Tai’s Story

We left early in the morning and drove through mist and snow. The beauty of the land soothed me, but I was too nervous to sleep. I watched the fields, the ocean, and the mountains slip past, and worried that I would be too far along to have it done at the clinic. Everything was gray and green and still. I drank coffee and listened to electro-Indian beats as the sun rose above mountains shrouded in shimmering, silver clouds.

After driving for four hours, we arrived in the city and found the clinic. It was hidden in a corner of a quiet medical complex, right near the hospital. When I walked in, the secretary greeted me, and she gave me two forms to fill out. The first was a health form. It asked pretty standard medical questions. The second was a mental health form. It asked really personal questions about how I felt about the abortion. It seemed its purpose was to seed out the women who were having an abortion because they felt pressured. That certainly wasn’t me.

After the forms, I was ushered into a room where I met the doctor. She gave me an ultrasound and I saw the tiny embryo in my uterus. It was a little dark smudge that looked like a kidney bean. I was happy to find out that I was only six weeks along. I asked the doctor questions about the procedures offered. She said she could do a medical (chemically-induced) abortion but that it would take 5 days to be completed. I really didn’t like the variables and uncertainty involved in that method, especially since I would be going through it hundreds of kilometers from the clinic if something went wrong. Instead, I opted for the in-office aspiration. She gave me the choice to go into the hospital and have it done in two weeks under sedation, but I didn’t want to wait, and I couldn’t afford another trip to the city, anyway.

I know I did the right thing getting it out of me as soon as possible, but it was really painful. Prior to the procedure, the nurse gave me two Advil and a Tylenol 3 for the pain, but it wasn’t nearly enough. Luckily, I suspected before I left home that they wouldn’t be able to offer more, as they were a small clinic. While I was waiting for the painkillers to kick in, I ran outside to my car and took one of my own T3’s. In hindsight, I should’ve taken 3 or 4.

I’m not going to lie: the abortion was painful. The worst part was the numbing of my cervix. The extraction of the embryo was a terrible feeling that I never want to feel again. As soon as it was out, I asked to see it. The doctor handed me a little cup of fluid and blood. She fished out the embryo and showed it to my boyfriend and I. We said goodbye to it, together. I started sobbing, but not out of grief, just out of relief. I knew I had done the right thing.

After it was over, I had to lie still for an hour, writhing in pain from the cramps. I had a fever, was sweating, and shaking. The clinic staff checked in on me frequently. The nurse brought me a heating pad. My boyfriend sat with me and held my hand. I was scared by the intensity of the cramps and the shock-like symptoms I was experiencing, but they gradually subsided and the clinic staff never left me alone for more than two minutes at a time. They were the most attentive medical staff I’ve ever experienced.

Finally, it was time to leave. I got dressed. The doctor made sure I wasn’t hemorrhaging, and then let me go. I paid the 60 dollars for the drugs (antibiotics and anesthetic) and stumbled out into the parking lot. Walking helped with the cramps.

I have no regrets. I know I did the right thing. I thought about it deeply. I cried, screamed, talked, and sang about it. It was not a decision I made lightly. I am so glad it is over. I never felt any shame or guilt. My partner said he was really proud of me for going through with the in-office aspiration even though I was terrified of it. It was good to do it when the embryo was so, so tiny. I was proud of myself for doing it all: it was hard to admit that I was in no shape to be a mother, not physically or mentally.

I am definitely not sorry!! I am proud and feel powerful! This is my life! Today is the day after, and I feel no pain. All I want is to dance and celebrate my freedom.