Sep 052010

It would be a great honor to share my own abortion experience on the site which helped me through so much hardship and turmoil that has been the past two weeks of my life. It is very difficult to come across a website that is not pro-life fear-instilling propaganda when all one truly wants is genuine accounts from real, honest women of this already traumatizing situation. I am so lucky to have found this because it helped me cope so much with my then-upcoming procedure, and I would love the opportunity to share my own experience.

Today is May 21st, 2009. I left Planned Parenthood approximately 6 hours ago from my surgical abortion procedure.

2 weeks ago, my period had been missing in action for 6 days. After working an extra shift to pay for my upcoming grad school tuition, I ran to the store for some essentials, and decided to pick up a home pregnancy test as well. I am just a couple weeks away from turning 23 and had never been pregnant. I have been through a couple scares in my life, all of which turned out to be nothing. I thought this was going to be just another one of those times, and my grocery bill was an extra $18 for the test because I told myself “I just had to make sure ol’ Flo was just being a little stubborn this time around.”

Well, when the test screen showed a big plus sign, there went my entire world.

I did not eat or sleep for three days.

I knew immediately what I wanted to do. My partner and I are not even together. We had dated for a year and half, and he left me in the most heartless, selfish way (i.e., walking out of my house without saying a word, 3 days before my birthday no less, and trying to give me all of my stuff back via our mutual friend a week later). We decided to remain friends after a few months of total silence. Your guesses are as good as mine as to why I chose to excuse this extremely immature and boorish behavior. It is even more mind-baffling as to why our friendship also included sexual grounds. That aside, we made a mistake. We were using condoms, as I had gone off the pill after we broke up. I do not recall any breakage or slippage, but as the amazing doctor today told me, nothing is 100%. Nothing, of course, but my firm conviction that no child deserves to be raised in such a volatile environment as this.

I called Planned Parenthood to schedule my appointment last week. It was a very hectic time, because my sister was going through her numerous graduation rituals and ceremonies for her degree in Dental Hygiene. That and my work schedule left me no choice but to book a date that was 10 days from the time I made the call. What was most difficult for me during this entire ordeal was the waiting during that ten days. I commend and hug all of you who are in this stage right now. The days went by so slowly. There was no Sunday, or Monday, or Tuesday. It was “6 days to go”, 5, 4, etc. Well, finally, it was 0.

I have told only my partner and my best friend about this. My partner is not even employed. You know the stereotype 20-something with ungroomed hair, living with 5 other guys, receiving a monthly allowance from his father in another state? Well, that is him.

All I asked of him was to drive me to the clinic. I paid the entire $425 from my own wallet, and honestly, corniness aside, while it may be difficult for the next couple months, my empowerment and pride in this fact is priceless. All I asked of him, aside from the ride, was to buy me a sandwich afterwards (my attempt at trying to make the situation lighter). His response: “if I can afford it.”

So I arrived at his house; he was hungover (somehow there’s still money from dad’s allowance for those bar tabs) and still getting ready. The clinic is only about three blocks from his home, though, so we got in the car, I took a deep breath, and we were on our way.

The woman with whom I made the appointment warned me about the protesters, and facing them was what I was dreading the most. There was only one, though, an older man proclaiming to oncoming traffic with his sign that “Abortion Kills Children.” He yelled something at us while we were walking but honestly I could not even hear him. Yes, the parking lot was that big and that full. What I did not know about this clinic was that it is also separated from a neighborhood’s backyards by a brick wall. Over this wall was, surprise, another old man (correlation much?), in his backyard with a crucified Jesus held up for us to see, with his head poking out like a gossipy, nosey bored housewife. He too said something I could not make out, although I do think he blessed us.

I went in and the first thing I was asked to do was pay. No problem, although I didn‘t expect it. Then I filled out pages and pages of paperwork. What bothered me the most about this was how my partner was craning over to look at every little thing I wrote down, yet when I asked him what time it was, he turned on his phone to check, and immediately slouched so I could not see him enter his passcode to unlock his phone … I informed them on the paperwork that I wanted the IV sedation and I signed to say that I would not drive or operate machinery for a while. “Too bad, you can’t drive a bulldozer today”, said my partner. All I could do was laugh and say “Dammit, I wanted to bulldoze that man outside.” A couple people overheard me and laughed. By this time, after 10 days of waiting, finally being there felt great and I was in such a relieved and calm and joking state. I was honestly happy for the first time in two weeks. I knew as soon as I walked in that I was doing the most loving, appropriate thing.

I held in my pee all morning because I thought I was going to have a urine test, which never came. The first time I was called back was for my ultrasound. The lovely and extremely affable woman for this asked me if I wanted to know if I was having twins. I said I did not want to know anything at all, please. She said no one does so not to worry. The ultrasound took maybe three minutes, most of which was spent undressing and waiting. A beautiful, serene painting was placed on the ceiling above my chair to keep me distracted. I went back to the waiting room. About 10 minutes later I was called again by an older, loving mother type who went over my medical history with me, took my blood pressure and drew my blood. This took about 20 minutes. She then checked to see what time the doctor would see me. It was 2 hours away. She told me if I wanted I could leave and come back. We took this opportunity to grab some breakfast at Sonic, as I finally realized how hungry I was. The first protester in the parking lot had left and was replaced by a woman holding a sign of an 8 week old embryo. She was sitting on the bus stop bench on the sidewalk. Apparently it’s absolutely necessary to convey the horrors of abortion to onlookers, but it’s not quite worthy enough of sacrificing one’s leg muscles to stand while doing it.

It started raining while we were gone, a truly rare and blessing thing in our arid climate. This made every protester leave. When we got back I did not even have to present my ID to be buzzed in again. Despite the numerous patients that day, they recognized me. This left me feeling extremely comfortable. While waiting, the TV was showing breaking news in our town of a mother who recently suffocated her 3 year old child and buried him in a sandbox in a public park. She said she did it because “she did not want to have him grow up unwanted and unloved, like she was.” Because this, and financial instability, were the reasons for my choice, I suddenly started feeling even better about what I was doing.

I was called back to meet the doctor performing the procedure. She was absolutely FANTASTIC. I commend Planned Parenthood sooo much for their incredible, loving staff. I wanted to cry and give her a hug. I was given 4 Ibuprofen and was informed I was Rh Negative. Wow! I feel pretty darn unique! I had been rehearsing this part for a while, thinking I’d be asked why and why not the other options available would not do for me (“I am starting grad school in August, and for now all I do is wait tables, and even with that salary most of it goes to my mom to help her out when I am not paying my own bills. I don‘t want to get attached to my child if I am going to adopt it away“…etc etc). Nothing of the sort ever came up. She left and about 15 minutes later a very cool young male nurse with a mohawk introduced himself and took me to what was essentially a large bathroom where I emptied my bladder, put my shoes, pants and underwear in a basket, and sat with a drape over my lap on a chair. He came back shortly and escorted me into the procedure room, while all I could think about was whether or not my big ass was hanging out of the drape. He sat me down on the chair and reclined me slowly. This was it. Here we go.

All together, there were three people in the room: this cool nurse, my doctor, and a man to whom I was introduced but I do not know what exact part he played. The nurse monitored my blood pressure and heart rate, held my hand, and asked me about school while I looked up at the ceiling to a poster of a sunflower field. The doctor I spoke with earlier gave me my sedation. The doctor and the older man, well, did their thing, really! Everyone was asking me about my school and I noticed it was getting harder and harder to answer as the pain kept getting slightly more intense (but nothing excruciating). While I thought all they were doing at this point was dilating, it was over! 6 minutes, in and out, tops! I had the MVA procedure, which I did not know at the time, and I suppose I was waiting for the sound of a suction machine to begin. It never came. It was over and it was quick. I was eased up and into a wheelchair and taken into the recovery room (by my cool mohawked nurse!) where yet another amazing woman gave me some apple juice (one of three choices I had for a refreshment), and I sat for only about 20 minutes as I got my shot for my blood type, and set up my birth control and payment. I got up from the chair slowly to a curtained corner where I wiped myself off, put my clothes back on, and placed a pad to put in my underwear, and was out of the room and ready to go home with my bag of goodies: aftercare, my antibiotics, an extra pad, a years’ worth of pills, and some condoms for a parting gift!

I did not think the sedation would even let me walk straight, but honestly I was feeling extremely coherent and fine. We went straight from the clinic to Pep Boys so the little man could get some stuff for his car. Maybe it was the drugs but I walked out with a Hello Kitty sunshade. We went and got a snack at Sonic again (ha ha), I sat in the driveway while he worked (yeah, that‘s the kind of guy he is), and soon I took myself home. Just a slight headache, probably from the sedation, but all in all I am fine, and honestly, better than ever.

My partner lives in a neighborhood with an elementary school. While he was working and I was sitting in the driveway, I could hear the children laughing and playing. While I was worried this noise would perturb me (it had been for two weeks), all I could feel was calm. I want my children to make those beautiful, cheerful noises one day. And honestly, I highly doubt that would have happened in my current situation. I looked across the street and saw a remarkable, well-tended, quaint house with a beautiful lawn. I want that one day too. But I am in absolutely no financial or mature standing for it right now. No child who comes into this world deserves anything less than that, with parents who love each other and ergo have the capacity to love what they create. And that is why I made the choice I did.

More importantly, this whole ordeal has caused me to truly look at my lifestyle and question my choices. My self-esteem is at an all-time high, as I have decided to end communication with this unsupportive person. I am remaining abstinent until I find myself in a loving, stable relationship. And this revelation of mine has caused me took at this scenario as a genuine blessing in disguise.

My name is Laura. I am 22. I had an abortion. And I am not sorry.

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