Nikki’s Story

I found out I was pregnant during the fall semester of my senior year of college. Although a home pregnancy test revealed a positive result, I still went to the basement of one of the academic halls to take another test before an anthropology lecture. I could not fathom how an intelligent woman like me could screw up taking her birth control pills, but there I was, an intelligent woman about to embark into the real world with a child I knew I did not want.

Although the father was in the anthropology class with me, I said nothing to him. In fact, I carried on with my normal routine as if I were in denial. After a few days of punching my pelvic area and hoping to miscarry, I soon realized that I had to take other measures. So I called the university health clinic for another pregnancy test and counseling. After taking the test, I was placed in a nurse’s office that was cluttered with religious paraphernalia talking about all of God’s children. When she came in with the “shocking” news that I was pregnant, I expected an adverse reaction to my plea for abortion clinic information. Although it was clear to me that she was anti, she did what every medical practitioner should do: she gave me all the information I needed, wished me good luck, and informed me that I was welcome to have a post-op checkup at her office.

Afterwards, I called the abortion clinic, determined to have the cells extracted at my earliest convenience, which was tomorrow afternoon. However, I was informed that due to the early nature of my pregnancy, I would have to wait at least two weeks for the abortion, and that I would be required to undergo a state-required counseling session twenty-four hours before the procedure. Fortunately, the receptionist explained, the counseling could be done over the phone. Also, an added bonus: she told me that my father’s insurance company would pay for the abortion…the news was the best belated Christmas present I have ever received!

A week before my scheduled procedure, I was watching the nightly news with the father when a segment came on about how it was the 25th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision. Perfect timing! I took advantage of the segment to ask him his opinion about abortion, which I found out he vehemently supported. There was no need to tell him about the pregnancy then, I decided. No need to have him worry when he was already preoccupied with his application to a special program at the university.

Finally the day for the counseling arrived, and I called as early as possible to the toll-free number to listen to some woman describe the procedure. Clearly, I had no idea what I was about to undergo. I’m grateful that I was paying attention; due to her detailed description, I changed my mind about having twilight. That afternoon I emptied out my bank account in order to pay for the twilight, which was not covered by my insurance.

The next day, my best friend from high school drove an hour to take me to the procedure. In front of the building was a feeble old man distributing anti brochures. Out of my innate kindness, I felt my hand reach out to take a brochure. Fortunately, before I could reach his hand, an anger that I had to face some elderly conservative on my way to this clinic started brewing inside of me. How did he know what happened in that building? And why was I forced to push this jerk out of my way in order to do something I believed was the best thing for all parties involved?

Everyone at the clinic acted in an extremely professional manner and even commented on how calm and collected I was. Why do they think I should be emotional? I wondered. I was actually excited to be there, thrilled to get on with my life. However, I was disturbed from the dire decor of the clinic, how the furniture in the room where the procedure was about to take place seemed like it was from the seventies. Even the equipment looked oddly old-fashioned. I wasn’t prepared for that at all. It made me nervous, but the nurse said “wow, what a trouper you are!” and I gracefully drifted into a magical sleep from the twilight.

I woke up later in the recovery room, and I asked the girl next to me if it was all over. She gave me a thumbs up and I knew I was in the clear. But soon enough, my child-free bliss would end when a nurse wheeled in a hysterical girl who was wild-eyed and in incredible pain. It soon became clear that she did not have a twilight procedure. I felt sorry for her, but her sobbing irritated me so much that I knew I had to get out of the recovery area quick. She seemed to regret it, but here I was, smiling because I was the happiest I had been in six weeks…and not pregnant, hooray! I rushed to the bathroom, soon dazed by how much blood was everywhere…all over my pants, all over my underwear. I wasn’t prepared at all for that! However, the nurse brought my spare change of clothes, and soon I was feeling much better.

The rest of the day went smoothly. But I wasn’t prepared for the cramping which kept me up for nights. It seemed like every night I would be awakened by horrific cramps that refused to go away. But over time, the cramps subsided and I was back to my normal self. I’m not sure what is considered normal because I have always been plagued by heavy, irregular periods, but the bleeding after the procedure lasted exactly one month.

One month after the procedure, I was in Bolivia, on a volunteer mission to help the less fortunate. During the trip, I visited a women’s clinic that had more modern-looking equipment than my abortion clinic! Where’s the justice in that?

In the seven years since my procedure, I have finished two advanced degrees, I have taken five trips abroad, I purchased a car and established a home for myself, and now teach high school (I can only hope that if one of my students chooses an abortion, she will encounter practitioners with the same professionalism that I did). Years later, I shared with the father how I had the abortion, and explained why I didn’t share the news with him. He thanked me, but wished I had told him so that he could have been there to support me. Regardless, he thanked me, because he too had accomplished so much professionally which he clearly would not have if he had to support a child.

Do I regret having an abortion? No. Will I regret it? Never. If I had had a child in my situation seven years ago, I would never have accomplished my dreams. And now, as return payment, I help other people’s children reach their potential. Without the option of abortion, I would never have had a chance to make the positive impact on society that I make today, tomorrow and in the future.