Leila’s Story

I woke up on the morning of my scheduled abortion and my beau joked, “Today is your big day!”

Honestly, I was looking forward to it. I had felt like shit for the past month, barely able to function from the nausea and loss of energy, and was eager to get it over with. The clinic actually made me wait a couple weeks longer to get it done, so the egg sac would be big enough to locate. I was going in 8 weeks pregnant.

My man dropped me off and then went to play a few rounds of golf. Just kidding. We passed through security (no protesters again!) and they searched our bags. We sat in the waiting room. He graded papers. I knitted. There were more men there with their partners this time, but at least three of the dudes were sleeping. I heard several different languages being spoken.

I got called in to pay for the procedure ($240), then got sent out to wait again. It wasn’t long before they called me back in along with five other girls. They were all in their early 20’s; four were African-American, one was Eastern European. Herd-like we followed the nurse to a locker room where we all changed into hospital gowns and these awful paper bag slippers. Those slippers were the worst part of the experience.

We were given a Valium and Ibuprofen. Then we were told to go to a waiting room/holding pen, where FUCKING MONTEL WILLIAMS was on TV again, berating some 15 year old for smoking pot (2nd worst part of the experience).

The Eastern European girl was terrified. She mentally latched on to me and said in a tiny broken voice, “Are you scared?”

“No. I’ve been pregnant before and I’ve had a D&C, and this is not as big a deal as people make it out to be.” I was trying to reassure her; hopefully I didn’t trivialize her fear.

“Why you get abortion?” she asked me.

I shrugged. “It’s just not the right time for me. I haven’t been with my partner long enough and we want more time to get to know each other.”

She said, “I’ve never done this before. I don’t believe I am here.”

I felt so bad for her. She was like a little injured bird sitting there hunched over (3rd worst part of the experience). The other girls filed in and had a seat. None of them seemed particularly worried.

Then a chipper volunteer came in, a woman in her mid-40’s. She introduced herself as Maggie and said, “I will be here to help each of you through it. Yes, it does hurt, but most girls walk out of here thinking it wasn’t as bad as they thought it was going to be. No matter what you’re feeling right now, it’s OK.” Oh good, we have an abortion buddy.

Eastern European bird girl started to cry, and Maggie went and sat next to her and held her hand. Fucking Montel Williams blabbed away in the background.

“Now tell me,” Maggie said, leaning forward earnestly, “What’s your name, and what are you going to do for birth control?”

Three of the African-American girls had the same first name, let’s say LaTonya. LaTonya1 one said she wanted to get her tubes ties. She had one kid and was 21. Um, good luck with that.

LaTonya2 wanted to get a Nuva Ring. “Good!” Maggie approved.

I piped up. “Doesn’t that cause blood clots or something?”

“Yeah, right!” Maggie pshawed.

“Well my friend went into the ER one time with a blood clot in her brain and she was using the Nuva Ring. She almost died.”

“Well the blood clot was caused by something else, not her birth control,” Maggie decided dismissively. (I have no doubt my friend will be commenting on this post.)

Brandy wanted to get an IDU. “An IUD?” Maggie offered.

I said, “What’s the difference between an IUD with hormones and without?”

Maggie said, “The one with hormones works better.”

I said, “But I heard that can cause spotting for months at a time and make you break out.” “Where do you get your information?” she asked sneering a bit.

“I do a lot of research and that’s what my gynecologist told me,” I answered.

LaTonya3 said she wanted to get her tubes tied, too. She was 24 and had two kids. I told her she’d probably need to ask around to find a doctor who would do it, that I had a friend who was young and wanted a vasectomy and it took him seeing three doctors to find one who would snip him kidless at age 24.

Then it was my turn. I told Maggie I planned on using condoms and spermicide, that I had been on the pill for 15 years and went off it to take a break. “And now look where you are!” she exclaimed triumphantly. Um, good point.

“But I don’t think it’s healthy to ingest artificial hormones for years and years, it’s kind of unnatural.”

“Well do you know what they call women who use condoms and spermicide for birth control?” Maggie said, then gave a pregnant (HA!) pause before announcing smugly, “Mothers!”

I shot back, “But this way the man shares in the birth control and for that matter, why the hell can’t the man take a pill and deal with weight gain and break outs and mood swings?!”

Everyone laughed. Maggie declared, “Well that’s not going to happen. You should just go back on the pill.”

Poor terrified Eastern European bird woman didn’t even get a turn to say what she was going to use (I’m guessing she’ll never let a dick near her again and I found myself trying to imagine her having sex in the first place) because the nurse called her name. Maggie went with her.

This left the rest of us to chat among ourselves. LaTonya2 said she had been there the year before for an abortion, and that her sister just came last week and paid $1000 because she was 5 months along. We were all horrified by this, and one girl said, “That far along? You should just have it!”

“My sister be trippin’,” LaTonya2 explained.

Another girl said people were telling her to consider adoption. She sputtered in disbelief. “I ain’t carrying a baby nine months and then giving it away!”

Another told of how she came last week for her pre-appointment, but she had left her ID at home and had to go back and get it. The abortion protesters cheered and clapped, and she assured them, “Don’t worry, I’ll be back.”

Next they called my name. YESSSSS. I didn’t want to wait around.

“Female,” she replied.

PHEW. I knew they had four or five doctors and one of them was some dude who had been doing it for 30 years, and while that’s all well and good, I just didn’t want some old guy doing my abortion.

The doctor came in and she was totally cool and young and pretty. Pill pusher Maggie came in and stood by my head and held my hand. They asked if I had any questions and I said, “Does it really take only two minutes?”

They said yep.

“Just tell me everything you’re doing.”

I assumed the position with my feet in the stirrups and the doctor put a speculum in my vagina to get access to my cervix. I don’t think the valium had really kicked in yet, but I knew they were going to inject a local anaesthetic into my cervix. (They offer an IV sedation for extra, but I didn’t want that.)

I offered to donate the material they gathered to science, but they told me there wasn’t enough there at this stage. It would just be discarded.

Sure enough, the whole thing took about two minutes. I felt my cervix being stabbed and/or a sharp pain about five times, and it did fucking hurt (4th worst part of the experience), but I had a death grip on Maggie’s hand. As soon as they injected my cervix I felt the medicine go straight to my head, whoosh, and I got a little zooty then. I mean I could feel things and ask questions, but some of the words came out wrong.

“Boy am I glad you’re here!” I gasped to Maggie, who looked down at me kindly. I couldn’t believe she took time out of her day to help women out like this. I felt grateful for her presence, even if she did seem more concerned about preventing future pregnancies than a woman’s health and well-being.

The doctor widened my cervix and inserted an – I kid you not – hand held turkey baster, and sucked out the unwanted contents of my uterus. No whirring machine, no scraping instruments. “The dentist is worse than this!” I said between winces, and “Hell I’ve had a baby, I can handle this!” I was a brave girl.

The doctor pulled away and said all chipper, “That’s it.”

“That’s it?!” I exclaimed. I did it.

Then I asked my bravest question yet. “Can I see what you sucked out of me?”

I had looked online beforehand and had seen all the gruesome bloody shots and mutilated body parts, but I wanted to see it for myself, with my own eyes. I was seriously dreading looking, but wanted to bear witness. I was expecting a pan full of blood, some stuff that looked like raw liver, and maybe a gross little alien bubbling in the gore croaking out, “Mama?”

“Sure!” the doctor said, and she came around the sheet draped over my legs and showed me the little plastic Tupperware container that held the abortion. And do you know what it looked like? Half a cup of egg whites with some brown bits in it. It wasn’t even bloody.

“That’s it?!” I exclaimed in astonishment.

“That’s it!” She swirled it around so I could see better. I looked harder, expecting to see at least a leg or something.

“But where’s the fetus?!” This was blowing my mind.

“Right now it’s too small to see with the naked eye,” the doctor explained. “What you’re seeing is mostly the egg sac.”

“And this is what it normally looks like?”

“At 8 weeks, sure.”

“Well HELL! If THIS is what they put on those abortion signs, people would be thinking ‘omelet,’ not ‘baby killer‘!”

I thanked them for their help, put on my maxi-pad, and the nurse walked me to the recovery room. I was still stunned, but read my book. A couple other women were also in the recovery room in reclining chairs looking exhausted.

A nurse came by and offered me a heating pad, Sierra Mist and cookies. Nice!

I hung out in the spa for about 15 minutes, then went and got dressed and discarded those fucking awful paper bag slippers. They sent me home with a bag of antibiotics and three months worth of birth control pills. (I’m not supposed to put anything in my vagina for a week. OK, maybe THIS was the worst part of the experience.)

I came out to the waiting room and my guy looked up at me with concern. “Boy do I have a surprise to tell you,” I said in amazement. His eyes widened. He was getting a little wary of my “surprises.”

We were there for a total of two hours. I thought I’d be down for the count at least for the day, but I felt fine. Afterwards we had sushi and went shopping. My guy wanted to stop in at Sports Authority to look at exercise equipment, and I said, “I’m not really comfortable going into a sports store.”

His reply to that? “Well, I’m not really comfortable going to abortion clinics, so come on.”

Dunno if it was psychological, but I felt instantly better. That evening I got my taste for coffee and booze back. I finally started cleaning the house after neglecting it for days.

And hey, here is what one pro-life website has to say about the aftereffects abortion:

Abortion procedures vary according to the stage of pregnancy. Each procedure is painful for both the mother and her unborn baby. After an abortion, many women experience one or more of the following consequences, some of which may take several years to surface.

Physical: – Excessive bleeding, may require blood transfusions. – Perforated uterus or damage to other organs. – Chronic and acute infections. – Intense pain. – Incomplete removal of baby or placenta. – High fever, convulsions, shock, coma. – Increase in miscarriages, ectopic (tubal) pregnancies, premature births, and stillbirths. – Irregular pap smears; breast cancer. – Infertility. – Death.

I haven’t taken so much as an Advil, and I stopped bleeding the next day.