Sep 052010

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Starting is always the hardest part. I had been spending time with an ex and the ever classic “one thing leads to another” moment created one of the most difficult situations I have ever had to face. I had a sense immediately that I was going to become pregnant but I passed it off as paranoia, I had a scare in the past and it turned out to be nothing so I decided to put it from my mind. As the weeks passed, my breasts became swollen and tender, I was queasy and very anxious constantly. I procrastinated on the test until coming to terms with the fact that I would not be able to change what the stick said by waiting either way.

I decided to tell the father mostly because I was terrified. We got the test and sure enough, it came up positive. My knees buckled, he caught me, put me in bed and I cried for a while before we discussed the options. I am 21, I work in a field dominated by men doing work that a pregnant woman can not do. I was pretty clear right off the bat what I thought would be best for me, personally, professionally, and emotionally. The odd part was he wanted to keep the baby. We are in different stages of life and he was ready to have a family where as I looked on everything more like an ‘oops’ and had no desire to continue on. That, and its callous but I had no desire for him to play any significant role in the present, let alone for the rest of my life.

After a lot of research I decided to make an appointment for an abortion with a Planned Parenthood clinic about an hour away from me. I was extremely lucky, my insurance plan paid for all of it except a very reasonable co-pay. I was terrified through all the phone calls, to my insurance, to clinics, even to very close friends. I was waiting for the axe of judgment and retribution we have been trained to think comes along with a situation like this. It could not have been more opposite of my expectations, even the rep from my insurance company was friendly and professional and the woman I spoke to at the clinic made me feel like there was nothing wrong or even abnormal with anything. It was just like scheduling any other doctor’s visit.

When the day arrived, I got to the office and there were no protesters or anything of the sort but it was pretty much standing room only. Planned Parenthood offers a variety of services and not all were there for an abortion but it was still comforting to see so many young women in a similar situation as myself. The staff there was a group of the most amazing women I have ever met. Almost without exception they were warm and friendly and more than happy to give comfort or a smile. The process took about 5 hours from the time we arrived there. The paperwork then the ultrasound (I chose not to look and I’m glad of that) then the blood work and the counseling session, after each of which I was returned to the waiting area. I opted for moderate sedation, still awake and aware of everything but time became rather fluid and it had a dreamlike quality.

I was alone in the exam room for a few minutes just before the procedure and it was then that I lost my ability to keep cool. I cried and I was afraid and all the stress that had been bearing down on me seemed like it was going to eat me alive but even that passed. I caught my breath by the time the doctor came in, he asked if I had any questions and then gave me an IV shot with the sedative and a mild pain killer. We actually talked about cars throughout the procedure. The shots in the cervix were the most painful part, I didn’t even have severe cramps during the aspiration. A nurse helped me get dressed and walk to recovery where I sat in a recliner of sorts with a blanket and heating pad as they checked my vitals. After checking my bleeding and making me eat a cookie they released me with a medical ‘goody bag’, smiles and well wishes, truly the nicest group of women I have ever met.

This was all three days ago, I have to admit that the first and second day held some very difficult and painful moments, the cramps radiated from my cervical area and kept me down most of the day. It was however controllable with Motrin and a heating pad to take the edge off. Emotionally I feel relieved and even very happy about everything, I feel like I have my life back, my future back. The best thing is to keep up with normal life as much as I can and be aware but not focus on the experience. I have cried a few times but more so out of the fear and the stress of what I went through instead of a particular feeling of grief or loss. I accept it for what it is, a difficult experience that has really changed my life in good ways. I am back to focusing on what is best for me, not what makes others happy. I plan on having a family one day down the road when I can devote myself to my children and raise them in the same wonderful environment that I was brought up in. Now was just not the right time, place, or person.

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