Nicole’s Story

The worst part of my experience was the waiting – the days between the positive test and the abortion were the most brutal days of my life.

I started to get pregnancy symptoms in mid November, around the same time that I decided I was going to start training for marathons again. Every symptom I had could be explained away conveniently by the other things going on in my life. Indigestion and heartburn? Well, I’m eating more chickpeas than a normal person really should. Nausea in the morning? Well, I’m getting out of bed at 4:00 to torture my body at the gym. Tender breasts? I’m lifting a lot of weights and spending too much time in a sports bra. Odd food cravings? I’m suddenly depriving myself of pie after a long period of crappy eating habits. No period? Holiday stress. Violent mood swings? More holiday stress. By early December, I began to suspect something was wrong, and the logical part of my brain shut down. I’m childfree by choice, and I knew a pregnancy would be a nightmare for me. I wished the whole mess away, and then I tried to drink the whole mess away. I finally took a test and got a positive result the week before Christmas. There was no agonizing decision to make. I was ashamed of what one irresponsible decision did to me, but I knew what I had to do, and had an appointment for a consult and abortion set within minutes of taking the test.

Unfortunately, I turned to booze even more. My mood swings became out of control – pregnancy hormones are one thing, but I was psychotic. My work suffered, and at a time when my career was just starting to move. I was completely at ease with the decision to have an abortion, but could not deal with the side effects of pregnancy – or even knowing that it was inside of me – while sober. One night, I drank, broke down in tears, flew into a violent rage, and punched a wall, leaving a gaping hole and breaking my hand.

So, there I was, harming myself, breaking bones, because I was simply not mentally able to deal with an unwanted pregnancy. This brings me to the part of my experience that still infuriates me and probably will for a long time to come. I contacted my GP to discuss short term use of a drug I’d heard about that treats anxiety. I was ready to admit that I could not do this on my own and that I needed something to help me through. My doctor’s response? Xanax has been known to cause fetal problems, and therefore, I should not take it. He would not even consider that the fetus was to be expelled. It was a harsh lesson: As a woman of child-bearing age, you are not treated as an individual so much as a vessel that may contain a precious baby. I was devastated. It would have been one thing if the drug I’d heard about was simply not right for my needs, but I was denied medical care because of an unwanted pregnancy. Needless to say, this did not help my mood. I drank.

I somehow suffered through, and the day finally arrived. It was uneventful. The pain didn’t catch up with me until evening. The next day was especially rough pain-wise, and even a week later as I write this, my moods and body have not returned to normal. I have, however, been able to stop drinking and start focusing on getting my life back in order. The relief of having an unwanted parasite out of my body is enough to get me through now.