Sep 062010

I had a surgical abortion in late July 2005.

My ex and I dated for about a year and a half. He was angry, abusive, a schizophrenic, and a drug addict. For most of the relationship, I was too insecure to realize how much better I deserved.

I had suspected that I was pregnant for the few weeks leading up to the breakup, and I even thought that I might want to have a baby, in order to give my life some purpose. At the time, I was very lonely, and the thought of having a baby who would love me forever was comforting and beautiful. I reasoned that it would be difficult but that my child and I would come out strong.

We broke up in a nasty, daylong fight. By that night, I was starting to wonder if I really might be pregnant – not just daydreaming. I woke up alone early the next morning, went to the store, and very shamefully and self-consciously bought a pregnancy test. I was eighteen at the time, and didn’t want the other shoppers to know that I was unwed and suspecting pregnancy. I couldn’t wait to get home, so I took the test in the store bathroom. By this time, I was starting to grow scared and realize that I was not ready for a baby. I prayed fervently that the test would come out negative, but as it developed, I could tell that it was beginning to indicate pregnancy.

I was too numb to cry. I tried several times to call my ex, but it was only 7:30 in the morning. I went to my mother’s house and woke her up. I told her I was pregnant. I didn’t know what to expect, but I needed support and comfort. I asked her what I should do, and she responded by asking me what I wanted to do. I told her that I did not want to keep it.

I was surprised to find out that my mother had had an abortion shortly before she became pregnant with me. She was extremely supportive and helped me through several phone calls with different abortion clinics. We decided on the Center for Choice, and made a consultation appointment for that afternoon. I thought almost positively that I wanted to have a medical abortion rather than a surgery.

My mother is a nurse, so, at the clinic, she was able to ask important medical questions that would not have occurred to me. I was almost 8 weeks pregnant. Though I still thought I wanted to have a chemical abortion, my mother and the nurses at the center seemed convinced that a surgery would be a better method for me, and so I decided to schedule the surgery for the next day.

The staff at the center was unbelievably caring and comforting. The walls were decorated with encouraging and female-empowering paintings and posters, and several members of the staff met with me privately to reassure me and answer all my questions. They explained the surgery to me thoroughly, and asked me about any emotional concerns I had. They sincerely wanted to make sure I was prepared and confident. I’m so glad I chose that clinic.

The surgery was scheduled for 2:00 PM. I was unable to eat before the surgery that day. I don’t remember, but I don’t believe I was allowed to eat the night before, either. My surgery ended up being delayed until closer to 4:30. The other girls waiting their turns were eating crackers (they were allowed to because they had chosen a different pain medication than I chose), and all I could think about was how hungry I was.

I was also terrified that the surgery would be painful. I am incredibly wimpy about physical pain.

They called me in. I was extremely nervous. There was a pretty poster on the wall next to me, and it said something like, “I had an abortion when I was a teenager. I have never regretted it. I have never felt guilty. I have never missed the child or wished to have it back. Having an abortion allowed me to continue my life as it should be.” I felt comforted by the poster and was able to relax a little.

The nurses were a little concerned about the amount of medication to give me, because I am very petite. After they decided what to do, the medications were administered through an IV. One was a pain medication and the other was a powerful anti-anxiety medication. It’s very hard to explain the way the medicines made me feel. I was sort-of awake, but very, very loopy and out of it, so I didn’t really know what was going on. I remember once in the middle of the surgery, a nurse telling me to keep breathing. I don’t remember anything else about the surgery, but after I woke up, the nurses told me that I had been talking about wanting a salad from McDonalds during the surgery, so I guess I must have been awake.

I have no clue how long the surgery took: the medicine made me so out of it. I have a vague memory of standing up and putting my pants back on. The nurse helped me put a sanitary pad in my underwear. I remember having the hiccups from being taken off the medication, and I vaguely remember being helped down the hall to a soft couch in the recovery room. Since I couldn’t remember much of surgery, I was only half-convinced that I’d even had it yet, but my mom and the nurses assured me that it was over. I was falling in and out of sleep.

I remember having a hard time fully waking up when it was time to go home. The medicines had affected me powerfully because I am so small, so I was still very tired and confused. A nurse fed me some oyster crackers and some Sprite to make my hiccups stop. My mother told me later that she and the nurses were concerned because I took so long to wake up and come back to my senses.

After I woke up a little more, a nurse helped me finish getting dressed, and my mom drove me home. I had been instructed to take it easy because I might be tired or sick for the next few days, but by the time I was halfway home from the center, I felt totally normal and fine. I did relax for a day or two following the surgery, but I never felt sick at all.

Looking back, I’m glad I chose a surgical abortion over the chemical method. I felt no pain at all during or after the surgery, and it was very quick and easy. The total cost was $500.

Just like the poster in the operating room said, I never did regret having an abortion. My life returned to normal and I’ve never wished I had kept the baby. If I had the choice to go back to the day I found out I was pregnant, I would do it again, exactly the same. I am definitely not sorry, nor have I ever been. I’m glad to be moving forward with my life, without the burden of mothering that loser’s baby.

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