Ruth’s Story

Well, I was three times unlucky. With the first one, it was that good ol’ Birth Control Non-Use Russian Roulette catching up with me. I knew IMMEDIATELY that the little swimmer had found its target. Don’t ask me how; I just did. I went to a private clinic to have the procedure done. Clinics will advise you to wait until the sixth week before you have it done; I fudged by a week because I wanted it out so badly. I was awake the whole time—in fact, I remember discussing the Yankees with the doctor. Some of it was uncomfortable, and I can remember the nurse murmuring, “Shh, it’s okay,” obviously believing that I was on the verge of a freak-out when in fact it was just an involuntary reaction to the tugging I felt going on inside me. I was playing video games in an arcade literally two hours after it was done. There were no cramps, very little bleeding.

The second one, two years later, was the result of being too drunk to say no. Again, I knew immediately that it had happened. The guy refused to have anything to do with it. I managed to scrape up the money somehow, waited until the sixth week, and a friend drove me to the local Planned Parenthood clinic. Again, the procedure was no big deal—this time I was given liquid Valium and thus had no memory of the actual experience. I bled a little more, but not too bad. With the money I had managed to scrape up I treated myself to a solo recovery weekend at the local Sheraton, ordering room service and watching HBO. Nonetheless, I was very pissed at myself for letting this happen again and swore to myself that I would be diligent from now on.

And I was. Fast forward three years-I got into a relationship and used condom and sponge religiously. I was sitting at work one February day, going over some paperwork, when it suddenly occurred to me that I hadn’t gotten my period yet. I counted the days and recalled the last time I had sex. Didn’t fall into my normal “fertile” period (I have a very regular cycle), so I chalked it up to body adjustments. Two weeks later, I still hadn’t gotten my period. I mentioned this to my boyfriend, who panicked and insisted above my protests that I take a home pregnancy test. I went along with it, figuring that if my psyche realized I wasn’t pregnant, Aunt Flo would make her delayed appearance. But … I WAS pregnant.

Since my boyfriend was a huge Catholic, I figured that a marriage proposal would immediately be offered. Shocker number two—this sweet Catholic boy, the mama’s boy who had spoken of white picket fences and lots of chubby-cheeked kids of which I would be the mother, went into full-on panic mode and said, “You HAVE to get rid of it!” He would hear nothing else. I didn’t protest too much, but in the back of my mind all I was thinking was “oh, shit, not again.” He coughed up the money and swore he’d be there at the clinic with me, only to weasel out of it with a lame “I have to work” excuse. A pair of my girlfriends took me to yet another clinic (ironically, I ran into one of my co-workers there; we were unable to look each other in the face for weeks afterward). More liquid Valium, no memory. I cramped up fairly badly this time. I had rented another hotel room, and the boyfriend paid a courtesy call. He cuddled next to me and said, “Don’t worry, honey—our baby’s in heaven now.” EXCUSE ME?! We broke up a week later.

I have never regretted the abortions, although I certainly regretted the circumstances under which they came about. I am forever grateful that I had the choice of abortion available to me, or else there would be three more damaged human beings in the world.