Sep 062010

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I was 16 years old and a junior in high school the first time I had sex. I was making out with my boyfriend and got so excited that I told him breathlessly that I wanted to have sex with him. We did it right then and there and I was such a people-pleaser I didn’t tell him that we should really use some protection.

I got pregnant that day or sometime within the next few weeks… right with the first guy I ever had sex with.

I was in total denial about it. I was a “good girl,” a captain of my swim team, an honor student. I was smart enough to know better. We should have used birth control, but we didn’t.

I don’t blame him. I blame both of us. But it happened.

The relationship became all about sex even once I insisted we used condoms (a joke, since I was already pregnant) and I broke up with him.

The major problem with the pregnancy was my denial. I kept hoping that I might miscarry or the problem might go away on its own. It didn’t. I called an abortion clinic and was crushed to discover how much a second trimester abortion cost. I was a high school student; I didn’t have that kind of money. I started thinking about running away. I wondered if I could do something to start a miscarriage.

When I think about girls who give birth in their bedroom, scared, and try to dump the body… well, I realize how close I came to being one of those girls.

I was found out away at camp that summer, months later, when I started to show. They sent me home. My parents were devastated. They took me to the doctor and they did an ultrasound and told me I was due to give birth in twelve weeks. It was like the walls were closing in on me. I passed out right there on the table.

After I insisted, sobbing, that I couldn’t give birth to a child, the doctor suggested Dr. Tiller’s clinic in Kansas, which was the only place in the country that did abortions that late. My father, who was with me, agreed that was the best course of action. In retrospect, I never should have hid this from my parents. There are so many things about that time I would have done differently.

We flew to Kansas and stayed at a hotel. The abortion took place over several days because they needed to prepare my cervix. I essentially had to give birth. The first procedure that they did, where they inserted the laminaria, hurt so much. They also made us do a writing assignment about why we had gotten to this point and what we were going to do with our lives now. I spent a long time on mine. I knew I was going to get a new lease on life.

They stuck a long needle filled with saline solution into my uterus, which killed the fetus.

You’re not supposed to remember the labor because of a drug they give you. I kept pulling out my IV because I was flailing in pain, so I remember some of it. Afterwards, they told me the baby was a girl. I wanted to see her, but they told me that wasn’t a good idea. I’m thankful that they didn’t.

I realize that my story is detestable to a lot of people, and I’m not pleased about the way it happened, but I was suicidal and self destructive at the time I got my abortion (that’s why they let me have one). I certainly would have hurt or killed myself, perhaps even given birth and tried to dump the body of the baby. I was young and stupid. However, I’m glad I got the chance to live out my life. I went to college and graduate school, I have a good job and a husband, and we’re planning to have our own family soon, now that I’m ready. I’m glad I didn’t have to give my life up because I got pregnant. I’m glad I was able to get an abortion, and I’m not sorry for choosing my life over the life of the baby.

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