Ashley’s Story

I got an abortion at 8 weeks, 5 days. For four of those weeks, I was in the mindset that I was going to be keeping the baby. My boyfriend had convinced me to keep it. As soon as he found out I was pregnant he told his mother, his grandmother, his father, his sister and brother, everyone we walked into- the grocery bagger at the store even, it was really embarrassing and hard for me because deep down I knew I didn’t want the baby and it wouldn’t work out. I am only 19. My boyfriend was 28. We had been dating for 9 months, and as each month went by, he got more and more controlling and abusive towards me- both emotionally and physically. I should have left the first time he got physical with me, but I didn’t. Instead I convinced myself that because he didn’t punch or kick me, or leave any marks, it was my fault for making him angry.

In reality he was a 28-year-old marijuana dealer who smoked $5000 worth of marijuana a year and did acid and mushrooms regularly. He had no education, no job other than selling marijuana, and there was no way he could be a good father. Not to mention, our baby might have defects because of all the drugs he did during the time we conceived. On Friday the 13th, the morning after he got physical with me for the fourth time in our relationship, I woke up and realized, feeling quite stupid, that I was going to have an abortion and that I did not love this man. I did not love this man because he hit me, four times too many, and I was more of his mother than his partner. I supported us for 10 months, usually paying most of the rent, all of the groceries, the utility bills, travel expenses, buying him clothes, etc. Of course his excuse was that I made more than he ever could- I was a waitress at a busy restaurant, and being generally good looking and charismatic definitely helped my tips. I worked 6 nights a week, 8 hour shifts, and sometimes made almost 800 dollars a week. Somehow, even though I made all the money, because of having to support him, his marijuana habit and all of our traveling (each time he would insist that our relationship would get better if we could only get out of the environment we were in), I didn’t even have enough money for the abortion when I made the decision to get one.

The only way I could break up with him was by escaping to my parent’s house and having them go back to our apartment to get my stuff. If I had done it on my own he would have held me hostage by stealing my keys and cell phone, as he had done that on several occasions. I broke up with him, moved back in with my parents, and scheduled an abortion.

The first appointment I made was at an abortion clinic in my town. When I got there they told me they only offered twilight anesthesia and that I would be conscious for the procedure, I freaked out and left.

I did some research and found a clinic 4 hours away that offered general anesthesia, as well as private rooms for getting vital signs and recovery. My parents paid for everything, of which I am extremely grateful. My mother drove me to the appointment. I wasn’t nervous until we got there. There were 2 old men standing in the rain yelling about god and murder as we walked into the clinic. The inside was very nice, there were a lot of girls there. We got to go to a private waiting room to fill out our paperwork, and only had to wait about 10 minutes. When they were done with the paperwork, they sent me to another private room with my mother, the same place I’d be recovering. It was small, with three chairs, a big recliner, and medical supplies. I sat in the recliner as I was extremely dizzy. I’m hypoglycemic and emetophobic and I read that general anesthesia makes you nauseous and vomit 1/3 of the time, so I fasted for 16 hours instead of the recommended 8. I told the nurse when she came in that was extremely prone to fainting from getting any sort of blood taken, even a finger prick, and asked her if I could lay down for it instead. She said she would figure something out. She took my blood pressure, pulse and temperature and explained the procedure, but I already knew everything she told me because I researched until I couldn’t find any new information on the internet. I read every single story on this website. She told me to put on the paper gown and paper shoes and undress from the waist down, and then led me to the operating room. She said they weren’t going to do the procedure yet, they just wanted to do the ultrasound. They did the ultrasound, and said I was 8 weeks and 5 days, earlier than I thought I was. The nurses had found a way to make me comfortable with the needles. I went back into my private room and a nurse came in and made me recline in the chair to put in the IV port. I squeezed my mom’s hand and breathed in through my nose and out through my mouth and managed to not faint. Another nurse came in when she was done with it and very quickly took an extremely small blood sample from the IV port to use to determine my RH factor and hemoglobin levels for the anesthesia. I felt a little woozy when that happened, but it was not as bad as I would have felt for a finger prick or getting a whole vial of blood drawn. After that was done, they told me to wait 15 minutes and then they would call me in to the operating room.

My heart was beating so fast and I was freaking out for a little bit, but I practiced breathing slowly to calm myself down and by the time the nurse came in, I was so relaxed I just walked off with her and almost forgot to hug my mom. I walked to the OR and sat down on the table. They positioned me, I asked them to not put my legs in the stirrups until I was out, but they declined. There were four nurses in the room. One holding my hand on my left, one holding my hand on my right, one who was the anesthesiologist and another one I guess who was in charge of the ultrasound. The anesthesiologist put something in my IV to “relax me” and all of a sudden I felt like I was going to faint, I felt really woozy but I knew it wasn’t the general. I asked the main nurse what it was and she said it was a muscle relaxer. Then the anesthesiologist injected me with the general anesthesia. I looked up at the nurse and asked her if it was going to knock me out now, she said to count the butterflies on the ceiling. I asked her if I was going to wake up in the recovery room, and the last thing I remember was she said yes and I had only counted 4 butterflies.

I woke up in the recovery room, with the lights off and the sun coming through the blinds. I felt really heavy and relaxed, and started calling for my mom telling her I was awake. They made her wait in another waiting room. Their logic was that there was not enough room in the private room to get me off the stretcher and into the recliner with her in there. I guess that they picked me up off the operating table, put me on a stretcher, wheeled me down the hall, and then I got up off the stretcher, opened my eyes and laid down in the recliner with their help. I remember NONE of this. I only remember waking up. I had no cramps when I woke up, but about 10 minutes later they started, and they weren’t that bad at all, especially with the heating pad and remaining muscle relaxer and anesthesia in my system.

I went into surgery at 2:40 and was in the room awake by 3:00. I’m guessing I was knocked out around 2:42, it took around 10 minutes max for the surgery, and then I spent 8 minutes in recovery getting out of the stretcher and coming to. As soon as I woke up I was instantly relieved, I felt huge pressure lifted off my shoulders and I felt normal again. I drank ginger ale and 1 saltine cracker, but I didn’t really feel like eating yet, despite not eating in over 16 hours. They gave me antibiotics, tylenol3 and something in case of heavy bleeding to take home, and then I put on a pad, got dressed and left.

I don’t think there is any way I could have done the procedure without being completely put under. I am extremely squeamish and sensitive and would have been moving around and feeling faint and nauseous. It would have been a hellish experience. My mother had an abortion with just local anesthetic and I have no idea how she did it. I have so much respect for women who can go through the procedure conscious or semi-conscious- I could never do it! Just the thought of my naked body getting metal instruments and suction tubes stuck up it by a strange man surrounded by nurses unconscious makes me feel gross and violated, so I am glad I wasn’t conscious and am able to block the whole thing out of my mind- like it was like magic or something.

On the way home I felt anxious to get home to my bed and lay down with a heating pad and watch movies. I had cramps and was starving. I didn’t feel nauseous at all. We got home 4 hours later and I finally feel calm. I haven’t felt at ease since I found out I was pregnant.

I am thankful that I live in a country where women can choose whether or not to bear a child. I was in the feminist student alliance in my university and I always was pro-choice. Now after going through the experience, I am even more so, and want to do all that I can to maintain a woman’s right to choose. If I couldn’t choose to get an abortion, I would be forever tied to an emotionally disturbed physically abusive and controlling man who would not be able to provide for my child, and I would be left living an incredibly difficult life supporting myself and a baby that was not wanted. I am so glad I came to my sense and had the strength to get out of the abusive relationship and start my life over.

I don’t regret it and I’m not sorry.