Isa’s Story

My name is Isa, I live in Pittsburgh, and I was 22 when I found out I was pregnant- almost a year ago exactly as I write this. I had almost no symptoms. My period still came, and when it was only mild bleeding for two days I just thought it was because I had been cutting out most dairy products (I’m a vegetarian who would like to be vegan). I would have been around two weeks at that point. At five weeks, I went to my OBGYN, Dr. Hazel, complaining that my uterus felt very full, especially on one side, and I thought maybe I had a cyst- it didn’t bug me that I hadn’t gotten my period, because I didn’t think it was due quite yet. She scheduled a sonogram so we could check, and I talked to her about finally getting birth control because I was in a monogamous, possibly long-term relationship for once, and then we decided a pregnancy test was in order. When it came back positive I was more overwhelmed than surprised. I had been practicing spotty birth control methods because I was completely not used to any consistency in sexual relationships, and stupidly I thought that it could not happen to me, or maybe I just didn’t care if it did because I was utterly in love.

When I told my boyfriend, he didn’t say much, but it was the kind of thing where neither of us ever really had to say much. I just knew he didn’t want to have kids, I didn’t particularly either, and a previous girlfriend of his had decided to abort, so I knew that he was okay with it. For a while I wanted to carry it, but after a lot of soul searching I decided not to, and that was the most difficult part of it all- I had told my family, and they were all behind whatever I decided, but I knew if I carried her (I believe it was a she) my brother might not be able to afford to attend college, and my dad might not be able to retire from the job that he has abhorred for thirty years. I have absolutely no regrets about the abortion. Although I feel like I connected to the life I was carrying, and it was not an easy decision for me to make, I know that it was the right decision. I also told my nutty roommate, who was off in Utah with an old cheating piece-of-shit ex-boyfriend of mine; when they came back, she sat me down, told me they had gotten married, she had been having dreams about my potential baby, and that they wanted me to have it and they would take it until I was ready for it. Of course I said no, and got out of that lease soon after.

My OBGYN was a snot about the whole thing. She was very pregnant when I found out, and when I called her and told her I had decided to abort, she said, “Well, I’ll have to refer you to Magee’s University Healthcare section, because some of the doctors here just don’t believe that abortion is a morally correct thing to perform.” Well, I wanted to say, that’s fine, but if it was me deciding, you wouldn’t be able to call yourself an OBGYN, because you don’t perform abortions. Dr. Hazel is her real name, and she is located on the Boulevard of the Allies. I did like her very much up to that point, she was always very thorough and open, however, I don’t know now if I would ever go back to see her. At least she referred me to a doctor who would perform abortions.

His name was Mitch Creinin, and he worked in an office in the bottom of Magee-Women’s Hospital. I didn’t actually meet him until the day of the abortion, at which point I was just over eight weeks pregnant. I took some extra-strength Advil or something an hour before I left. There were no protestors outside the doors, although it is a hospital so I doubt it was targeted. My nerves were horrible, I had gained some weight at that point, things were not going so well with the boyfriend (who thankfully was leaving on a Greyhound in three days to go out to travel around the west coast for a while). I sat in his office with my mother and watched children playing with toys. I don’t believe it was a clinic. They did all sorts of reproductive healthcare. I talked to Dr. Creinin for about an hour before it was performed, and he was so refreshing. I decided to go on the Nuvaring to prevent further pregnancies, and he even gave me a subscription for the morning after pill to take home with me. If your OBGYN would not do this, find one who will.

The procedure was not difficult. I decided against the RU40 because I didn’t want the complications that come more often with that method, and I just wanted it to be over as quickly as possible. My understanding is that the pill is more painful. I had a Vacuum Aspiration procedure. First, I was given a shot of painkillers directly into my cervix, which was the worst part of it- seeing that long, finger of a needle go in is scary, but I honestly didn’t feel anything. Dr. Creinin told me everything he was doing as he was doing it. Then, he inserted dilators- long, thin, silver rods- into my cervix, followed by a hand suction device to take out the fetus. He counted down from sixty to one as he did it to give me a reference point. While it was going on, it felt like horrible menstrual cramps, one after another after another after another, they kept getting worse, and it was difficult to breathe. I almost passed out towards the end, although it was more from the pressure than the pain- I would not classify the procedure as painful. It just feels like what it is, someone suctioning, and the rapid change in pressure can be disturbing. The nurse holding my hand noticed and Dr. Creinin stopped for a while. After a little more suctioning, he was done. He showed me the fetus upon request, and was going to let me take it home to dispose of it as I felt was correct, but I decided against it. The fetus was very small and just looked like a few blood clots squished together, nothing like a child at all, not that I expected it too. I laid still for a little while, they monitored my level of bleeding, and sent me home. I had spotting through until my next period, so it was five weeks of bleeding, but felt otherwise fine and definitely a lot of relief. If you live near Pittsburgh, I would highly recommend Dr. Creinin. He made the experience not traumatic at all, and made sure I was comfortable with everything that was going on.

The most difficult thing about the whole thing was that my boyfriend was killed several months later. I had broken it off about a month after the abortion, and we had just made up a little while before. I was supposed to hang out with him that night, and he came over to a bar to meet some other friends in my part of town, then walked home. He was shot because he would not give his wallet to some sixteen year-old kids on his walk home. I can’t imagine what would have happened if I had been pregnant and that had happened, although then maybe it wouldn’t have.

Anyway, I’m not sorry. I do not regret what I did- not because I didn’t have a conception of the fetus as a potential child, but because I did and I know that it was okay. It seems to me like pro-lifers are so consumed by the idea of this new life that they forget about the mother. That child would never have even existed without me harboring its beginnings, and there was nothing wrong with my decision to cut it loose. Death is a part of life; I know that a little too well now. I would have a three month old child right now, with no father and myself with a shit job. I am so glad I don’t, because I have a tough enough time providing for myself.

The other thing that really bugs me about pro-lifers is their hypocrisy. If they were really pro-life, wouldn’t they become activists about the environment, which supports all life? Wouldn’t they boycott SUV’s and not eat meat? Wouldn’t they be anti-Bush and anti-war? And against the death penalty? I hate that righteous bullshit that makes them think it’s okay to harass women exercising their right to choose. It makes me want to go protest their policies that push women down, just as all the happy parishioners are exiting the church on Sunday morning. This site is remarkable and it makes me proud to be a woman.

Finally, a little advice- -if you are considering having an abortion, there are tons of good reasons for it, although you might not hear them as much as propaganda telling you to keep it. The world is overpopulated, people are starving, and George Bush just cut food stamps to an additional 300,000 Americans. Do you really think any of those people care about you? It just makes them feel better to tell you what’s okay and what’s not. Do what’s good for you, because if you are unstable, how the hell are you going to raise a child until you are financially and emotionally capable? Don’t let yourself be pressured into it, and don’t tell any people that will judge you if you do. If you’re pregnant, your emotions are going haywire, and biology is telling you to protect, protect, protect the fetus. It’s why the human species exists. Maybe it would be better if you take care of yourself first, unless you’re really ready to have it. And if the doctor that you get treats you like shit, don’t be afraid to say something directly to him or her. Yes, you are getting an abortion, and no, you should not be ashamed no matter what society teaches you. You deserve the best care possible, and one way to do that is to communicate with the doctor who is doing the procedure.