Christine’s Story

Foreword: Until I started reading other’s stories on INS I thought I had forgotten a lot of how my story unfolded and as I wrote this I realized it wasn’t that I hadn’t forgotten I just never really shared it. I hope my story helps someone else. Writing this has helped me put some personal feeling about outside critics’ hurtful words out of my head. My name is Christine, I aborted a high-risk pregnancy and I’m not sorry.

My Story In early 2001 I was touring with a theatrical show and under contract through the end of the year. My boyfriend and I, at that time, had been together for 5 years; we were both 28 years old. I had only seen him a few times while I was touring for a few days each time, once in December for Christmas and once again mid- January just a week plus before realizing I might be pregnant. Because, I am a smoker I elect to stay off oral contraceptives, additionally I have an allergy to latex so our prophylactic options are limited to a very specific kind of condom that does not wreak havoc on my body. We used protection without failure. We still got pregnant.

I knew I was, there was no maybe. My cycle was like clockwork and I was late. I should have been mid cycle by the time I got back from our visit in January, but I wasn’t. I did a home test to confirm my suspicions. There it was POSITIVE. I thought, “Geezz, isn’t this grand, a fantastic time to be pregnant, you think you could have been a little more careful.” Worse still, I was alone, away from my partner, and about to leave one city and travel to another to without a leg to stand on financially or otherwise. Additionally, not only would I lose my job because I had signed a contract that specified I didn’t intend to become pregnant, I didn’t want to be pregnant.

I didn’t have a cell phone or phone in my housing provided by the show so I walked to the nearest pay phone to make the call home to my boyfriend. Maybe the toughest call at that point in my life. I had no idea how to begin. In my mind all I kept hearing was “hey, guess what? I’m pregnant. Oh and sorry, I love you deeply, but I am not having this baby.” How selfish does that sound? Either way I had to make the call.

I conveyed my feelings about the situations. I felt it was primarily my choice but that I wanted him to participate and be involved in the decision. I wanted to hear his feelings and thoughts on the decision in either outcome. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to or would do but that I would consult a doctor as soon as possible. After some discussion we decided to pursue termination if when I got to the doctor it was what felt right. We weren’t ready, and we were not going to be ready in 9 months. We weren’t married (not that it would have affect our decision either way.) We lived in a small apartment in NY. We both were then and still are theatrical artists and show business isn’t always a dependable source of income or health insurance.

Finding a clinic took some doing. I made an appointment with a women’s clinic for the next city, Greenville SC (2-3 days later) to see a doctor. I had explained over the phone to the charge nurse that I was a performer that would be in town only for a few days and that the nature of my visit was to confirm pregnancy and discuss possibility of RU486 as a means of termination. She made me an appointment. Earlier, I had decided not to tell anyone other than my boyfriend but realized I needed to have someone with me in the case of an emergency. Since my boyfriend wasn’t able to make the trip, I asked a fellow performer, a woman I trusted and knew would be willing to watch my back so to speak. She was a great source of support.

While traveling to Greenville she and I began talking about all the possible worst-case scenarios, so we could layout our “in case of emergency break glass” plan. I gave her my parents’ phone numbers and she already knew my boyfriend so we discussed in which order to contact people should something happen.

Once in Greenville, SC she went with me to find a taxi and lent me her cell phone to call home if I needed to talk to my darling boyfriend on the way. We drove for what felt like hours- it was maybe 20 minutes. When we got there I headed straight into the women’s clinic. Before I reached the door she asked, “Christine, are you scared?” I thought about it. I was surprised that I wasn’t frightened or anxious. I told her, “No, I am determined to enter this calmly and with an open mind. If I leave here after the appointment with a different opinion then so be it.” She gave my hand a small squeeze and in we went.

I did my pre-interview and test. When it came time to sit in the examining room and wait for the doctor, My friend Karen was cracking jokes at me, “Nice gown, you could wear that to the Oscars.” I couldn’t help but laugh out loud at myself because at the particular moment I was thinking, I never thought I would find myself in a hospital gown waiting for a stranger to advise me on what to do about a pregnancy. When I imagined my life in the future I would be accepting an Oscar. I know it may seem out of place but for me it wasn’t it was why I asked her to go with me. She understood me; she got it.

The doctor entered, an older man with a kind face and gentle manner. He confirmed that my HCG levels indicated pregnancy, however they were low. Additionally, there were questions regarding the 1st day of my last period. I explained I had been spotting for the last month or so, which was unusual for me. He asked me a few question about the pain I had described in my pre-interview. I told him the pain was similar to cramping but not really. He wanted to perform a pelvic ultrasound to rule out any issues. He thought I was most likely 2 – 3 weeks pregnant, 4 weeks tops, which coincided with my December visit with my boyfriend.

I don’t remember much about the ultrasound process. I remember discomfort and squinting to see what the doctor was pointing at on the screen. There he said “you see this?”
“Uh… not really…”
“This up here in the corner..”
“The spot? I see a spot.”
“Yes, the spot is your embryo and it is not in an ideal spot. It appears that your pregnancy is ‘borderline ectopic.”

The doctor explained that the position that the embryo attached to my uterus was not ideal, it was very high and to the right of my uterus barely, very near the exit of your fallopian tubes… Ok, so I stopped listening for a moment. I had heard that ectopic pregnancy is risky at best. I asked him to please go a bit slower because I was finding hard to concentrate.

This was a high risk pregnancy; it might resolve itself by miscarriage or it might not. I would have to terminate the pregnancy for my well being. He said I could wait and see how I felt but that I was reaching a risky stage in the pregnancy and would to make a decision soon. I indicated that I elected to terminate the pregnancy and do not want to “wait and see”, but that I would like to phone my boyfriend and get his feedback.

Before I left the doctor’s office we discussed the potential course of treatment. We discussed RU486 as an option because although I was in town for the next few days; I couldn’t miss my performances. While the show was moving to the next town I had 3 days of down time in which it would be possible to terminate the pregnancy. We worked out the arrangement-I would return on Friday he would dispense the meds. I would take it with me and administer it at home on Sunday when I was done working for the week. (I lived on a train at the time so my home and means of transport were one and the same.). At that time the doctor reminded me that there was a chance that this would not work that it may not terminate this particular borderline ectopic pregnancy in which case I would have to pursue another route. I thought if I was at most 4 weeks I was already +/- 28 days; legal cut off for RU486 is 49 days. The Doctor explained that although at the moment I was in a state where RU486 was available the next few states I was traveling through were not. In fact the next time I would be someplace RU486 was available I would be my hometown and I would be in the late term stage of abortion. More risky, not an option. I thanked him and we made an appointment for Friday.

I called my boyfriend and filled him in. He was on board with the selected treatment. He was sorry he could not be with me. Next I called my parents and sisters and told them a small white lie. I hadn’t told them I was pregnant just that I had been spotting, and that it was necessary for me to have a procedure to stop the spotting.

I returned that Friday and received my prescription for anti-nausea plus painkiller and RU486. Everything went well. I took the painkillers as instructed by the doctor, and had my friend come and check up on me to make sure I wasn’t dying. All in all it wasn’t painful. The painkillers knocked me out. I did check in by phone with the doctor a couple of days later, then again in 12 or so days later after following up with a home test to confirm termination. It was a complete termination without complication. I still have no regrets.

RU486 has since been contraindicated in ectopic pregnancy. Everything that I have found online specifically site cases of contraindication after 2002 nothing prior. I believe I was very lucky to have the support of my boyfriend and gal pal.