Natalie’s Story

Moving in with my boyfriend seemed like the logical step in our relationship. We loved each other and I had told more than one person that he was “the one”. But a month and a half into living together we barely talked, hardly saw each other, and rarely had sex. Rarely, it seemed, was still enough to get pregnant.

I knew before I missed a period, which was irregular anyway. I had morning sickness all the time, and I had to try and hide it from my busy body co-workers. It was easy to hide it from him. My boyfriend went to bed early most nights, giving me time alone to be nauseous and cry. So I made the decision to abort all by myself.

At first I tried a self induced chemical abortion. There are certain over the counter supplements that stimulate the uterus. Hoping to “shake the baby loose” I took large amounts of cohosh root, and drank pennyroyal tea by the gallon. Into my second week of pills and tea I realized that it wasn’t working. I decided to finish the week out and found the number to the local abortion clinic. My boyfriend found my bottle of pills in my purse. He questioned me as to why I would be taking something labeled ‘menopause support’. I told him the truth about being pregnant, about not telling him, about trying to end the pregnancy. He said he’d support me in whatever decision I made.

My abortion was scheduled three days before Christmas. No one knew but my boyfriend and me. He said he’d be there for me; he’d be in the room if I needed him there. I couldn’t have him in the room; I knew the day would be hard enough without having to look into his face and bursting into tears every ten minutes. But when I mentioned that I might need him to pick me up afterward, he told me that he had to work. I was truly alone in this for certain now.

The clinic has a big sign in the front announcing that is an abortion clinic. It’s less than a block away from a Catholic grade school. The protestors weren’t pushy, but they tried to talk to me as I walked in. I had to pass my ID through a slot in the entrance window before they’d buzz me into the office. And then it was a rush of paperwork, calling me into different rooms, a sonogram, listening to lots of people talk at me. In the last office they gave me a few pills, antibiotic, pain reliever, and a sedative. And then the waiting. An hour and a half in the general waiting room and then another hour in a semi-private waiting room. I tried not to look at the other women’s red faces and teary eyes. I was determined not to cry in the office. Everything seemed so sterile and void of emotion there. And I thought that if I started crying, I might not be able to stop. I tried to let the sedative do its job, I tried to sleep. But every rustle and sound was the possibility that it was my turn.

And then it was my turn. I went into a very cold room where I was told to remove all of my clothes and cover myself with paper drapes. The nurse gave me a heat wrap to put around my neck as I lay on the table and tried to imagine I was somewhere else. I don’t know how long we waited for the doctor. My wrap had gone cold and I shivered as I couldn’t block out the voices of the nurses in the room. They talked about Christmas and all number of personal things, like I wasn’t even there. When the doctor did come in, he had his hands on me in less than thirty seconds. He did the full gynecological exam along with the abortion. I could feel everything, every poke and prod, I had been waiting so long the sedative and pain reliever were pretty well gone. The sound of the ‘vacuum’ was awful and loud. There was a build up of pain and then it was over. The doctor left and I had to redress as the nurses cleaned down the room.

After, I sat in another waiting room where a nurse brought me cookies and soda. Then I had to walk laps around the office to make sure there wasn’t any abnormal bleeding. There was teenage girl in the waiting room too, with all her family around. While doing our laps, she was loud and made everything seem like a big joke. I hated being there, dealing with my own pain, when this girl acted like this was just a good reason to milk her parents for sympathy. I lied about how many laps I had done just to get out of the office. I drove myself home to my waiting boyfriend, who had gotten off of work at the normal time and already made it home across town.

I cried a lot in the next days leading to Christmas. I was sad about what I had done, but not sorry. My boyfriend decided to hang out with his friends instead of spending Christmas with me and my family. So when I returned to our home to find him asleep on the couch, I broke up with him right then. And I was glad that we wouldn’t be bringing a child into the world, into an already broken relationship. I’m sorry that I was stupid in not being fully protected during sex, but I’m not sorry that I had an abortion.