefulness for a new appreciation for life and the gifts it bestows on everything, for the opportunity to address my emotional challenges and forgive myself, and for all this learning and support of people who love me. Sadness for the opportunity I did have to lose because of this choice. New determination and hope for a future and the life I want to make. Some anxiety and sadness over seeing my boyfriend feel sad, although his support through this has helped me feel a love and a trust for him that I wasn’t able to feel before. And also just today a very acute sense of loss of confidence and a feeling of not being “special” anymore. That was a weird one. But those are all the things I’ve felt so far. For me it HELPS SO MUCH TO TALK, feel my feelings, and let them pass. Sometimes being alone just to recognize what I’m feeling and accept it helps, and then afterwards this is usually followed by a sense of gratefulness, peace, or comfort. I have realize there is no right choice there is only learning from your choices. I would like to be pregnant in the future and am currently working on the self care I so much need before I’m ready for that. I’m much more tender and gentle and appreciative with myself and others now. Every smile feels like a gift. Just so many changing emotions and reflections. I consider this pregnancy to be a gift and a lesson I will never, ever forget. I am a different person now, and I do feel proud. I know this is long but hopefully it helps someone. I’ll write another update in a week probably. I will say also that finding supportive from people who love you or can understand even if it’s just online or through clinic counseling helps immensely. It can change your whole outlook. Kindness and love for yourself and others really is everything. Thank you for reading this.

At peace with surgical abortion

January 24th, 2018

I recently got out of a four year relationship and also quit a job that I’ve had for five years as an RN. I had money saved up as well as on the side income to give me a few months of exploration, taking care of myself, taking care of my 1900’s era house that I now owned by myself, and an old cat, plus getting into many creative and personally fulfilling pursuits, and finding a better job for me. Well in the middle of all this I found out I had gotten pregnant with a man I had been dating casually, although I had been using the forms of prevention that had worked for me for the last 12+ years. It was unexpected but the baby’s dad really wanted me to go though with the pregnancy, he wanted to be with me and wanted a family. This all seemed too much too fast for me, as someone of divorced parents could probably relate, that is a lot of commitment to someone I had only just met after just saying goodbye to my last relationship which took a lot out of me. I felt I was beginning to get myself back again and didn’t feel emotionally ready for a pregnancy or child. After a few weeks of thought and talking, I decided on an abortion. The surgical procedure really scares me but at 12 wks it was my only choice. The day of the procedure I brought a friend which made a WORLD of difference, I couldn’t have done it alone and I couldn’t have done it with the baby’s father. I had a pain reliever and an Ativan, and the procedure was quick and not too horrible, other than the dilation. That part really was so painful I didn’t think I could do it, but the nurse and doctor were so kind and made it quick so it was over before I knew. Immediately after it was all done maybe ten min, I felt great. The cramps subsided and my friend took me out to lunch. It’s been a few hours now and I will probably post another update in a few weeks to see how I’ve been feeling. So far I just feel relief and happiness, proud that I did it. I am looking forward to get periods again and having my monthly cycle and returning to the things I love doing that I lost interest or energy for while pregnant. I have learned so much from this experience that would help me be a better mom in the future or at least helped me learn more about myself and what’s important in life.

The Choice I Never Thought I’d Make…

December 3rd, 2015

I have always wanted to be a mother someday. Always. In fact it’s the one thing about myself that I’ve always been sure of. If you had asked me at any point before I found out I was pregnant, I would have said that if I ever had an unintended pregnancy, I’d have the baby and make the best of it. A funny thing happens when what you always thought meets reality for the first time – your entire perspective shifts in the blink of an eye.

My period was about 2 days late, which isn’t terribly unusual but I knew this was different. I knew the night before I took the test what it would say but I waited til morning anyway. There they were, two little pink lines staring at me. I lost it. I started sobbing as silently as I could manage so as to not wake my boyfriend. I apologized to the tiny life growing inside me. I went to the store on my lunch break that day to buy another test, just to be sure. Yep, definitely pregnant.

That evening, I got home before my boyfriend. I nervously waited for him to get home. When he did, he began putting some things away and I mustered all of my courage and said, “Babe I need to tell you something.” He furrowed his eyebrows and cocked his head silently asking, “What is it?” I had only two words, the rest were stuck somewhere in the back of my throat. “I’m pregnant.” And then I shrugged my shoulders, looked down and wept. He came over to me immediately, put this hand on my knee and waited for me to speak again. “I took two tests.” Why am I suddenly so bad with words? We talked for a long while. He asked me if I had been on birth control. I lied and said that I had been. I had been using the Nuva Ring for years. My prescription ran out two months prior and even though I had back up pill packs, I kept forgetting to take them. I didn’t do it on purpose, I just wasn’t in the habit and didn’t make it a priority. Maybe that little fact doesn’t matter, so I pushed it out of my mind. He said he didn’t think we were ready to have a kid. I didn’t disagree. He said that it was my choice – “It’s your body, it’s your decision.” Did I mention how horrible I am at making small decisions? How am I supposed to make this one? Whatever I do, my life is irreversibly changed. I’ll carry this with me for the rest of my life.

I made an appointment at the Women’s Health Clinic in town to talk to an abortion counselor and to find out exactly how far along I was – 4 weeks at that point, barely pregnant at all. I had the luxury/curse of time. I gave myself a deadline to decide. 2 weeks. I have to decide in 2 weeks or I’ll drive myself insane. I changed my mind at least a dozen times within a week and then I wrote my boyfriend a letter – I’ve always been better with words written down rather than spoken. I said that my instinct was telling me to keep the baby and that I hoped he could forgive me. I said that I believed in us and even though it would be difficult, we’d have each other and the support of both our families. After I gave him the letter, I was overcome with anxiety. Already second-guessing my “instinct” before we’d even had a chance to talk about it. When I got home that night, he gave me a big hug and said that he needed some time to process before we talk about it. I understood of course, I had just dropped a bomb on him after all.

I couldn’t sleep a wink that night. I called my sister in the morning and she took me out to lunch. I explained my thoughts up until that point to her. She asked me to consider my future… “think 10 years into the future, which decision would you regret more?” I spent the weekend really thinking about it. Which decision would I regret more? The answer I didn’t want became increasingly clear. This was the first time in this whole process that I really considered the fact that this was an easily preventable mistake. It was all my fault. Not only had I been lazy and negligent with my birth control, but I then lied about it to everyone in my life because I didn’t want that to be a factor. I was ashamed. I considered my life as a whole. I am 27 years old and only just getting my life together. I am in the process of fixing years of big financial mistakes. I have a lot of debt relative to my income and I’m barely making ends meet as it is. I have fairly regular emotional breakdowns about money and how bad I am at making adult decisions. I am trying to be healthy physically and emotionally, but I’m not there yet. I’m not ready to be a mother and it’s because of the choices I’ve made. I would regret more bringing a child into the world and into my life under false pretenses. I would regret more creating a life of struggle and possibly resentment for myself, my child and the father of my child. It’s the hardest thing in the world to acknowledge harsh truths about yourself.

So I made the appointment.The clinic only does abortions on Fridays and the next one would be Friday the 13th. I would never describe myself as superstitious but there’s something very off-putting about having an abortion on Friday the 13th. So I’d have to wait almost 2 weeks before the appointment. I no longer felt anxious about my decision but the next two weeks were pure emotional hell. This was the deepest and most sustained depression I’ve ever experienced. I didn’t want it to be this way. I never thought I’d be here. I wish I was ready, I want the baby. But I knew deep down that I wasn’t ready. That I wouldn’t be able to provide the life my first child deserves. I don’t want to just make it work. I want more than that for myself and for my children. I’ll be a better mother a few years from now.

This is a huge wake-up call. I’m not getting any younger and I simply cannot keep drifting through life as though the future is some distant place where everything magically works out for me. The future is here right now and it’s up to me to better myself to make my life more welcoming for my future children. I have some big changes to make within myself and it’s time to step up and put in some honest hard work. The next time I get pregnant, I will be ready.

I am so lucky to have a lot of support in my life. My sisters and boyfriend and friends have all been incredibly supportive and encouraging. The abortion counselor told me something that really stuck with me. She said, “No matter what you decide, know your decision is coming from a place of love.” It might not make sense to some people, but I terminated my pregnancy because I love my future children, because I’m not yet ready to be the mother they deserve, because I want a better life for them. I made my decision with love. This was the single most difficult decision I’ve ever made. Sure, a small part of me will always wonder what might have been, but I don’t regret it. I made the best decision I felt I could and my life and my family will be better for it.

With love,

Rachael

 

Still the right choice

May 27th, 2015

How I felt at the time…

Resolute and full of remorse at the same time.

How I feel now…

Its still the right choice for me.

My Story….

In my senior year of college, I made a lot of choices. Most of them, looking back now, were made because I wasn’t preparing myself mentally for what lay ahead after graduation. Instead I made short-term, instant gratification my priority. This involved a lot of partying and hooking up with guys that I didn’t care about emotionally. I wanted to rebel, to reject the status quo of growing up and getting a job and being responsible.

Well, one of my nights of partying led to an encounter with a guy who I had been hooking up with for a while, quite exclusively. We were both so drunk that either the condom slipped off or was just not put on in the first place.

I started feeling the symptoms of pregnancy pretty immediately. I went to a wedding the following weekend and my appetite and emotions were so out of whack that my best friend and I both deduced that I should probably take a pregnancy test.

Seeing that plus sign on that white plastic stick made my heart sink. The little bathroom stall in my college dorm was a pretty claustrophobic place to begin with but I really couldn’t breathe when I first saw the proof that I was pregnant. There wasn’t really a thought in my mind that I should keep it. I just wanted to get the abortion over with as fast as possible.

Timing was tricky. It was