Tara’s Story

To date, I have had three pregnancies. My first pregnancy resulted in the live birth of my daughter at 35 weeks in 2003. She had a true knot in her cord, my water broke early, but all was well and she came home with us a couple of days later. She is now 6 1/2 years and the light of my life.

My second pregnancy resulted in the stillbirth of my son at 37 weeks in 2007. The only problem with this pregnancy was pre-term labor that resulted in 9 weeks of bed rest. My son never appeared to be in danger in all of our appointments. On Thanksgiving he died, I’m not sure when. I went to Labor and Delivery because he was not moving and my worst fears were realized. He was stillborn after a natural water birth, on that Saturday for no known reason. After a “normal” natural birth, things quickly deteriorated for me. My placenta was stuck. I was bleeding. The doctor tried manual removal (putting a hand in my uterus, this more painful than birth). This torture was to no avail. I had to have an emergency procedure and two units of blood. I almost died that night. For the year following I wished many times that I had died. There is no greater pain than losing a child. I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t eat, I cried constantly, and I seethed with anger.

The summer of 2008 I separated from my husband of 7 years, and that fall I was admitted to the hospital twice for depression. Early 2009 I realized I would need to declare bankruptcy and I would lose my home. None of these subsequent events will ever compare to what I went through living each day without my son, however.

Things began to slowly get better the summer of 2009, I had found a new sense of resiliency. I had picked myself up, I got a new job, was living on my own as a single mom to my daughter. I was dating, working full time, finishing up my PhD, getting ready to mark my son’s second birthday without him. November 1st, I found out I was pregnant. My birth control had failed. Instantly, I knew I would get an abortion. I would be risking everything in my life, my independence, my physical health, my mental health, and my daughter’s security; all with no guarantees anybody would survive a pregnancy (me or a potential baby). I could not do 9 weeks of bed rest again all alone, and with my history I certainly would. I had to work. It was just me. The father was someone who I had only been dating for a few months. I had broken up with him prior to finding out about my pregnancy. I did choose to share it with him but was offered no emotional or financial support for any decision I would make.

So, I made two trips, about 60 miles away, to take RU486. No clinics here offered it, and because I have a bicornuate uterus, a surgical abortion was not the best option. I also was terrified: I had PTSD from my last birth when the doctor attempted to manually remove my placenta. Just getting a pelvic exam was emotionally difficult for me. The first trip, I left the office crying after the ultrasound without taking the medication. This was not because I was sad about the abortion, but because of the flashbacks to the last ultrasound with my son when they confirmed there was no heartbeat. It was all too much. I rescheduled the next week, on that day I was 6 weeks and 6 days, and after a little more mental preparation I was able to get through the second ultrasound and the whole appointment without any tears.

I took the Mifepristone in the office at about 9 a.m. on day 1. I had no bleeding or cramping or any symptoms of anything in between then and when I took the misoprostol the evening of the following day (day 2). I chose to take it alone after I put my daughter to bed, at about 8pm. Due to my history of hemorrhage I was given some pills just in case, and also a prescription for some painkillers which I picked up that day at the pharmacy. Having the abortion at home was peaceful. I did not see any tissue. The cramps were strong, perhaps comparable to very early labor or a strong period, and nothing like the two births I had experienced. I did use the painkillers but didn’t need the extra pills for bleeding. I did bleed a lot, but not more than they said I would. I actually just sat for about 4 hours on my couch and read a book to take my mind of things. I went to bed at about 1 a.m. and felt all right.

I woke up the next day and felt free for the first time in 2 weeks. I am not sorry I had an abortion and I have no regrets. I made the best decision for my daughter and me, and the abortion was not a bad experience, the unplanned pregnancy was the bad experience. The abortion saved me, and I will forever be grateful to Planned Parenthood and that I had access to RU486.