Sep 052010

The day I found out I was pregnant, the first thoughts that went through my mind were not full of joy, they were full of dread and shock. I had always told myself that if I ended up in this situation, I would somehow be happy about it. However, no matter how I fought my feelings of contempt and despair, I just couldn’t shake them. I wanted to be happy about it, I really did. When the day came that the father of my child began telling his family and friends, I put on a false face of happiness and excitement. Deep down, however, I felt completely depressed over the sudden turn my life had taken. The father was someone I had never intended on staying in a serious relationship. While he was talking marriage, I was thinking of ways to escape. Everyday, I prayed for a miscarriage. If I began having cramps, I would immediately think that maybe this was it, that the pregnancy would end itself. It never did. I didn’t hate the embryo that was growing inside of me. Honestly, while I could picture myself carrying the pregnancy to term and having the baby, I couldn’t even see myself being truly happy again. Being pregnant began to literally suck the life out of me. I became very depressed, and stayed home most of the time. The father couldn’t figure out why I wasn’t excited as him. Even when I did try to talk to him about it, I could tell he just didn’t understand my feelings of entrapment. He insisted that my life could still be great if I got married and had a baby with him, but to me, it sounded like my life was ending.

After weeks of pretending to be happy about the pregnancy, I began realizing that I did not want to continue the pregnancy. It wasn’t fair to me, and more importantly, it wouldn’t be fair to the child inside of me. Sure, pro-lifers would argue that it’s not fair to end a child’s life because of my own feelings, but honestly, I did not feel as if the thing inside of me was a child. It was simply a growing organism, something that had the potential to become a child someday. I felt as if I would be doing the child a disservice by bringing it into the world unwanted. I wasn’t in love with its father, and I was extremely split about whether I would even be able to be a good mother. In a nutshell, I just wasn’t ready for a child, nor did I want one.

The call to the abortion clinic was the hardest phone call I’d ever made. I felt ashamed and nervous as the phone rang. When the receptionist answered, I asked her questions and then ended the phone call without making an appointment. I just couldn’t bring myself to finalize my decision. The next day, however, I called back and requested an appointment. After being put on hold, a receptionist returned and informed me that they didn’t have another appointment open for at least 2 weeks. I was already almost eleven weeks along – another two weeks just wasn’t going to work for me. And if I was going to do this, I needed it to be over with. The clinic referred me to another clinic, and for this I am very thankful. I called the other clinic, and they informed me that the soonest they could get me in was the next day, a Saturday. I was shocked that they could do it so soon. I stuttered for a moment before booking the appointment. Then I hung up the phone and began preparing myself.

My appointment was scheduled for ten the next morning. I was completely terrified. I had this image of abortion clinics as being dark, rundown buildings, filled with crying girls and mean doctors. I had my sister take me to my appointment, and when we arrived at the building, the sidewalk in front was filled with protesters holding up signs with pictures of Jesus and cute babies. I thought I was prepared for it, but as soon as we parked I could feel tears welling up in my eyes. It wasn’t because I felt I was doing something wrong, but because I felt completely terrified and alone in life. We walked through the front doors and were lead to a reception desk. The building wasn’t rundown. In fact, looking around, it looked just like any other doctor’s office, and was actually rather upscale looking. The receptionist met me and I gave her my insurance card and ID, and she gave me some papers to fill out. I sat down in the waiting room and began filling out the paperwork. It was normal stuff you’d see at a doctor’s office, except for the parts about abortion. As I looked around at the people in the waiting room, no one looked sad or upset. Most of the girls there were smiling and talking with the person who brought them. There was no screaming coming from the back. After I saw how positive the atmosphere was, I felt more at ease. After a few minutes, my name was called by a friendly looking older woman with short gray hair. She led me into a small examination room, and the moment I sat down I began crying again. She was completely sympathetic and I kept apologizing, telling her that I was nervous. She handed me a tissue and reassured me. Then she asked me to undress from the waist down and gave me something to cover myself. She left the room and I began undressing, not believing that I was actually in an abortion clinic. I sat down on the table and she came back in a few moments later. She had me lay back, and told me that she would be doing an ultrasound. The ultrasound machine was turned toward her, so that I couldn’t see what was on the screen. For this I was grateful. She did the ultrasound and part of me wondered what she was seeing. The other part of me didn’t want to know. After the ultrasound, she drew some blood, and I handled it well, despite my fear of needles. After that, she sent me back into the waiting room, and I continued filling out paperwork. I turned in my paperwork and about half an hour later, my name was called again. This time by another older lady with short gray hair, except this one had an eyebrow ring. She sat me down on a big fluffy couch in a private room and explained that she would be by my side for the rest of my visit here. She also turned out to be a counselor. We talked about the abortion, and what my fears and concerns were. I told her that I was very afraid of the pain. She explained everything to me in a way that wasn’t too frilly. She didn’t make it sound like it would feel like kittens licking me, but she also told me that I would only experience discomfort, not pain. I also told her that I felt bad for disappointing those who wanted me to have the baby. She explained that she felt I was very brave for going through with this, and that I inspired her. While she talked to me, she began crying a little. This is when I could tell she had passion for her job, and that I wasn’t just another name. While I still wasn’t completely calm, talking to her helped. Then she began explaining that before the abortion procedure could begin, I had to take pills to help my cervix dilate. She explained that I needed to be sure I wanted to proceed because these pills would cause very serious birth defects. I agreed that I wanted to continue. She gave me two little white pills to put between my gum and cheek. I had to leave them in for thirty minutes, and then I could spit them out. It felt a little surreal as I put the pills in my mouth, because that meant I was actually going to have an abortion. A little while after I spit them out, I began feeling cramping in my uterus. It wasn’t anything unbearable, it felt like mild or moderate period cramps. After a while, my cramps subsided and I sat and waited for my name to be called. About an hour and a half after taking the pills, my name was called. This was when I began to get really nervous.

I followed my counselor back into the operating room. It didn’t look like an operating room, just like a little examination room. In the corner of the room was the aspiration machine that they performed the abortion with. I sat down in a chair and the doctor who would be performing the procedure came in and talked to me. Once again I began crying. I was terrified. The doctor assured me that I would be fine, and left me to undress. Once I was sitting on the exam table, my counselor came in. She dimmed the lights and flicked a switch, and the room filled with soft music. Understanding that I was afraid, she took everything very slowly. She helped me put my legs in the stirrups, except these ones held your leg at the knee so that you didn’t have to try to keep your legs from moving. She gave me a blanket. Then one of the nurses came in and told me she was going to put the tube in my arm so that they could administer the sedation and pain meds. As soon as the nurse injected the meds into the tube in my arm, I could feel them starting to work. It was like taking a big dose of Nyquil. I could feel my body getting warm from the inside. I still felt in control, not completely out of it. But while I was more relaxed, I could still feel the fear. The procedure began, and the first part of it didn’t feel like anything more than a pap smear. I got a numbing shot in my cervix that I didn’t feel at all. I really thought I would feel it, but I didn’t. When the actual abortion began, I did feel extreme discomfort. From what I was told, it was my uterus tightening and contracting as it was being emptied. I cried out a little and moaned, but before it could become unbearable it was over. When I was informed that it was over, I was in complete disbelief. A few minutes later, my counselor had me sit up, and handed me my underwear and a pad. I redressed and she slowly led me into the recovery room. There was a line of big recliners with tables next to them. There was one other girl sitting in the room. She looked fine. My counselor asked me if I would like a 7up, and I said sure. She gave me some crackers, and I ate them really quickly because I was starving. She gave me my aftercare instructions, and went to submit my paperwork so I could leave. While she was gone, the girl next to me looked at me and smiled and said “I’m so relieved.” I smiled and agreed. When I walked back into the waiting room to find my sister, everyone looked at me and smiled. I smiled back. I felt so incredibly relieved. I didn’t feel guilty, or like I had disappointed God. I was worried that I would feel regret, but I just didn’t. As we left, I felt as if I was leaving an unwanted and bad part of my life behind. All the stress and fear I had been feeling was gone, and I felt peaceful for the first time in a long time. I never want to be in that position again, and I have learned a major lesson. Although I was taking birth control, I wasn’t being careful. However, if I could do it all over again, I would still get an abortion. I am definitely not sorry.

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