Krystal’s Story

If you ask people I went to high school with, they would tell you I was the last person they thought who would end up pregnant. I was and still am an honors student; I am 20 yrs old, in my 2nd year of college trying to get my major requirements done to become a medical student.

I am in a wonderful relationship with my boyfriend of over 1 ½ years. He was my first and is still my only. I remember discussing with him that I was pro-choice (despite being catholic and having somewhat conservative parents) and now that we were sexually active, what we would do in case we got pregnant. We both had the same thought, “we wanted children eventually, but not until we were able to afford and care for one.”

For a year, I relied solely on condoms and a somewhat shaky rhythm method. I never had the time to go get proper birth control as I was a full time student and worked part time for awhile and also didn’t want my mom to find out, since she was and still is under the impression that I am a virgin. Unfortunately in February, I relied on the rhythm method (no condoms) and got pregnant. I suspected a few days before I was due to get my period, but tested on the day I was due to get it. I got such a faint positive that I wasn’t even sure I was seeing things correctly. I showed my boyfriend, shaking the whole time. He said he wasn’t sure if he saw it either, so we called a Planned Parenthood (there are 3 in my town) and I went to get a test there. Thankfully my school load had considerably lightened by now and I was voluntarily unemployed so I was able to go about undetected by anyone. Anyway, let me say that I will never go back to that clinic not even for something as simple as birth control. I was treated horribly there. I took a urine test, was told I was NOT pregnant, and at a follow up appointment the next day was given birth control. They then told me to start the birth control right away, even though I hadn’t started my period. I trusted them and was taking the birth control for three days, along with prescription Pyridium for what I thought was a bladder infection and 3 dramamine that I took for an out of town trip for school. I had yet to get my period after those three days, so on a whim I took another home test (both home tests were E.P.T.), and to my dismay, this one was a clear positive. I went back to the wretched clinic, where they told me that their tests were not as sensitive as home tests, which struck me as absurd since they were a clinic that specialized in this. And they couldn’t even invest in good tests? When I asked for a blood test, they tried to give me another urine test. I demanded the blood test, and then realized I should ask whether it was qualitative or quantitative. When the nurse’s assistant told me it was qualitative (the same as a urine test) I just said “forget it.” Needless to say, I walked out of that clinic, crying in the arms of my boyfriend. We called the other Planned Parenthood clinic in my town, and this one was better a hundred fold. They gave me a test, which was of course positive and told me I was approximately six weeks from my LMP. They went over all my options, and I told them without hesitation that I wanted to terminate. They were extremely helpful, and gave me the number of a clinic that solely does abortions so I wouldn’t have to wait too long (they only performed abortions one day every two weeks and the days they had were full), and also the number of an office where I could apply for Medi-Cal, which I got, since I couldn’t afford the procedure on my own, though my boyfriend offered to pay for the entire thing out of pocket.

I had my boyfriend make the appointment for me, as I was on a bus full of students on a field trip for an honors class at the time (the bus ride was miserable, damn morning sickness). Unfortunately, there was a two week wait. I was devastated. I just wanted this thing out. It was making me miserable physically and emotionally. I couldn’t tell my family, as they would be disappointed and disapproving. The two friends I trusted enough to tell took it well enough but acted oddly around me for most of the time I was pregnant. I could only talk to my boyfriend, who was an immense help. He saw me almost everyday, and called me every day in his attempts to comfort me, and to let me know he loved me with all his heart and that we would be ok. I am eternally grateful.

Waiting is the worst part. I cried maybe a few days out of the 2 weeks, sometimes out of guilt for being in the situation in the first place, but I knew it was the right thing to do. I don’t regret having the abortion, but I do regret not being more careful. I cried because I couldn’t go to my family for support, cried because of the hormones, and cried in frustration and disgust at what was happening to my body: my boobs got one size bigger and felt like lead weights, I lost 10 pounds, I was tired and falling asleep in classes, I had horrible nausea, bad mood swings, and even started getting the stupid veins and stretch marks on my boobs from them growing, not to mention I was peeing on average 7 times a day. I’m not a conceited person concerned with body image; it was more the fact that the things happening to my body were an everyday reminder of the embryo growing inside me that I did not want.

To make matters even more confusing, I bled everyday since finding out I was pregnant. It was funny, because I didn’t even think I was pregnant because I was bleeding around the time my period was due, even if it was very light; it turned out I had implantation bleeding. Anyway, I especially bled at night for some reason. During the day it would be old and brown, but at night and early morning it would be bright red with clots, but never enough for a pad. As bad as this might sound, I never called a doctor; I hoped for a miscarriage just so I wouldn’t have to go through with an abortion, but when the symptoms remained, I just waited for the abortion.

Finally, it was the day of my abortion appointment, March 29, 2007. I was a nervous wreck the night before, and as I couldn’t go to sleep, I talked with my boyfriend about what we were doing and if we wanted to change our minds it was now. Neither of us did. So we asked each other every question and aspect of the situation and vented our feelings. This helped us to cope better. The next morning, I woke up 2 hours before the appointment which was to be at 9:15 a.m., so I just read a book to pass the time. Finally, my boyfriend picked me up and we were off to the clinic. Ironically, it was across the street from the hospital my mom was going to be working in a few short weeks. I was pleasantly surprised when I got there; the decorations were mellow, and the setting was comfortable. It reminded me of a comfy winter cabin. Anyway, the receptionist gave me the papers to sign, and really, the paperwork is not as much as people make it out to be. I was only told to sign 2 of the packet’s forms and the counselor would help with the rest. When the counselor called me in, she just asked my medical history, and explained what the forms meant and had me sign the rest. Not once did she ask if this is really what I wanted or if I was being abused or anything like that. After the ‘counseling session’, I took another urine test, a lab tech took blood for lab work, and I changed into a dark blue paper gown with some cheap blue paper booties. They weighed me, took my blood pressure and had me wait for the exam. The exam was not bad at all. The nurse checked my uterus physically and never having had an exam like that ever, the only thing I can say about it is it’s someone sticking a finger up there and palpating your uterus from the outside with the other hand. Then she did the ultrasound. The screen was turned away from me, and although I had wanted to ask if I could see, I decided not to. She announced that I was 7 weeks 6 days. I wiped off the gel when she was done and I was directed to the patient holding room. I was the only one there, although there had been about 4 other girls waiting with me before we got our exams. I waited for only maybe 5 or 10 minutes until I was called to the procedure room. It did look a little intimidating, but the nurses were nice. Every one in the room asked me what I wanted to be when I was done with school, and told me how pretty and long my hair was. It helped to ease my anxiety and distract me from what was going on. Then the anesthesiologist came in and introduced himself, and the doctor followed and introduced himself. The worst part was getting the anesthesia; something accidental happened with mine. The I.V. was in correctly, but must have been a little shallow, because when the anesthesia was administered the pain was almost unbearable when the medicine flowed from the site and pooled underneath my skin. It felt like a sharp fiery pain was spreading from the i.v. and up. When the anesthesiologist asked if I was in pain, I said yes, but it wasn’t unbearable, just extremely uncomfortable. He then asked if I was feeling sleepy yet, and when I said no, everyone looked at each other as if to say “what the heck?!”. Then he said, “well just go to sleep honey, go to sleep.” Then I started to feel dizzy and light headed, so I let him know. The next thing I knew I was waking up in the recovery room. I still remember waking up and immediately saying “I drooled in my sleep,” and the nurse just giggled and handed me a napkin. I was very lucky according to the nurses. Most people don’t bounce back from anesthesia the way I did. I was alert and talkative within seconds of the drug wearing off. They checked my blood pressure, and put a pad on me. I could feel I was bleeding lightly, and the cramping was not bad. I usually never get period cramps, so these cramps were a little stronger than what I have ever experienced. They definitely were not bad, just uncomfortable. They went away as soon as I was able to stand. A nurse walked me to my locker, and allowed me to change. I gathered my things and waited for the next step. Another staff member asked me how I was feeling, and truth be told I was feeling excellent. I did ask her when the pregnancy symptoms would go away; she said the symptoms like nausea, frequent urination, breast tenderness should be gone within a few days. Most of what I had was gone in 1 ½ days, except the breast tenderness (that took about 2 weeks). I also asked how long it would take for my uterus to go back to the way it was; she answered 2-3 weeks, and that if I felt cramping it was because the uterus was returning to its pre-pregnancy size. She was glad I was alright and asked if I wanted birth control and I said “yes please!” She prescribed me antibiotics, ibuprofen, and 3 months worth of birth control. When she said to use back up with the birth control for the first month, she asked what my boyfriend would be using, and I told her “nothing, because he won’t be touching me for a long time!” which made her laugh. She then tried calling my boyfriend from their phone line, but as the lines were busy, she just walked me to the lobby and called his name. When he looked up at me and started gathering his things, she smiled at me and said I was free to go. I walked over to him and I felt so calm and normal. He asked if I was all done. I assured him I was, the poor guy looked so pale and nervous, but it may have been just me, I’ve never asked him. He said he was happy to see me and his head had jerked up every time the lobby door opened, hoping it would be me. Overall, I only spent 2 hours and 15 minutes at the clinic. Everything went by so quickly. For the rest of the day I felt excellent physically and relieved and grateful emotionally. I only cramped for maybe 30 minutes at the clinic and bled very lightly for maybe 2 hours afterward. I did not bleed or spot for a long time… I did start cramping and bleeding VERY lightly (not enough for a pad) after I started the birth control, 3 days after the procedure. I was one of the lucky ones. The only complaint I had was my arm where they put the I.V; I had asked my nurse in the recovery room if my arm looked normal, as it had become red and blotchy. Another nurse was called in to examine the arm, and told me that every once in awhile, the medicine will flow out and become trapped underneath the skin. I described the pain to her as how one might feel after working out and overdoing it and having very sensitive and tender muscle pain. She told me the pain might get worse and there would be swelling, but I would be fine. As promised, after 5 days the pain subsided; the redness got worse the day of the procedure but stayed the same the day after and then turned into a bruise that covered most of my upper arm, and now has completely disappeared. Other than the I.V. incident, everything had gone swimmingly. The mood swings were another story, but those went away in a couple of weeks.

My reasons for the abortion are immaterial, but I will share them anyway, not to justify what I did, but because maybe there is someone out there reading this and it will help them in some way: I did this for myself. It is what every anti-choice person goes on about, that people who have abortions are selfish. I agree. But then, so is almost every single thing humans do. Wanting a child of your own flesh and blood is selfish. No one NEEDS to have children, they want to. I did this because having a child at this point would ruin my life. I would be alienated from my family, I would be unable to finish school, I was unemployed, in a good relationship but not married or even living with my boyfriend. I was only 20 years old. So on and so forth. I knew I couldn’t carry the baby for 9 months, give birth to it, and then give it away. But I couldn’t keep it for myself either. What kind of life is that for a child?! A child who would be loved, but not wanted, and maybe even resented. A child who would have to live in poverty for awhile, because its mother had no job and was still in school and the father worked minimum wage and was also still in school. And I refused to make my parents essentially pay for and raise the baby. I chose to wait to have children (yes I want kids, but not until later in life, when I am ready). I am profoundly grateful that I have that choice, and I hope this nation will someday open their eyes and realize that it is not their place to judge, nor is it their place to say what a person can do with their body.

For whatever reason, I ended this pregnancy because I still want a life that is mine. I will remain pro-choice, even if it was a ridiculously difficult decision to make for myself. Every woman has a right to choose, and no one has the right to impose their judgment on you, especially if they don’t know you or your situation. I hope that if I ever have any daughters and they find themselves in my situation, they will come to me, and I will love them unconditionally, and support them in whatever they choose.

I won’t deny that the feelings I have had after this experience have been hard at times. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t think about my experience, even if it is for fleeting moments. Perhaps I would have dealt with it better if I had support. But since I had to hide the pregnancy and abortion, I have had to hide my feelings, and sometimes it can be very hard to act normal and as if nothing happened. I’m not thoroughly depressed about it, nor do I regret it, but I do wonder sometimes about what might have been, especially since my sister in law who lives with us was not that much further along then I was when I had the abortion. Already I am feeling better. My boyfriend has also had his ups and downs about the whole thing, but we have been open with each other, and it has made us very strong. Remember, just because you think about it, doesn’t mean you regret it; it can be entirely normal to think this way. Some people do think about it and some people don’t and just go about their daily lives.

I am still with my boyfriend, and honestly, I believe I will marry him someday. We will go on to lead happy lives, be able to achieve our goals, have good careers, have children someday, and everything will hopefully be as it should be. I am not sorry, nor do I believe I ever will be.